The Clam Email Mayoral Debate

Greetings citizens of planet Clam. Thanks for following our coverage of Gloucester’s local election “Clam the Vote 2015.” Are we sick of this? Yes, we are sick of it. So let’s take a break from the oh-so-hard math and turn to the very pleasant email debate we conducted with our two mayoral candidates, Acing Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and City Council President Paul McGeary. [NOTE: THIS IS NOT SATIRE. WE ACTUALLY DID THIS AND THEY REALLY RESPONDED.]


We sent them each a list of questions to answer. “How is this a debate? ” you ask? We happen to think answering questions by email is a good deal more in line with how leadership gets done these days than being questioned in front of a live audience. 90% of any managerial job is conducted via email. The rest is a combination of arranging the Secret Santa partners/March Madness grid and solving disputes about stolen yogurt in the company fridge.

So let’s get to it! The questions were selected by members of Team Clam and denizens of The Clam Secret Underground Lair. We left out the really weird ones (For instance: there will be no hypotheticals around which of Lovecraft’s Elder Gods they would least like to see rising out of the Harbor). And be reminded both candidates know we’re primarily a humor blog -they are both funny people- so we asked them to answer in the spirit of the Clam, which they did. Huzzah.

1. What do you most envy about the other person?

Sefatia: I’m lucky enough to have worked with Paul for years now and though we are competitors now, I’m looking forward to post-election and continuing our progress, which we both have worked tirelessly on. I’m probably most envious of his last name, as “McGeary” is a lot easier to say and write than “Sefatia Romeo-Theken Giambanco.”

Paul: Incumbency

2. Of all the things that keep you up late at night about Gloucester, which one concerns you the most?

Paul: Infrastructure. We have been playing catchup for years, but there is a lot left to do. Water and sewer still need work. Our road maintenance as currently funded can’t keep up with New England winters. Our schools are rapidly aging. We need new fire and police facilities. We could be hit with a secondary sewage treatment requirement by the EPA. How do we begin to address what could be $200 million or more in capital spending? It will take a disciplined, thoughtful approach: setting priorities and sticking to them, even when the needs of the moment seem overwhelming. This isn’t a two- or five-year program It’s 20 or 30 years’ duration, but we must begin.

Sefatia: I take inspiration from people and find quotes to keep motivated, but Pope John Paul II said: “A society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members and the most vulnerable.” It’s been my life’s work to help people, especially when they are weak and vulnerable because finding solutions and having a heart for those in need is my true joy. I worry for all, but take special care to address the concerns of our children, our seniors, our veterans and our vulnerable. While somewhat broad, vulnerable includes those that are hungry, those that are homeless, and those that are addicted – all of which need help that we can rally support for and get if we work together. I’m worried that we forget about those needing help the most when we talk about numbers and figures instead of quality of life and how to best help.
3.Please name three businesses/services you don’t currently have but you think would be great to have on Main Street.


  1. Common Crow-esque or Whole Foods type of Local Grocery Store
  2. Parking Garage / Shuttle Service / Bike Rental Service
  3. Drop-In Community Center / Pop-up Gov’t & Non-Profit Services Support (ie one month could be a cultural museum extension, another month could be voter registration, another month could volunteer food drive support, etc.)
  4. My fantasy pick is to have The Godmother’s Kitchen, but that’s not realistic (just yet).


  1. A local “Eastern Mountain Sports” or REI-type shop that would cater to locals and eco-tourism, something that we haven’t begun to capitalize on.
  2. Stores, gathering places or venues where people living downtown can run their errands, do light shopping and socialize without  having to use a car.
  3. A “TKTS”-like kiosk that would sell admissions to and promote attractions and events throughout the city in a single location.

4. Assuming we will not see a strong return of the ground-fishing industry for many years if at all, what businesses/industries really require the kinds of industrial waterside access Gloucester provides? [example- many folks cite “marine research” but lab facilities can easily be built a short distance away from the water in more modern structures for far less money].

