Thursday, September 30, 2010

Local decline

Shawn today highlights a new labeling program by the state called "Commonwealth Quality" to highlight locally grown produce and products. Warren Shaw gave a talk at the unveiling of the label.

It reminded me about something I read in the paper this week - the demise of Good Old Yum Yum bakery over near the Post Office. I was saddened to read this news as it's just another example of a local business going under. I admit that I didn't shop all the time at this bakery but I would often stop in on Sundays to get donuts after Mass. We need to do more to promote and shop at these local businesses. Yes, they're more expensive and may not have the selection of a chain place but small businesses are the backbone of our local economies. Plus, if they go away we're left with nothing but a bunch of chain stores and restaurants. That would be horrible.

I cannot not help but notice the irony that a CVS is being built right down the street. CVS was founded in Lowell but it's now a national chain whose headquarters is in Rhode Island. We need that store like we need a hole in the head - what's wrong with the one on Lakeview Ave? Yes, we could use the tax revenue but getting across town lately has been maddening and that intersection will become miserable. I'd hate to see us become Tewksbury. Thank goodness they stopped that Walgreen's - Dracut will lose its charm if we allow more of these places and allow the local places to die out.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sheehan Fundraiser

Independent state representative candidate Matt Sheehan is having a fundraiser on Sunday at the Tyngsboro Sportsmen Club. Shawn has the details here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Yikes

Defeated state Senate candidate Patrick Rahilly posted his concession speech on Facebook tonight. Yikes, looks like the voters made a wise decision. It ain't pretty, poetic, classy, or gracious:

Thank you to everyone who helped out. Thank to those who saw past the BS of the other candidates, those who saw past the money, those who truly believed there is greatness is somewhere in one of us. I didn't lose tonight... we did.

I can't help but replay every moment I could have made this race closer or won. It sure as shit wasn't lost on effort. I went door to door I talked to the people, I drank their coffee, went to their barbeques and listened to their concerns. I did everything I could, we should all be able to fall fast asleep tonight knowing we did all we could. Maybe more could have been done, who knows, but if we can look each other in the eye and know that we did all we could have, then thats good enough for me.

This may sound bitter but its not. I am not bitter, I am not angry, I am just concerned and somewhat dismayed. It has come to the unfortunate conclusion of some thought it might, one who has attacked me and my family personally who I would NEVER endorse and one who I admire his legal skill and intelligence, but I STRONGLY disagree with his legislative principles and would NEVER vote for, this is an AWFUL position to be in as an American. But all I ask is that you fight on with the good fight. Do me this one favor... Don't ever comprimise your beliefs to conform to a party or anyone else's.

Thank you everyone again for believing in me.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Quick thoughts

I must say that I was caught off guard by Barry Finegold's victory in the Democratic primary for state Senate. When I went to vote this morning, I was surprised to see John Kelly's name still on the ballot. I don't have final numbers yet but once has to wonder how many people voted for Kelly who would have otherwise voted for Jack Wilson.

Finegold did lose Dracut, however. He won big in Lawrence which doesn't bode well for Jamison Tomasek, the Republican nominee (or for the voters for that matter). Finegold will most likely win Lawrence and Andover in November so Tomasek has to take Dracut and Tewksbury running away. It goes to show that in a low turnout race, the person with the effective and experienced GOTV apparatus (and the backing of the Mayor of Lawrence who owns the voters in that city) you can win.

I don't see State Rep. Colleen Garry having any problem getting re-elected in November. She ran unopposed in the primary and I think she will defeat George Boag and Matthew Sheehan easily. They're both solid guys but inexperienced. Garry is right on the issues for Dracut, experienced, and knows her stuff. Boag is an unknown and Sheehan is a weak debater. It won't even be close.

