Thursday, December 6, 2007

Faith and Freedom for All Americans

Faith and Freedom for All Americans
Commentary by: Sanford D. Horn
December 6, 2007

Full disclosure – I am a Jewish Republican. I am active in the Jewish community as Men’s Club president at the Agudas Achim Congregation in Alexandria and I am active in Alexandria as a Republican as a member of the Alexandria Republican City Committee. Sometimes the two worlds intersect as I am also a member of the RJC – Republican Jewish Coalition – that’s right, an organization growing by leaps and bounds we no longer hold meetings in a telephone booth.

I mention all of this on the outside chance I should one day run for the presidency of the United States – after all, I am on my way. Following in the footsteps of that great Republican, Abraham Lincoln, who lost more than a dozen elections prior to ascending to the White House in 1861, I have already lost two elections – one for Baltimore City Council in 1999 and one for Alexandria School Board last year.

But I am not writing this tome for purposes of promoting myself as a candidate or any organization of which I may be a member. Instead, I am writing as an independent, small “i,” citizen-voter regarding the speech presented by GOP presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney on Thursday, December 06 entitled “Faith in America.”

Full disclosure again – I am not currently a supporter of Governor Romney. I am supporting US Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO), the longer than long shot candidate whose sole issue with any traction is that of illegal immigration. I will vote for Gov. Romney should he earn the GOP nomination.

Not since 1960 when then presidential candidate John F. Kennedy, also from Massachusetts, felt compelled to discuss his Catholic faith before the entire nation has an address like this been deemed necessary. But by whom was it deemed necessary? People lacking knowledge of the Mormon faith? After all in a recent poll only 36 percent of those asked said they would feel comfortable voting for a person of the Mormon faith. FYI, in that same survey a whopping 50 percent of those asked said they would feel comfortable voting for a Jewish presidential candidate.

People of no faith? Many people of or with no faith have an innate distrust of any candidate professing religious faith of any kind. Other Christians? In his address, Romney declared, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of G-d and the Savior of mankind.” That should more than placate nervous Christians.

And let’s face it, Jews in general terms are never terribly excited about overtly religious candidates for public office from any faith – even our own. When then vice president Al Gore boldly went where no major party nominee went before by selecting Senator Joseph I Lieberman (I-CT) to be his running mate there were those in the Jewish community that worried about Lieberman being too religious. By the way, it is Lieberman’s religiosity and conservative views on issues such as supporting the war in Iraq, and seeking to squelch the growing amount of violence, sex and rough language seen in movies and the pubic airwaves that endears him to religious Americans of many faiths.

However, if Sen. Lieberman were a stronger candidate for president that when he made a brief bid for the Democratic nomination in 2004, he would be enduring the same questions from non-believers and those lacking knowledge of Judaism. Questions are natural concerning the unknown and answers should be expected, but the issue of a candidate’s religion should not necessarily define the candidate.

Romney’s Mormon faith will no more dictate how he leads the nation should he win the 2008 presidential election any more than Kennedy’s did upon his victory in 1960. Pope John XXIII no more ran the White House during the Kennedy Administration than Gordon B. Hinckley, president of the Mormon Church, would upon a Romney election.

We as Jewish people should embrace the notion of a candidate with the traditional Judeo-Christian lineage upon which this great nation was founded. As a candidate whose faith has raised questions, Romney would be the type of leader to preserve the rights of religious minorities. The foundation of the United States was based upon the principles of religious freedom.

The colony of Maryland was established as the first for Catholics. Yet, Scottish-born Presbyterian Thomas Kennedy (1776-1832), a member of the Maryland House of Delegates representing Hagerstown, fought in 1819, for "an Act to extend to the sect of people professing the Jewish religion the same rights and privileges that are enjoyed by Christians."

Soundly defeated, Kennedy pursued the bill again and again even at the cost of his House seat in 1823. Continuing the fight while out of office, Kennedy garnered his House seat again in 1825 and secured passage of what became known as the “Jew Bill” in 1826. In 1818 there lived roughly 150 Jews in Maryland, yet several months following passage of Kennedy’s bill in 1826, two Jewish candidates found themselves elected to the Baltimore City Council.

Now, 181 years, later Mitt Romney finds it necessary to discuss his faith before a national audience. The United States is a nation of faith, religion and believers. “Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people,” quoted Romney of John Adams, one of the nation’s founding fathers and second president, also from Massachusetts.

