Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dodd-Peterson debate liveblog

Summary: The biggest change, the biggest difference between these candidates is not their beliefs, but their focus. Tim Dodd talked about people -- people with whom he's worked, people he's met on the campaign trail, people he's helped as selectmen. George Peterson talked about laws, bills, funds, taxes, budgets, and programs. It's an interesting take on their viewpoints. After 16 years of looking at line items and categories, that's what Peterson seems to see when he thinks of the 9th Worcester district. After years as a selectman and a teacher, Dodd sees the people next to him, with whom he works. He seems to want to represent the district, not facilitate it.

7:15 - It's a lot colder outside than it seemed on the way to the car. Standing in the cold holding a sign is proof.

7:30 - Dodd supporters outnumbering Peterson backers. Peterson sign-holders head in first. Small victory.

7:45 - Sheriff's debate starting first. Evangelides, the Republican sheriff candidate, couldn't be bothered to show up.'s a "prior commitment", which comes in second to "more time with his family" on the list of bulls--t political excuses. The Democrat (Foley) and the unenrolled candidate (Nicholas) came. Both are law enforcement professionals. I'm reluctant to comment further as someone unfamiliar with this race.

8:10 - Break time. Foley lays into Evangelides (not by name) for ducking the big issues by skipping the debate. Dodd and Peterson are up in a few. At least half the crowd leaves.

8:15 - Off we go! Peterson's up first with his opening which commences with the pre-Nixon days. He reads it from a paper in front of him. Peterson's been married for 34 years -- good for him! He's also got kids. I just have no idea why he's running for office.

Dodd's opening begins with thank yous to people in the debate, including Rep. Peterson. Calls himself a "citizen legislator" who wouldn't take per diems or a salary raise. Talks about the constituents in each of his four towns.

8:20 - First question asks "what kind of legislator would you be?" Dodd speaks about availability to constituents and would be a full-time legislator. He earned a doctorate while teaching. How many legislators do we have with doctorates? Methinks not enough. Rep. Peterson is full-time, and speaks about constituent services, constant meetings on constituent issues.

8:24 - "Name a concrete proposal you have to create jobs/implemented to create jobs". For Peterson, the answer -- surprise! -- is to cut taxes. The US Chamber of Commerce would be so proud. He's against the excise and income tax, and probably refuses to accept the "Poor Tax" Chance Card when he plays Monopoly. Dodd speaks about his proposal for a district-wide task force to bridge the 2 chambers of commerce in this district that would include local small business owners. Peterson protests that although Massachusetts unemployment has gone down, but we've lost jobs so don't think we aren't in a "terrible situation in this economy". DOOM!

8:26 - "Name a concrete proposal you would implement/have implemented to improve education...touch on a response to the Chapter 70 formula question". Peterson is proud to continue funding through the "Ed reform formula", even though they haven't followed through with the commitment. So, like all state legislators, he brags about how awesome they are at defending local aid. Peterson dodges the Chapter 70 question. This is an easy question for Dodd, as he's in the classroom every day. He knows this law inside and out, and talks about revisiting the charter school funding formula. This formula treats student dollars differently depending on which type of school to which the student transfers.

8:31 - Term limits and pensions. Dodd commits to a five-term/ten year limit of service. Constitutional term limits are "murky water", but he believes in citizen legislators. Defends the idea of hard-working people earning pensions, but continuing Governor Patrick's work against loopholes. Peterson does not, and did not support term limits. Rep. Peterson talks about unfunded pensions, but believes that anyone who pays into a pension system should get it back. Not much daylight between the two of them on this one.

8:35 - Position on ballot questions. Peterson says YES, NO, NO. Claims "double taxation" and dismisses the idea of using those funds for fighting addictions, which is a "gimmick". Calls for reform on Chapter 40B. Supports a sales tax rollback to 5%, but to 3% as per the question. Dodd says NO, NO, NO. People fighting alcohol addiction need the help. Peterson says that raising the sales tax gives these programs too much money.

8:42 - To can you have a "fresh perspective" if most legislators are Democrats? Dodd responds that being a selectman and a teacher gives him everyday contact with the issues, which has resulted in the plans mentioned on his website. To Peterson...three bills he proposed to help the district. Peterson doesn't/can't mention three bills. Everything is everyone else's fault. But government is bad, and there aren't enough Republicans. Oh, government is bad, except when I'm getting all sorts of money for the district -- government is bad when it helps other people, I guess.

