We really didn’t want to do this, but folks asked. They literally begged us to give our picks for the races in Gloucester. Ok, sure. Be warned that aside from mayor (where we’re not endorsing, you can’t make us) we found we’re not too far off the Gloucester Daily Times which was a shock. We’re still drinking to deal with this revelation. There are some differences and we lay our our reasoning as best we can. If you want to vote like the Clam, do read on.
The top of the ticket:
Mayor: No. Just no. Hell no. We’re not making a call because members of the Clam inner circle are deeply conflicted here. So, if you haven’t been exposed to the two leading candidates strengths and weaknesses up to this point then congratulations for coming out of your coma, we have a black president now. We recommend you flip a coin. The rest of you have already made up your mind based on the available evidence. Go with that.
Councilor At Large: (you pick four)
The Clam recommends:
Paul Lundberg: A sane, level-headed dude with decades of operational experience and has been on the council for years. Sadly, medical science still prevents the rest of our at-large recommendations from reading: Paul Lundberg Clone #1, Paul Lundberg Clone #2, Paul Lundberg Clone #3 so we have to make more. Fuck.
Joe Ciolino: He’s spent years on the council. Without McGeary, Sefatia or Verga (we’ll get to him in a second) on the council we’ll need experience, bad. I know someone once said, “Amateurs built the Ark, experts built the Titanic,” but of course that is crazy bullshit because the Ark is fictional (and impossible). We need folks who know how it works. Joe does. Full stop.
Clamflict: We can’t agree on one of the two following candidates. So choose between:
Amy-Beth Healey: Has been on the School Committee. Sane person. Heavily involved in schools. Knows budgets. Recommended by the GDT.
Joe Giacalone: We’ve heard good things. Ann Margaret Ferrante endorsed him, other people we know and respect have talked to him and said they liked him. A downtown resident.
Our last pick (but remember, you only get four)
Greg Verga: Write him in. We admit to being bummed he got so cozy with the hard-rightwing crowd during the mayor’s race, but he’s a solid choice for at-large council. Has been on for years, makes good choices. We’re writing him in.
Ok, so those are are ‘yes’ votes. What about the rest? Here are our thoughts:
OHARA: The man without an apostrophe. His signs just showed up everywhere one day, sometimes one on each end of a lot (the record so far is THREE ON ONE PROPERTY). We’ve heard some folks describe him as a “liberal activist” but when he came to our house and handed out his campaign literature we saw it had a Patriots’ game schedule on the back and not a single mention of education or the schools on the other. He’s really, really into fire stations and police, and went on to describe in uncomfortably vivid detail the threats he believes we’re under, which in some cases seemed overblown. When we asked where here was going to find all the money he wanted to spend on public safety he said, “consolidate the schools” which is when we threw him out. The ever-touted, never quantified imaginary financial panacea of “consolidating the elementary schools” wold actually require over 100 million in bonds which we’d have to override for, and for all that we would not save much money (It’s the teachers that cost, not the buildings nor really administration at the per-school level). Also, it would take something like a decade to get it done and in the process we’d dramatically change the character of our neighborhoods. Also it goes against all available research on improving educational outcomes, would lower home values across the city and create a transportation nightmare. Did you think about any of that? Sorry dude, no vote for you.
Joe Orlando Jr: Scion of the Orlando family who’ve been pushing so hard to turn Gloucester into a Republican paradise like Kansas or Arkansas. We’ve met him, he’s a nice guy in person but online he’s been burning every bridge he can find which might not be so great a campaign strategy. For instance, he was arguing about something (fluoridation we’re pretty sure) on Facebook and the young Mr. Orlando decided to claim liberals “kill babies.” This may be his view, but the majority of people in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are pro-choice, including our Republican governor who this candidate touts the endorsement of. Wonder if he calls Baker a “babykiller”? This is Massachusetts Joe, you’re not going to be able to govern well if you can’t work with Democrats, there are a lot of them here.
Bob Whynott Jr: Son of long-time Councilman Bob Whynott Sr. The younger Whynott, who previously lost an Orlando-backed campaign for the Republican nomination to challenge state representative Ann Margaret Ferrante, is deploying the highly efficient strategy of using his father’s campaign collateral. He has the same signs and the same campaign address. How is he different than his father? Hell if we know.
Ken Sarofeen: Um, no.
The Wards (you only get to pick one, duh)
Ward 1 “The Shire” East Gloucester
Scott Memhard: Owner of Cape Pond Ice, has been on the Sawyer Free Library board for many years. A competent executive at a legacy business dealing directly with the core issue facing our city: What the fuck do we do with our waterfront? He’s got our vote.
Everett Brown: Also a good guy, he was on the council for many years. We hear he’s competent and knows his stuff. You can’t go wrong with either choice in Ward 1, pretty much.
Ward 2 “Glostopolis” The Eastern part of downtown
Congratulations Melissa Cox, for running unopposed in Ward 2! She’s experienced and dressed as a shark for the outdoor showing of Jaws on I4C2 last year. We need more counselors down to cosplay, is what we’re saying. She helped us Clammers get bike lanes put in, and at least TRIED to deal with the shitshow parking nightmare of lower Prospect Street over the elder Whynott’s insistence that churchgoers having easy parking is more important than emergency vehicles being able to safely pass on one of our busiest thoroughfares.
