The four Area Councils (Newtonville, Highlands, Waban and Upper Falls) have joined together to host debates in each of the contested seats in the City Council and School Committee races.

On Oct 20 they’ll hold six debates at Newton North for the ward 1 – 4 seats

On Oct 27 they’ll hold six debates at the Zervas School for ward 5 and 6 seats

One curious detail involves the debate for the ward councilor seat being vacated by John Rice.

Last month the city held a preliminary election in a single ward (Ward 5) to whittle the list of candidates from 3 down to 2 for the final election next month.  Rena Getz lost that election, though she did lead the vote in Upper Falls, most likely due to her opposition to the Upper Falls hot-button issue – the Northland project.

She announced after the election that she would continue campaigning as a write-in candidate in the Nov election, which she of course has every right to do.

The curiosity is that she is being included in the Area Council Ward 5 debate.   I’m of two minds about this. 

On the one hand, she campaigned actively for the preliminary.  Despite the fact she lost, she garnered a substantial fraction of the vote, clearly struck a chord in one corner of  the ward, and is definitely representing a constituency.

On the other hand, the city runs preliminary elections, at some expense, specifically to reduce the field of candidates to two choices for the November final election.   Given that, does it make sense for another arm of the same city government to include the losing candidate in its debate.  If so, is there any point in having a preliminary election?  What purpose does it serve?

In any case, it should be a good debate hosted by Andy Levin.


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