To the Editor:
This Athens City Council race has been particularly interesting. There is one large disparity, however, that I have noticed: who gains from being on City Council versus who stands for the people. Those like Sarah Grace and Pete Kotses, who are landlords, I have a lot of trouble relating to.
As a renter and someone who does not see land ownership as a possibility in my near future, I can’t help but feel as if these candidates represent a class of people that simply are not representative of Athens. They have plenty of reason to side with landlords instead of tenants. My eyes have been on independent candidates that come from the perspective of being renters and workers who are not for sale. Chris Monday and Ellie Hamrick come to mind.
Both of these candidates are running as independents, and we are in the interesting position where there are no Republicans running, so voting for an independent is not “giving a vote to Republicans,” which is a worry for some. Additionally, they both seem to be further left than the Democrats, which may appeal to those who care deeply about the rights of tenants, women, LGBTQ individuals and people of color.
Chris’ “Not for sale” signs that I’ve seen around are clever, and he speaks to good issues. Ellie has impressed me deeply, however; more than any other candidate, I appreciate that she stands firmly on issues such as care instead of criminalization or planet over profit. Although she’s a City Council candidate who wants to change things in the here and now, she also sees a bigger picture that relates to the world at large.
I am glad that she has been given chances to debate other City Council candidates; she has even been showing up to current City Council meetings and providing her input, which I appreciate. Despite not even being on council, she is already getting involved, along with the fact that I have seen her speak and participate at many local organizing opportunities, such as the climate strike where she provided a powerful and moving speech.
I look forward to seeing what she says and does next, and am looking forward to a variety of options in this upcoming election.