The Jim Dowd Fund at the Gloucester Education Foundation

[Guest Post by Bo Abrams-Dowd]

Jim. The Gloucester Education Foundation. Johnny.


What do they have in common?

Learning is their highest priority. 


Two of them are dead. 


Johnny died the day before his own birthday. 

November 16. 

From an overdose.

That’s all I know. It sucks. 


I hear you now. “What the fuck Bo. You can’t tell people Jim’s younger brother Johnny died in a post for Jim’s birthday!”


But I can and I have to and I don’t want to wait and it’s all connected.

Besides, Jim hated his birthday.

He’d prefer we told you about hard things on this day and not spoil another perfectly good day. 


Johnny’d been mostly clean the last time I saw him, the week before Jim died.

Johnny was as smart and funny and charismatic as Jim. 

Jim used to say Johnny was the smarter one.

I tell you this not to compare them, but so you understand the caliber of kid Johnny was.

Johnny was clever and a lot of fun.

But he didn’t have this one thing: Support outside his family that offered not just a view to another path, but an actual mentor to help him get on or stay on the path when it could have made a difference.


I’m not judging addiction here.

I am judging our systems which allow so many kids to fall through the cracks. 


Yesterday Treely went with the Docksiders to Beeman Elementary School to give a performance.

Seeing the high school band come into his elementary school was part of what got him jazzed about music to begin with. Then it was the instrument petting zoo. Then it was getting bused to after-school lessons with friends at the middle school. When he was in middle school, it wasn’t the academics that made him want to go to school. It was getting to go into the music room or doing a science project. Playing music makes his day better.


When he got to high school Treely thought he’d give it up. Playing trumpet that is. Band didn’t fit in his schedule. He didn’t want to practice. He told me he wasn’t going to be a professional musician. Why bother? 


Of course I thought he should keep going. But, it wasn’t my voice that convinced him to stay when he was ready to quit. It wasn’t his dad. His dad had died about three months earlier. It was the voice of some other adult that made him willing to stay. I don’t remember who it was now, maybe it was you. Who cares. I’m fucking grateful. He stayed in band. He stuck it out over a hard patch. I needed that. He needed that.


Anyway, back to the Docksiders and driving to school.

Treely has his permit and has driven enough these days so I no longer point out insanity in the gauntlet that is driving across Gloucester. Instead I watch the people on the side of the road. 


I see kids waiting for the bus. I see people getting ready for work. I see homeless people leaving the shelter. After dropping him off sometimes I see the kids who missed the bus walking to school. It’s the same kids, always late. Too many times a week. 


I see a Johnny and Jim of the past. 


You know where this is going right? You know that it’s the little things that add up. 

You know one kid started missing the bus more and the other one started missing it less.


Jim talked a lot about all the people who mentored him along the way from the time he was about 12. It wasn’t any one person. But it was one person at time, one interest at a time, one program at a time, that helped him survive to get to the next thing. Someone to give a nudge to stick with it when something was hard. Someone to suggest a book or a program. Someone to talk about colleges or vocations or hopes and dreams. 

Johnny never had that. Jim hated that. 


It’s both the fact that there is a band program and the fact there was someone who wasn’t me who was there for Treely in a way I couldn’t be. It’s because of the combination of these things that Treely is thriving, not just as a musician. 

Is he gonna be a famous jazz trumpet player? Probably not, but who cares?


You and I can give an occasional ride. And we try to. But like I said earlier, it was a combination of rides and programs that helped Treely, and also allowed Jim to survive and eventually thrive. 


Which leads me to Gloucester Education Foundation. They are the reason there is a band program and a hundred other programs that make sure practically every kid has something they can connect to in school. And they’re adding more. GEF is starting a mentor program at the high school in conjunction with Wellspring. And they just helped GHS get a grant to bring in an administrator in the vocational program. They are also beginning a student advisory group so students can have a say in GEF leadership which offers a stipend, because you can’t do internships for free if you have to make money.


The kids and I want to help. You may remember we collected money in honor of a Jim Dowd Scholarship Fund. Because of how much GEF does to help Gloucester’s kids, we’ve decided to transfer all that scholarship money to the GEF. The Jim Dowd Fund at the Gloucester Education Foundation will support the stipend with a goal of bringing student voices to the organization that may not otherwise be heard. 

Is this gonna help all the kids? 


But it might help one. 


So in honor of Jim’s birthday and his brother John Robert Dowd’s memory.

Please help us grow this program. 

Think about every time you would have bought Jim a beer if you had the chance. 

Or texted a funny meme. Or just cursed his being.

and donate to the GEF in both their memory 

so the Johnnys can be offered opportunities to thrive like the Jims. 




