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Messy, flawed process filled City Council vacancy [Letter]

Eric Costello, nominated for the City Council, is pictured in the Leadenhall neighborhood which he thinks needs improvement.
Eric Costello, nominated for the City Council, is pictured in the Leadenhall neighborhood which he thinks needs improvement. (Algerina Perna, Baltimore Sun)

As expected, the Baltimore City Council has held its collective nose and rubber-stamped the committee recommendation to give Eric Costello the 11th District councilmanic seat vacated by Bill Cole ("City Council unanimously backs Costello, criticizes process," Oct. 6).

This despite the recognized shortcomings of the process. Old habits die hard. We can only wonder why the people of the 11th District are forced to rely so heavily on a decision by others who won't have to live with the consequences.

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It is time for the council to do a little honest work and produce what the military calls an "after action" or "lessons learned" report. I believe they will find that the selection process was an affront to the principles of democracy and that its flawed execution compromised the interests of everyone in 11th District, including the person selected.

In a democracy, authority flows from the people, is based upon their consent and has all eligible citizens participating equally. In this case, however, the voice of the people was muffled by business interests from outside the district that otherwise would not have been eligible to vote.

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The process for questioning of the candidates to determine "the winner" closely emulated that used by the Miss America Pageant, with softball questions, no interaction between the committee and the candidates and very little of substance revealed. I was waiting to see if any of the candidates would somehow work in "world peace" as a goal. The process was basically worthless.

The chosen candidate received an exceptional number of constituent comments regarding his unsuitability for the job. But the selection process did not even allow the issue to be raised. As a result, for the next 17 months Mr. Costello will be perceived by many as a person who cannot be trusted to balance the needs of the community against the demands of well-heeled, politically connected business interests, and all his decisions and votes will be suspect.

H. Valeri, Baltiimore

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To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

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