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The Quiet Revolution

2011/11/09 in Alex Morse, Bresnahan, Casino, Charter, Council, Elections, History, Holyoke, Lies, Mayor, Patti Devine, Pluta, Politics, Purcell, Tallman

Oh, What A Night!


(this is our new mayor)

So….  it happened.  The bar has been officially been raised.  I don’t think that elections in this city could ever be the same after this.  Yes, we have two years to shake this out and really absorb what has happened…  my only hope is that now we can have more folks step forward to rid this stale environment of its collective inertia.  I also hope that never again we can rely on names, political favors and yard signs as an indication of the political climate – that we have popular engagement, emotion and true spirit driving the action.  I do believe Alex’s credo when he says: “This is not about my campaign, this is about Holyoke.”  People need to stand up and make this true and support him in this effort.  Yes, he won.  Now we have work to do.

Morse won…  Devine lost.  Lisi held on.  Tallman is a winner.  That is some serious joy to be shared.   Sure, we gained that jackass Bresnahan and still carry a ton of dead weight, but I do hope that we end with a council that will work with our new mayor.  At-large did not have that great of a shakeup because there was not the competition, but Morse’s win is a mandate…  I hope that these people see his win as affecting their political liability if they are expecting to work against Morse.  …and down the road we need to challenge McGee, Vacon and run a larger field of at-large in two years to make this possible.  I said that I wished that I could vote in Wards 1, 3 and 7.  They went my way except for Ward 3.  Purcell’s loss was the biggest disappointment here.  Of course, with the at large not being contested there is no way it could have gone my way and seen Vega, Devine, Murphy, Leahy and Bresnahan as losers (in the election, that is…  they are still losers)… so I am at least happy to see the exit of Devine.  Purcell would have been the sole progressive voice on the committee.  Sure, there are some that lean left, but he was my most politically aligned candidate.  I do hope he keeps it up and is part of the 2013′s at-large contest to eliminate more of the chaff.

Of course, I do hope that the progress we see is not “growth” and not gentrification but rather efficiency.  We are a severely divided city.  Downtown is not the desert that many view it as…  it is an asset.  We do not need “revitalization”.  We have a vibrant culture that needs to be engaged, lifted up and made our calling card.  It is all about perspective.  The Latino community and the burgeoning artist district are our diamonds in the rough.  Yeah, with the casino versus data center I will always choose the later, but I would never bet the house on some high tech computing that will possibly have military and surveillance applications.  I know that this is a campaign issue, but I would be happy with neither happening.  This election was about the people…  Holyoke has what it needs to make it happen right now without the “jobs” mantra or this versus that bad idea.

The campaigning for 2013 has already started for many, that is the sad state of affairs in our political environment but we can only hope that the Old Guard has seen the writing on the wall and that this is the beginning of a sea change for this great city.

I dedicate this song, to you, Holyoke:

(yes, I want to make love to Holyoke… every one of you)

Holyoke Charter

2011/11/01 in Bresnahan, Charter, Council, Elections, H.U.S.H., History, Holyoke, Politics, pronography

 Industria Et Copia

(Elizur Holyoke and the Founding Fathers of Holyoke create our beloved charter)

H.U.S.H. is opposed to the Charter Change due to its broad reach and numerous undesirable changes.  I can agree with only one measure in the proposed charter and that is a 4-year term for mayor.  This could happen without the charter proposal being passed.

Read the charter for yourself HERE. (if someone could send me a translated Spanish version in PDF please do)

There exists a Facebook Page called Holyoke Charter Change NO that lays out these reasons to opposition:

VOTE NO on the Proposed Charter Change:

Holyoke cannot afford this risky proposal!

Dear Fellow Voter:

There is going to be a referendum question on this year’s ballot  that proposes to change our City Charter and it has lots of fine print you are not being told about. This risky proposal would:

Weaken Voter Power:

  • Voters will no longer elect the City Clerk or City Treasurer
  • Voters will no longer elect a majority of their City Councilors
  • Only vote for the Mayor every 4 years not every 2 years which could be problematic especially if you get someone who is not doing a good job.

