Friday, November 02, 2007

Petite Peeks at Would-Be Councilors


Well, ladies and gentlemen, the Boston-Bay State Banner makes you squint, but the Boston Globe doesn't even try. Each runs one of those barely meaningful set of questions of the at-large City Council candidates.

In a move Edgar Allen Poe would appreciate, the Banner hides its chart's link in black on blue at the top of its home page. The Globe has its only in the print edition.

I think the former's heart was right, but web camouflage isn't the way to do it. The broadsheet apparently thinks its convoluted article beside the chart is all you foolish online readers need. It too lacks web savvy in this case, in not understanding how most of us assimilate dense info in a combo visual/verbal way.

Considering these two together, you can learn some of the fine distinctions among the at-large candidates. It's certainly not enough to base your decision on this coming Tuesday, but it can augment what you already know (or will assiduously learn by November 6th).

The Banner forces binary yes/no answers to long questions about:
  • More local affordable housing resources
  • Tenant's right to collective bargaining ordinance
  • Translated candidate names on bilingual ballots
  • A new city planning department
  • Municipal election vote for those seeking citizenship
  • More city money for summer and year-round youth jobs
  • Higher standards for mortgage companies

In its invisible chart, the Globe allowed free-form answers to only three questions, about:
  • Biggest issue facing the city
  • Areas of improvement for the Council
  • Random drug tests in new firefighters' contract
There are a few noteworthy results even from such skeletal surveys. Consider:
  • Incumbent Steve Murphy apparently blew off the Banner's request. Did he figure if he got the Irish-American vote he didn't need the Black vote?
  • While known as a pretty liberal guy, contender John Connolly revealed some pretty conservative areas — pro drug tests, con expanding tenant protections, anti-votes for those seeking citizenship.
  • Arroyo and Yoon were progressive across the board in both, such as fundamental expansions on programs to keep youth in school and reduce youth violence.
  • Flaherty's only No to the Banner was significant. He still opposes giving tenants access to collective bargaining with big owners.
Unless you're almost decided on the candidates, these may not help a lot. You can only choose up to four of the nine (and you don't have to vote for four, but can bullet). So, I suggest looking at these, or also wading through the turgid Globe recap. A little learning is a dangerous thing.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Off-year elections are always difficult enough to remember, but the media has been especially unhelpful this year in covering this election or the differences between candidates. Thanks for the summary!

I'm a little surprised that only two of the five major candidates support tenant negotiating rights, but maybe the other candidates figure that renters don't vote. And maybe they're right...

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