Paul: I would hope that “blue economy” companies (marine biology, marine technology, robotics, tidal energy etc.) would be on the harbor to the extent that they need to be. Their presence on the harbor doesn’t have to be huge. What I envision is that companies will occupy only so much of the waterfront as they need for launching or retrieval of vessels and equipment or house machinery or processes that need direct access to the water. I would hope that, as those companies grow, their “back shop” operations could expand into our industrial parks, saving the harborfront for those businesses that actually need water access.

Sefatia: I’m known as a tireless advocate of the fishing industry and want to harness the potential of our waterfront with appropriate development. I don’t think there is a singular business or industry that can be the secret recipe for success; instead, I believe we have to look at case studies of how other communities empowered growth effectively. Thankfully, we have plenty to look at in close proximity including Salem, Beverly and even Boston. But I do know that my work this year on returning to various seafood expos, alliances with international fishing ambassadors and legislation earned from our state and federal leaders are sowing the seeds for a blossoming economic return. So the good news is that we have righted the ship, but we have to navigate past some murky waters of indecisiveness to charter our path toward a new frontier. I want to work with a larger crew, including tourism, arts, marine industries, restaurants, and Gloucester leaders to provide feedback to our economic specialists so that the expectations can be realistic and so that we can provide jobs that return today and in the future, too. But remember, nothing we do will succeed unless we work with the fishing industry and the fisherman are directly involved with this process, because they do actually want to innovate but they are looking for their leader and to have their input appreciated, too.

5. The combination of expensive housing stock and a tepid job market has made Gloucester a challenge for citizens of moderate income, especially younger ones looking to start families and buy homes. What can be done to address this and why should younger people in particular choose Gloucester as a place to live?

Sefatia: Gloucester has always been a great place to live, but we don’t celebrate our history and offerings enough. We need to expand awareness through dedicated outreach services, both from a consumer / citizen and business angle. People may come to see our beaches in the summer, but we have to showcase our community spirit all year long and keep them coming back for more – whether that’s theater, food, parks, festival events, or museums, we have to first take pride in our community. But to welcome our youth here, we need better commuter options, including increased train services, expanded harbor shuttle locations, and beach parking shuttle services with expanded mobile payment offerings. While we aren’t there yet, I also want more research around better Internet / Tele-Communication offerings that are more affordable and more available, too. Lastly, encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit – as seen at The Hive – or expanding educational services – like we see at Endicott College – help enable young people’s future options while investing in our community locally.

Paul: I would like to revamp our zoning ordinance to allow more clustered housing on smaller lots—particularly in-town and near public transportation, where such housing already exists. I would also like to look at allowing some single-family homes to be subdivided to create accessory apartments. This serves two purposes:

  • It ups our housing options by increasing the number of rental units.
  • It provides “empty nesters” on fixed incomes with an additional source of money that would help them stay in their homes.

In the long run, however, the real key is bringing new commercial and industrial enterprises to town. Jobs are the basis of all prosperity. Where there is work, housing will be created. Gloucester has a 400-year history as a working town. If we are to not only survive but prosper we must keep true to that heritage.

Bonus Question: Which Beatle do you most identify with and why?

Paul: Ringo. No question. I recall that once in 1964 or so he was asked what he hoped would come of his being part of the band. He said something like he hoped the Beatles thing lasted long enough that he could put enough money aside to be able to open up a beauty salon somewhere. I’m not quite sure why, but that appeals to me.


Sefatia: Oh boy, generations of Americans have battled over this subject! I feel like friendships can be lost arguing their favorite. I would typically pick Paul because he’s been relevant since his career started. Plus, I once heard Paul attempt to speak Italian and appreciated his global appeal. But, I’m going with the “dreamer” John Lennon because he inspired people to help change the world through his artistic works. I still listen to “Imagine” and think about helping all the people and living as one… it’s a brilliant motivational piece.



Thanks again and best of luck to both candidates! –Clam

It’s not about Kathryn, We Just Don’t Want A Tea Party.

