Wednesday, October 27, 2010

MA Sec'y Home Stretch - Rain But No Tears

After the incumbent Secretary of the Commonwealth, Bill Galvin, blew off the last chance for a public debate by reneging on the Suffolk Law forum, independent candidate Jim Henderson held a press conference today when the debate should have been happening. Here he is in the well in front of the State House with some of his supporters.
Seemingly under the terrible weight of inertia of the office holder who won't debate, Henderson has remained pragmatic and cheerful. He speaks of him and his followers doing what they can.
As well has addressing his own aims for the office of Secretary, Henderson had some verbal support. He read an endorsement from software entrepreneur Paul Egerman, who has had his problems getting information from the Secretary's offices. Also, Stephen Buckley (left) appeared and detailed how Galvin's office refused to help him when the Department of Children and Families (formerly DSS) would not respond to repeated requests for a copy of their policies and procedures. He said because the DCF would not put their refusal in writing, Galvin's staff refused to act.
In what surely must be happenstance and not malice, Galvin was sort of present. Maybe 100 feet away on Beacon Street at the risibly named (General) Hooker Entrance to the Statehouse, was a sign asking "What's Under The Golden Dome" and reading that Galvin "invites you to find out!"

Readers here know that I support Henderson, have endorsed him, and think his positions on public access to our data, on finding out why half of us don't vote at all, and most certainly on using computer technology of this century like nearly every other state.

While I have been known to donate to parties and causes, I have a policy of not donating to individual candidates. That is particularly important because of the weekly Left Ahead! podcast I participate in with Ryan Adams and Lynne Lupien. I like to keep it clean with anyone we may have on the show.

At today's conference in the intermittent drizzle, Henderson remained in control of his frustration. While catercorner from the FOX affiliate, they did not get media coverage.

That continues to amaze and Galvin seems to play on the topor of the Globe, Herald, broadcast media, as well as the Phoenix. Four years ago, the last time Galvin was up for re-election, he did the same routine of avoiding debates and limiting public appearances. Back then, the dailies at least were all over him for it.

They seemed to have learned their lessons and are being well-behaved little kids this time. Back then, the press was exercised, but the voters were not. The media seem too gun-shy this cycle to do their job.

The difference this time is that it was over in 2006 with the primary when John Bonifaz, the reform candidate, lost the Democratic slot. Now, Henderson knew that was the wrong approach and will appear in the general election, as will GOP nominee Bill Campbell. Like Bonifaz, Henderson offers promise of big improvement and massive change.

So much as been made of the gubernatorial race, including 19 debates or fora, that some races have become so much litter blown around the darkened streets. The other statewide races though — Treasurer, Auditor and Attorney General — earned their own spots with many fora and much press coverage. The candidates raged and sneered at each other, and made themselves available.

Without Galvin's participation in the democratic and campaign processes, Secretary did not make its own promotion. Combined with lethargy of the media, all that seems left in the air are Campbell's gentle comments, Henderson's strong platform, and Galvin's inertia.

Many including Henderson have noted the twisted humor of Galvin being the chief administrator of elections in Massachusetts...and not participating.
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