Friday, October 24, 2008

An Endorsement by Chayyei Sarah

Ha! I bet you thought this would be an endorsement for Obama. Well, you were wrong.

I'm posting today to endorse an independent ticket called Hitorerut Yerushalmim (loosely: Wake Up Jerusalemites), who are running for the Jerusalem City Council (not mayor) in the upcoming municipal elections on November 11.

Please note: One may cast a vote for the mayor of one's choice AND vote for HY for City Council. It is two separate ballots.

HY (on the ballots, they are listed as such - heh yud) is a group of independent residents of Jerusalem -- both native Israelis and immigrants from around the world -- who have between them varied histories in city politics, business, environmental lobbyism, and law. I know two of them personally: Rachel Azaria used to be the Executive Director of Mavoi Satum, which provides legal and social counsel to women whose husbands refuse to give them a Jewish divorce (and before that she did environmental work); and Jean-Marc Lilling, a French immigrant who works as a lawyer at the Justice Ministry. In both cases I gladly vouch for their integrity, intelligence, and sincere care for the city and its people. These are not folks who play politics or take bribes. They are young, sincere, and very, very smart.

For me, the important thing in this municipal race is not how charedi or not-charedi the city will be, which is what most candidates are focusing on. What I, Sarah, care about is the fact that are not enough jobs for all the young people who want to live here, and that housing prices are so high -- and rising so rapidly -- that families cannot afford to stay here. The rate of apartments being bought by foreigners and staying empty is alarming to me, as is the seeming lack of long-term economic plans. I also care about cleaning the air, cleaning the litter, and improving public education. And I'd like the upcoming light-rail system to be expanded so that it serves more areas.

Here is my (incomplete) translation of the little brochure they were handing out yesterday on Emek Refaim Street. Notice that there is nothing here about religion. It's just about improving quality of life in the city for anyone who happens to live here. Will they have to play politics? Of course. But at least with them we'd be starting with a responsible, truly caring slate of representatives.

On 11/11 a new generation is taking responsibility


We take responsibility for reasonable housing prices: The Hitorerut Yerushalmim list will advance [something I don't understand about residences] and fight against the phenomenon of ghost-like apartments

We take responsibility for industry in the city: The Hitorerut Yerushalmim list will [verb] the activities of small businesses, high-tech factories, [something else] and the arts

We take responsibility for quality education: The Hitorerut Yerushalmim list will increase the budgets for state and state-religious schools and kindergartens.

We take responsibility for improved public transportation: The Hitorerut Yerushalmim list will advance a public transportation infrastructure that integrates buses, service taxis and the light rail.

We take responsibility for enlivened and compelling culture: The Hitorerut Yerushalmim list will work to increase the municipal care for culture centers in Jerusalem and to awaken local creativity.

On 11/11 put one ballot for mayor and a second for Hitorerut Yerushalmim.
Hitorerut Yerushalmim for City Council

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