But the United States is also a nation possessing an establishment clause regarding the separation of church and state, as it says in the First Amendment of the Constitution, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

The vast majority of American citizens find no problem with the words “In G-d We Trust” on our currency, or swearing an oath to tell the truth in a courtroom, or reciting “one nation under G-d” in the Pledge of Allegiance, or in seeing a Christmas tree and Chanukah menorah standing side by side at city and town halls across this great land.

Few people would object to seeing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing at the White House under a Romney presidency any more than would object if there were kosher kitchens in the White House should a Jewish candidate win a presidential election.

This is the time of the year where at Thanksgiving, interfaith services are held around the country. Where tolerance is preached more and more. Where symbols of faith shine brightly for the next several weeks during Chanukah and Christmas. It’s not the faith of a candidate but the character of the candidate, to paraphrase the late Martin Luther King, Jr. We as Americans should demonstrate that good will toward mankind and tolerance of those candidates whose religion is different than ours. Let’s enjoy our religious freedom – freedom that comes to us as a gift from G-d.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Darn Right, Mark Allen is a Republican

Darn Right, Mark Allen is a Republican
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
October 29, 2007

Oh the horrors, the stigma – Delegate candidate Mark Allen has been “outed” as a Republican. What will the neighbors say?

Advertisements in this and other publications have dubbed Mr. Allen as a stealth Republican – hiding his party affiliation in the hopes of fooling voters in Virginia’s 45th legislative district.

That couldn’t be further from the truth. Mark Allen, a 30-plus year Alexandria resident with his own business in the city is a Republican who knows and understands what Alexandrians go through to work hard, earn a living, pay taxes, send his children to school and even have a personal grapple with the city school system regarding special needs students.

At no time during this campaign, that I have witnessed, has Mr. Allen shied away from the GOP label. Mr. Allen has stood proudly with US Senator John Warner (R) and announced that he is the Republican candidate at numerous events – even in mixed company!

Mark Allen is a candidate of substance and is not just about a label. He has supporters and contributors from both sides of the aisle – people supporting him for his name’s sake, not necessarily his party’s name.

The Democrats, however, want to play party politics because that is all they have on which to hang their hats. Vote for me, I’m a Democrat is their mantra. Never mind that the current Democratic delegate has one of the lowest ratings as a supporter of business in the commonwealth.

Look around the commonwealth – most candidates are not identified by party on their signs or literature. Of 18 party affiliated candidates running for office in Alexandria and Fairfax County, only three – two Republican and one Democrat advertised their party on their signs. Candidates know the voters are tired of partisan politics and are interested in the character of the candidate.

However, if we’re going to play party politics, it would be nice to have a seat at the table with the election of Mark Allen joining the majority party in the legislature when important decisions are made. The voters of the 45th district deserve that much.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Read the 10th Amendment, Deputize Local Authority

Read the 10th Amendment, Deputize Local Authority
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
October 14, 2007

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” – Amendment X, United States Constitution, ratified December 15, 1791

In response to Toni M. Andrews’ letter “Takes exception to view on immigration,” (Alexandria Times October 11, 2007) I thank her for asserting that I have “supporters.” However, I must respond to her laissez faire attitude regarding illegals. (I use the term “illegals” upon the request of a friend who agrees with me on virtually nothing, save for this polarizing issue as she remarked that immigrants are here legally, but illegals are simply breaking the law.)

Ms. Andrews questions whether those “persons beating the anti-immigrant drum [are] truly motivated simply to enforce residency laws, or is there instead a desire to remove people who speak different languages and come from different cultures?”

Let me make one thing perfectly clear, as an active member of the Jewish community, I resent any implication that I would summarily “remove people who speak different languages and come from different cultures.” No, no, that shtick was executed to a tee by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who during World War II turned back boat loads of European Jews attempting to escape Hitler’s Holocaust only to be returned to certain death.

I’ve been beating this drum consistently for years and stand by my principles. Unfortunately, Ms. Andrews and her “supporters,” to borrow her phrase, have taken such a laissez faire stance of “they’re here, so just deal with it.” It is just that irresponsible attitude that has allowed such unchecked invasion by illegals to continue.