Ward 3 “The Golden Triangle” (Stagefort up to the hospital and most of downtown biz district)
Steve LeBlanc: Up for re-election. Many years working for and with the city. Again, knows what he’s doing. We need experience and he’s got it.
Sherri Curcuru: She’s into elementary school consolidation, so no.
Ward 4 “The Highlands” (everything from the hospital north and all that stuff around the Middle School, Lanesville).
Val Gilman: The obvious pick. Val’s been on the School Committee for years, knows everybody in town and is a dedicated getter done-er of things. Oh, and her opponent’s handler’s attempt to pin the Fuller bullshit on her? Don’t even start. We’ve reported extensively on this- the school committee and council made the best choices they could at the time given the lose-lose- really-fucking-lose situation the math indicated for all courses of action with that property. Val is the obvious choice.
Kathryn Goodick: No. See here and here and here and a lot of other places we didn’t even bother to report because we just got sick of dumping on her. But really, no.
Ward 5 “The Frontier” West Gloucester and Magnolia
Bill Fonville: Clam’s choice. Again, has been on the council for years, knows his stuff and is a competent incumbent. He’s a data guy and knows how to make decisions using information from the outside world. He has a huge community presence, and was the only one to vote against the debt shift that made Ms. Goodick from ward 4 so apoplectic.
Sean Nolan: We took some heat for associating him with the Orlando-backed Gloucester GOP whom we are now told he’s not cozy with. Excuse us, we were confused by him being on the front-page of their website for a while. We’re stupid like that. But if he’s within their circle or influence or not, he hasn’t voted in a municipal election for the last three rounds. Sorry, you don’t run for a local election when you don’t participate in local elections. We have heard a lot of positives about his community involvement, and think he would be good on some lower committees and would appreciate him running again when he has more experience with our local government and how it works (example: voting).
School Committee: (you pick six)
Jonathan Pope: Head of the school committee and totally knows his shit. For all the insane misinformation people have about the schools, he’s a solid part of the reason our MCAS scores continue to go up in spite of it all. If performance is your metric, the schools are demonstrably improving and thus he deserves your vote.
Kathy Clancy: The same goes for Kathy. She’s at everything, has incredible passion, a competent executive from the outside world. We’re lucky to have her on the school committee. A vote for her is a solid.
Tony Gross: Another person who’s been part of everything for years. Led the budget sub-committee, negotiated contracts which is hard as balls. Hired a new superintendent. Vote for him. He’s good.
Michelle Sweet: All the right calls: Understood the Fuller fiasco for what it was, believes in neighborhood schools, understands where the real problems are. She’ll get our vote.
Melissa Teixeira: We would say ditto for Melissa- totally gets what the eff is going on. Didn’t buy into the Fuller hype when everyone said it should still be used as a school and the math/data/reports/sane evaluations said otherwise. She’ll also get our vote.
Joel Favazza: Will be getting our vote. Joel is young, has two teens in the system, and is at fucking everything. He built 3D printers alongside us (his team actually kicked our ass). He coached our daughter’s soccer team. We see him at plays, concerts and meetings. Smart guy. He’s clarified some of the positions he’s taken in the paper to our satisfaction, so yes. We’re voting for him.
JD MacEachern: The other guy not currently on the school committee looking for a seat. To be honest, this is the candidate we literally know the least about. Our research shows he has all the correct answers on things Fuller, funding, elementary schools and technology in the schools. But since we choose to keep the existing incumbents who have been effective (see scores, MCAS) we thus have to pick between Mr. MacEachern whom we don’t know and the guy we think will be a good add (Joel, above).
Non Binding Referendum, oh sweet Crom is this not over yet?
Fluoride: Allow us to make one thing clear: We’re going to make a recommendation to vote pro-fluoridation because science. Anti-fluoride activists: do not post/email/text/comment/knock on our doors/stop us on the street about this issue because anti-fluoride activists- you are sorta nutty. Advice: you should take a look at how you present yourselves because right now you totally give off the chemtrail/9/11 conspiracy/anti-vax vibe. We at The Clam are full-on science dweebs and stronlgy believe in peer-reviewed studies and stuff, we work with scientists and engineers, we make our pay in STEM. Do us both a favor and don’t approach us, you’re not going to change our minds and we’ll just wind up making fun of you on the Internet. The ONLY good argument we’ve heard about anti-fluoride is a friend who has problems with his tropical fishtank attributed to fluoride. On balance, we can’t say this is on par with the family who has a 3K dentist bill they can’t afford because no insurance in the US covers dental anymore. Also: we really should not be deciding this in a referendum, that’s not how science and public health should be done.
There you go. Print this out for handy reference and do your own research so you hahahaha just kidding. You people are just going to pick the names that are most associated with your ethnicity, don’t try and fool us. We’ve seen the stats.
On to tomorrow. This can’t be over soon enough for us.
Correction: An earlier version of this post claimed Joe Orlando Jr. used the term “babykillers” to describe liberals pro-choice position in regard to medical choices (the discussion was about fluoridation). His exact phrase was: “Don’t you liberals call that being ‘pro-choice?’ Or is that only applying to medical decisions that kill babies?” The sentence was corrected.