Fret not. Follow my lead through the unusually long November ballot.
See and smear the ovals for:
GOVERNOR AND LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR
PATRICK AND MURRAY Democrat
MARTHA COAKLEY 46 Coolidge Rd., Medford Democrat
SECRETARY OF STATE
JAMES D. HENDERSON 38 Brandymeade Cir., Stow Unenrolled
STEVEN GROSSMAN 30 Huntington Rd., Newton Democrat
SUZANNE M. BUMP 409 North Plain Rd., Great Barrington Democrat
For the ballot questions, the three everyone will get, 1, 2 and 3, choose NO.
Now I suppose you want reasons. Of course, you can search here by candidate name or office. You can also go to Left Ahead! and listen to our shows with many of them.
Mine-alone note: Left Ahead! as a trio rarely endorses candidates, preferring to retain some impartiality. These are my calls.
Governor/Looey. Patrick/Murray have done a remarkable job in very tough times. They can unroll a long scroll of accomplishments, most obviously deep education, ethics and transportation reforms, as well as implementation of overdue near-universal health care. When the entire nation and nearly all the industrialized world faces severe financial trouble, this administration has melded economies with judicious spending to make our recovery track much faster than others. We can't take a flier on vague pledges to do better by the unproven.
The Republican Baker offers a terrifying résumé of situation ethics. In GOP administrations here and as head of Harvard Health, he has a non-stop record of overspending, hiding his deeds, creating unemployment all around him, and nearly doubling health-insurance rates. He's toxic.
Green-Rainbow's Stein has some solid, largely heartfelt planks. She doesn't have a wide vision and does not inspire an iota of confidence that she could handle the whole job.
Independent Cahill seems befuddled by both job demands and direction for the office.
Attorney General. Coakley has done as good a job as AG as any in recent memory. McKenna is all winger bluster — hold down immigrants, stymie the federal health-care law, and use cops like a big, wildly swinging club. No thanks, Jim.
Secretary. This office is long, long due for modernization to serve the citizens. Henderson is the only one with a specific set of proposals to overhaul access to public records and increase voter participation. Galvin has long seemed like a place holder in this office. Campbell has a limited set of modest proposals, like demanding that every voter produce ID every time. Let's go with the vision here.
Treasurer. The other race that offers a positive revolution requires Grossman. Polito has long portrayed herself as one-trick pony — a rich person who won't take a pension. Yawn. Grossman announced early how he would use the state pension funds to make safe investments designed to create thousands of jobs and speed us into full economic recovery. Again, let's go with vision.
Auditor. No candidate here offers the wide ranging improvements that Henderson and Grossman do, but Bump is the clear choice. Connaughton is also a one-trick candidate, chanting that she's a CPA. Well, CPAs are the underlings in this office for good reason. Bump knows how to measure, analyze and act on findings. Physics professor Fortune has a good name for a fiscal post, but not the expertise or experience here to trust him with this job. We need a real manager and leader in this office — Bump.
Question 1. No would keep the tax on alcoholic beverages. If you truly want to save $6.25 on $100 of booze, wine or beer, you could drive to New Hampshire and illegally drive it back, even if that cost you as much in gas, not counting time. This is a small hit in line with nearly all states and a fair way to share the economic pain in these tough times. No on 1.
Question 2. A yes would repeal the deal-cutting incentives for private developers to provide set-asides for affordable housing when they build. This has had small effects in our few large cities, but huge impacts elsewhere in the commonwealth. Keeping this in place is the only available spur to provide housing stock for all. No on 2.
Question 3. No would maintain the current sale-tax rate at 6.25% (considerably lower than other states in the region, except for New Hampshire, which tends to make it up in high property taxes and other fees). Yes would drop it to 3%, causing unbelievable deficits or forcing the legislature to tell the voters to get lost. Going for this would be the height of irresponsibility and would be terrifically destructive to our quality of life. No on 3.
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