This laissez faire attitude is akin to returning home from work one night, finding the house broken into, an invader sitting on the couch watching television, and you, the legal owner, who has worked hard to afford that home, couch and television, then offering this miscreant snacks and a beverage. Once you have satisfied this criminal’s hunger and thirst, you, the legal homeowner, allow him to live with you while you support him. Supporters of illegals seem to be missing basic common sense here.

I don’t begrudge people a better life – my ancestors believed likewise as they arrived, legally, at Ellis Island. However, people with those desires must work legally through the system. This nation welcomes people who wish to work hard, learn English – increasing a person’s marketability, invest in America and not send their money back to their home countries to which they often claim allegiance.

Ms. Andrews does make an excellent point in that “the federal government has failed to control the influx of immigrants into our nation and adequately protect and secure our borders.” That is absolutely correct. Whether the government has pandered to the business community that hires illegals to keep costs and wages down, or has pandered to the Spanish-speaking community for votes, the government, on both sides of the aisle continues to allow the invasion.

Based upon Ms. Andrews’ correct assertion, the federal government, in accordance with the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, should provide local law enforcement not just the authority, but the training to enforce immigration laws. Instead of sending so much money to Washington, DC via our taxes, more should be withheld so that city and county authorities have the capability to enforce immigration laws.

And let’s not forget the issue of national security. In this age of the shrinking globe, thanks to technology and the ongoing war on terror, all persons wishing to enter the United States should be screened with absolute diligence.

In addition, the federal government has the obligation to build the border fence presidential candidates and US representatives Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Tom Tancredo (R-CO) have called for repeatedly. Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution requires that “the United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against invasion…”

If the federal government would focus upon their legal responsibilities instead of social engineering, income redistribution and illegal pork-barrel spending, this country could easily afford to secure its borders as is legally required.

As for the resolution passed by the Alexandria City Council on October 9, Councilman Ludwig Gaines said “this is not a sanctuary resolution. …It is simply a restatement of the policy we have had in place for more than a decade.”

When a city or town allows illegals to reside in and receive services from that jurisdiction and those illegals are not bothered “unless arrested for the commission of a violent offense,” as quoted from Alexandria City Manager Jim Hartmann’s September 14 memo, that locality is a sanctuary. And just because the resolution is business as usual, doesn’t make it right. Councilman Gaines’ statements are not mutually exclusive.

Both councilmen Rob Krupicka and Tim Lovain spun this issue like a ballerina on steroids. Councilman Krupicka said the Alexandria Fire Department would not check green cards before extinguishing fires. That’s great, because that is a property issue, not a residency issue.

As for Councilman Lovain, he said city officials would not consult the Department of Homeland Security before allowing a victim of domestic violence into a woman’s shelter. Good. I would hope law enforcement would lock up the reprobate who committed that act of violence.

Don’t spin this issue as something it is not. Let’s remember the telephone calls and e-mails you and the rest of the council received during the run up to passage of the aforementioned resolution also object to such business. They too believe in the greatness and generosity of the United States, but do not wish to be played for a sucker by people not willing to abide by the rules.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Welcoming Legal Immigration

Welcoming Legal Immigration
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
October 1, 2007

The esteemed City Council of Alexandria will be considering, on Tuesday, October 9, with no public input requested, a resolution thrust upon it by the city’s Human Rights Commission that will all but guarantee a safe haven for illegal immigrants and condemn Alexandria to the status of a “sanctuary city.”

As per a memo issued by City Manager Hartmann dated September 14, 2007, unless arrested for the commission of a violent offence, a suspect’s immigration status is not questioned.

Interpreting this portion of the city manager’s memo lets anyone who can get to Alexandria and not commit a violent act stay in this city, and, as a chart indicates, be eligible to attend the ACPS and receive other services for which taxpaying citizens and legal residents are shelling out their legally garnered wages.

Immigration is not a local government responsibility, as cited by Hartmann’s memo. This allows for local law enforcement, which granted, already has its hands full, to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to the possibility that there are people in this city who do not have the legal right to be here.

The Human Rights Commission of Alexandria included in its resolution it expects the City Council to pass, a section “that the City and its various agencies will neither make inquiries nor report on the citizenship of those who seek the protection of its laws or use of its services except as required by law.” [sic]

That said, it is clear and obvious that the laws are antiquated and obsolete so as to encourage and allow those people who do not have a legal right to be in the United States, and therefore the Commonwealth of Virginia or the City of Alexandria, to take up refuge and milk the services cow as paid for by the taxpayer dollars of legal residents and citizens.