November 16, 1969 – November 15, 2021

May he rest in peace

May his memory be a blessing

May the wind be always at his back

DONATE HERE: The Gloucester Education Foundation


Like pretty much everyone, we here at your The Clam are busy with things like stuff, life, work, and other assorted things. So, while we ARE working on a piece focusing on a serious subject, we thought that in the mean time we’d gift you with the most ‘opposite of serious’ thing that we could possibly come up with, inspired by Dr. Chuck Tingle himself.

Enjoy, and feel free to add your own. Chuck would want all his buckaroos to be in on the fun.

**Note – some of these are illustrated, some are not, because we are supposed to be working today and not dicking around with photoshopping hunks.








The Clam Gloucester Election Candidate Rundown Deathrace 2021.

This edition of your The Clam was ghostwritten by Jim Dowd. 

We here at your The Clam have been busy doing things like working, raising children, and day drinking cheap wine. Which is ok, because we save the good stuff for night drinking.

But, we know that probably like, 11 of you (at least 6 of which are just people who hate us and can’t wait to disagree with our opinions) have been waiting with bated breath for us to give you our hotly anticipated Your The Clam Gloucester Election Candidate Rundown Deathrace 2021.

So here it is!

Note: we’re not going to cover the folks who are running unopposed, other than to shout out to Sean Nolan, who is unopposed for Ward 5 . Some of us mollusks were not too sure about Sean when he first ran, but man, did he turn out to be good.

City Council:


  • Tracy O’Neil: Tracy is running because she’s angry about the new elementary school. (you all know what we’re talking about, so don’t ask) She made a dramatic Facebook post saying she’d be forced to sell her house and move when the vote passed, but it seems she didn’t follow through. Way to flip-flop Tracy. Her main platform seems to be opposition to the new school without actually offering any solutions, or even showing much concern about other neighborhood issues. How will she treat ward residents who are in favor of the new school? Is she aware that Ward 2 is more than just Portuguese Hill?

Our pick is Pett, though, because he’s not running to square a personal vendetta. Instead, we believe Pett is more qualified because:

  • Barry Pett: His historical knowledge of things like the MA Department of Transportation, local businesses, and even our yearly Concerts on the Boulevard and fireworks displays have been a lifesaver for the City Council during the pandemic. Why? Because it helped with morale and because it just plain helps to have someone who understands how these things work. Barry is a tough person who takes criticism on the chin with a laugh and a dad joke. Not afraid to go toe-to-toe with colleagues on tough issues, but is a true professional in how he conducts himself. Please. Barry Pett.



  • Bob Whynott is running a write in campaign. For god’s sake, no.
  • Frank Margiotta Frankly (heh) we don’t know much about him. But, he’s not Bob Whynott, so.



TL;DR: Our favorites are Grow, Gross, and Cannavo. 

Jason Grow: Absolute yes. Historical knowledge, has kids who recently graduated from the Gloucester School system, understands ward-level issues as a former Ward 1 Councilor. Heavily involved in worthy causes such as The Open Door and Gloucester Education Foundation. Not afraid to call a spade a spade. Understands Robert’s Rules of Order, Council Procedure, and the City Charter which holy crap do we need after these last 2 years have you even seen some of these City Council Zoom meetings someone get out the batter and the frosting. Best hair of all candidates (YES)


Robin Hubbard: May be in possession of time machine technology because she thinks we can reverse the vote to merge the elementary schools and rebuild or something? This stance is so incompatible with reality it doesn’t even deserve more air time.

Not to mention that her response to a small crew of sailors from China getting help in our harbor and being welcomed by the mayor was to post this picture. Not only is it insanely racist, but she apparently doesn’t know the difference between Chinese and Japanese people. Hey, they all look the same, right Robin?

holy shit, right?

When called out on it, she tried to claim that it was an ‘unrelated tribute to Sefatia’ but being that it was posted just after this in the same group, we’re calling bullshit on that.

holy ACTUAL shit, right?


Crazy Carl: Jesus Christ. Take a look at any of his posts and ask yourself – is this the musings of a certain former Cheeto in chief or is this a local bartender who has delusions of grandeur? Posting gossip, rumors, slander – oh my! These are a few of our least favorite things (well, for elected officials anyway). We wonder if his FB news feed would dictate his actions as a Councilor but we already know the answer is yes (he had a poll about it after all…)


Tony Gross: Served on the School Committee for years. Understands contract negotiation (not a prerequisite for being on City Council, but it has a hell of a lot to do with budgeting). Has advocated to the state for more money for our special needs programs. Is also an ardent Open Door supporter. Is an articulate writer. Chairman of the Waterways Board so understands that whole world. Is a licensed contractor and a retired lobsterman.


