Tuesday, November 01, 2011 • 11:59 AM Comments (5)

To Campaign, or Not to Campaign?

posted by Maureen Turner

Election Day is one week from today, and no freak snowstorm can slow down candidates and their supporters.

Today, the newly formed group SEIU Community Action—an offshoot of the Service Employees International Union, open to non-union and union workers as well as unemployed people—announced its endorsements in next week’s municipal election. The group, which according to organizers was put together to “[empower] residents to get active in combating some of the community’s key challenges—such as foreclosures and unemployment,” says it’s already signed up 2,300 Springfield residents.

It’s also put together a list of favored candidates for next week’s election. On SEIU Community Action’s list of endorsements:

• Mayor: José Tosado

• At-large city councilors: incumbent Jimmy Ferrera and challengers Justin Hurst and Amaad Rivera (currently the Ward 6 councilor)

• Ward councilors: Zaida Luna (Ward 1), Michael Fenton (Ward 2), Melvin Edwards (Ward 3), Henry Twiggs (Ward 4), Tim Allen (Ward 7) and Orlando Ramos (Ward 8). All those picks are incumbents, with the exception of Ramos, who is challenging incumbent John Lysak for the seat in ward 8.

Ramos also announced today that he’s also been endorsed by School Committee members Denise Hurst, Norman Roldan, Peter Murphy and Barbara Gresham.

Meanwhile, Mayor Domenic Sarno has announced that he’s temporarily suspending “all campaign related commitments and engagements” to focus on dealing with the fall-out of last weekend’s snow storm.

Sarno’s challenger, Tosado, you might recall, made a similar gesture last summer, suspending his campaign in the wake of the June 1 tornados—a move that, in retrospect, seemed to make it that much harder for his campaign to build up a head of steam. As the incumbent, of course, Sarno’s decision to lay off the campaign events for awhile will have little, if any, effect; the news media will still be full of coverage of his handling of the storm’s aftermath—case in point, this image by Republican photographer Dave Roback, showing the mayor delivering cots to an emergency shelter at Central High.

Comments (5)
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Great. Ramos was endorsed by all the establishment School Committee Members. Remember Hurst was the one who wanted to have a "spokesperson" for press announcements in order to muzzle individual voices on the (elected) school committee.

Sarno's decision, unfortunately, once again shows his dismissive attitude towards the election process and our democratic tradition. Yes, it's important to get the city back on its feet. But respecting our democratic ideals is also a vital part of our society. And all too often this season Sarno has shown that he views the election process as an annoying distraction he shouldn't have to be bothered with.

Posted by Bill Dusty on 11.2.11 at 6:33

Bill, based on the preliminary results, it looks like the mayor *doesn't* need to bother with campaigning...

Posted by Mo Turner on 11.2.11 at 7:28

True, Mo.

I just can't stand incumbent leaders (almost always mayors for some reason) who think theyr'e above having to participate in the election process. It all started in July with Sarno, when he scoffed at the idea of campaigning because he was too busy "working for the people" in the wake of the tornado. Then he went off on his "zero tolerance" so-called war on crime that he just couldn't pull away from. (A "war" that's resulted in more violent deaths this year than in any of his previous years.) It just strikes me as incredibly disrespectful to our democratic system, not to mention his campaign opponents who have every right to challenge him for Mayor. Free elections are not some dirty, lowly process (tho some hack politicians play it that way). It's our way of choosing our leaders. Too many times I've seen incumbents act dismissively towards it, as if campaining and the democratic process itself was beneath them. Just ridiculous.

Posted by Bill Dusty on 11.2.11 at 13:22

Again the unions rear their ugly heads. It is funny how $$$ from unions are so powerful and they complain about big business.

Unions are thugs with nasty tactics to win whatever they what and they have bullied their way far too long. I have seen them in action and have no respect for them. However I also feel that some of who they support worthy to win in Springfield e.i. Tosado but the rest?

Posted by aaron on 11.2.11 at 21:52

I hear you, Bill.

If a candidate wants to stop doing standouts, or halt fundraising, god bless 'em; that's his or her call.

But voters deserve candidates' participating in public forums and debates.

Posted by Mo Turner on 11.3.11 at 15:45
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