Monday, October 1, 2007

Legislature passes ward representation bill

I received a call from Mary Reilly, one of Sen. Buoniconti's Boston aides, early this afternoon-- the Legislature is DONE with home rule legislation for ward representation-- with a whole 30 hours to spare! Now the Governor must sign it before the end of tomorrow. Mary Reilly said the bill was actually on the Governor's desk and that Sen. Buoniconti was headed for the Governor's office to leave a personal request.

Meanwhile, I suppose, anything can happen-- I'd say we're 75% of the way there, with the deadline now less than 24 hours away. Just called the Governor's office-- talked to whoever answered the phone, Brendan, which I think is as close as an ordinary citizen ever gets to the gov. Brendan said the Governor is "aware" of the legislation (should be, I know of at least 40 phone calls that were made to his office) but seeing as the gov has not yet expressed a public opinion either way, Brendan couldn't say what he's going to do. Guess that's the typical political response, and that I shouldn't necessarily take it as a negative.

Wish I could have been a fly on the wall of some of the rooms where our legislators must have talked about ward rep-- then again, there's the possibility they've scarcely talked about it AT ALL (with a couple exceptions) because you'd never guess ward rep was a priority for anyone other than the citizens of this city, who've waited long enough.

Never been much of a "back room" person. We don't know how to play that game at Arise for Social Justice, and wouldn't play it even if we knew how. I still believe that voting makes a difference, at least on a local level.

Ward rep won 58% of the vote in the 1997 ballot initiative, but because the question was brought by CITIZENS instead of the City Council itself, we had an absurd, impossible barrier to the question becoming law-- ONE-THIRD of all the residents in the city had to vote in the affirmative, and that one-third had to be a majority of those who voted. Of course we haven't had that kind of turn-out in years, although the ward rep question had a greater number of supporters than any single city councilor. The question would have been FIRST if it had been a city councilor.

We have the RIGHT to vote on this issue. I know that I and others will be working very hard to turn out the vote Nov. 6 if ward rep gets on the ballot.

If I hear more soon, I'll post it.

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