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Monday, February 27, 2017

Update: Somerville Elections 2017: Who? What? Where? Why? (Mayor / Alderman Edition)

With candidates already announcing and rumors flying faster than drivers over the Lowell Street bridge, it's time to discuss the Who? What? Where? Why? for Mayor and Alderman seats, Election 2017. My information comes from late nights at Olde Magoun's, personal observations and unnamed sources.

Mayor: Word on the street is that Joe Curtatone is itching for a political opponent this year. Ready to knock some doors and spend some dough...Mayor Joe has been very open about wanting to defend his seat. The problem is that no one wants to run against him and the closest that someone is considering is 2019. The Mayor may get the summer off this year to attend fundraisers for other candidates.

Ward 1: With his St. Patrick's Day fundraiser coming up, Matthew McLaughlin is gearing up for another two years with no named opponent in sight. With other news sources noting poor meeting attendance, McLaughlin has some shaping up to do if he wants to retain his seat should someone challenge him. His weaknesses are spanning a spectrum beginning with not dressing appropriately for Board meetings observed by one At-Larger to having a more independent voice and not being so predictable with his voting. Hopefully, 2017 is the year he cuts the cord and buys a suit. Luck of the Irish to ya, Matt.

Ward 2: Maryann Heuston (and Bobby McWatters) flexed their muscles recently when it was suggested they have no appointing power to the Union Square neighborhood council leaving most of the attendees impressed with the case they both presented. Her increased email communications have some recipients wishing they were more consistent, but appreciative of the great information. At this time, no one has expressed interest in the Alderman's seat, however, don't be surprised if a local activist group convinces someone to pull papers.

JT Scott, owner of Crossfit Somerville, has softly announced his candidacy for Ward 2 Alderman. A formal announcement will be made soon according to JT.

Ward 3: Dubbed the "Constituent Alderman," Bobby McWatters has been doing quite a bit maintaining his visibility in the community. With tensions always present between him and the Ward 3 School Committee representative Lee Palmer, there will always be suspicion that she may be ready to replace her Monday night yawn fests with Thursday nights under the lights. In order for that to happen, she has to rebuild some burned bridges and reign in her condescending tone.

Ward 4: Could Tony LaFuente be throwing in the towel? The Somerville Times reported that he is not running this year citing personal reasons, but no confirmation has been published on his social media or website. Before the breaking news was leaked, Jesse Clingan threw his hat into the ring and is holding his first fundraiser this weekend. Featured as one of Scout Somerville's Top 40 Leaders, Jesse has been spending his time bringing awareness to the understanding of addiction and the conviction of Deanna Cremin's murderer(s). It will be interesting to hear his plans for Ward 4.

Ward 5: Mark Neidergang continues the streak of candidates filling up their bank accounts with March fundraisers, but it may be time wasted as, despite rumors, no one has stepped forward with plans to add their name on the ballot. He has gold in his hands with the development of his working neighborhood plan, but needs to put pressure on the administration to get some of the ideas implemented.

Ward 6: My apologies to Alderman Lance Davis, but I have heard very little positive feedback regarding his role as Ward 6 Alderman. I also spent a solid 30 minutes explaining why I wasn't interested in moving to run against him to a prominent Ward 6 resident who even offered to find me housing and host fundraisers. With interesting new tenants such as BFresh and a couple of marijuana dispensaries coming in on the heels of such major departures as Johnny D's and not so shocking departures like former Alderman Rebekah Gewirtz (I heard Newton is so pretty this time of year), Lance seems to be more of a meeting reminder than a stance-taker. Only time will tell if this Davis Square streetscape adjustment might shake him up enough to get the momentum going.

Ward 7: With Bob Trane enjoying retirement life, Katjana Ballantyne can rest easy knowing the rumors that the return of the Traniac are just that - rumors. No word from Camp Capuano, either. Katjana might be better off using her campaign skills to see if she can actually become President of the Board of Alderman in 2018.

At Large: Facebook can be the first indicator when a candidate is ready to run, but could it also be the reporter of a long-time member being ready to step down? A name change to his Alderman page got some constituents talking about Jack Connolly recently. After major surgery, could the man who found his political second wind after being defeated as a ward Alderman over a decade ago be ready to cross the finish line?

Bill White will die in the Aldermanic Chambers before he ever considers not running which is convenient because I heard he wants his wake to be held there.

Mary Jo Rossetti will be holding a rally to launch her re-election bid this month at Orleans. Mary Jo has consistent communication with her listserv...something other Alderman may want to start mirroring.

Dennis Sullivan rolled through the City with his mobile hours and is always the darling of our Senior community, but persistent rumblings that he wants a change of pace have always followed him. Dennis?

Things seem pretty good with the At-largers, but they have two little problems right now in the form of Stephanie Hirsch and Will Mbah - both of which have announced - with Stephanie already executing canvassing efforts and setting up house parties. Will Mbah wants to shed light on economic development and affordable housing according to his recent introduction written by Bill Shelton. These are two very likable and viable candidates that should not be ruled out this campaign season.


Anonymous said...

What does an At-Larger do, and how do they compare to the Ward aldermen?

Anonymous said...

There is no difference between an At-Large and a Ward Alderman. The At-Large are there for instances when a Ward Alderman has to recuse themselves.

Anonymous said...

Gewirtz swoops in, shits on people's lives and leaves. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anybody on the board currently has the capacity to challenge the mayor. Niedergang would love to, but nobody really likes him. He has been in too long and knows the ropes way too well, that's why the only mayor to be defeated in reelection was Gay who had only served one term. I think Curtatone keeps waiting for the Congressional seat to open up, but then he'll be exposed for the fluff he is.

McLaughlin will be fine in 1. He's a constituent services champ and that's what will really matter. Nobody is looking to him for sage wisdom, they're looking to him to fix potholes and support affordable housing and work for his neighborhood against overdevelopment. In those areas, he's been great.

Heuston will be fine. She's active with community meetings and developments in her ward. Has anybody ever heard of this Crossfit guy or is he just looking for something to do?

Lee Palmer could part the Red Sea with her attitude and division. McWatters is great at attending to his ward, and the mayor won't let him lose.

I thought LaFuente was moving? Didn't he put his house on the market again for like the 15th time? Isn't it an open secret that his machinations to be mayor fizzled so he's moving back to the suburbs? I don't know Clingan but if he goes to even one neighborhood meeting he'll be better than his predecessor.

Neidergang is unlikeable and smarmy. People don't trust him. He will stay a ward alderman.

Have heard nothing positive or negative about Lance Davis. Sad because he could have had potential. Gewirtz is like Lafuente, wanted to see their name in the paper and feel important with no real interest in the city.

Ballantine has been a pretty good constituent services alderman with all of the development in her ward, but don't think she has a deep understanding of the issues. Older Capuano is probable holding out for mayor or the Congressional seat. Younger Capuano might run again if the seat is open.

White will never leave and will never run for mayor despite posturing. Rossetti is the hardest working person in city government and will win easily. Sullivan keeps talking about leaving, but who really leaves a $40k part time job unless forced? Hirsch is a shill for the mayor and won't bring any independence to the board. Mbah is a nice guy but has little babies at home, he might change his mind and want to be a dad.

If Connolly does leave, does he leave early and see if he can have someone appointed? If so, who? Capuano? Hirsch? Desmond Jr?