Take a look at the precinct map. For those of you who say that Annamarie Farias won because she had bigger signs and lots of money, think again. For those who say she won because she had developer cash behind her, please reconsider. Take a look at the precinct map. The light green are votes for Mark Ross. The blue are votes for Dylan Radke.
The dark green are votes for AnnaMarie Farias.
Martinez is no longer downtown Martinez. It is increasingly south of Highway 4 Martinez. Mark Ross said at the Candidate Forum in October that Martinez is actually more than two, but Mark likes to get poetic. He wound up saying that Martinez is every household.
But what Annamarie said was more enlightening, I thought. She said that there are two places called Martinez, divided by demographics. One, the south part, is made up of younger famlies who own their homes, she said. The other, downtown and environs, is made up of older people and renters.
When people tell you they want to do a better job of promoting downtown, listen to these words. This is from a city council candidate, one who believes that downtown Martinez is on life support. When Dylan Radke said that downtown is coming back, going through a revival, Farias said he must have been referring to another downtown, because that's not one she recognized. She believes downtown needs more dollars, more businesses, and though she didnt' say it, probably more housing. She and her husband built a mutli-plex condo in 2008, which is now mostly (uh-oh) for renters.
There are multi-million dollar homes throughout the downtown and nearby downtown areas of Martinez. There are, as only Mike Alford had the guts to point out at the forum, more rental properties south of Highway Four than in downtown. The north is older, and needs more attention in terms of infastructure, but it also needs leaders who have a little respect for its charm and its well-being. One gets the sense that Farias has little enough of that.
I met her on Main Street yesterday. She's a very nice person. She is willing to serve on the council, and as such deserves our appreciation and gratitude. And she certainly deserves a chance to show what she is willing to do for the city.
But again, look at that precinct map. She won the election not by raising more money. Radke raised more than she did. She won by going to people in the southern part of the city, those who never, ever come downtown. The same way Lara DeLaney has won election twice. By knocking on doors of those who don't like downtown, who feel it is populated by older people and renters. As though older people and renters were somehow less worthy citizens than younger homeowners.
As an older renter who lives downtown, I have to disagree.
I wish Farias the best, and I hope that she finds it in her heart somehow to see the entire city, the one she was born and raised in, as worthy of respect and attention.