|City Council Biomass Hearing|
The vast majority of people in Springfield support ward representation and oppose a biomass plant being built in the city. But four out of five of the top vote getters in the city council race oppose ward representation and support the biomass incinerator!-- Timothy Rooke, Kateri Walsh, Bud Williams and James Ferrera.
The scary thing about this, of course, is that the message councilors are likely to take from this disconnect of councilors from issues is that they can act with impunity. Councilors should ponder, however, the first place finish of first term At Large Councilor Tom Ashe, the only at large councilor to vote to revoke the special permit for biomass developer Palmer Renewable Energy. At 6885 votes, Ashe came in more than 900 votes of second place Tim Rooke, and a whopping 1,800 votes ahead of fifth place Jimmy Ferrera. I think it's fair to assume that were Jose Tosado still running for city council instead of mayor, Ferrera would not have been among the top five.
While one tends to think that primary results dictate the outcome of the general election, the potential of stay-at-home voters can be tapped. In 2008, 60% of all registered Springfield voters managed to get themselves out of the house and to the polls to vote their passion. Most candidates for office are not only unable to generate that kind of passion, most of them would prefer the blandest possible persona: lifelong residents, I graduated here, my wife works there, kids go to school here, etc. etc. Smooth, bland, and (until ward representation) colorless. Don't let voters develop strong opinions about you. Go along to get along. Be happy to get the votes of the folks who always vote.
I do think there are a couple of candidates this year who haven't shied away from taking strong opinions. I know who's on my list, who's on yours?