While currently serving my second term as a Democratic Committee Member I am saddened to see that much of what the Democratic Party's organizers do is not to promote the party, however, to keep their friends in office and family members in government jobs.
While the word "democratic" appears in the name of the party, many would be surprised at how undemocratic the organization can be at times. When deciding to seek the city council seat for District Three, winning the endorsement of the Democratic Committee was on the top of my list of priorities. That was until I was told that in order to just be considered for the endorsement I'd have to pay $1,250!
How many highly qualified and potentially great leaders have backed out of a decision to run for office when their own party creates barriers like taking $1,250 out of the candidate's pocket?
The origins of the Allegheny Democratic Committee go back to a time when committee members were selected by their community to go out and vet candidates. Today's committee seems to almost lack that aspect entirely— and many (while not certainly all) committee members seem out only to serve their own self-interest.
In the last month, I have been invited to meals, received phone calls and gotten countless letters from candidates all in an effort to win my vote; including my opponents in the May Primary for city council. All these efforts seem to be based on an effort to impress me with their freebies and less on their actual qualifications.
Today, in my mail was an invitation to the City Democratic Committee "Appreciation Extravaganza" on February 26. I was invited to the Rivers Casino for a free breakfast buffet, a free $10 to gamble with and chances to win "Grand Prizes" such as flat screen TV's and dinner certificates!
If anything, they were right when they put "extravagant" on the invitation. Also, two of my opponents' names were listed on the invitation's host committee sponsors.
I'm sorry, my endorsement vote is not for sale. As tempting as a flat screen TV is, I award my committee votes based on merit.
The writer is an Allegheny County Democratic Committee Member and a candidate for District 3 City Council.