Candidate endorsements are never a win for a newspaper

Since last week’s editorial of our endorsement for City Council candidates, there’s been a certain amount of flak we’ve received.

We should say up front that endorsing this or that candidate always makes us more enemies than friends.

And it should be stressed that our endorsement are simply that, our endorsements. It doesn’t mean we expect everyone to vote a certain way. It’s food for thought. In fact, we invite our readers to vigorously challenge our endorsements.

What seemed to rile up some folks in particular was our shout out to candidate Robert Zwolak and the lack of an endorsement of any of the Bengali-American candidates.

First thing first.

Bob Zwolak has been around for many years and is a former councilmember, city clerk and charter revision commission member. He’s worn a lot of hats.

He’s without a doubt a knowledgeable guy, but the question facing Zwolak is what does he do with this knowledge?

Voters have not stuck by this guy in any one position for a long length of time. Why is that?

For those who have known Bob for many years, the answer is fairly obvious: He is prone to go on the attack against others and spread division in town. He is also one of those peculiar guys who can dissect an issue or proposal and come up with dozens of reasons why it won’t work.

It’s rare that Bob actually has something constructive to add. It’s all about tearing things down.

People get weary of the constant negativity.

Yet, we occasionally hold out in hope that Zwolak will channel that negative energy and turn it into something positive, something that is actually useful. Call us eternally optimistic, or perhaps naive.

As for our reason for not supporting a single Bengali candidate, the answer is simple: Not one of them returned our candidate questionnaire. We have no idea where they stand on issues.

Some of them are boycotting this paper.

We say this is a cop out, and a way to duck from having to go on record what they plan to do. Their explanation that they are boycotting The Review because it is “biased” is extremely disturbing. This is an attempt to divide the community and divert attention from themselves.

That’s an ugly tactic and one that will eventually backfire on them because sooner or later, they have to face the public and take a stand on issues. There are some in this community who are cheering them on with their boycott, but these folks have their own, selfish political agenda at heart – not what is for the good of the community.

We should say, too, that we have consistently supported Councilmember Shahab Ahmed, and at great risk of alienating a lot of voters, the former Citizen newspaper, of which this “opinion” writer was a part, championed his first-time run several years ago.

Many white voters were outraged over this and – surprise! – boycotted the paper.

It’s a shame that Mr. Ahmed has chosen not to seek re-election because he is heads and shoulders far better than most of the candidates running in this election.

Two years ago we were impressed with candidate Anam Miah. At the recent “Meet the Candidates Night,” however, Mr. Miah did not seem prepared or knowledgeable of current issues.

Instead, he spoke of “accountability” in City Hall, leaving us to wonder what that means exactly. Since when did “accountability” – or a lack thereof – become an issue?

And just who is lacking in accountability? And besides, what does accountability mean in this context?

Sadly, when it comes to specifics, Mr. Miah has come up short. And worse, he, too, failed to turn in our candidate questionnaire.

Still, Mr. Miah would probably be a constructive councilmember. We would like to add to last week’s endorsement and also encourage voters to consider Mr. Miah.

On second thought, maybe it would be wise to swap out Mr. Zwolak with Mr. Miah, considering Mr. Zwolak’s long history of personal attacks on elected officials and his inability to bring something constructive to the table.

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