It is incumbent upon the federal government to amend any laws allowing state/commonwealth and local governments to turn the aforementioned blind eye and deaf ear and put them in the position to work with the federal government to ensure the safety of American citizens and legal residents via a system of inquiry and notification. After all, what part of “illegal” do people not understand?

The Human Rights Commission of Alexandria has, in part of its resolution, suggests “there exists in our region an escalating anger against the foreign-born and those perceived to be foreign-born.”

Truth be told, the anger is levied toward those persons who are taking up residence here illegally and more so toward the people who support these illegal acts. There is a fair amount of confidence that the majority of those people in the United States illegally have fled from unfortunate circumstances and seek a better life for themselves and their families as millions of immigrants who preceded them.

However, most of the millions of immigrants who arrived on the shores of this great nation during the last century, also escaping some form of tyranny, arrived legally, waited their turn and met certain qualifications. New immigrants were required to pass a physical examination, have the promise of employment and lived with a sponsoring relative. These new immigrants took pride in learning English and adopting their new chosen country’s customs.

What form of tyranny could trump that of the Holocaust? Yet, thanks to the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration, boatloads of Jewish immigrants attempting to escape the horrors of Nazi Germany were unceremoniously sent back to certain slaughter.

All too often new immigrants today expect that we learn their language, call us racist and xenophobes if we do not, and are quick to make demands of services that never even existed in previous decades. Again, what part of “illegal” do people not understand?

The United States welcomes people who play by the rules and wish to contribute to make society better. Anger and resentment is lobbied in the direction of those who wish to break the law and provide safe haven for those who have broken the law simply by their mere presence in this country.

This country is a nation of immigrants, but to expect people to enter this country legally also speaks to the issue of national security. Technology during the last century’s immigration zenith could not have put the United states in the harm that today’s technology can. It is imperative to take as many precautions as is necessary to protect the integrity of American sovereignty so that those wishing to join our society can do so in a safe and legal manner.

Whether from our northern border with Canada or our southern border with Mexico, security needs to be as tight as a drum. This will allow for the protection of all American citizens and legal residents. Citizens and legal residents who deserve equal protection under the law, who deserve seats within the Alexandria school system, who deserve the appropriate services for which they may be qualified, regardless of race or national origin.

The City Council of Alexandria should not pass this resolution put forth by the Alexandria Human Rights Commission. Instead it should urge the federal government to untie the hands of local law enforcement. Again, what part of “illegal” do people not understand?

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Hiding Behind the Color Green

Hiding Behind the Color Green
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
September 28, 2007

As a Republican city council candidate in Charm City during the last decade where GOP voter registrants numbered less than 10 percent, I made it my business to actively participate in debates.

There I sat, in Democrat-laden, hostile territory participating in events in church basements and school cafeterias – never once having any delusions of grandeur thinking I had the remotest shot at pulling off the miracle upset victory. The odds were even longer as a Jewish Republican where I joked that we held meetings in local telephone booths. After all, I was not the fabled 1969 New York Mets, lest I remind Baltimoreans of that fateful World Series.

But that’s politics and that’s the nature of the game – whether a city council candidate or a presidential candidate.

That said, with roughly 80 percent of the Jewish vote and about 90 percent of the black vote traditionally garnered by Democratic candidates, you don’t raise the white flag and hide behind “scheduling conflicts.” That weak and moronic excuse was given by GOP presidential candidates former mayor Rudy Giuliani (NY), Sen. John McCain (AZ), former Gov. Mitt Romney (MA) and former Sen. Fred Thompson (TN) for not appearing at the September 27 candidate forum at Morgan State University, one of the nation’s historic black colleges.

I knew about this event more than a month ago. No doubt the campaign schedulers for the aforementioned candidates knew and could have made the necessary arrangements to be in Baltimore. And if the schedulers were unaware, they should be replaced immediately. Each of the four AWOL candidates participated in fund-raising junkets. As anyone who breathes knows, dollars translate into candidate viability, but skipping the Morgan State debate could prove more costly.

Looking at the majority black audience, and from the applause, a fair number of whom were Republicans, they seemed rightfully insulted that the four frontrunners shunned them. Their absence was much akin to the ill-fated remarks made by James Baker to President George Herbert Walker Bush advising him not to worry about the Jewish vote because, “they don’t vote for us anyway.” (That’s the sanitized version.)