Here’s the thing about our taking Ward 4 city council candidate Kathryn Goodick to task on some incorrect math she based her campaign on, doubled down on with conflicting statements, and then insisted was a “personal attack” when we asked her for clarification: there have been no personal attacks. She messed up the math, because she admitted she hadn’t been paying attention to municipal elections and goings-on until it impacted her directly. She used that bad math to knock on doors across her ward and tell a story about skyrocketing taxes that wasn’t truthful. And she doesn’t understand why that’s not okay. Real_Math

Pointing out the harmfulness of using faulty, misleading math to prop up your candidacy is not a personal attack, and won’t ever be. Calling a candidate out for something that is proven false is the entirety of politics. Full stop. If Mrs. Goodick had said “I may have misunderstood and I apologize,” we wouldn’t be where we are. But she didn’t, won’t, and has referred to us as liars and worse, despite careful calculations from local municipal tax assessors, accountants, lawyers, and more on our end. We’ve asked their camp to point out where our lies are, with factual documentation and we have received no such documentation. So we’re done there.

But it’s not about just Kathryn Goodick’s candidacy. The tax issue with her is the symptom, not the illness. 

It’s about the pervasiveness of the tea-party right wing, howling for massive change, without understanding exactly the impact of that change, and without a solid plan to deal with any of it.

Here's Ronald Reagan riding a velociraptor into battle for America. You're welcome.

Here’s Ronald Reagan riding a velociraptor into battle.

Here’s the rub that most people, who only have inclination to barely delve into our local politics, don’t necessarily understand off the bat: There’s a select group of very right wing radicals in Gloucester who have decided to run for council at the prodding of their radical friends and the local “Gloucester Citizens for Responsible Government,” some with very, very little knowledge of our city and its budget and how it runs. At least one of these folks running for council didn’t even vote in the last three municipal elections. That’s frightening to me, because no matter what ward it’s about, these things impact our future and the future of kids here.

That’s right: at least one of the folks who didn’t have the time to go to the voting booth to choose the last few rounds of elected officials now wants to be an elected official. They didn’t have time to understand their tax and water bill, but expect us to assume they’ll undoubtedly have the time to help six others run the city in their spare time. They are campaigning heavily on the positives of being outsiders, naive to the system. And while municipal elections aren’t meant to be entirely for seasoned politicians by any means, there’s a certain necessity to practicing for the test you’re going to take so you don’t flunk it when you get there. You have to understand the policies you’re voting on. 

The “idiocracy” we’ve seen on a national level with Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, and Donald Trump isn’t repeatable on a local level, nor should it be – it matches bluster and intentional, willful ignorance with a dangerous belief that cutting the budget and putting several more dollars back into the pockets of homeowners is the be-all and end-all of their candidacy.

National shenanigans like the attempted defunding Planned Parenthood don’t work in a place like this, on a local level, because we all know too many people negatively impacted by the hamfisted tax-cutting-at-all-costs policies. There is a disconnect between a politician in Washington and the constituents in his or her home state that cannot exist at a local level purely because of how communities work. So when Joe Orlando (the younger), who is running for at-large councilor, states something like:liberal or Amanda Orlando Kesterson, his sister, writes that we should arm all our teachers instead of providing universal breakfast, there isn’t a red state full of people willing to vote against their own interests to clap for it. There’s just Gloucester, a town full of hard workers who haven’t been lucky, economic downturn, and stories about making choices no one really desires to make. Both our mayoral candidates are in favor of universal healthcare, because they’re aware of how unfair life can be even to the hardest of workers.

The few candidates who seem to be propped up entirely by the local GOP (which has ideals that are far to the right of what past Republicans have stood for) have overlooked how the local government process works – showing no real knowledge of how municipal taxation is handled except they are “too high” without any sort of context, how they will handle nuanced issues such as the school budget besides “get rid of bloated administration” without any sort of context – and we could go on. But we’re tired.

The “Gloucester Citizens for Responsible Government” has, perhaps unsurprisingly, failed at providing candidates that have convinced us that they are in any way ready to be responsible in and for our government this election season.

