One day before election day, I’d like to offer eleven random observations and predictions. Please share yours in the comments section:
- No one will ever confuse Paul Coletti or Allan Ciccone with Michael Jordan. Both former aldermen attempted comebacks this year. Neither are going to be successful. Their out-of-touch campaigns (neither candidate bothered to create a website) did, however, remind us how much Newton has changed over a few short years.
- If Allison Sharma couldn’t win a write-in campaign two years ago against a generally-unknown Chris Markiewicz (who entered under questionable circumstances), Rena Getz won’t prevail on Tuesday in Ward 5 against two higher profile candidates. Bill Humphrey and Kathy Winters both ran solid, multi-dimensional, campaigns for the better part of the year. If Humphrey prevails, it will be because Getz syphoned just enough votes away from the more moderate Winters. (BTW, Markiewicz has been a pretty good city councilor. I only wish he didn’t obtain his seat the way he did. He probably does too.)
- Although this election has been framed as being all about development, every candidate I’ve spoken to says when they knock on doors voters ask about a much wider range of issues. If the Right Sized slate of candidates, don’t win tomorrow, it will be because (except for Julia ‘the tree lady” Malakie) they were seen – fairly or not — as being one issue candidates. Besides local elections are always about just one thing: Who has the best get out the vote strategy.
- All eyes tomorrow will be on the showdown between incumbent Emily Norton and Bryan Barash. Here we have two die-hard progressives who have very little daylight on issues except on the issues of smart growth, development and housing. Both worked very hard this cycle. Both have feverishly devoted fans and detractors.
- The contest with the sharpest elbows has been the Ward 6 race between incumbent Brenda Noel and challenger Lisa Gordon. This wasn’t just about two different world views; it became personal. The hard feelings will likely continue past Election Day.
- On the other hand, the Ward 3 and Ward 3 At Large contests centered on sharp political contrasts; All five candidates there deserve credit for – as far as I can tell — staying issue-focused, cordial and non-confrontational.
- How it is that incumbent Greg Schwartz came to be embraced by Right Sized Newton? Schwartz voted for Austin Street and Washington Place. I predict he will do the same for Northland and Riverside. I suppose it has to do in part with Right Sized’s concerns about Alicia Bowman, who has been more outspoken in favor of muliti-family development. Schwartz is also viewed favorably by Opt Out supporters, who’ve generally embraced the same Right Size slate. (But if that’s true, why isn’t Right Size/Opt Out also supportive of Andrea Kelley, who also was recreational marijuana skeptical?) Anyway, Schwartz was the odd guy out this fall. I’m not sure he deserved it.
- It’s disheartening to see how far the Tab has fallen from playing a role in our elections. Those of us who spend time online had many avenues – including the Globe’s Newton Report — to learn about the candidates. But for many seniors and those who only occasionally follow elected politics, this creates a real void. But kudos to the Globe and Boston University for stepping it up.
- The other real loss this election season was that we had no serious School Committee contests. How that can be in a city that says schools are our most important asset is confounding and disappointing.
- Election Day is tomorrow but the next big vote is just a few weeks away. That’s when the next council will select its next president. Current President Marc Laredo has been far more polarizing than his predecessor Scott Lennon. It will be fascinating to see how his colleagues (and future colleagues) respond.
- Even with a pay raise coming, being a city councilor always struck me as a pretty thankless job, especially in a community that’s not shy about taking things that don’t go their way personally. We should all be grateful to everyone who has served and wants to serve, as well as to their families and supporters who give up so much to engage in this process.
Vote early and often tomorrow. And don’t forget to use the comments section to complain one more time about how mean I’ve been to Emily Norton.