The hundreds of voters in attendance at Morgan State took the time to give the Republican presidential candidates a chance to earn their votes. They attended with open minds and deserved the apology offered by Sen. Sam Brownback (KS). “I apologize for the candidates who aren’t here. I think it’s a disgrace that they aren’t here.”

There are myriad reasons for those in attendance and black voters nationwide to consider supporting and voting for a GOP presidential candidate in 2008. With little exception the Republicans have been outspoken, certainly more outspoken than the Democrats, on the issue of illegal immigration – thanks to Rep. Tom Tancredo (CO). Tancredo pointed out that illegal immigrants drive down wages which has a greater effect on the employment figures for blacks, who have a higher percentage of unemployment when compared to whites.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee discussed the importance of working to improve housing opportunities in black and other minority communities. Black home ownership is below 50 percent while white home ownership is above 70 percent.

This is not a new Republican goal. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Jack Kemp called for enterprise zones and campaigned on the issue of increased home ownership and personal responsibility as GOP vice presidential candidate in 1996. Kemp went on record  advising candidates, “if we’re going to be competitive with people of color, we’ve got to ask them for their vote.” (Kudos also to Rep. Duncan Hunter (CA) and Rep. Ron Paul (TX) for their participation as well.)

The Democrats were just as guilty when all of their presidential candidates balked at participating in a FOX News Channel debate. After all, if they can’t stand up to Chris Wallace, how will they stand up to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

Hiding behind the fund-raising fa├žade is disingenuous. That the debate should be held near the end of the fiscal quarter is virtually meaningless to the average voter who wants the candidates to show their faces and be heard. Didn’t the five participating candidates face the same financial “deadline?”

It is embarrassing for the GOP to duck and dodge a minority audience as well as the black and Latino members of the media on hand to discern where the candidates stand on key issues. Where 44 percent of the candidates stood on September 27 was off campus hiding behind another color – green.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA. He ran for the Baltimore City Council in 1999 and the Alexandria, VA school board in 2006.

Monday, September 17, 2007

More Morantics Ushers in 5768

More Morantics Ushers in 5768
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
September 17, 2007

I can just hear President Ronald Reagan uttering, “well, there he goes again,” in response to yet another one of US Rep. James “Jim” Moran’s anti-Semitic rants. Yes, this time, I am calling what Moran has reached into the Protocols of the Elders of Zion for, anti-Semitic. This is classic anti-Semitic rhetoric about how the Jews control the government via wealth as well as the media. If that were true, I would have a column in the Washington Jewish Week and a daily radio program, but sadly the public does not have the pleasure of my thoughts on a regular basis.

Far too often Rep. Moran has been given a pass, even from within the Jewish community excusing his remarks as “heat of the moment,” and continuously accepting his apologies. Even now, during the Days of Awe it is hard to accept the latest apology that has yet to be issued, but is no doubt soon to come. For spewing such anti-Semitic invective, Moran should excuse himself from public office and finally resign. Even a champion of constituent services such as Moran, and admittedly this Republican recognizes that, has played his last hate card and must go.

With the spate of anti-Jewish violence in the Washington, DC metropolitan area in recent weeks and months, and continued terror attacks around the globe, to have an elected member of the Congress overtly speaking this way and then getting rewarded with reelection every two years is an abomination.

We, the voters of Virginia’s eighth Congressional District have a responsibility – Democrats and Republicans alike – to return to respectability by electing a candidate who will carry him or herself with dignity and not find him or herself the butt of political cartoonists.

By the way Congressman, L’ Shana Tova to your daughter and her family.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA.

Friday, September 7, 2007

9/11, Six Years Later

“These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it NOW, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” —Thomas Paine

9/11, SIX YEARS LATER
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
September 07, 2007

I remember watching the Fox News Channel while I was getting dressed that morning in Sterling, VA getting ready to meet a deadline for the newspaper for which I worked. I remember the second tower being slammed into by terrorist hijackers, confounding and frightening a nation at large. I remember Lee Adler from my synagogue back home in Springfield, NJ. I remember my then future wife unable to reach family via telephone from her DC law office.

Thus the opening salvo to the current world war we are fighting. Unlike previous global conflicts, the United States is fighting an enemy of no national borders, no discernable uniform and no organized military forces – making this a more erratic war needing to be fought in an unconventional manner.

