Voters can make a difference

Out of 31,617 eligible voters and 28,475 registered voters, it took only 3,746 votes to win the Democratic nomination for mayor of Warren in the last election. No Republicans or independents filed. That means if they really wanted to, a small group of people could embark on a tidal wave of meaningful change in the city.

Few doubt meaningful change is overdue. Population continues a rapid slide. Plans are in place to continue reducing the housing stock while no meaningful measures exist to salvage existing homes and infill empty lots.

Gun battles that spill onto the streets occur too frequently and the police chief is chosen by a test of current city officers; no candidate from outside of Warren can be considered.

The city-owned golf course is vacant, the Packard Music Hall continues losing hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, taxpayers are losing money on a city-owned parking deck and the fire department is about to lose dozens of firefighters.

Despite all that, in the upcoming election primary, out of 11 City Council races only three are contested. Council members Helen Rucker, Daniel J. Sferra, James T. Valesky Jr., Alford L. Novak, John Brown Jr., Greg Bartholomew, Vincent S. Flask and Eddie L. Colbert are running for re-election unopposed.

The apathy is pathetic.

Here’s how easy it would be to make a change.

In the 2011 mayoral primary, 6,559 people voted. That’s not even 21 percent of the eligible voters and barely 23 percent of the registered voters. Doug Franklin won the mayor’s race with 3,746 votes, less than 12 percent of the eligible voters and just a tad more than 13 percent of the registered voters.

Quite a mandate, huh?

A big change, such as a charter form of government, might require convincing just a little more than 13 percent of the registered voters. They’re just waiting for a leader to emerge.