Who to vote for - and against!
There's a preliminary election in Springfield on Tuesday for the sole purpose of eliminating two contenders from the field for City Council. There will be no primary for Mayor or School Committee.
The two candidates thought to be most likely to be eliminated are Morris Jones, a former City Councilor who got caught up in the Asselin scandal and Lorenzo Gaines, a newcomer whose campaign has been so low-key he's almost invisible.
The real significance of the primary however is not who gets knocked out, but who gets fresh momentum going into the home stretch. Whoever finishes in the first nine will get a major boost, since it is the first nine finishers who will be elected in November under Springfield's at large system.
However, finishing in the top nine in the primary does not insure a November win. Turnout is often twice or even three times as high in November, and those new voters are under no obligation to follow the lead of the primary electorate. For example in 2003 one of Charlie Ryan's sons finished in the top nine in the primary, only to be shoved into the loser column by Kateri Walsh in November.
The primary election tends to be dominated by the political machines and the die hard activists who always come out to vote no matter what, an electorate usually heavily favoring the incumbents. All but eight of the current nine are running again, and given the conservative nature of the primary electorate, if any of them do not make the top nine then consider that incumbent in grave danger. So fearful were the incumbents of a poor primary performance that eight of the nine (minus Kateri Walsh) tried to abolish the primary altogether and were frustrated only by the refusal of State Senator Stephen Buoniconti to play along with their scam.
I always urge people to vote their hearts and minds and never allow anyone else to tell them how to vote. However, in case you're curious, if I were a Springfield resident with my main focus on starting Springfield down a fresh path, these are the candidates I would vote for.
Karen Powell - Her legacy as a political reformer is unmatched in Springfield politics. Yet she's no tilter at windmills, when Powell fights for something she usually wins, as former Mayor Mike Albano can testify.
Bruce Stebbens - All agree that Stebbens has brought a new level of professionalism to the council and since he's only in his first term, unlike most of his colleagues he has no left over stench from the Albano years.
John Lysak - Stebbens also restored two-party government to the Council, but he needs reinforcement in fellow Republican Lysak. Yet John Lysak would be an outstanding candidate no matter what his party affiliation, with a solid reputation as a hard worker with common sense.
Timothy Rooke - The plainest speaker on the Council, you can always count on Rooke to be a straight shooter on a Council otherwise infamous for its slippery talkers.
Patrick Markey - Following his impressive, if all too brief performance as City Solicitor, Markey is now poised to make an even more profound contribution as a Councilor.
Charles Rucks - His reputation for unbending integrity make him an easy choice to replace any one of the remaining hacks from the Albano era.
Peter Lappin - He served admirably under Springfield's last Republican Mayor, Frank Freedman, and is now coming out of retirement to offer to serve a welcome new tour of duty.
Hamilton Wray - Voters have passed over this Vietnam vet in the past, but now have the chance to correct their error.
Gloria DeFillipo - I wish her campaign had more focus, but my Pine Point sources tell me she did a good job on the community council and I trust their judgement.
So that's who I would choose. But whoever you vote for, please make the effort to go to the polls, and this being Springfield, vote early and often.
My cousin Larry from Arizona (oldnative to you Masslivers) recently redid his kitchen. As he tells me in a e-mail:
I'm getting too old for this! I did everything but the Dome ceiling and the heavy work, like the new concrete, framing roofing and tilework. I did the demo of the old kitchen wall which much to my dismay had eleven electric wires in it that I had to relocate. I did the wiring, sheetrock finishing, insulation, texture spraying and paint, trim ventilation and a bunch of other stuff. Looks like a different house!
I'm not a remodeler by trade. Spent 28 years on the road as a freight and heavy equipment hauler. Another ten as a heavy equipment operator etc. Growing up poor has it's advantages. When you don't have the money to have someone do it, either it doesn't get done or you learn how to do it yourself. I learned.
Except for the physical limitations that I now have, I could build a house from start to finish starting with digging the cellerhole. Trouble is, by the time I learned to do all this, my body was too worn out to do it all! But Mexicans work cheap! LOL!
Congratulations Cuz, on a job well done!
Finally, here is the Jefferson Starship performing at the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, with the music interspersed with some of the winning entries.