Monday, November 3, 2014

The 2014 state election: Say no to Coakley

It's election time again. Here's one Klassy ballot, at least the interesting parts.


I generally loathe the concept of voting against a candidate, but my approach in this case is absolutely #ABC (Anybody But Coakley). Charlie Baker gets my vote, but not particularly because of anything about him. He seems OK enough. A non-ideologue Republican check on a far too unbalanced to one end of the political spectrum legislature. I'd be a little more concerned about him in a federal election, but we aren't in danger of too much Republican influence in Massachusetts. I also really like Evan Falchuk. If he were the more likely to beat Coakley I'd gladly vote for him. In this case, a vote for Falchuk is, unfortunately, as good as a vote for Coakley.

So, on to Coakley. Please read this. I'll wait. It was written by Dorothy Rabinowitz of the Wall Street Journal, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her coverage of the 1980s daycare ritual abuse hysteria. She's a foremost expert on the topic.

So now that you've read that, I have a few questions. How do you vote for Martha Coakley if you're a woman? She seems to have a disrespect for your ability to make your own decisions.

How do you vote for Martha Coakley if you're a man? She seems to have a disdain for the male gender. We're pedophiles who drag our innocent womenfolk down a path of evil with us. Never mind, of course, the fact that none of the accusations in the Amirault case ever happened.

How do you vote for Coakley if you're me? I was a Fells Acres student. I remember Miss Vi. I remember Miss Cheryl. Heck, I was at Cheryl Amirault LeFave's wedding. Gerald used to pick me up at my house in a giant station wagon to take me to school. We loved the Amiraults. My brother and I loved our time at that school. My family has lived through the hell of those trials, being called by the police for questioning, the fear, all of it. My parents were able to figure out it was crap in the 80s. And they aren't qualified to be governor, either.

The daycare abuse hysteria reminds one of the witch hysteria that we know about all too well. Here's the thing. Coakley's role was after the daycare hysteria was over and thoroughly debunked. Every thinking person knew they were innocent. Coakley lied through her teeth while protecting the modern day witch hunters well after the bitter end. The Salem witch trials ended in 1693. Coakley's actions are those of someone who in 1710, years after the legislature passed a law making the witch trial results unlawful, stood up and screamed "Burn them, their witches!" How are we not all laughing at her candidacy? The level of naked political viperism Coakley has displayed in this case is chilling to my soul. Salem, let's show we're better than that today.

The worst thing about this is that she'd still tell you she's right today. Anyone who would act in such a way is utterly unfit to be our governor.

This case ought to leave no one feeling confident except for one thing: justice was not done.

— Judge Isaac Borenstein, 12 June 1998


This has been an ugly campaign by both major candidates. I don't really want to vote for either. For Tisei, I would very much enjoy our district sending the first openly gay when elected Republican rep to Congress. He'd also have to be a moderate if he had any hope of keeping the seat, and if you don't want the Republicans to be a nutjob party, you have to elect non-nutjob Republicans. Additionally, we're going to have a freshman Congressman. It's probably slightly better to have a freshman in the majority. If it were Tierney in the general, Tisei would get my vote in a second, just as he did two years ago.

But I think I'm voting for Moulton. He's run ugly ass primary and general election campaigns reminiscent of Tierney's run two years ago. I dislike it a lot. At the same time, I'm very concerned that there's a decent chance (Nate Silver put it at about 75% this weekend) that the Republicans will take over the senate. Because of that, I don't think I want to add another Republican to the house, even a moderate one. I'm basically making this vote based on the national level. The other thing that I really like about Moulton is that he really annoys super dems. The kind who during the primary talked insane amounts of trash about the guy daring to challenge Tierney. The kind who within a day after the primary were such partisan Kool-Aid drinkers that they were asking "What kind of Kool-Aid? I love that kind!" before they had an answer to what kind it was. Moulton bugs them. I like that. Moulton claims he'll be a bipartisan problem solver. We'll see. I think Tisei would have to try to be.

If this wasn't a tight race I'd vote for Stockwell. I like what he's selling. Basically, if you think the problem is partisan politics stop electing the partisans.

I may get in the booth and totally change this one tomorrow.

State Rep:

Paul Tucker is basically running unopposed (his opponent hasn't campaigned or filed required campaign finance paperwork). Good for him, after the recent PD issues and the way he was thrown under the bus by city hall in the aftermath, in what I'd guess was a power play making sure he knew who was in charge around here. I'll vote for him, and I think he'll do a fine job.

State Senate:

Joan Lovely unopposed. She's been fine so far. Her votes I've disagreed with the most have seemed to be going along to get along.

Question one:

Yes. Repeal the gas tax indexing. Why? The legislature has the ability to vote on the gas tax annually if they want. Their unwillingness to do so shouldn't be rewarded. In fact, they just did, and I have no problem with that. It's currently 24 cents a gallon (not the dime Martha thought it was) which is fairly middle of the pack. If it needs to go up again, I get it. Roads and bridges are important. We have to pay for them, and a lot of ours are old.

The automatic indexing basically amounts to chickenshit government, and I don't like it. I've heard the argument that plenty of our other taxes are already indexed, but they aren't really. The income tax has been mentioned. The only thing that's indexed to is my income. If I make more, I pay more. If I don't, I don't. Same with the sales tax. If I spend more, I pay more. If I don't, I don't. And by the way, that "already indexed" tax was increased recently anyway ... Most importantly, we are in a prolonged period of wage stagnation for low and middle income workers. It's fantasy to say that the indexing is designed to not make it feel any different down the road when so many people aren't seeing income growth.

One final point, remember that many of the legislators who instituted this indexing barely pay the gas tax at all, as they collect per diems for reporting to the state house. If this bill had ended that practice for legislators inside 495 I'd be a little less opposed.

Question two:

I'll support this, barely. And really only because so many Salemites or visitors are slobs. My next door neighbor's house goes through from one street to the other, and his back yard is next to me. It has a fence, so they can't see the sidewalk behind it. I picked up 14 pieces of plastic, none of which required a deposit, from that sidewalk the other day. There were no deposit containers. That's about it for me.

The truth is, this is a crappy way to do recycling, that is way more expensive to people and businesses than increasing curbside, etc. The vast amount of uncollected deposit money, which will provide more windfall (cash grab) to the state, is all the proof you need of that. If I lived somewhere cleaner I'd vote no.

Question three and four:

Question three undoes the casino law, and puts the prohibition back in, basically.

I'm conflicted, but think I'll vote yes on it. I'm not a casino fan. I think they tend to prey on those who can least afford it. It also appears to be at least a faltering industry, and I don't think the law would pass the legislature today, even with the state managing to finagle 25% of the take. I don't think this is a sound economic development policy. There are better ways to get jobs.

Question four mandates that many employees be able to earn paid sick leave, and others would be allowed to use unpaid sick leave. It's a noble idea. I wonder some about the practice, and how it will impact some service industries, (like restaurants) especially. I will probably vote yes on question 4, unless Diane Wolf tells me it would close the Lobster Shanty.

There's plenty of other stuff on the ballot, but this was the interesting stuff.

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