Don’t Blame Me, I Voted for the Ethiopian

After the election, I’d read some grousing about how Michael Gaffney won the election based on Tea Party support, or that Tea Party Republicans got their people to bullet-vote.  (But, inexplicably, did not have their people bullet-vote Donna Colorio.)

Now, you can like Gaffney’s politics or disagree with them, but a candidate does not get more than 5,000 votes (out of 15,000 ballots cast) solely because the Tea Party told their people to bullet vote.

I  did not vote for Gaffney for a variety of reasons, but I cannot deny that he worked really hard to get himself elected, and I certainly don’t begrudge him the win.

Look at the man’s Twitter account — it’s a testament to months upon months of pure shoe leather.

And, frankly, that’s how Donna Colorio won last election.  I can’t tell you how many people I know who met her through door-knocking and really liked her and voted for her.

I’m not a Democrat, and I’m not a Republican.  I have never disguised my dislike for the Tea Party and Activate Worcester (though I do love their WCCA show).

Despite the best intentions of our forefathers, who made city elections non-partisan, municipal elections are always touched by political parties, various operatives, and “grassroots” organizations.

Because I’m not associated with any of these organizations, I tend to look at them all in the same way.  I really don’t care if Neighbor to Neighbor or Activate Worcester is getting out the vote, as long as they’re not bothering people in a polling place.

What really bothered me in this election, though, were the Democratic City Committee’s anti-Gaffney screeds (1, 2).

Is Michael Gaffney a member of (or otherwise associated with) Activate Worcester?  Probably, and it seems he misled or misspoke when he appeared on 508.  Feel free to call him out for that.

But it’s only fair to say that he has out-of-state supporters if you also acknowledge that Joe Petty, and others, receive hundreds if not thousands of dollars from people who live outside of Worcester (and even outside Worcester County).  (We won’t even get into how Petty has received $1,500 total from Barry, Janet, and Kathryn Krock this year alone.)

Perhaps the Democratic City Committee could explain how sending out get-out-the-vote information for Joe Petty constitutes a non-partisan election.

The reason Michael Gaffney won was not because of some vast, right-wing conspiracy.  It was because he ran a good campaign, and because voters liked him on a personal level.

If I had just moved to Worcester and was trying to figure out who the Democrats are on the Council, it would be difficult to figure it out.

We’ve got Bill Eddy, who bragged about blocking a temporary homeless shelter.

We’ve got Rick Rushton, who spread a rumor that panhandlers were being dropped off by vans into the city.

We’ve got Joe Petty, who was hoping a slots parlor — a type of gambling that particularly preys on the poor — could have been sited in a vulnerable neighborhood.

We’ve got Kate Toomey, who bragged in her campaign literature about her willingness to fight the EPA’s clean water mandates for the Blackstone River.

Rather than wondering why Gaffney was elected, we should be wondering why Worcester’s Democrats can’t find any real progressives and keep pushing folks who do not consistently advocate for progressive values.

I’m interested in hearing an argument for why Gaffney will be worse on issues about poverty and the environment than the existing elected officials.

I’m also accepting condolences for the loss of my former favorite city councilor, Mike Germain.

Sure, he was probably the only candidate in Worcester history who would have pushed himself out of office by making the City Council smaller.  He even came thisclose to admitting his involvement in the JFK assassination.

In fact, he already predicted his political demise two years ago:

“I’m always the guy who comes in sixth place. This is political suicide for me. Which means next year I’m coming in seventh.”

Mike, I think I speak for the entire city when I say we will miss the city manager evaluations you handwrote on the back of a napkin on your flight up from Florida, your witty self-deprecating comments, your ability to compare everything to hockey, and your dashing good looks.

Since your political signs only have your name (but not the office you’re running for), and you’ve moved to Columbus Park, you’ve all but announced you’ll run for John Binienda’s state rep seat.

See you soon!