Pre-Election Jitters – Nov 7, 2011 Cambridge City Council meeting
The last thing on the minds of city councillors at this meeting will be the business of the meeting. On the eve of the biennial municipal election, the attention of everyone will be on Tuesday’s election. The agenda is light, and historically these pre-election meetings can break records for brevity.
The only noteworthy items are a few zoning-related matters that could be passed to a Second Reading, though it’s possible that the Bishop Petition (Unfinished Business #12) could again spark a few election-charged rhetorical brushfires. The other zoning matters are the deRham Petition (Unfinished Business #13), the Runkel Petition (Unfinished Business #14), the Bagedonow Petition (Order #3 and Committee Report #2), and the highly profitable Chestnut Hill Realty Petition (the proponents of which have contributed heavily to the campaigns of several city councillors).
This past week has been an interesting one in the political life of the city. Not since the darkest days of the Rent Control Wars have we seen such vitriol – perhaps the worst of which has come from the pseudo-press. I don’t know what kind of psychosis it is that drives fact-challenged bloggers with short perspectives to want to tell voters how to vote – even to the point of referring to several incumbents as "disgusting". A lot of bridges were burned this week.
My advice to voters is simple – ignore all endorsements, ignore the advice of pundits (including me), and spend a few hours learning about the candidates [http://vote.rwinters.com]. Above all, do your homework, and that includes evaluating any propaganda that’s been circulating from Hilliard Street, the pseudo-press, and people with hidden and not-so-hidden agendas. Then cast informed votes. In the Cambridge elections you can vote for as many candidates as you wish (for both City Council and School Committee). I generally advise people to first decide which candidates you like enough to list on your ballot, and then decide how to rank them – #1 to your favorite, then #2, etc. You do not have to rank all candidates, but it is best to rank more than a few. Above all, vote sincerely.
After the polls close on Tuesday, the preliminary PR Election Count will commence at the Senior Center across the street from City Hall. This year (if all the equipment works) CCTV will be broadcasting from The Count starting around 8:30pm. The program will be hosted by former School Committee member Susana Segat and Robert Winters (that’s me). Our hope is to have many of the candidates and other guests appear on camera to share their thoughts. There will be a followup program on Wednesday as the remaining ballots are tabulated and the final (unofficial) results are announced.
Unless the election is extremely close, it is likely that the preliminary winners announced on Tuesday night will be the same as those announced on Wednesday. Officially, the final results will not be determined until Friday, Nov 18 when potentially a handful of additional overseas absentee ballots are included, but there is very little chance that this will alter the results. – Robert Winters