On the national level, Jon Golnik won the Republican nomination for the U.S. House but Niki Tsongas wins this one. The GOP fielded a very weak slate of candidates for national seats (and some local races) and their lack of a farm team is really showing. With no real experienced candidates to go to, they had to rely on unknowns and fringe candidates. If the GOP wants to be a national party, they can't keep nominating wingnuts and rabid right-wingers. The Democrats learned this lesson in 2004 and look what happened to them in 2006 and 2008 - they won huge, especially in states where they were never competitive (i.e. Montana). I lean more Republican but no one in the Congressional race excited me, in fact, they turned me off. I'll most likely vote for Golnik (would never vote for Tsongas) but by default. The state GOP needs to focus on town committees and get people elected to local boards - and I mean normal people, not people who call people Socialists and Communists (is this 1955?) and have pictures of President Obama dressed like Obama Bin Laden in their driveway. This is just handing seats to the Democrats, they're loving it.

Oh well, the fun has just begun.

Get out and vote

I have to work late tonight so I voted right at 7am today. I was second in line at Lakeview Junior High but the first to cast a ballot. They are predicting a small turn out statewide (about 20%) so GOTV efforts will be huge.

I an unenrolled so I can pull either a Republican or Democratic ballot. I was undecided as to what ballot to pull as I was walking in. As I was waiting for 7am, I looked at the ballot specimens and decided to pull a Democratic ballot. I am not enthusiastic about any of the Republican candidates for the U.S. House and the other two contested races - Jamison Tomasek (Senate) and Mary Z. Connaughton (Auditor) - are locks. I voted for people for Senate, Treasurer, Auditor, and Governor's Council. I left the unopposed ones blank.

Anyway, get out and vote or don't complain!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Back on stage

My daughter and I went to the 5pm mass tonight at Saint Francis. We had to do a diaper change in the middle and as I was leaving the bathroom, I noticed the crew practicing for the upcoming parish show that they put on every September. I walked past...and then went back to take a second look. I said to a girl in the hallway, "Is that John Zimini?" Yep. You may recall that a couple of years ago, Zimini was in a play with his daughter at Merrimack College so he is no stranger to the stage.

Glad to see him taking part, should be another great show. I've never actually been able to make a show in the years I've been in town but I've heard it's always amazing. It's produced by Linda Trouville so you know it's going to be good.

Teddy K?

Maybe it's a joke or a complete set-up for bloggers like me who love any type of news but over at Gerry Nutter's blog, Brian Bond weighed in on his predictions for Tuesday's primary. At the end he wrote:

Dracut Selectmen Race
John Zimini & Ted Kosiavelon

Ted ran 2 or 3 years ago and lost and there were rumors that he was going to run in this past May's election. Will be interesting to see if he runs in 2011. Pete Wilde has already announced he will be running for a second time (he lost big in May getting less than 500 votes). Incumbent Bob Cox is also up for re-election.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Old Home Day

My family enjoyed a couple of hours at today's Old Home Day. It was much nicer weather than last year when it absolutely poured. Today was picture perfect and the crowd was huge. It had your usual mix of businesses, politicians, town groups, and food stands. I saw booths for Colleen Garry, Jamison Tomasek, the two of the lesser known Republican candidates for Congress (one had a booth, the other one I saw walking around), the Republican and Democractic Town Committees, Barry Finegold, Jack Wilson, and Karyn Polito.

I saw George Boag walking around and staffing the DRTC booth but no sign of Matthew Sheehan (I am sure he was there, I just didn't see him). There was also a guy handing out instructions on how to write his name in on the ballot for Attorney General.

The highlight I think for my wife was meeting actor Scott Grimes. Grimes has been in town this weekend and as we were talking to someone, I looked up and saw him. I heard he was going to be there and since my wife and I were big fans of "ER" I was hoping we'd run into him. He graciously took a picture with us and chatted for a few seconds. It was a nice brush with fame.

There were tons of performances on the gazebo but my favorite was the high school marching band, especially their rendition of the Notre Dame Fight Song!

A good job to all involved, another great day for Dracut.

9 years ago today...

