November 5, 2012

Letter to Editor: At the Polls: Go Local

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To the Editor:

Re: “And the Winner Is …,” Opinion, Nov. 5

Yesterday’s Sun articles covering the elections primarily focused on national candidates. Yet, as students, we hold direct stake in local politics. Regardless of how you feel about the presidential election, your vote, assuming it is in Ithaca, has no chance of swinging the election. However, there is at least one race today that Cornell students will decide — the race for Alderperson in the Fourth Ward.The Fourth Ward, which encompasses most of Collegetown and Cornell’s campus, has been represented solely by students for a number of years. After Graham Kerslick’s election last year and Eddie Rooker’s ’09 resignation this semester, there are currently no students on the Common Council.This lack is concerning. Having students on the Common Council suggests that our interests will be represented when the City of Ithaca acts. Though the Commons may seem far for some, the decisions made in City Hall affect everything from Collegetown business development to safety at night to the leases that landlords can offer.However, this year, someone other than a current student can best represent student’s interests. Stephen Smith, the Democratic candidate and current representative, has already shown a surprising aptitude for advocating for Cornellians. He has met with many students and recent alumni to learn what most students care about. He has set out a long-term plan to encourage development in Collegetown, which would both improve the neighborhood and drive down rental prices. In his short time on the Common Council, he has already worked with other community members to advance a bill that would give students two months from the start of the semester before they could be pressured into signing leases — an initiative that his opponent  opposes. In short, he has done exactly what Cornell students should want their representatives to do.As you go to the polls today, remember that your vote at the top of the ticket is not the (only) one that matters. Stephen Smith is a dedicated advocate for the Fourth Ward, and all of Cornell would benefit by returning him to the Council.

Alex Bores ’13