Monday, May 14, 2007
The Reformer's Choice
Springfield desperately needs fresh blood on its City Council, but there seems always to be a shortage of good candidates to replace the incumbents with. Either there are not enough challengers, or what challengers there are consist of those who merely want to get in on the corrupt action themselves.
What a delight it is then to receive the announcement that legendary Springfield activist Karen Powell (above left with Springfield First Lady Joan Ryan) is running for a Council seat. Karen, the wife of prominent businessman Robert Powell, is best known for her work with the citizen action group CANE, which twice defeated needle exchange programs in Springfield and for their successful role in scuttling Mike Albano's scandal plagued baseball stadium scheme. Karen will not be the first member of her family to seek elected office. The Powell's dog Simon received hundreds of votes when he ran for mayor in 1999, a campaign I described at the time as follows:
Simon Powell, the canine companion of activists Bob and Karen Powell, agreed to work like a dog in 1999 to defeat Springfield Mayor Michael Albano, who was otherwise running unopposed. I personally attended the Simon for Mayor rally as the informal master of ceremonies, for which I arrived elegantly attired in a suit and tie usually reserved for Halloween, as we all stood in line and proudly shook the paw of the mayoral contender.
I also spoke in Simon's behalf as he barked out his campaign promises of a return to good government, an end to corruption, the liberation of the county dog pound, repealing the leash law and imposing a tax on cats. Afterwards we all enjoyed a dog's lunch, until the rally had to disperse amidst never substantiated rumors that the candidate had run off with a bitch in heat named Monica.
Amazingly Mayor Albano did respond to our rally, declaring the next morning on Bax and O'Brien that if dogs could vote they would support him over Simon in gratitude to Albano for the planned new Thomas J. O'Connor Animal Shelter.
Despite Simon's dogged campaigning, many voters felt that a canine mayor was redundant, Springfield having already gone to the dogs years ago. Although every dog has it's day, Election Day was not to be Simon's as the dog eat dog tactics of the Albano camp successfully smeared Simon as a real son of a bitch. Yet even in defeat, Simon the Mayoral Pooch was still able to garner over 600 write-in votes. Now retired from politics, Simon resides quietly in 16 Acres with the Powells, where he is known to bark happily whenever he sees Charles V. Ryan on television.
It has not yet been determined whether the now somewhat elderly Simon will be making campaign appearances or holding fundraisers on behalf of Karen. The biggest challenge Powell faces in her campaign is her tendency to be more honest than diplomatic, a virtue in an activist but a possible liability for a politician. However, Antonette Pepe is another political figure known for her frank assessments, and she has no problem getting elected to the School Committee. Certainly the current Council would benefit greatly from a straight shooter, and the no-nonsense Karen Powell definitely fits that bill.
Unfortunately, Powell is the only real reformer I know to be definitely running for Council besides candidate John Lysak. Of the incumbents, only Bruce Stebbens and Timothy Rooke can really be said to deserve re-election. That leaves plenty of room for other good government reformers to get into the political pool, and let's hope they jump right in.
On the Hadley section of the rail trail today I came across these two vandalized STOP signs. This one comes from someone political.
What power are they talking about? Surely not the electric power! I guess it's just a random statement against all authority. Hey, you can be in my revolution if I can be in yours!
The other STOP sign expressed the exact opposite sentiment.
I think few of us need a STOP sign to command us to do that.
Finally, my cousin in Arizona sent along this poster; just look at the price of the show!