Eliminate Checks and Balances:

  • We already have a very strong Mayor: we should not consolidate nearly all power in one person!
  • Proposes to weaken the City Council and make the Mayor even more powerful
  • Mayor would appoint the Assessors, Tax Collector, Auditor and Treasurer instead of the City Council therefore eliminating the independence of their financial oversight roles.
  • Abolishes most city commissions including the Public Works and Fire Commissions and gives those powers to the Mayor. Also makes the Mayor a member of most remaining commissions.
  • Allows the Mayor to abolish or create any city department without the Council having the opportunity to amend the proposal.
  • Terms of office of city department heads are eliminated and they would serve at pleasure of the Mayor.
  • Recommends eliminating non-political civil service independence for city employees
  • Allows the Mayor to appoint a majority of the future commissions who will review our city charter and our city ordinances.

Make Expensive Changes we cannot afford in these tough economic times:

  • Gives the Mayor a 14% pay raise from $85,000 to $97,000 per year.
  • Creates a New Chief Financial Officer position appointed by the Mayor that would likely cost over $100,000 per year.
  • The proposed new charter is a risky exploration into a new form of government which no one fully knows for sure how it would work and could be the source of expensive future litigation.

Make other foolish changes:

  • The War Memorial Commission would no longer be made up exclusively of veterans.
  • Makes it harder for citizens to run for office and get on the ballot.
  • Eliminates Residency Requirements for city department heads.

Instead of making some simple common sense changes the voters could easily understand, the Charter Commission scrapped our entire charter for a new 53 page confusing and harmful form of government. Their proposal is so complex and confusing that it reads more like mortgage then a referendum. Holyoke’s voters deserve better!

Please Vote NO on the Proposed Charter Change and protect our city!

Outstanding

2011/10/30 in Activism, Art, Bresnahan, Charter, Council, Elections, H.U.S.H., Holyoke, Lisi, Murphy, Politics, pronography, Vega

H.U.S.H. on the streets.

As HUSH readers witnessed in our readers poll we have decided to support Dan Bresnahan.  On a chilly October Saturday HUSH members stood out with our Bresnahan banner.  It was fun.  We did get a lot of smiles, honks and many hand gestures in the forms of waves, devil horns and a few middle fingers.  We certainly stuck out from the crowd and unfortunately may have detracted from other campaign efforts held at the Yankee Peddler corner.  Just as we were to wrap up our standout HUSH was blessed with a visit from Dan The Man himself (as seen in the image below).  He thanked us, offered to buy the banner and invited us to his victory party on election night.  Also on the scene were candidates Lisi, Vega and Murpy.

Dan, if you are reading this, the banner is $500.  Fair price for an original hand-painted design and almost $100 worth of paint and materials.  You can contact me via the contact link if you wish to purchase.  It will be available after the election as we do plan on standing out with it a couple more times.

The Number One Problem in Holyoke

2011/10/28 in Activism, Art, Audio, Bresnahan, Charter, Council, H.U.S.H., Holyoke, Politics, pronosound

Dan Bresnahan explains the number one problem in Holyoke.  This time, in song:

Hey, I know.  It is not that great.  Just my first attempt with the samplers.

Audio from the October 20th City Council Candidate Forum

2011/10/20 in Audio, Casino, Charter, Council, Development, Elections, H.U.S.H., Holyoke, Jobs, Lies, Patti Devine, Politics, Press, Vega

 Audio from the October 20th City Council Candidate Forum held at Dean Tech High School.

 

The event was sparsely attended and was lacking H.U.S.H.’s favorite candidate Patti Devine.  Rumor has it that she was afraid to show up because I was recording the event and planned on editing her statements into a musical remix.  Rosado and Murphy’s main-squeeze McGee also had better things to do, but McGee was later seen in the audience during the At-Large portion of the forum. Rosado and McGee had placards with their name and empty seats.  The same should have been done for Devine, not sure why she gets special treatment here.