This may come as a real shock, but we don’t like having to write these kinds of posts.  They’re depressing, we can’t swear as much, and it’s about as fun to write as eating a sleeve of saltines with no water. But, this stuff needs to be pointed out, or we risk Gloucester being run by the tea-party candidates who want to cut money out of places where it will negatively impact the services our entire community needs without these people truly understanding the repercussions down the line.

This is why we drink.


Ward 4 Math: Part III – NUMB3RS, Or The Magical, Mythical, Vanishing Seventeen Percent

So the linchpin to Kathryn Goodick’s entire city council campaign – its very reason for being — is her story that when she opened her property tax bill this past January, she was shocked to see that it had “gone up by seventeen percent.”

It was that shock that started her campaign first to fight, and now to join, City Hall.

That mythical “seventeen percent increase” was so hard a hit for her that, on February 24 she went right down to City Hall and testified at a City Council hearing that she had been forced to cancel her plans to remodel her kitchen because that, we now know imaginary, “17% tax increase” had walloped her family finances so thoroughly that she could not longer afford to remodel her twenty year old kitchen. (City Council Minutes, February 24, 2015)

But here’s the thing. That 17% tax increase? It never happened.


At least not in the past ten and a half years, which is as far as the city’s online tax records go.

When I pointed this out to her, her eventual explanation was simple: to deny she’d ever said it.

I had heard her wrong, she claimed. She never said her taxes had gone up 17% in one year, all she’d said was that they’d gone up 17% over the past few years.

Perhaps, she told me, “you misunderstood my message.”

What I said was my taxes increased 17% over the past few years” (words hers, my emphasis).

She’s reiterated this same story — if you’ll pardon my language — on Facebook this past Friday, October 23, where she posted (in part) “I never said my taxes went up 17% in one year.”

(See, Kathryn Goodick for Ward 4 Facebook Page)

Except that she did.

I heard her quite clearly. And so did the other people in the room with whom I’ve been in touch about this.

But you don’t have to believe any of us. Her line — “I was shocked to see that my taxes had gone up 17%, and I don’t know about you, but my income didn’t go up 17% to offset it” — is clearly part of the well rehearsed stump speach that she’s given a lot. She says that she’s knocked on over 1,500 doors in Ward 4 during this campaign, and I’m willing to bet she handed that same line to 1,499 of them.

She even says it here (link). Watch it for yourself if you like. The money quote (literally, the MONEY quote), is at about 2:07.

Or you can save two minutes of your life and just watch the much shorter clip below, where we’ve set everything she says on the 17% issue in her campaign video to music. It’s pretty much everything you need to know. Plus you can dance to it.

Missing you’ll note, just as it was when I heard her speak in person on October 16th, is the key qualifiying phrase, “over the past few years.”

Because, she didn’t say it.

The Truth is Not Irrelevant

At the same time as denying she ever made the 17% claim, Ms. Goodick also labored mightily to change the subject from whether she’d told us all a fairy tale to her insistence that taxes in Gloucester are too high in general.

Clearly,” she wrote to me, “if I misstated the numbers or you misunderstood my message, it is not really the issue.”

In other words: “whether the shocking story I tell at the beginning of all my stump speeches is completely made-up or not doesn’t matter.”


The truth IS the point.

Before we can all have a discussion about issues like taxes, property assessments or water and sewer bills, we need to establish some ground rules. And one of the first ones is no lying. Or misleading. Or dissembling.

That applies double when we’re choosing the people we want to run our city. Whatever their position on IC42 or Fuller, or the water debt, we first need to know that they’re people we can trust to speak the truth when they talk to us.

Eveyone is going to make mistakes. And when that happens, generally a simple apology and correction is really all you need to do. Here’s how easy hers could have been:

I made a mistake, I’m sorry that I misled you. My taxes didn’t go up nearly that much. I’ll be more careful about this kind of thing in the future, but I still think taxes in this town are too high.”

And done. It could have been that simple. Then we could have moved to a discussion about taxes.

But insisting that it doesn’t matter whether or not she misled Gloucester voters with an entirely bogus story in order to convince them to vote for her — that’s a problem.

