To the many Yorkers who were brave enough to stand against the political machine with both your words and your dollars, I extend my sincere thanks and my deepest apology for letting you down. I want to send special thanks to my wife, Cathrine, who poured her heart and soul into the effort; my campaign chair, Adam Beck; and my attorney, John Ogden, who presented a great defense against long odds.
Although I will not actively campaign as a write-in candidate, I strongly suggest that voters tell Kim Bracey that you believe in democracy by writing in the candidate of your choice for mayor of York on Nov. 3.
Make no mistake; I accept full responsibility for my removal from the ballot. However, the citizens of York should know that I provided 130 signatures of citizens who willingly signed their names in support of my Independent candidacy. Not one of the signatures was bogus.
The bottom line is that the Bracey campaign chose to challenge my nomination papers rather than face me in a free and clear election. Their trepidation is understandable, as her record as director of the Community Development Department of the City of York was about to be fully scrutinized.
Many people have asked me, "Why didn't you just run as a Democrat"? Why? It should be pretty clear at this point. The current two-party system in Pennsylvania is a disgrace to our forefathers, who would not recognize the system they designed here in the original York County Courthouse. The "Democratic" Party no longer believes in democracy.
The defense of my nomination papers was heard before a judge who flourishes within the two-party system and had no reason to upset the apple cart. Any appeals that I would have presented would have been heard under the same circumstances.
The Bracey campaign has gone so far as to appeal the ruling to Commonwealth Court even though the judge ruled in their favor. They are looking to overturn the rulings that were decided in my favor, trying to preserve their ability to deny future candidates the ability to run.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court case used against me, in which Commonwealth Court judicial candidate Mary Flaherty was thrown off the ballot, is a clear case of legislating from the bench. Although the Pennsylvania Election Code clearly states that "The Election Code must also be liberally construed in order to protect a candidate's right to run for office and the voter's right to elect the candidate of their choice," this landmark case from 2001 does anything but that.
For that reason, I have formally requested that state Rep. Eugene DePasquale call for hearings in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to review current case law, more specifically the Flaherty case, to establish election law that defends a candidate's right to run for office and the voter's right to elect the candidate of their choice. I do this with the full knowledge that Representative DePasquale also flourishes within the same two-party system as do his associate representatives.
History may well remember C. Kim Bracey as the first African-American mayor of the City of York, but it will also remember that she achieved the office by default and by denying the voters the right to choose. She may indeed claim victory in November, but it will be a victory without honor.
The City of York will face many challenges in the next four years. We can only hope that the next mayor has the integrity and fortitude to face those challenges rather than run from them.
Joe Musso is president of the York City Council.