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.


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  1. Thank you for your service, Clamsplainers. I hope you do at least one more post – after you watch CATV’s video of the Ward 4 and at-large Councilor candidate’s debate. Working title? Maybe “In Which Kathyrn Goodick Describes Herself as a Victim of Terrible Lies.” And then goes on to play fast and loose with the facts… again.

    Not just those pesky math errors either, although sure there were those. For example, she quoted the cost of the new West Parish school to the Gloucester taxpayers as $40 million when it was actually $20 million (thank you Valerie Gilman for the correction.)

    As with the factually inaccurate statements about her tax increase, she dismissed this discrepancy the same way. Re: her taxes “Seventeen percent, 12% 8.3%…whatever. It is still too high.” Re: the cost of the school, same argument “20 million, $40 million…whatever, it is still too high.”

    OK, so she’s not so good with numbers, and a she thinks a $20 million savings by the City and the School Committee is no big deal.

    She went on to say that we should be bolstering our schools, talking them up even. A couple of other factual inaccuracies though. For example, she stated that Gloucester’s MCAS scores haven’t gone up. Now that’s just plain wrong. Once she decided to run for office on transparency and good government, I would have hoped she’d have at least skimmed the front page article of the Times that headlined the fact that Gloucester’s MCAS scores have gone up for five straight years.

    Harder to prove or disprove, however, are her statements maligning City officials and other candidates. No witnesses. She insists that “no one in City Hall would listen to her” and that she wasn’t allowed to see the budget. Not true according to many of those who are all being tarred with the same brush You know that one – government officials bad, low information voters good.

    It’s gotten personal too. I was just sitting waiting for the debates to start when Ms. Goodick began a conversation with a group of ladies behind me. She launched into a pretty nasty story about her opponent. Not only did that tale stretch credulity to the breaking point, it was light years apart from what I had already heard about the same sorry incident of which she had no first hand knowledge at all. The story had been embellished considerably since Kathryn first pitched it online by the way.

    Oh yes, one more thing. The deadline for candidates filing campaign finance reports was the 26th. I hear tell that there is a section on Kathryn Goodicks’ that says “more to come.” I’ll bet there is, but when?

    • Martin Del Vecchio

      The Ward 4 debate doesn’t appear to be online yet; if you see it, will you let us know?


      • Martin, it looks like the first airing of the Councilor-At-Large & Ward 4 Debates in Lanesville will be on Channel 12 – Sat, October 31 at 12:00 am. and repeated later on too. (See – schedule.) As I understand it, it will become available online at about the same time.

  2. I’m glad you wrote this. People need to understand what these folks are up to. The same group actually harassed myself and some friends in a local restaurant the other day. First (out of the blue on our eay out the door) they asked if we were from Ward 4, then whether we knew which ward we are in (offensive, Imho – I am more aware of local issues than these folks and YES I know my ward). They then proceeded you start peppering us with names of people we should vote for – the GOP candidates, loudly, without invitation, across the dining room. Keep in mind I do not know any of these people personally and vice versa, nor do they know anything about the group I was with – not Republicans – but that didn’t matter. It was frenzied, cultish, out of control “red to rise” madness.

    • Not surprising. Those folks have more balls than brains, unfortunately. I’m hopeful that clear heads will prevail tomorrow, but worried that this crowd has been able to influence some voters who might not really know who (or what) they are voting for.

  3. Bravo to you and all of the Clammers for this research and reporting!!

  4. Fabulous work!

  5. Much gratitude to you for taking the time to write this article and express your point of view. I love our city, and it’s future is very important to me. VERY glad I read this!

  6. It’s going to be a busy day for me.

  7. Thank you for writing this piece.

  8. Jackie Hardy would be proud of you Clammers.

  9. Wow! Thanks so much for your article. I hope people will share it on FB, etc. Also, would you be willing to name the Gloucester Tea Party types running for City Council?

    • Joe Orlando, Kathryn Goodick, and Sean Nolan (though Nolan isn’t as extreme as the other two and we have heard some positives about his community efforts, but he also hasn’t voted in several past elections)

  10. If she was running against me for Ward 1, I would have loved taking her down point, counter point on the facts and done. The negativity in this campaign cycle has been over the top and I see it mainly coming from one direction, as you note.

  11. Thank you so much. Fantastic article, outstanding work! This is all so interesting as I am reading this several weeks after Kathryn Goodick knocked on my door. Her reason and only reason for running was that a specific city councilor refused to listen to her concern around higher taxes at a city council meeting and stated “if you cannot afford to live here move out”! I was taken back and upset at hearing this. Her campaign manager assured me that this was recorded and available at my request.
    So, she said it was “this incident” that propelled her to run.
    Maybe the 17% controversy had impacted her to extent that she decided to shift her reasons for seeking office…
    Anyway, you have helped me to better understand this candidate and to further question the allegations stated.

  12. Coupled with her repeated misstatements re: Gloucester’s MCAS scores, Kathryn Goodick has also been consistently using faulty numbers (800 rather than 482 is a stretch) re: student enrollment and school choice. What’s up with that?

    Ms. Goodick brought up student enrollment most recently in the Ward 4 Council debates (see Cape Ann TV video.)

    With little time to rebut, Gilman has followed up on this sizable discrepancy with a statement on her campaign Facebook page, Vote Gilman Ward 4. It reads in part: “In terms of the question my opponent asked me….. I realized after the debate that I should have corrected Kathryn’s numbers on decrease in school population enrollment during my tenure on the school committee. The real number of enrollment decline during my tenure on the committee pre K to 12, 2008 – 2013, was 482 not 800 as she stated. One factor here is that there are less births,- over 100 less per year, than during our peak enrollment around the year 2000. Having said this, the district continues to work hard to prevent school choice out, and the recent success and praise given to the O’Maley STEM innovation School is one initiative that will help keep middle school students IN our district and bring new students from surrounding towns TO Gloucester.”

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