Thursday, August 25, 2011

Too Dumb To Steal

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.
FC: Thanks.


John Hall said...

Karen and Fred,
This is a very entertaining interview, but knowing both of you I'm not surprised. I'd like to know what Dr. Freddy's issues are, but I confess I do worry about what a vote for Dr. Freddy might mean, in terms of which other candidates might lose votes as a result. Remember what a vote for Ralph Nader meant in 2000? We got GWB. Still, Dr. Freddy Carroll is a sharp Middletown gadfly. I'm glad you (Karen)noticed the women's pants and asked about any other women's garments Fred might be wearing. That's bold and funny journalism on your part. I'm sure you weren't thinking that women's underwear would undermine or be relevant to his candidacy, though, right?

Ed McKeon said...

Sorry John, just got to address that old canard. Bush stole the election. Gore conceded at Lieberman's urging. Nader did not lose the election for Gore. The votes for Nader were righteous and courageous. He is a great American and more voters should have understood that he might have saved us from war hawks, Dick Cheney, a stacked Supreme Court and greedy corporations. The problem with America is the hidebound two-party system, and not third-party candidates. Let every candidate win on his or her own merits, and the more the merrier as far as I'm concerned. Go Fred.

Karen Swartz said...

Things would also be very different if a more people would exercise the right to vote. Low voter turnout actually skews election results a whole lot more than long shot candidates in my opinion.

Ridge Road Resident said...

Ed, Thank you for correcting the point about Ralph Nader; Ralph would be proud of the Middletown Eye and its coverage of local issues!

Anne-Marie Cannata said...

I've known Fred since 2005 when he worked for me on the Good Food Cart on Court Street. He is more trustworthy than most and he has a keen sense of what's right. He's not afraid to call it like he sees it, no matter what people may say; which is a rarity these days. Fred's quite intelligent and if given the facts, I believe he would make honest and forthright decisions. After seeing how interested he is in local politics, closely watching meetings on TV whenever he can, I think Fred is a viable candidate and should be given serious consideration. I do think we should clean up our City, and he's got some interesting ideas on that. I also think Middletown politics could use some new blood! Or are we going to get stuck on how a person looks? Let's hear more of what he has to say ...

John Hall said...

Yeah, Fred. Let's hear something from you now.
As for 3rd party candidates dismissing the risks or 3rd party candidacies, I'll stick with the premise that if Ralph Nader had not been on the Florida ballot, Gore would have won in that state by a significant margin and would have become president. But now back to Middletown. 3rd party candidates play an important role and the elephants and donkeys shouldn't have a monopoly. Doesn't our City Charter have something in it about elephants and donkeys splitting up the representation on Common Council? Or does the charter just say that one party can only hold so many seats, and the rest have to be divided among other parties? What happens if a 3rd party candidate is elected? Can someone answer this question? Maybe Fred can respond to this.

David Bauer said...

Middletown is guided by CT State Statute Title 9, Chapter 146, Section 9-167a. It is written in the usual dense legalese meant to keep lawyers employed up in Hartford. There is a table that does provide the maximum #'s that can be from one Party.

The City's Charter adheres to these rules for all City elected offices except where we override 9-167a for the P&Z, mandating a "5" maximum, instead of the "6" the Statute would allow.

One need look no further than the Hartford City Council to see this rule employed for third parties.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't holding a seat a the council imply that you are actually a resident not wherever you are.aa