Clam The Vote: Our Election Rundown Special Extravaganza To The Death!


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.

or

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.

Jack-Donaghy-Pouring-Alcohol-Loop-30-Rock

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.

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.

 

Rooting For The Underdog: 10 Facts About Francisco Sclafani

If you’re only half-assed paying attention to our ever-heating Mayoral Race of Doom (we don’t blame you, there’s good TV on these days), you may be unaware of some of the underdog candidates facing elimination from November’s ballot after today’s preliminary election. Since the Big Three – Sefatia, Paul, and Greg – are getting the vast majority of attention, we here at The Clam Media Limited wanted to give our loud and trustworthy voice over to the folks with a little less household recognition. Everybody gets a voice, right? DEMOCRACY IN ACTION!

Our Candidates. Notice the man in the white suit and corsage. He had not been, to our knowledge, to a prom or wedding earlier in the evening. (Photo Kim Smith/ GMG)

Our Candidates. Notice the man in the white suit and corsage. He had not been, to our knowledge, to a prom or wedding earlier in the evening. (Photo Kim Smith/ GMG)

That’s why we chose to write our piece today on little-known, but certainly, uh, exceptional, candidate Francisco Sclafani, of Middle Street, or possibly Lookout Street, no one’s really 100% sure. Gloucester, anyway. If there’s one thing for sure, it’s that Mr. Sclafani has had some time to come up with very and intricate plans for Gloucester’s future. His first run for mayor was in 1995

Mr. Sclafani, whose definition of business formal includes "this white suit forever"

Mr. Sclafani, whose definition of business formal includes “this white suit forever” (Photo: Salem News)

 

Here’s ten factoids about this unconventional candidate you may not know:

 

  1. He has some solid reasons he’s running for mayor of a large city: picking up chicks, returning a maternity ward to at Addison Gilbert Hospital, and fixing potholes.
  2. He wants to desalinate ocean water, bottle it, and sell it to raise cash for the City.
  3. He wants to freeze-dry sewage and export it to third world countries for, you guessed it, cash for the city.
  4. He does not campaign door to door because “he is not built for long distance or for heat.” However, he exclaims that he is in excellent condition for his age, in case we have any qualms about his physical fitness to serve as an official.
  5. He has been proposed to six times. It is unclear by how many women.
  6. During debates, he has accused former City Councilwoman Jackie Hardy, who passed last year of cancer, of bribery.
  7. He writes his speeches on a typewriter and does not have a computer, probably unironically.
  8. In past elections where he has lost, he has asserted that his fallback plan if he did not win the election was to be a partner in a disco.
  9. He has planned to write a salt-free cookbook.
  10. He has written a self-published book called Breach of Faith. The author’s description of the book’s riveting, totally logical and appropriate plot is such:

Five cowards named Peter Russo,Samuel Sanfilippo, David Stelluto,Tomas J. Mathews, and David Bader: all paid assasin’swho live in Gloucester Mass. These five cowards attempted twice in thesame night to gangbeat me, only to leave me for deadin a pool of my own blood. The double gangbeating was a hate crime which left me with numeroushuman bite marks on my face, hands, and inner thighs. The numerous blows to my head by Peter Russowould have killed an ordinary man, but would cripple me for over twenty years,living in a state of limbo. My two bloodbrother’s and their wives, Maureen “shiteater” redman and Helen “shiteater” Sclafani stole my legally notorizedshares in the family business, and forged their own names on them, all thewhile swindling me out of million’s of dollars worth of real estate, dividingthe money between themselves, and their money laundering children, businesspartners, and an endless list of golddiging whores.TRUE LOVE IS WHEN ANOTHER PERSON’S NEED’S AREMORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR OWN. LIVE EACHDAY AS IF IT WERE YOUR LAST. I can notbelieve my two brother’s who I loved at one time, would betray our love forpaper money. Tell my brother he did thefirst time he lied to me.

So as you head to the polls today, make sure you look inside yourself and think, “Maybe we really do need to freeze-dry our human waste.” You never know.

 

Go to the Affordable Housing Meeting. Seriously.

Remember when the collective of people who think the sky is falling in at the slightest whiff of change in the air totally shit their bermuda shorts at the thought of a windowless green building being erected in the spot where the putrid hulking corpse of Cameron’s is?