Honesty is not irrelevant.

NEXT: She Changes Her Story Completely

Then when the sun came up the next morning, she changed her story completely. A stunning 180 degree reversal.


At 5:45 the next morning Ms. Goodick wrote to tell me (paraphrasing) “Hey, you know what? Forget all that stuff I wrote about how I didn’t say my taxes went up by 17% last year and how you misheard me. You didn’t mishear me, you heard me just fine. I should have said that my taxes DID go up by 17% last year.”

That 17% claim that I’d heard her say in person, that she then insisted she hadn’t said at all, had now reappeared. Magic!

Here’s what she actually wrote to me that morning:

[One] more fact for you.  My quarterly property bill for 2014 in August 2014 was $1,460.80 compared to my tax bill due on February 2015 was $1,712.93.  . . .

Let me help you with the math:  it is a difference of $252.13…or 17%!!!

She posted this same nonsense on her campaign’s Facebook page on Friday, October 23rd (but without the offer to help with the math).

. . . the fact is that my numbers substantiate that comparing two quarters in two separate years my taxes indeed went up 17%. Seriously look at what you are quivering [sic] over?!?


At best, either she never said that her taxes went up 17% in one year, OR she did say that and she was right to say it. It can’t be both.

Here actually however, it’s neither. She did say it and she was wrong when she said it.

Failing to Understand How Gloucester Taxes Work


So that brings us to where this mystical 17% number came from in the first place, and it’s pretty clear. She just didn’t plain understand her tax bill. Or how property taxes bills work in general.

Now in 2015 the only, repeat ONLY, reason all of our property tax bills spiked was the city’s decision to shift the cost of our sewer improvement project off of our water bills and onto our property tax bills. A dubious proposition if you ask me, but pretty much everyone in town knew about it.

That shift onto our property tax bills was put into the first two quarters of the year instead of being spread out evenly over all four quarters. Which is pretty much how it works in Massachusetts.

So her February 2015 bill was indeed 17% higher than her August 2014 bill. But then her final two quarterly tax bills of 2015 had a 0% increase, so in the end her actual property tax increase for the year was 8.6%.

Which is exactly what we’ve been saying all along.

But not what she’s been saying on the campaign trail.

What happened was: she didn’t understand her bill, and then she based her whole campaign on that misunderstanding.

There are a lot of ways to dissect this in more detail, but Jim Dowd of this very Gloucester Clam you are reading right now captured it best in the email he shot me after he first saw Ms. Goodick’s explanation for her “17% shock.”

I bought 14 gallons of gas last night on my drive home from the client meeting at $1.99/gallon (Beverly exit 19, motherfuckers!!!). It cost me $27.86. Holy shit, last week I bought 7 gallons at a total cost of $13.93! I’ve suffered a 50% increase in my gas bill!!!


That about sizes it up.

The “Evidence” — A Single, Incomprehensible and Meaningless Spreadsheet

At this point, the Cape Ann GOP jumped into the fray. Amanda Kesterson, chair of the Cape Ann GOP posted this at Cape Ann Online, demanding a retraction:

The author of this misleading article from The Clam offered to retract it once Kathryn provided evidence he was wrong. She sent the evidence to him yesterday, and here it is.  We’re still waiting for the retraction, though.


Using that word in this context is making John Henry Wigmore himself roll over in his grave.

Wigmore Grave Roller

Trying to figure out Ms. Goodick’s nonsensical spreadsheet without assistance will just make your head ache, so here’s a marked up version that clarifies it all. It was sent to me by someone with an M.B.A. in Finance from UCLA. (If you’ve been following this saga from the beginning it will no doubt be familiar to you.)


Nothing in that cryptic and nearly incomprehensible spreadsheet says that Kathryn Goodick’s taxes went up 17%. To the contrary, it says, just like we have from the beginning, that her taxes went up 8.6% last year. And that was the most they’d ever increased.


The Water Bill Offset: Does She Not Understand the Missing Piece of the Puzzle?

