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Disappointed with ‘Hometown Community Ticket’ in St. Helena

Disappointed with ‘Hometown Community Ticket’ in St. Helena

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It was disappointing, but not totally surprising, to see Mayor Ellsworth and Leslie Stanton launch a “Hometown Community Ticket” for Mayor and City Council member in our upcoming November election. In the recent mailing from this “ticket,” Leslie is tapped as the “trusted community member.”

The message was not lost on me as the candidate who is running for mayor against Geoff in the upcoming election.

My guess is that any relative newcomer to St. Helena, anyone who wasn’t born here or anyone who is in any way distinguishable from this “ticket” would likely find this offensive. Over the years, St. Helena residents have generously contributed their time and talents to St. Helena, along with generous donations to our many worthy nonprofits and other organizations. You don’t have to fit into the mold of the “Hometown Community Ticket” to care about and work for the good of St. Helena.

This campaign slogan, likely developed by the outside public relations firm, doesn’t sync with the St. Helena we strive to be. To imply that one particular group in town is more “trusted”, entitled and qualified to lead is not just distasteful, it is out of step with our mission to be a diverse and inclusive community. Nonetheless, the two candidates have fully embraced this “us vs. them” theme and are running on it.

But this “Hometown Community” ticket bothered me on a much deeper level, and that is the careless insensitivity of the message of exclusivity and entitlement at this particular time in our country and here in this city. In the summer of 2020, how could one be so tone deaf, particularly our Mayor?

A recent posting on Next Door drove this point home. The writer has only been in Saint Helena for a year, considers it his hometown and feels “no lesser entitlement to my influence in this town than those who trace their lineage back in this valley generations.” The Mayor’s somewhat canned response fails to grasp that his “Hometown Community Ticket,” the hallmark of his campaign, exudes its own sense of entitlement.

Mary Koberstein

St. Helena City Council Member

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