On Victory, Defeat, and Hope

The world feels so quiet and colorful here in Cranston, RI as the leaves fall and we begin to experience life after Bush, life on the yet-to-be-explored frontier of Obamaland. It felt to me from early on that Obama was inevitable, even before I became a true believer, and while I made phone calls for Obama on Saturday night with friends, calling Ohio, Virginia, and Colorado (all states Obama won) it was easy work — many people answered gladly that they would be supporting Obama. In a way it felt like victory was imminent, and part of me wondered if Obama’s grandmother also felt that imminence and finally relaxed and let go of her mortal self, left the earth in peace with confidence in a job well done.

Here in Cranston we also had another significant victory as Stephanie Culhane became our new school committee representative for Ward 2. It may feel, compared to Obama’s victory, like this is small potatoes, but not so — very few people have the courage to run for such a selfless job, and even fewer have the voice, skills, and ambition to win. Hats off to Stephanie and her campaign team, and as I said to her on Facebook, I hope she can take care of that pesky 8 million dollar deficit problem lickety-split (LOL!).

But while there were many large and significant victories, I also became more intimate with the experience of defeat last night, as Cindy Fogarty lost to Allan Fung 37-63%. Some things never change. Losing still stinks, no matter how old you get or how many times you weather it. It hurts to acknowledge the disappointment, and to begin to grapple with how much of the loss was your own responsibility versus factors that were outside of your control.

But nothing is ever wasted. I took on the job because I wanted the experience, and I kept working at it until the end because I had made the commitment and wanted to see it through. As a result, I learned tremendously about many things — the financial and educational issues Cranston is facing, the process of planning and running a campaign, the process of trying to build a movement. I became more appreciative of the work involved in trying to bring people together for a common goal when there is a recent history of division and warring factions within the group.

I always give people as much hope as possible. It’s part of my job as a clinical social worker. When families come to me feeling hopeless about their child’s behavior, when couples come to me unable to feel hopeful about their marriage, with their emotional “gas tank” running on empty, I look for ways in which we, together, can imagine and build a better future.

I believe in relationships. In taking on the campaign manager role for the Fogarty campaign, I believed that, with the right support and guidance, a strong Democratic challenge could be created. But sometimes I overestimate the power of relationships — a tendency that plays out as both a weakness and a strength for me. It’s the same tendency that got me out there supporting Obama early on — because he engaged my ability to imagine myself and so many other people having a different relationship with our country where we would be heard and known, where we would be “at the table” of decision-making to move the country in a better direction.

Over the next 30 days, I have decided to write daily about the experience of managing the Fogarty for Mayor campaign. It was an important opportunity, a touchstone that connected me with the community and helped me understand the many dynamics at play in Cranston politics. In concert with National Novel Writing Month (though this will be memoir), I am going to take this opportunity to present that experience and try to draw some “life lessons” from it. I will also bring into the story the many people I met and worked with along the way and how they influenced me, and/or how I influenced them, as the campaign unfolded.

Think of it as a local political soap opera with daily installments. Tune in tomorrow for more As the Campaign Turns.

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35 thoughts on “On Victory, Defeat, and Hope

  1. Kiersten:

    I am sincerely looking forward to reading your entries, particularly how your insight as blog “hostess” informs your reflections on the campaign.

    And I’ll be curious to see how you describe having “feet in two worlds,” i.e., online and out in the community — where elections like this one are won and lost.

    But I think the inside view of the Fogarty campaign and the personalities that contribute to the political dynamic in Cranston will be the most compelling reading.

    I’m looking forward to it!

  2. Kiersten,

    I am overjoyed with the Barack Obama win and you are absolutely correct, it was a forgone conclusion in mid-September.

    I am very happy for Stephanie! That was an impressive win.

    I was broken hearted for Cindy but we knew that we were severely handicapped by circumstances.

    Hey, 2010 is just around the corner!

  3. Correct me if I’m wrong,but I don’t think either candidate tried to destroy the other personally.Which is nice for a change.

  4. Joe – you are right. Having dealt with both Allan and Cindy in the past, I can say they are both very nice people to work with and to chat with, too.

    The both ran class-act campaigns.

    Now, it is up to Kiersten et al to keep the Mayor and the Council on their toes!

