To the editor,
It was truly head scratching to read the editorial “Be the Change You Want to See,” advocating for the incoming City Council to usurp the will of Peekskill voters and appoint someone to the council who they rejected, twice. It’s quite an elitist position.
Like the Herald, I like Councilwoman Vanessa Agudelo. I often disagree with her tactics, but I think she adds important perspective to public debates. But the reality is, Peekskill voters made their voices heard, declaratively. My opinion doesn’t trump the voter’s will, and neither should the Peekskill Herald’s. Voters articulated quite decisively, on two separate occasions, that they did not want to return her to the council. She was defeated in a Democratic primary where the most progressive voters participated and defeated again in a general election where a broader ideological mix of voters participated. In both cases, voters came to the same conclusion.
In the Herald’s editorial it notes that turnout was far below turnout for national elections, suggesting that somehow the low turnout undermines the result. Turnout for local elections is always lower, as it was when Councilwoman Agudelo was elected in 2017. But that doesn’t undermine her legitimacy. What the Herald misses in understanding the turnout is that those who vote in hyper-local elections are the most highly engaged voters, who pay more attention to policy, politics, and public affairs than irregular presidential election voters. These are consistent voters. They participate in every election. They make very informed decisions. They know what they are doing.
The Herald’s opinion doesn’t seem all that different from the position of the Republican Party in Arizona: “If we don’t like the will of the voters, lets try and work around it.” I would urge it, like I would the Arizona GOP, to have a little more respect for the choices made by voters.
Former Chairman, Peekskill Democratic City Committee