Special elections are the only way to fill council vacancies

February 01, 2011

I commend Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young and Councilman William H. Cole IV for bringing forth an idea regarding filling a vacancy on the City Council ("Under proposal, community panel to choose City Council members," Feb. 1). However, does their proposal actually improve the process of filling a vacancy on the City Council? The simple answer: No, it does not. It simply shifts the players on the chess board but basically maintains the insider game. While I haven't seen the details of Councilman Bill Henry's proposal, the fact that he is calling for an election to fill a vacancy, and I believe his idea is the necessary starting point.

Enough with the "insider" approach to filling vacancies, both on the City Council and she state legislature. I believe that for any replacement to fill a vacancy that occurs six months or more before the next regularly scheduled primary election, there should be a special election, open to all interested candidates (Democrats, Republicans, Greens, independents, unaffiliated, etc.) to decide who fills the vacancy.

Let the people, all of them who choose to participate, have a say in their representation. All over the world people are calling for free and open elections. What's so hard about doing the same when there is a vacancy on the Baltimore City Council or the city delegation to Annapolis?

Chris Blake, Baltimore

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