The United States is not in a declared war against Iraq. Iraq is, however, the current battlefield in this war on terror – a war that is being fought over civilization and freedom. Freedom to write this column, freedom to disagree with its content, freedom to worship as one wishes, freedom to not worship at all, freedom to send young girls to school, freedom to vote, or sadly, freedom to not vote.

With the under-the-radar-screen actions of Iran going unchallenged on the global stage, there is no doubt the next battlefield could be there. Being ever so vigilant is vital. Terrorists only need be accurate once, while troops and law enforcement need be accurate 100 percent of the time. The enemy is a patient one. They waited eight years to strike another blow at the World Trade Center from 1993 to 2001. As American citizens it is imperative to assist law enforcement as it ultimately benefits us all; and a demonstration of gratitude toward our brave men and women in the armed forces goes a long way.

While we cherish our freedom, it is certainly not free. Even our safety is not guaranteed. Sacrifice is necessary – be it on the battlefield by our troops or those of us at home who are simply asked to remove their shoes or headwear at an airport. We are fortunate to live in a country where it is not necessary to be surrounded by armed guards at our bus, train, metro and subway stations.

But also remember, for those who object to this war, for those who believe if the United States were not engaged in conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan or any other place where our troops are stationed that our enemies would simply leave us alone, we did not have troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran or Saudi Arabia on September 11, 2001. Those who seek to destroy the United States, Israel, democracy, Western Civilization and freedom will stop at nothing to achieve their murderous and terrorist goals.

Lee Adler was among the nearly 3000 victims of foreign terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center. Who do you recall from that hellish day that did not make it home only to have their families repeat their own hellish nightmares six years later? Who do you remember that did not return home from the Pentagon or Flight 93 that crashed into a Pennsylvania field? Their deaths should not have been in vain. Their memories should be for inspiration.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer,  educator and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

GOP the Big Tent Party; Dems Disenfranchise Jewish Voters - Twice

GOP the Big Tent Party; Dems Disenfranchise Jewish Voters – Twice
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
May 20, 2007

Demonstrating that it truly is the Big Tent Party, the Alexandria Republican City Committee has set Tuesday, May 29 as the date certain for its party canvas to select its nominee to fill the vacancy on the City Council due to the resignation by Andrew Macdonald.

The ARCC understands the importance of including all Alexandria voters, and heeded the requests of its Jewish constituency by not scheduling its party canvas on the Sabbath – Saturday, unlike the Alexandria Democratic Committee. Tuesday has been a traditional day of voting for years, and although special elections are usually held on Saturdays by both major political parties, the Alexandria GOP has made the right decision.

As for the Alexandria Democrats, they obviously continue to take their Jewish constituency for granted by scheduling its caucus for Saturday, June 9 from until With the Sabbath ending between and , that gives Jewish voters roughly 40 to 50 minutes to arrive at the Democratic polling location and cast their vote.

This will actually be the second example of the Alexandria Democrats disenfranchising Jewish voters within eight days. The initial circumstance of Jewish voter disenfranchisement will occur on the previous Sabbath – Saturday, June 2. That is the date the City Council, a unanimous seven member Democratic body, has set for a public hearing regarding the Alexandria Election Process.

The Alexandria Election Process Review Committee is holding its only public hearing on a day that would exclude numerous voters – not just Jewish, but also Seventh Day Adventists, from having their voices heard on some vital issues.

Issues such as:
            (1)  Should council and school board elections be moved from May to                               November?
            (2)  Should terms of office grow from three to four years?
            (3)  Should council and school board terms be staggered?
            (4)  Should city council be elected by district, as the school board is                       elected?
            (5)  If districts, how should they be drawn?
            (6)  Should council elections be non-partisan?
            (7)  Should council and school board compensation be increased?

These are important issues and all Alexandria voters should have equal opportunity to participate in the process.

It’s high time that Jewish voters no longer be treated like second class citizens by the Alexandria Democrats and by the City Council – a seven to zero Democratic monopoly.
For those concerned, Bernard Caton is the contact person regarding the Saturday, June 2 public hearing. He can be reached at 703-838-3828 and Bernard.Caton@alexandria.gov.

To share ones ire with the Alexandria Democrats, contact its chairperson, Susan B. Kellom at SusanBKellom@aol.com.

Let’s not sit idly by. After all, what would Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) think?

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and teacher of American History living in Alexandria, VA.