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Letter: Caucus Criticisms Unfounded

The fact that the Arlington Democrats’ process for endorsing School Board candidates is such a source of controversy [“Caucus vs. Them,” May 13, 2008] continues to amaze me. Some people apparently do not understand that the Democrats’ School Board caucus does not actually elect anybody to the School Board. The caucus is simply a process by which a civic organization (in this case, a political party) chooses which candidates it will endorse.

Moreover, the Democrats’ endorsement process is the epitome of democracy. Would the critics of the caucus process be happier if party leaders met secretly in a smoke-filled back room to decide whom the party would endorse?

Complaints by Mr. Antonelli and others about the caucus pledge are groundless. The purpose of the caucus is to allow the Democratic Party’s committed supporters to voice their opinion about whom the party should endorse. Should labor unions, who regularly endorse political candidates, be required to open their endorsement processes to non-union members? Should we demand that the American Medical Association, the American Bar Association and other civic organizations allow non-members to participate in their political endorsement processes? Of course not.

The Arlington Democrats are not preventing any other groups - Republicans, Greens, unions, civic associations, etc. - from also endorsing School Board candidates, using whatever procedure those groups prefer. And we Democrats certainly would not protest if those groups wished to limit their endorsement process to their members and supporters.

Mark Habeeb

Arlington