Take a deep breath, we’ve almost gotten through this. But there’s still one more thing that’s really important.

It’s what economists call, and I apologize for having to use a technical term here, but it’s really the only way to accurately describe it — a “ginormous problem with your analysis you dunderhead.”

It’s this:

When the city did the big 2015 water bill/tax bill shift, the plan was to reduce everyone’s water bill in an amount that would offset the increase in everyone’s property tax. Pretty much, that’s what happened across the city.

So if you complain that you’re shocked, SHOCKED that your property tax bill went up but don’t account for the fact that at the same time your water bill went DOWN, you’re either:

  • intentionally playing fast and loose with the facts or

  • entirely clueless

    Either way you shouldn’t be managing the $100 million dollar city budget you want to get your hands on.

But because throughout her campaign Ms. Goodick has focused on only the tax increase half of equation, someone needs to shine a light on the other half.

And the esteemable Martin Del Vecchio has done this for us in his posts at Ms. Goodick’s Facebook campaign page and at Cape Ann Online this past week.

The bottom line of all Marty’s figuring though is that, just as it was supposed to, the 2015 Goodick water bill at 10 Dogtown Road did go way down. In fact it went down by enough to offset nearly the entire amount by which her property taxes went up.

Taking into account

  • all the money she saved on her water bill,

  • the 3.3% increase in the assessed value of her home between 2014 and 2015,

the net effect of the 2015 increase on Kathryn Goodick’s half million dollar home was eighty-four dollars.

Eighy-four dollars. Seven dollars a month.

And if she itemizes her deductions, she’ll get an additional $499 deduction for the increasead property taxes she paid that she wasn’t getting for paying her water bill, and that deduction will more than wipe out that $84 increase. Bottom line: she probably ends up making money.

But even if she doesn’t take that deduction, we’re still looking $84 which amounts to a net increase in her 2015 tax/water bills of not 17%, not even 8.6%, but a paltry 1.4%.


Yep. Her combined tax and water bill increase for 2015 was a grand total of $84. 

Like details? Marty does. Do check out his careful work here.

Good thing for Gloucester voters that all our utility bills are available online where Marty could check them. I wonder if Karthryn Goodick knew that was possible.

Not surprisingly, I hadn’t yet gone through the water bill part of this equation when I first wrote Ms. Goodick to ask about her phantom “17% tax increase.”

But now that I have, once again, I feel a bit misled. Don’t you?

It sure looks like throughout her entire campaign, knocking on over 1,500 doors in Ward 4, she’s been overstating her tax increase by a factor of 100%, leaving out the offsetting reduction she got in her water bill, and scaring voters all over Ward 4 with a fake story of a fake tax increase.

View post on

– – – – –

Stay Tuned. Next time: I’ll look at her claim that her children wouldn’t be able to pay the taxes on her house if she and her husband outright gave it to them. (Hint: This might be a wee bit of an exaggeration.)

In Which We Do the Math in Ward 4: Part II – The Force Awakens

Steven Voltz, Guest Blogger, takes over again:

A few hours after The Clam posted my guest blog on Wednesday morning, I got an email from Kathryn Goodick, apologizing for not getting back to me sooner and promising a substantive response soon. Shortly before midnight, it arrrived.

Since that first piece on Wednesday there’s been a lot of sometimes quite energetic discussion about it online, here, at Cape Ann Online, and elsewhere.

And among other things, there’s been a demand from Ms. Goodick that I apologize and from the Cape Ann GOP that I retract my piece.

I will not be doing either.

Here’s the latest on what’s been happening.

How It All Started

On Friday evening, October 16th I attended a coffee at a friend’s home at which Kathryn Goodick was campaigning. The next day, Saturday, October 17th I sent Ms. Goodick a private email, with a courtesy copy to the couple who had hosted the coffee on the previous night. In that private email I mentioned three things, each of which I explained in some detail, that had left me feeling mislead, once I got home and was able to to a little fact checking. I asked her for clarification and to correct any errors I might have made in my fact checking.