Each day I receive a "This Day in Massachusetts History" e-mail called Mass Moments. Today's remembers John Ogonowski:

...in 2001, American Airlines pilot John Ogonowski made the familiar drive from his farm in Dracut to Logan airport. He was sorry he would miss a special event scheduled for later that day. Federal officials were coming to inspect the work of Cambodian immigrant farmers who leased land from Ogonowski. A fourth-generation Massachusetts farmer, he was an active participant in the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project which helps immigrants carry on their agricultural traditions, while protecting farmland from development. When the officials arrived at the farm, they learned that the plane Ogonowski was piloting had been hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center. The New Entry Sustainable Farming Project continues, a living memorial to John Ogonowski.

See more here, including a nice biography of Ogonowski and a look at his work in preserving open space in Dracut.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Looking good for Tomasek

By all accounts, it seems like Jamison Tomasek bested Patrick Rahilly in last night's debate. Shawn, Teddy Panos, and Gerry Nutter all agreed that Tomasek was sharper on the issues, better prepared, and better informed about the issues. If Jack Wilson can pull through on the Democratic side, I think the voters will have two great choices who can claim the outsider mantel. Of course, Tomasek is more of an outsider since Wilson has been a part of government in the past so he will find that debate.

Should be interesting...less than one week to go.

Weaving right

Got more campaign pieces today - one from Barry Finegold and another from Jack Wilson. Finegold's focus is his hard work with nice stories about his perseverance to play high school football, go to law school, and serve on the Andover Board of Selectmen. Then, he points out that he "crafted and fought" for the Baby Safe Haven Bill, a bill he says "many considered a waste of time" but he thought it "deserved attention." Thanks to Barry Finegold, he says, 15 newsborns' lives have been saved.

Well alleluia. I guess that makes up for Finegold's "pro-choice" rating by NARAL and his 100% rating by NARAL in 2005. This is the same Barry Finegold who during the 2007 congressional election fell over himself to point out that his staff made "a mistake" adding his name to a bill that would "restrict a woman's access to an abortion for 24 hours." NARAL and Planned Parenthood defended Finegold and praised his 100% record on pro-abortion voting.

Nice try, Rep. Finegold. Trying to appease independents by touting your support of this bill does not make up for your consistent and ugly pro-abortion record.

Wilson's piece goes after Finegold for his vote to raise the sales tax, his campaign finance issues, and his 7% rating from Citizen for Limited Taxation. He has a great quote on the front of his piece: "How do we expect to change politics as usual if we keep electing Beacon Hill insiders?"

EXACTLY! Amen Mr. Wilson.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Senate debates

Gerry Nutter has some good coverage of tonight's state Senate debate. It seems that Rep. Barry Finegold never showed which shows his true colors. I've heard he ducks questions in interviews and is a typical pol when it comes to spinning. Plus, he seems to have major ethical problems with the constant money he has to return to campaign contributors.

In Gerry's opinion, Jamison Tomasek shined for the Republicans and Jack Wilson for the Democrats. That's good to hear, I like those two guys.

See Gerry's thoughts here.

Dennis moving on

Gerry Nutter broke some news today - Lowell Sun reporter and all around good guy Dennis Shaughnessey has left the paper and is now a part time custodian at the high school cafeteria. Gerry points out that Dennis may stay on at the Sun on a part-time basis (I hope so).

This is a huge loss for the Sun and tt seems like they are just hemorrhaging staff. I am a subscriber so I do what I can to support the paper but it seems like its going down the tubes. Losing Dennis is huge.

Best of luck Dennis, you'll be missed at the paper.

