Fred Carroll just may be the most accessible candidate for political office in Middletown these days. It's easy to find him in Klekolo World Coffee on Court Street, and he's usually ready for conversation. He is known for his cartoons, his advocacy of homelessness, and his loathing of litter. He created and for three years championed a program called Bums With Brooms, which he recently publicly announced his retirement from, for reasons he explains in this Patch article.
Fred has moved onto new endeavors, most notably running for a seat on the City of Middletown's Common Council with the Realistic Balance Party. He explained to me that “we have no budget and I won't be soliciting nor even accepting any campaign contributions, so I have to access all the free media possible if I want to have any chance of getting elected.” I asked Fred a few questions about his candidacy:
KS: Until recently, many people may not have even heard of the Realistic Balance Party. That combined with the fact that you don't look anything like a politician has me asking, do you honestly think that you have a “realistic” chance of getting elected, or is this just yet another, what's it called? “Issue Campaign”?
FC: No, I do not honestly think that I will get elected to the Common Council, but bear in mind that “long shots” do happen, both in sports and in politics. And as far as this being an “issue campaign”, I'd be nothing but flattered to have what I'm doing called an issue campaign as opposed to merely a vanity campaign.
KS: Speaking of vanity, are those women's pants you're wearing?
FC: Good eye Swartz, yes they are.
KS: What's up with that?
FC: To get the fit I like I have to get my pants from the women's department.
KS: Are you wearing any other articles of women's clothing besides pants?
FC: Nope, just the pants.
KS: On a more serious note, what are your campaign issues?
FC: Well, I'm arguably at least half an expert on what I call urban homelessness. And I think that I have some good ideas about how to deal with the indigents, transients, and idiots.
KS: You have a plan for dealing with, as you call them, idiots?
FC: I don't necessarily have a plan for anything. What I do have are some ideas, which I am certain might be valuable. I have a lot to say about any number of issues, and I will not be afraid to bring my ideas to the Council. Isn't this interview just for introductory purposes and not necessarily for spelling out all the details?
KS: No, I think that voters would like some details, but we can leave those for a later time if you prefer. So barring going into the details, let's get right to the point. Why should any Eye reader vote for you or even take your candidacy seriously?
FC: Well, during the time I've been in Middletown, which is some part of ten years now, I've always had people suggesting that I run for office. They would say things like, “Why don't you run for Mayor, Fred?” And I would always say “Because I'm an idiot, and you wouldn't want me as Mayor.” But people kept saying it, so...
KS: Then why are you running for Council and not Mayor?
FC: Well, we want to be at least slightly “realistic” here. And also I mad support the current Mayor Sebastian Giuliano.
KS: When you say 'mad' you mean 'very much', correct?
FC: You got it Swartz.
KS: My final question is, do you have a campaign slogan?
FC: Yes I do. My campaign slogan is “I'm too dumb to do any serious stealing.”
KS: Well, good luck with all that.