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A Stranded Council District

May 02, 1999

Something unprecedented is unfolding in a City Council district that might otherwise have been abandoned because of the unspoken rules of incumbency. It's a development that sends a particular message. Four current members of the council and one former member have joined in opposing the reelection of Nate Holden in the 10th District. Two of them, Mark Ridley-Thomas and Rita Walters, will work the district for Holden's runoff opponent, Madison T. Shockley.

Along with Ridley-Thomas and Walters, colleagues Mike Feuer and Jackie Goldberg announced their support for Shockley. Even former Councilman Marvin Braude chimed in against Holden.

How 10th District voters will respond is anyone's guess. The motivations here obviously run deeper than simple philosophical differences. Usually, even when council members don't like a colleague, they remain silent during a reelection campaign. The fact that in this case council members are stepping forward points to deep animosity toward Holden from a variety of quarters.

It's bad news for his constituents that Holden has no respect among so many council members. And it's safe to suggest that some of the others on the 15-member council feel the same way as the four who have gone on the record. Holden needs seven votes in addition to his own in order to accomplish anything in the next four years. With his relations with his colleagues at an ebb, it's going to be tough to get the support he needs. Who loses? The constituents of the 10th District.

In contrast, Shockley understands that success lies in uniting the diverse 10th District community and that it depends on being able to work effectively with others on the City Council.

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