Final Financials

The pre-primary reports are in for Colleen Garry, Barry Finegold, and Jack Wilson:

Colleen Garry: Raised $7,200, spent $2,308 (began with $13,384)

Barry Finegold: Raised $150,096, spent $133,506 (began with $93,798)

John Wilson: Raised $66,986, spent $40,336

Senate financials

The two Republicans running for the state Senate have their pre-primary reports up. From January 1-August 27:

Jamison Tomasek: Raised $16,367, spent $11,980

Patrick Rahilly: Raised $2,510, spent $2,429

Monday, September 6, 2010

Financials

I believe candidates for state office have to file financial reports one week before the primary (and then again after the general election). So not all of the local candidates have their reports up at the OCPF website yet but some do. These numbers are typically since January 1, 2010, although most began later as the folks were not it the races until the spring or so.

I will check back later this week after all the others have reported. For now:

State Senate

Barry Finegold, Patrick Rahilly, Jamison Tomasek, and John Wilson : Nothing yet

Debbie Silberstein: Raised $93,370, spent $68,136

State Representative

Colleen Garry: Nothing yet (had $14,350 on hand as of 12/31/09)

George Boag: Raised $2,324, spent $2,137

Matthew Sheehan: Raised $1,900, spent $375

There still a state rep race?

While the state Senate is hot, the state Representative race is COLD. Incumbent Rep. Colleen Garry is facing two challengers - Republican George Boag and Independent School Committee Chair Matthew Sheehan. I know I've been out of the loop for a few weeks and perhaps it's because there is no primary but this race seems to have no news or goings-on. Garry has posted on Facebook that she is out campaigning and perhaps Boag and Sheehan are too, just not talking about it on-line.

Garry's website is down and Boag's site hasn't been updated since August. Sheehan, as far as I can tell, does not have any website or Facebook page.

Hopefully everything heats up after next week.

Correction

In yesterday's post about the Senate race, I referred to candidate Debbie Silberstein as "Silverstein." My mistake, I never noticed the B in all the months she's been in the race. I've corrected it.

By the way "PDM", I am not a "reporter" nor have I ever claimed to be.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Money talk

Today's paper has a brief article about contract negotiations with town employees. As you may recall, every single public employee union in town made financial concessions last go round...except for the teachers. I am guessing now that fire fighters, police, clerical workers, and others want what's coming their way. We all applaud and thank the unions for making concessions but we all know that public employee unions ONLY make concessions or cuts when they get something in return. Always, always, always. In my opinion, expect raises that make up for the ones they gave up or retroactive raises.

One week to go...

Sorry for the black out lately folks. With the end of the summer and the beginning of the school year, things have been busier around these parts. Plus, things have been pretty quiet in our little hamlet. But with Labor Day tomorrow, things will change quickly. The state primary is one week from Tuesday and we've got ourselves a hell of a state Senate race going on. Shawn, as usual, is doing yeoman's coverage of this race.

My wife was at the Farmer's Market yesterday and started talking to Debbie Silberstein, one of the three Democrats running for the seat. As they were talking, my wife noticed that Silberstein's pamphlet said she was endorsed by Planned Parenthood. My wife told her that that was a dealbreaker for her and she couldn't vote for her. Silberstein said, "Conservative? It is for me too [a dealbreaker]." My wife, who found Silbertstein to be very nice, qualified, and a strong woman/mother, was surprised that she would want to be endorsed by an organization that doesn't support women and children and that promotes abortion and sexual activity among teenage girls.

Anyway, the next week or so should be a lot of fun. Dracut is getting a lot of attention with Jack Wilson and Barry Finegold signs everywhere. Wilson seems to be trying to position himself as the moderate/conservative in the race (he was recently endorsed by the New England Benevolent Association) while Feingold is promoting his "independence" (despite voting with the Speaker of the House over 90% of the time???). I am seeing more Wilson signs and given Finegold's missteps, he may be the odd man out here.

On the Republican side, there are two newbies, Jamison Tomasek and Patrick Rahilly. I've met Tomasek and he seems like a solid guy and I see Rahilly is campaigning a lot in Dracut. It will be very interesting to see who comes out of this one. I see Tomasek pulling it out but Rahilly has worked hard so he may surprise us.