Thursday, November 03, 2011 • 2:30 PM Comments (2)

Election Countdown: The Endorsement Wars

posted by Maureen Turner

With five days until Election Day, mayoral candidate José Tosado has announced that he’s won the endorsement of the Service Employees International Union Local 1199—which claims 6,200 members in Springfield—while reminding voters of the other endorsements he’s racked up during the campaign.

That list includes the Springfield patrol officers’ union and the progressive community group Neighbor to Neighbor. Tosado has also been endorsed by City Councilors Zaida Luna (Ward 1), Melvin Edwards (Ward 3), Amaad Rivera (Ward 6, for now, but running for an at-large seat), and John Lysak (Ward 8). In addition, School Committee member Antonette Pepe—who was also a mayoral candidate until she was eliminated in the Sept. 20 preliminary—has endorsed Tosado, as has state Rep. Ben Swan and former School Committee member Bob McCollum (whose son Ryan is a consultant for the Tosado campaign).

Incumbent Mayor Domenic Sarno, for his part, has won the endorsement of the Springfield Republican—a prominent endorsement although, in this case, not exactly a raving one. The newspaper called Sarno “hard working and dedicated” and praised his “steady, sincere and compassionate” leadership, particularly in the wake of the June 1 tornado. But the editorial pointed to just one concrete accomplishment of Sarno’s: the post-storm creation of the nonprofit Rebuild Springfield, whose success, I would argue, cannot be measured yet; to date, Rebuild Springfield has held community meetings and hired a consultant but hasn’t done any actual rebuilding.

The Republican offered equally vague praise of Tosado, saying the City Council president “has a legacy he can point to with pride,” but offering only one tangible example, his support of ward representation. Tosado, the paper appears to suggest, should get credit for rising high in City Hall as a Latino, but he isn’t quite good enough to be the city’s first Latino mayor. “We predict that Springfield will have a Latino mayor in the not-to [sic]-distant future,” the editorial read. “But for now, Tosado hasn’t made a strong enough case to change leadership in Springfield.”

(An interesting side note: while the Republican has historically, and dismayingly, tended to knee-jerk endorsements of all incumbent candidates—even in cases where just about the only thing recommending re-election is that it would save the cost of printing up new name plates for City Council and School Committee meetings—the newspaper did make an exciting exception this year in Holyoke, endorsing challenger Alex Morse over incumbent Mayor Elaine Pluta.)

Comments (2)
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Yeah, Mo, I noticed the Republican's crediting Sarno with the creation of Rebuild Springfield. But I'm not buying it. Rebuild is an offshoot of DevelopSpringfield, a non-profit created in 2008 by Nicholas Fyntrilakis (Massmutual) and friends. Fyntrilakis currently chairs both organizations (you wouldn't know that from Rebuild's website, which is curiously lacking in any organizational info). In fact, the contact email on the RebuildSpringfield website is actually a DevelopSpringfield email (http://rebuildspringfield.com/?page_id=2) and their about page tells visitors its a DevelopSpringfield/Spfld Redevelopment Authority collaboartive.

Frankly, I think this "advisory group" is largely a PR move. Power brokers don't share power, and, as far as these "listing tour" community meetings go, developers don't really much care what poor people think about redevelopment. (Why would they? What do poor folks know about redevelopment planning strategies?)

The so-called "Master Plan" will be devised solely by DevelopSpfld/SRA and their contracted compaines, Concordia LLC and its partners.

It's a nice taxpayer funding money grab, tho ;-)

Posted by Bill Dusty on 11.4.11 at 7:00

I know this article was intended to attract comments on the city's mayoral race, but here's another one that concerns Rebuild Springfield. I'm hopeful that Concordia is not simply a PR move, but I'm not going to sit by and rely on my "hope". Springfield has but one chance to get this right, and that chance is now. Residents of WMass have been kicked by 3 destructive weather events (tornado, hurricane & foliage snowstorm) this calendar year - 4 if you count the record snowfalls of last winter.

Whatever resilience citizens used to get through these weather events needs to be harnessed toward improving the RebuildSpringfield process. The web site might be lackluster, the "listening tours" might not have been enough, etc... but the Master Plan is in the making and if residents sit by with no action - there is no one to blame but ourselves. So draw up your own Master Plans; send them to the Advocate, Republican and The Reminder; put them on blogs & forums; print them and pass them out at future Rebuild meetings; deliver them to Concordia.

Use the final days before the election to propel candidates into listening to YOUR ideas. Most important however - stay active and share what you think should be done to properly rebuild Springfield. What ideas do you have to morph the city into a more efficient, clean, sustainable and enjoyable place to work, play and live. It can't be an easy taxpayer funding money grab if we get involved in a big way. The choice are easy - Give up or help out. Springfield needs the endorsement of its citizens for itself... no matter who sits in the mayoral seat.

Posted by Stephen Cary on 11.4.11 at 13:39
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