On Sunday morning, in response to my email, our host emailed us both, saying in part “I’ll look forward to what Kathryn has to say about the budget.”

But by Sunday night I had no response to either of those emails.

By Monday night, Ms. Goodick still had not responded.

I then sent her a third email, in case you had somehow missed the first two. I wrote:

Hi again Kathryn,

Haven’t heard from you re my email from Saturday.

I’m hoping you’ll let me know if I’m mistaken in my understanding of things or if there’s anything important you’d like to add that you feel I may be missing.

Thanks in advance,



Still no answer.

Finally, after three days and three unanswered emails, I concluded that she did not intend to respond.

At that point I forwarded my original email on to the Clam together with a few pargraphs of background on how it had come to be written and on my unsuccessful efforts to get her to correct anything I had gotten wrong or to let me know of anything else you thought was relevant.

The Clam Posts and Lo and Behold . . .

At 5 a.m. on Wednesday morning The Clam published my letter (and to my surprise, the few paragraphs of background I had hastily written) as part of this blog post In Which We Do Some Math in Ward 4.

Coincidentally — or I suppose possibly not coincidentally — at 7:49 that morning Ms. Goodick emailed me with this:

Sorry Stephen for it [sic] responding to you earlier.   

I will get back to you shortly.  

I’m traveling at this moment.  I do apologize that with several email accounts to check on, I missed yours.  


Odd, I thought that she’d be traveling out of town at the height of campaign season, and odder still that, while travelling at such a critical time she would not check, or have someone else check, the email coming in to the address she had listed on her campaign literature.

Regardless, I immediately wrote to the folks at The Clam and told them she was preparing a response, and that if as a result we learned that anything in my piece was inaccurate we would have to correct it promptly.

And next I wrote her back:

Hi Kathryn,

Glad to see you’re on this now.  I’m looking forward to your response.

In the mean time, I should tell you that after waiting three days and sending you two emails all without a response, I concluded that you were yet another politician who wasn’t going to respond.  So yesterday afternoon I passed my letters, along with some background of how they came about to the folks at the excellent local blog, The Gloucester Clam.  You might know them from the top notch work they did covering the Market Basket situation a year or so ago.  Often it was their coverage that was picked up and repeated by the local and national news outlets covering the story.

They published my letters this morning.

I have already written to them to tell them that I have now heard from you and that they need to give you an opportunity to respond in some way at the Clam as well as to me, now that my concerns are more public.

Here’s a link to the post that went up this morning

If I have gotten any relevant facts wrong I will work with you to make absolutely certain that the Clam corrects them prominently and immediately.


She responded an hour or so later:


Again [sic] I am not a politician and am very sorry you felt the need to do so [sic] on a social media website.  I was alerted to this fact this morning by others who read it.  

Since items that people have written on these sites and particularly about me directly have been a [sic] character assassination I do not read these any longer. 

Again I apologize for not responding sooner.  I am at work this morning but will get back to you when I take my lunch break.  

Thank you for understanding 


Lunch time came and went.

I got nothing from her.

Dinner time came and went.

Still nothing.

A Substantive Response

I finally got ready to go to bed at about 11:45 and checked by email one last time to discover that at 11:15 Ms. Goodick had emailed me a 1500+ word response along with two xls file attachments.

Now Ms. Goodick hasn’t yet asked The Clam to print her full email to me, although I believe it is willing to do so (omitting some potentially libelous material).

[Editor’s Note: The Clam has this morning offered Kathryn Goodick an opportunity to post the portions of this her email that are relevant to the issues raised in our original piece. -Ed.]

Suffice to say for now however that the gist of her email as it related to The Clam piece were her claims that:

  1. Contrary to what I have written, she never claimed when she spoke at the coffee on Friday night that her taxes had gone up 17% in one year. What she said was only that they had gone up 17% over the past few years.

  2. Her children could not, in fact, afford to live in her house even if she gave it to them because, although as she put it: “as you accurately stated my taxes are $1,600 per quarter . . . [nonetheless] . . . they [still] couldn’t afford it” because they would also have other bills to pay such as food, utilities and student loans.

