Thursday, April 5, 2012

Town voters need choices

It’s interesting to compare the town politics of East Longmeadow with Longmeadow.  While I’m the first to admit that I know very little about the politics in our neighboring town, I found it quite interesting this morning observing election campaign signs as I drove through the town.   

East Longmeadow’s Annual Town Elections are next week and there are a large number of campaign signs by current School Committee member Joseph Cabrera.  As you can see in the photo, Mr. Cabrera is seeking voter support as a write-in candidate since he lost in the preliminary election last month wherein 5 candidates were seeking 1 School Committee seat and he finished third.  Only the top two candidates are added to the election ballot.

Mr. Cabrera was an outspoken supporter of spending an additional $100K for new lights on the football stadium which was approved at a Special Town Meeting attended by only 400 voters.  This may be a possible reason for his lack of voter support in the preliminary election when 1000 out of 11,000 voters showed up at the polls.   It will be interesting to see how Mr. Cabrera fares as a write-in candidate in the town election next Tuesday, April 10.

In Longmeadow, the situation is quite different with 2 Select Board seats and 4 School Committee seats being essentially uncontested.  While there is a contested Special Election on May 15 to fill the one year seat vacated by Christine Swanson, both candidates are running again in the Annual Town Elections on June 12.

Earlier this year there were three appointments to School Committee seats (see earlier Buzz posts) in which Owen Humphries, James Desroshers and Katherine Girard were appointed. All three of these appointments were a result of resignations by School Committee members.

Over the past two years we have had a number of elected officials resign from the School Committee and Select Board.

One interesting note is that Gerard Kiernan applied for the three different School Committee vacancies over the past year and was not selected.  He is now running in the upcoming election for the open 1 year School Committee seat.  His recent experience shows that it is easier to get elected (or self appointed) than appointed in our town.

Below are the candidates in the upcoming Special Town Election on May 15 and Annual Town Elections on June 12. 

Special Town Election, May 15, 2012

Select Board - 1 one year seat (to fill seat vacated by Christine Swanson)

Mark Barowsky
Richard W. Foster
Annual Town Election, June 12, 2012

Select Board – 2 three year seats
Mark Barowsky
Paul Santaniello– candidate for re-election
Richard Foster

School Committee – 2 three year seats
Kathryn Girard
James Desrochers

School Committee – 1 two year seat
Elizabeth Bone

School Committee – 1 one year seat
Gerard Kiernan

Summary…  After the June town elections, we will have 4 out of 5 members of the Select Board who have run unopposed and 6 out of 7 members of the School Committee.

Jennifer Jester and Mark Gold are the only members of our town leaders who have been elected in a contested election.

I applaud the efforts of those individuals who have stepped up to the plate and are willing to commit their energies to our town.
However, if we are to be successful as a town with our current form of government, we need to be able to elect leaders that best represent our town residents.  Without choice at the ballot box on election day that will not likely be possible.

1 comment:

John J. Fitzgerald said...

I was elected in 2008 in a contested election. I was re-elected in 2011 with no opposition.


John J. Fitzgerald
Longmeadow School Committee