Letter to the editor: Michael Hurley

Slate thoughts looking at the Belfast Council candidate slate

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 3:15pm

Looking at the Belfast City Council slate of Jim, Ellie, and Joanne I had a few thoughts. Their three perspectives are remarkably similar. Because they walk the same narrow paths and speak to the same people who agree with them they don’t know the same things. They are in a shiny green bubble where the idea of killing the salmon farm proposal and replacing it with playgrounds, tiny houses, and  a new found civility may sound good to a few friends but take that idea out of their self-imposed bubble and the idea deflates and goes limp.

Joanne moved in next to our only airport, and like a city dweller who moves next to a smelly dairy farm, wants it to go away. Ellie, living on the Perkins road calls it the “last pristine place in Belfast”, which is true if you don’t notice Mathews Brothers, the largest factory in Belfast, two tenths of a mile up the road, and you can conveniently forget that Belfast is actually wonderfully full of beautiful and pristine areas and roads and land.

Take a ride on the Kaler Road, Tufts Road, Jesse Robbins Road, Marsh Road, or East Waldo Road to name a few.

And Jim is the real thing. His book is called Radical Simplicity and he’s not kidding about either of those two words. 

Often, the Belfast City Council will hear from people with an idea: ‘We have been collecting signatures at the Belfast Food Co-op,’ they tell us.

I’m co-op member No. 75 and this city loves the co-op but if you tell us you’ve also worked the parking lot at Belfast Variety and BV 52, Wentworth’s Qwik-Stop, a Lions football game, Family Dollar, an auto parts place or two, that’s when we know you’ve really been talking to everyone and hearing from everyone in Belfast. And not just from those who agree with you. 

Belfast has had a lot of “slates” run over the years. They are always mad about something and usually against it.

“Slates”…. even ones with two out of three who didn’t notice it was pretty easy to get their name on the ballot (it takes all of 25 signatures) have never done well. 

The reason “slates” don’t do well is they are usually vocal minorities who think everyone agrees with them on one issue and come Election Day they find out the truth. People have been paying attention, they don’t all agree with the “slate” in the bubble, and they don’t like one issue “slates” as a rule.  

At one of the many hearings people called for a referendum. In about 30 days we’ll have one. Individuals running on their own with great records of being decent, thoughtful, hardworking public servants who have served Belfast well are up against a single interest “slate” in a bubble.  Send the slate a message.

Mike Hurley sits on the Belfast City Council and lives in Belfast