Peter Cannavo: This is Peter’s second At-Large bid. Since his first go, he’s proven his investment in the City by becoming an alternate on the Zoning Board of Appeals and continuing to run his nonprofit Gloucester Boxing club, a charity for at-risk youths. He’s also a construction worker who’s received Union endorsement, which ticks off some important boxes for us. He was kind of cozy with the Cape Ann GOP in his last bid, but he seems to have distanced himself which is wise. We have been impressed with his distancing of fringe groups a la Orlando tribe and also like hearing about his union ties, but its clear he has been trying to offer the 30 something crowd a solid choice for a voice at the table.


Jeff Worthley: Will tell you everything you want to hear and then do what he wants anyway. Any rumors we hear usually start or end with this guy. Another typical politician. Just don’t.


Jamie O’Hara: no


To sum up – Gross, Cannavo, and Grow have our endorsement. Which is worth whatever you want it to be.




Rick Roberts Jr: Literally thinks he’s a future mayor and president as he shared to some volunteers while sign holding. He is anti-vaccine and anti-mask,  featuring prominently in the Cape Ann GOP’s anti-mask protest at City Hall a couple of months ago: prominently because he was one of like 5 people there. He is fully in bed with the Cape Ann GOP, which makes us wonder how Gloucester’s growing population of students who come from marginalized communities would be affected by any right wing policies which he may be influenced to enact. Hard pass.

Kathy Clancy the GOAT: Yes. Has been on School Committee forever, works tirelessly and overtime, and is incredibly helpful. She may have been doing this since before some of us were born. Unclear.

Laura Weissen: Strong progressive voice of reason. Not afraid to dive into thousands of pages of information to get answers. Is patient and understanding. Has kids in the school system. Focused on diversity.

Samantha Verga Watson: A medical social worker and therapist attuned to the trauma-informed model of schooling, which frankly all of us need after these past few years can we get an amen? Was a student in Gloucester schools and is also a young mom.

Melissa Texeira: On October 19, Melissa announced she is not seeking re-election. This means even if you vote for her, she will not accept. We are pretty sad about this. Melissa worked hard on the School Committee, serving for 14 years. She was instrumental behind the scenes and in the forefront working to get everyone to row together. We will miss her on SC, no doubt.

Bill Melvin: coached kids’ Little League for a long time, and his kids all graduated from GHS. Yr The Clam are not very traditionally sportsing, but this is something important to Gloucester, and we hear good things about him in general.

Keith Mineo: Keith grew up here, just moved back to Gloucester, is a young dad and has early childhood teaching experience. Keith might become the School Committee’s answer to Jamie O’Hara. Thinks the government is at fault for everything and he’s going to fix it. Probably still a better choice than Richard Roberts.

Tom Stein: Also a young dad, Tom Stein grew up in Ithaca, NY and settled here with his family. He is a professor and a college admissions consultant.


By the City Charter, the seventh member of the School Committee is the Mayor. 

If you need more info, here’s a YouTube link to the SC candidates’ statements


Our picks for SC: 


Kathy Clancy, Sam Watson, Laura Wiessen

Challengers: Melvin and Stein for sure. Mineo over Roberts.


Clam Election Guide 2021: Mayoral Edition

Here at your still sometimes functioning The Gloucester Clam, we’re still asked for our picks for elections. And because we care, and can’t let none of you down since it makes us feel bad, here you go. We’ll have the city council/school committee picks in the coming days, but for now, here’s our take on who should be mayor.

It’s Sefatia.

If you remember 6 years ago (I barely do), we actually kind of went hard at Sefatia and we endorsed McGeary in the election after Mayor Kirk dipped out to join the Baker admin. We didn’t think she was up to it. But we get it wrong, and we evolve and learn. This is an endorsement that comes after 6 years of effort, of work, and of getting to know the person Sefatia is. 

Sefatia is brash, brusque, and compassionate. She tells it like it is, which is exactly why we like her. We also tell it like it is. We are not always popular for this. We get it. However, she is also a big softie. She has a true open door policy. Want an appointment with her? She’ll do everything she can to make sure her secretary gets you in there. And she’ll listen even while she’s talking. 

She knows how to do things in this city. She and her team have been able to maintain a AA bond rating AND did not need to lay off or furlough any City employee during the worst of the pandemic, when other cities had no choice. Sefatia runs a tight ship financially and has the wherewithal to get assistance from capable people to reach goals for the city. She has the ability to reflect and take responsibility for mistakes, and learn from them. We’ve seen it firsthand.

We’ve had our disagreements with her. Out-and-out fights, even. But at the end of the day, her heart is here. Do you have cancer? She’ll personally make meals for you. Need to schedule a vaccination? She’ll help with that – and not by doing anything less than above board, either. This woman knows the medical system and is a fierce advocate for literally everyone, from the homeless to the people with five-bedroom homes. In the end, Sefatia IS Gloucester – like we took our little city and made it a Sicilian grandma. 