The format was a little odd with a different setup for the Ward versus the At-Large candidates.  The Ward candidates were able to ask the opponent a question and then have rebuttal where the At-Large were fielded questions, some repeated, asked by representatives of The Republican and El Pueblo Latino.  As a result the At-Large forum did seem to cover a lot more ground.  The issues of the night were casinos, attracting business with our tax rate and the charter question.

I do need to gripe about the audio…  next time rent some mics so that each person has one, put foam wind-screens on them and before the event explain to the candidates that they need to not touch their lips to the mic when speaking.  6″-8″ away and a normal speaking voice should be used.

If there was one clear winner here it is Gordon Alexander.  Sure, many of these folks might not have public speaking as their forte and might be nervous up there…  and certainly Jourdain, Tallman and McGiverin presented themselves very well, but of the newcomers it was Alexander that stood out.  I did speak to him after saying that I wished I lived in Ward 7 so I could vote for him.  Menwer was also a pleasant surprise.  I probably will be voting for him (and finding out who is his dentist).  If there was one person that looked like they did not belong there it was Brenna Murphy.  She appeared as if she was extremely bored.  Maybe lemon-faced is simply her normal demeanor but she does lack the charisma that sells candidates in the media – maybe she should have taken Devine’s cue and pulled a no-show…  I doubt that she won any votes with her performance.

There was a good deal of intentional and unintentional humor.  Tallman did declare that “we should not sell Holyoke short, so vote for the tall man”.  Yes, I will be voting for him and he is indeed tall.  Though, I do wish he’d invest in some pants that fit him as it was his bare shins exposed by his high-waters that kept distracting my attention.  Bresnahan went on a wonderful tangent about internal organs and sexual intercourse.  I am glad I have all that recorded, his dialog will be uploaded into my sampler this weekend.  Murphy stated that she went to college “because her parents told her to”…  obviously, she’s running for office for that very same reason.   Purcell claimed that some of the folks on stage were criminals.  He’s correct, but it was just funny to hear it said.  Vega was vague when asked about the charter question and wasted his time explaining to the audience that he did not want to tell people how to vote on the issue – thanks, we know how we are voting on the issue – we wanted to know where you stood.  Leahy expressed his love for some of the people in Holyoke, not all of them.  Fletcher claimed that the only crime to speak of at casinos is children and pets locked in cars at the parking lots?!?  Good stuff!

Listen for yourself…

 Ward Councilors:

At Large Councilors:

 

H.U.S.H. officially endorses Bresnahan

2011/09/30 in Activism, Art, Bresnahan, Charter, Council, Elections, H.U.S.H., Holyoke, Politics, Press, pronography

 

In the last readers poll it was determined that ground-fowl and readily available medical marijuana are the two most important issues for Holyoke voters in this year’s election.  That is why H.U.S.H. has decided to endorse Daniel Bresnahan.  Bresnahan, an esteemed scientist and dedicated public health employee, was instrumental in the 2010 discovery that chickens are indeed a vector for swine flu.  With help from councilors Aaron Vega and Patti Define the anti-chicken coalition defeated the urban hen ordinance before it even went to committee. Employing the ever-so-convincing appeal to emotion and slippery slope arguments the majority of the council were convinced that we’d see wolves in the streets hunting our children after the chickens were all preyed upon, that ESPN would be covering our cock fight competitions and that data center tech-professionals from cities like Palo Alto, Oakland and Redmond (pro-hen communities) would view Holyoke as akin to a Third World Nation.  Bravo!  It was a huge victory for the healthy and sane Stop & Shop consumers of Holyoke.  With the US economy in shambles it is only necessary that we citizens are not enabled to provide for ourselves as it is only through consumption that corporate agriculture will see profit in these times.