  3. Her claim that the city budget isn’t available to the public was correct because the full proposed budget isn’t made available to the public until the day it is voted on, at which point it is too late for any meaningful review.

After I read her email yesterday morning, I saw that she had also sent a second follow up email several hours later in which she offered to “help me with the math.”

Me [one] more fact for you.  My quarterly property bill for 2014 in August 2014 was $1,460.80 compared to my tax bill due on February 2015 was $1,712.93.  Again this was due in part to the city’s decision to put the entire water debt shift on two quarters vs spread out over four quarters.  

Let me help you with the math:  it is a difference of $252.13…or 17%!!!”

Again [sic] as an attorney, you understand that [false and potentially libelous material redacted] is not looked upon very kindly.  So with that, I would ask you to take down your harsh and [false and potentially libelous material redacted] comments; and I will await your apology.

Silence [sic].

Kathryn Goodick

At 9:56 yesteday morning she posted this to her campaign’s Facebook page:

For those who have questioned my claims regarding my tax situation during this campaign, this should answer your questions. My quarterly property bill for 2014 in August 2014 was $1,460.80 compared to my tax bill due on February 2015 was $1,712.93. Again this was due in part to the city’s decision to put the entire water debt shift on two quarters vs spread out over four quarters.
It is a difference of $252.13…or 17%!!!

And The GOP Wants A Retraction

A few hours later, (in a post time-stamped 1:02 yesterday afternoon), Amanda Kesterson, head of the Cape Ann GOP and one of Ms. Goodick’s early supporters, posted this at the Cape Ann Online Home Forum:

The author of this misleading article from The Clam offered to retract it once Kathryn provided evidence he was wrong. She sent the evidence to him yesterday, and here it is.  We’re still waiting for the retraction, though.

Wow. Don’t quite know where to begin here. This is quite an impressive post because although it’s so short, it gets so many different things wrong.


1) my “article” was not misleading, it was accurate.

2) I never offered to retract it (I offered to correct it if anything in it was incorrect), and

3) The spreadsheet Ms. Kesterson’s post links to was in no way “evidence” that anything I had written was incorrect.

Oh and also, “We’re still waiting for the retraction?”


At 1:00 yesteday afternoon the electrons on Ms. Goodick’s 6:00 a.m. email were barely dry.

I had given Kathryn Goodick three days — and she had been sent and failed to respond to three separate emails — before I finally concluded that she didn’t intend to answer me and I moved on.

I, on the other hand, got a six page midnight email with two spreadsheet attachments along with a crack-of-dawn follow up email with entirely new numbers and a new and contradictory story, and yet a few short hours later the Cape Ann GOP was publically outraged that I hadn’t yet responded.

Apparently they have different rules for themselves than for the rest of us.


Stay Tuned

So, that’s where we are.

But stay tuned.

In my upcoming posts over the next few days, I’ll be addressing Ms. Goodick’s puzzlingly conflicting claims that:

  • she never said her taxes had gone up 17% in one year, only that they had gone up by 17% over the past few years, and

  • she was totally right to say that her taxes went up 17% in one year,

as well as her claims that:

  • her children really could not afford to pay $530 a month for housing, and

  • the Gloucester budget process is so hopelessly opaque that no ordinary citizen can meaningfully participate.

There will not however be an apology.

Nolan Don’t Vote

We’ll be returning later today to more of “Guest Blogger Stephen Voltz v. Kathryn Goodick For Ward 4,” Part II, “Battle of the Emails.” We know you can’t wait.

But in other Gloucester election news (non-Gloucesterites, picture the town of Pawnee from the show Parks and Recreation, but near the water and yellier) Ward 5 candidate for city council Sean Nolan apparently didn’t vote in municipal elections in 2009, 2011 and 2013. Our source (because we are the effing Washington Post now or something) checked with the City Clerk’s office.

We’re recommending the campaign slogan: “Vote for Sean Nolan the way he doesn’t.”

Later, Clamigos.