Not everyone will agree with us, but you don’t have to.

So, why NOT Greg Verga? After all, he’s not an overall bad guy, we have backed him in some capacity before. However, he’s been wishy washy when in office, been out of local politics for awhile, and had to even ask on Facebook when the next municipal election was before the season was heating up. It seems like he agreed to do it not so much from a deep and long simmering desire, but because the people who hate Sefatia wanted someone well known to run against her. He’s a realtor who declined to participate in an Action Inc debate about affordable housing. This came at a time when Gloucester needs continual work on solving an issue outside of our usual community grousing on Facebook that our kids can’t afford it here.

He’s sent his proxy, Meredith Fine, to events like last week’s Gloucester Democratic City Committee debate, instead of himself. Meredith was the lawyer representing (now former) Health Department Director Karin Carroll’s complaint against the city and the Mayor and has also worked as the former editor of the Gloucester Daily Times. We think it’s pretty strange optics to have filed a prominent complaint against a mayor during the election season while also serving as a debate proxy for the person running against her (though Meredith claimed previously she does not represent him). In short: We are confused.

Honestly, the things Greg says sometimes show how completely out of touch he is with how much work Gloucester has done in his absence. He posted just this week about how he’d love to have a partnership between Essex Tech and GHS. Greg, there already is one, and City Councilor Val Gilman is the liason.

In the 2015 election, his then-campaign manager (who has, this year, told us she thinks the election was stolen and rigged against Greg) made a deal out of him being non-partisan and unenrolled and how that was better. This election season, the messaging is that he’s the only registered D on the ballot as Sefatia is unenrolled. In and of itself this wouldn’t be a big deal, but sources tell us he hasn’t been to a single GDCC meeting since he changed his party affiliation. 

He also had a weird campaign finance violation where his father, a longtime state representative who was notable for supporting a ballot measure to repeal gay marriage, gave him $5,000 for his campaign. However, it is against MA campaign finance law for any individual to donate more than $1,000 to a campaign in a calendar year. So the campaign decided it would be a loan. But an individual also can’t loan a campaign more than $1,000 in a calendar year. So they paid it back and said it was a silly mistake. Between Greg and Tony, they have 30+ years of campaign experience but cannot follow the basic tenets of campaign finance law? Nor can Greg’s team, which we are assuming has some experience? That’s not someone we want in charge of a $120 million budget and over 1000 jobs. They should have known better, it’s just absolutely baffling. 

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations. Hopefully this has helped. 

If you skipped to the end, TL;DR: vote Sefatia. Her heart is in the right place. 

Tune in next time for (City Council / School Committee) endorsements.

Everyone Clam Down Just A Minute

[ed: This is a guest posting from a friend of the blog who wanted their voice heard – and we love it!]

Greetings, Clam Nation.

So unless you’ve been busy stockpiling dry goods for the next pandemic spike, you’ve probably seen Gloucester Health Department Director Karin Carroll’s allegations in the Gloucester Times that Mayor Sefatia Romeo-Theken has been interfering with the City’s COVID-19 response. If you haven’t, here’s the link.

We in the Clam Bunker have had some lively discussions about these and other issues brought forth over the past week and prior. Again, unless you’ve been busy counting rolls of toilet paper, you’ll recall Harbormaster TJ Ciaramitaro’s suit against the City. Community Development Director Jill Cahill has now joined the chorus.

Your The Clam prides itself on its scrupulousness. While the Clameditorial Board was raised on memes and GenX snark, our moral compass is much clearer than the muddy flat we call home. We do stan some good grit.

How’s This for Muckraking?


Mayor Sefatia’s language is unapologetically colorful. She has been this way for her entire two terms in office, not to mention beforehand. She is famous for her colloquial and authentic turns of phrase, from Saint Peter’s Club to the State House. Her unflinching takes on all the issues – all of them – are a lot to swallow for some. There is no denying her love for Gloucester, though. Everyone here is family.

Regarding the Ciaramitaro/Cahill complaints, perhaps that’s the mistake she made. This is a tender time. We are, as a people, tired. Words hurt more than usual. It is tough to remember ourselves. Mayor Sefatia is no exception. She aimed for an open door policy, but a boss also has to draw clear lines. A boss has to be at least a little reserved. This is a tough balance to strike even without the looming threat of an untimely viral death.

Which brings us to the Gloucester Health Department.

The allegations Karin Carroll brought forward are very serious. Your The Clam is waiting to see what happens next. In the meantime, we are withholding judgment. There are accusations, yes, but there must be evidence. With evidence – and with proper oversight from the State – comes clarity and the ability to move forward.

Stay healthy. Wear your masks. Be good to one another. Stay tuned.