I’ve had a handful of people come up to me at various bars, sidewalk bazaars, and downtown block parties to say “those posts were great. I’m glad someone is calling people out on their concern trolling and NIMBYism.” This actually happened. I had thought since we were crazy busy with Snotbot and took some time off that people had perhaps forgotten your beloved the Clam existed, but I guess you people had longer attention spans than we thought. Weird. 

Well, tonight is the next community meeting about the space (spoiler alert: the building has fucking windows and won’t look like a sad space station). While there are reasonable people attending who have reasonable concerns and questions and want to be part of a collaborative conversation to move the project forward in a favorable manner, there are some who aren’t so reasonable. And you, as Clam readers, should show up to outnumber them. Why support this thing? Well, here:

  • Residences on Main Street aren’t a bad thing. There have been a lot of comments that housing should be kept off Main Street. I’m not sure why – while we have a great thriving Main Street, something other towns aren’t as lucky to have, we have more retail space than businesses wanting to fill it, and that problem is exacerbated with the recent closing of businesses like Palazola’s, Island Art and Hobby, La Trattoria, etc. When housing units are added to Main Street, businesses have more local clients, and local workers. There is already a good amount of housing stock on Main Street as it is – I have friends who live there, I almost rented an apartment above Stones (but felt my liver wouldn’t survive the year-long lease). We don’t have an excess of housing stock – in fact, it’s incredibly hard to find a reasonably priced apartment in this town, because so many places are summer rentals.
  • Thinly-veiled classism couched in faux-concern for residents is rampant already with this project. “How can kids live downtown without a yard?” Uh, ask every family in Manhattan or any other urban area of which our country has many. Turns out kids survive just fine if they have to undertake a short walk to the nearest playground, and the YMCA is around the corner. “How will they park?” Newsflash, middle-class hand-wringers: not everyone has a car, and the developers have made sure there’s parking for each unit.
  • There’s also just outright selfish judgement about the project. “People from scary Lynn could move here!” “It’s a tax on the school system!” “Low-income housing might lower my property values!” “Wow, a brand new downtown residence? How come I don’t get one and THOSE PEOPLE do?” And more I can’t even really repeat because it’s gross and I don’t feel like barfing right now. There are people who literally think these bullshit reasons should preclude other humans from having a needed downtown living space.

What downtown Gloucester will look like, apparently.

 

Low-income residents aren’t garbage people. They’re not. They’re our neighbors, sons, daughters, mothers, grandparents, best friends. We have to stop treating them like weird aliens that have come to destroy our idyllic city with their crime and their terrible work ethic. Newsfuckingflash: It’s hard to get low-income housing but incredibly easy to have a low income in 2015. Section 8 is a slog of a process with an interminably long waiting list during which time a lot of people lose whatever savings they had. Why are we making it harder for people to survive? Why is that the America some people want?

Go to the meeting. It’s at 6 PM at the Rose Baker Senior Center. Bring your questions and your reasonable brains.

 

Snotbot’s Final Frontier.

Today and tomorrow mark the last hours of our Snotbot project. And we still really need your help.

jim

 

You should support this, and back us, for a ton of reasons. We’re awesome, this was a Clam project (that, up there, is your Clameditor Jim annoying Sir Patrick Stewart), and all that. And don’t worry, your The Clam will be back in full swing after this week. But beyond this local blog, this changes the world for the better. We take drone technology that was developed by the military and turn it to saving our oceans, whales, and the planet. We take 3d printing technology and do the same. We can solve mysteries like why the f*ck do whales keep getting stranded in Alaska and focus on why are we allowing f*cking Arctic drilling when the acoustics are almost guaranteed to be hurting whales and other animals.

Perrin Ireland from NRDC made this wonderful thing that explains it better than I can.

Perrin Ireland from NRDC made this wonderful thing that explains it better than I can.

And this is all happening in Gloucester, your Gloucester.  Without funding, this stuff doesn’t happen, and whales don’t get cool drones flying above them to test how stressed they are, whether they’re infected, pregnant, who they are, and so much more that’s really crucial to learning about how the changing ocean is affecting these animals.

I can’t explain enough how much we really need this fish.

 

I mean money.

 

God,  I have to stop watching Wicked Tuna.

 

(To donate, please click here.)