Candidates City Opinion OPINION: Is Athens ready for a socialist takeover? By Charlotte Caldwell Posted on October 24, 2019 6 min read 1 0 290 Mayoral candidate Damon Krane addressing city council. Photo by Cole Behrens Opinion editor Charlotte Caldwell, a sophomore studying journalism, argues that the socialists who are running for office have ideas that aren’t beneficial to the whole population of Athens. Please note that these views and opinions do not reflect those of The New Political. Athens has a known history of being the one island of blue in a sea of red in elections, but is the city ready for the change that would come from the influx of radical candidates that are running for office? There are a couple of issues with these challengers: First, the elected officials they are challenging are incumbents, and second, those incumbents in the City Council and mayoral positions have never been challenged. Besides the nearly impossible feat of defeating an incumbent, some of the ideas that have been presented seem outlandish in scope compared to the ideas of the incumbents they are trying to defeat. For example, disarming the police and trying to dismantle capitalism sound like topics that college students would get behind, but they could be controversial topics that the majority of the population would be against anywhere outside of the college environment. When looking at a city like Dayton, for example, where the shooter in the Oregon District was effectively taken down by police in 32 seconds, the community members came out in droves to commend the police, and politicians don’t dare mention the prospect of disarming them. This should be the same treatment that the police receive in every city so they can properly do their jobs. Mayoral candidate Damon Krane knows that college students will be the base of his voters, as evident by his decision to run as an Independent to challenge current Mayor Steve Patterson in the general election rather than the primary, allowing Ohio U students who would otherwise be home for the summer to vote. If elected, a positive that the candidates would bring is that they are all renters, so they could possibly make impactful strides on landlord and housing issues because they understand the challenges that many renters in Athens face. Currently, 100% of elected city officials are homeowners, so they don’t fully understand the problems that 72% of the local residents who are renters may face when it comes to landlords and enforcing the city’s housing code. All of the Independent candidates have expressed support for what is being called “Operation Slumlord Smackdown,” but their plans for what they will do after they accomplish this big task often gets swept under the rug. For the roughly 28% of voters who are homeowners and don’t have to deal with landlords, those topics are the ones that matter most. This was shown during the mayoral debate when Krane, the challenger, discussed his plans for “Operation Slumlord Smackdown” at length, but then spent the rest of his time criticizing the decisions that have been made since Patterson has been in office. Meanwhile, Patterson discussed his plans for the future, like the beautification of the West Side and Court Street and improving broadband internet connection. The Independents should focus on issues the whole community cares about, rather than just appealing to college students. If they focused on more general ideas that affect the majority, then the race wouldn’t be an easy win for incumbents like it is currently.