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.)

 

Here’s a deal for you.

If you donate to the Snotbot Kickstarter anytime this week (through Sunday) for any amount, I will videotape myself screaming your name at the angry,  unfeeling ocean.

Donate $100 or more, and I’ll yell anything you want at the ocean and record it.

Donate $250 and I’ll push Jim into the ocean fully clothed.

I haven’t even told him I’ll do that, I’m just GONNA.