The municipal election is on Nov. 6 and we are very excited. On the city council, a body we are told has little turnover, there will be at least two new faces, if not new names, from the nine council members who began their term January 2006.
One of the old faces, State Sen. Anthony D. Galluccio, D, North Cambridge, is still on the ballot, but will not serve if elected. Given that Galluccio’s organization will not be there to pull out 1,800 number ones, how many will show up anyway to pull the city council lever one last time for the Gooch? If 800 to 900 show up, the question then becomes to whom will they flow? In the past, those extras would have gone to candidates from the less progressive side. But, in the last two years, Galluccio has made his case to the city’s progressives so well he garnered the PDC-DFA nod for his state senate campaign. In the shifting sands of this political desert, Galluccio votes could very well flow to progressives.
On the school board, we there will be similar potential since there are five incumbents and four challengers running for six seats. Add to the mix that there is every chance in the world that there will be a new mayor, the seventh member of the board.
The other interesting thing about this year’s election has no buzz and no theme at the very same time North Cambridge residents are waking up to gunshots in the middle of the night and our teenagers seem to be the only ones who think our city is at war. Go figure.
This election we will only speak well of the endorsed and leave the rest unsaid. We admire everyone running for office. Not so much about that boxer-in-the-ring bit. But, because the fear of failure and rejection is heavy enough in one’s private life. To put oneself out and front to thousands of one’s fellow citizens for public scrutiny and a final thumbs up or thumbs down has got to be daunting. Certainly more daunting than the typing up endorsements.
Marjorie C. Decker is endorsed for what we expect in the next term. In the last term, we detected in her a maturation and an reasonableness that she eschewed in past. Now that she is back living in North Cambridge, we see more of her and we are convinced she will be focused on the neighborhood’s concerns. In the new term we look for her to be a leader and a coalition-maker in the lineup.
Craig A. Kelley told us at one of our contributors meetings that he does not want to lose votes 1 to 8, but he was not elected to go along to get along. In this campaign, he is working to expand his voter base to demonstrate to his colleagues that they are the ones out of touch, not him.
Gregg J. Moree offers solid solutions for real problems. The keystone of his campaign is that if our young people can make the transition to independent adulthood our city will be a better place. Moree’s answer is to press developers and trade unions operating in our city to open up jobs and apprenticeships to city residents who are not going to college. If ideas matter, this is a great idea.
Brian Murphy is a hard worker, who we see filling the void left by the Galluccio and Michael A. Sullivan. Such is his ability to get along with rest of the city council and the mandarins and courtiers of City Hall that there is buzz that Murphy will succeed current City Manager Robert W. Healy. One dream at a time. For now, Murphy for city council.
Kenneth E. Reeves, our current mayor, is a statesman whose legacy is unfairly marred by hyped up press reports and unfortunate cartoons, which were unaware of the opportunities of racism and homophobia. For the record: he broke no law or regulation. Nor did he mislead or conceal. The mayor’s term opened with promise and his program of empowerment and reform was derailed by award-winning vapors.
Sam Seidel is needed on the city council. An urban planner by training and experience, Seidel actually knows how to make the city a better place from the conceptual to the nuts and bolts. Other men with his intelligence are forgiven their lack of social grace. Luckily, Seidel is not only a gentleman, but a man unafraid to promote solutions developed by political rivals. He is a progressive who asks: Will it work?
Timothy J. Toomey Jr. is a hard-working, soft-hearted man, who personifies public servant. He is a liberal Democrat who believes government should help people who need help. Since he joined the City Council in 1989, every time his phone rings with a request for help, he get to work. We also like his plan to subsidize bicycle commuting by city employees. We also see his holding the state representative seat for east Cambridge as a positive for the city.
Larry W. Ward will bring real-world experience to the City Council. He has spent his adult life facing the challenges our schools and in youth sports. Ward has a PhD in rehabilitation counseling from Boston University, where he taught and worked as a counselor. Ward knows what he is talking about and can make informed votes in the City Council, not postured votes.
Alfred B. Fantini has been on the school committee for 25 years. In the years of confusion, he was a voice of reason. Now that the school system seems to have righted itself, he continues to show that way. We especially welcome his understanding of labor issues, since our students are the hostages of a unionized workforce.
Joseph G. Grassi is another voice of reason on the school board. As others on the board joined the city’s educational establishment battling tooth and nail against the MCAS, Grassi warned that the children would be the losers. Now as the city’s system and students play catch-up, we trust Grassi to stand up for the students when their needs compete with the political agendas of their teachers and administrators.
Richard Harding made an interesting point when he spoke at one of our contributors meetings about the $23,000 per student the city spends. Harding said too much money is spent on administration, but a lot of the money is spent on programs and the shuttles to and from those programs other systems do not have. We are ok with this thinking because it means we provide the arts and sports vital to rounded out academics.
Marc C. McGovern lost his bid for a second term in 2005. Two years in the wilderness helped him. We do not agree with McGovern all the time, but we trust him all of the time. We are convinced given a second bite from the apple, McGovern will bring thoughtful and civil challenge to a public school system that needs it bad.
Patricia M. Nolan is a progressive, who expresses outrage at the crazy money we spend for mediocre results at the school department. Nolan is vocal about our school’s choice gaps, achievement gaps and parent satisfaction gaps. Her support of charter schools is rooted in the belief rich children should not be only ones able to escape.