8:45 - Peterson asks Dodd "what is the fresh perspective? Can you define it?" Dodd answers that it is not new issues, but rather new ideas. For him, it includes putting bottle bill redemption funds for teaching arts and physical education.

Dodd asks Peterson about Charlie Baker's term limits plan to limit legislators to ten years. Karyn Polito introduced 46 bills, George Peterson passed one bill to rename a road in Upton. So what idea do you have that you could actually done? Peterson talks about restoring the funding for the underground storage tank fund, but he's busy playing defense. Admits that as a legislator, he doesn't have a legislative record.

8:51 - Closing statements. Peterson comes out against taxes and spending, and calls for God to bless the district and America. Dodd again offers energy and experience as a "citizen legislator" bringing new ideas to the district.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Debate liveblog tomorrow

I will be blogging, hopefully live-blogging, the debate between Tim Dodd and George Peterson tomorrow in Grafton. In a contest between a motivated selectman and teacher, and a do-nothing Republican whip on the other, this is a clear choice for anyone who cares about education in the Commonwealth. I'll do it here, possibly on BMG, too.

Ride the wave: Dodd and Cutler

I suppose we could play defense and say that 2010 is an anti-Democratic year. Try to keep what we can keep. Surrender. Alternatively, we could micro-analyze every warp and woof of the governor's race and ignore every other election slated for November. I think there's a better way.

I suspect that 2010 is an anti-people in charge year. Sure, that's a problem for many of us as most of the people in charge at the moment happen to Democrats. Rather than stop at fighting over whose fault is the economic downturn that began months before Obama took office, let's use the tide. Let's ride the wave. No need for Bennett, Murkowski, Crist, and Castle to be the only Republicans thrown out of office this year.

If people want to vote out incumbents, we have a couple Democrats working very hard to help them here in the Bay State. Tim Dodd and Josh Cutler. Two hard-working guys giving of themselves in a tough environment, while the Democratic Party runs its usual incumbent-protection racket. They deserve our help.

Is there an easier job on Beacon Hill than Republican whip? What does that entail -- keeping people awake so they can vote no? Well, Tim Dodd is looking to replace that piece of decorative furniture that is George Peterson. Dodd is a current selectman -- he knows what the towns are going through and how to improve laws to better people's lives. He's a teacher -- he knows how to reform education, not just perform a sound bite. He'll work with the state leadership, not just vote no and go home. And hustle? The guy's everywhere in that district -- and you should see his proposed schedule for district hours. It would make a lesser man keel over. Don't look for him at campaign HQ though, as he's knocking on doors.

Some Republicans offer a differing voice in the Legislature. Peterson offers his constituents indifferent service, and the rest of us a seat warmer. Dodd wants to change that. Smart work on budgets, education, environment, jobs. Far more than "not my fault, I said no" that typifies the incumbent. Unfortunately, the reactive ethics law in force prevents this candidate, pretty much alone on this, from asking for campaign donations. So I'm doing it for him -- give this guy some scratch. Ride the wave, and get someone who knows how to work, and wants to work, in the State House.

Josh Cutler has stepped up when so few would -- to take on a longtime incumbent in SE Massachusetts. To color blue a district largely surrounded by blue, and to add a voice to the Beacon Hill conversation whose vocabulary will extend beyond "no". He's been running hard for several months now, and unlike the current occupant -- he wants this job. He's a businessman who knows how to be responsible for his actions. Cutler knows how to get away from our over-reliance on capital gains taxes. Cutler knows 40B and Open Meeting Law have problems. He's willing to take positions...and fight for them. If the people in Webster's district want to get rid of the incumbent. It will be a real step up. Will you help?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Gov. Patrick, Lt. Gov. Tisei?

Maybe I'm missing something here. But if memory serves, voters vote for candidates for governor and lieutenant governor separately. This usually doesn't matter.

Here's a hypothetical. The race for governor comes down to a very close margin, but Deval Patrick is re-elected. However, a number of voters nevertheless choose Cahill, say about 5%. These voters see Loscocco's name still on the ballot, but as they know that Loscocco withdrew from the race because he's a rat, they vote for the Republican candidate, Richard Tisei. Those additional votes overcome Governor Patrick's margin of victory, and our next governor has a Republican LG.

I know that in some places (Arizona under Governor Napolitano springs to mind) managed with a mixed-party executive. Would our Commonwealth? How do you think that would work out?