Did the mayoral race get “serious” only after Ethan Strimling’s entry into the vast field of candidates? (“Greg Kesich: Portland mayoral race gets serious with Strimling’s entry,” July 27)

OK, Strimling has a high profile, for good or ill. And it’s hard to pay attention to a field of – what – 19? Oh – Strimling is bringing a sense of “drama” to the race, as if things won’t get dramatic enough as November rolls around and specific plans and promises of all the candidates emerge.

Right now, Strimling seems to have just one major plank in his platform: “(E)conomic development is the key to everything. Once you do that, all your other problems go away.” Really? All our problems?

I’ve been observing one candidate who has a broader approach. (Full disclosure: he lives downstairs from me.) Ralph Carmona has been walking the city, rain or (100-degree) shine, getting almost all the required nomination signatures himself and knocking on over 800 doors so far. I’ve seen him at the Wednesday farmer’s market listening to — not just talking to — people who disagreed with him. He may not win everyone over to his views, but they’ll know he listens.

With his academic background in political science, practical background in industry and political organizing, and personal background as someone who can truly bring people together, Ralph can lead already-great Portland to new heights in livability, economic development, education and national prominence.

Don’t take my word for it. Watch and listen. You’ll find that Ralph is the real deal.