  5. Andre:

    Would you care to outline the “circumstances” that “handicapped” the Fogarty campaign?

    I’d be especially interested to know how you’d delineate the impact of internal circumstances (lack of funds, for example) versus the external ones (loss of endorsements to Fung).

    And some other questions:
    1.) How do you reconcile Fogarty’s narrative as an “outsider” to the “old-boys’ network” in Cranston with her early stance that she wouldn’t run without the Democratic City Committee’s endorsement?

    2.) How could Fogarty expect to distinguish herself from Fung without bringing up his negatives — or at least pointing up philosophical differences?

    What I’m driving at is, turn the view inward first before blaming the loss on other forces. For example, you may argue (and rightly so) that Fogarty’s late entry into the race hurt her chances. But she made the decision when to begin her run, after all. She didn’t have to wait for the other Dems to back out.

    Joe B.:

    I don’t mean personal destruction or character attacks when I talk about “bringing up negatives” — and I’m with you, that it was a nice break.

  6. Kiersten,
    I’m looking forward to reading about your experience and the dynamics at play in Cranston politics.

    I’m sure that your husband and girls are glad to have you back:)

  7. Kiersten,

    As I said on another thread in this blog, welcome home. Kmareka nation certainly missed you.

    I, too, am looking forward to the daily installments of As the Campaign Turns. I think it’s more than an apt title as campaigns and politics often take on all the dignity and decorum of your basic high school election. You’ll have to tell us who was passing notes in home room. It’s amazing how many of these campaigns and politics in general operate on gossip, rumor, jealousy, and pettiness.

    More seriously, I would argue that the story of the Fogarty campaign is emblematic of the story of the local democratic party in 2008. There is no question that the Fogarty campaign made mistakes – all campaigns do. But that doesn’t answer the question of how the nine democratic city council candidates and all the general assembly candidates won while Fogarty got clobbered by 25%. Especially given the quality of some of the candidates who won. One of them didn’t know what the Pastore Complex was!

    There’ll be plenty of time to dissect this campaign. Everybody will enter an opinion as to what happened and why. But it will be very interesting to read what you have to say. It would be nice if Rachel and others would chime in and give their impressions and share their experiences.

    I have limited experience but from what I’ve seen, seeing politics up close is like watching sausage being made. By sharing your experiences, the rest of us can gain insights into the process that we would never have, making us better informed and armed with facts rather than fiction.

    I can’t wait until tomorrow!

  8. Carville:

    A 63-37 loss in a year of Democratic dominance on the rest of the ballot can be explained fairly simply, I think: Voters were very careful to choose their candidates, and straight-line voting had no effect on the local Mayor’s race. Cranston voters are a fairly savvy group; they’re not likely to hew to the party line — Fung has now proven that twice.

    Just what they saw in Fung, I don’t know. But they liked it enough to elect him by the biggest margin since Laffey beat John Mancini in 2004.

    Now, at the risk of offering potential spoilers, here’s what I suspect “the inside story” will be:

    — Cindy Fogarty was thinking of running “all along,” but kept out of the fray of the Dem contenders coming and going until 1.) they all backed out and 2.) Mayor Nap decided not to run for another term.

    — Once her decision was made, Fogarty “earned” the committee’s endorsement, thereby resulting in a ProJo-invented narrative that she was the prodigal candidate “returning” to the fold. (This conveniently ignored the facts that Fogarty would not run without the party’s endorsement, and that she was endorsed by default.)

    — It quickly became apparent that, without substantial money of her own, Fogarty was looking at a near-complete lack of support from the local party. News coverage (aside from online stories on this blog and RI Future) was nonexistent. Few volunteers magically appeared to carry out the day-to-day operations (getting sign locations, staffing phone banks, etc.).

    — Over the following weeks, as Fogarty’s expectations of the party crashed against the harsh shoals of reality, the campaign started to console itself by believing the inevitable Obama landslide would translate into straight-ticket support.

    — Fogarty refused to engage in negative campaigning out of noble intent, but this calculation denied an opportunity to poke some holes in Fung’s image. There may have also been a concern about recycling the lines that Nap had tried in 2006.

  9. Kiersten,
    It’s been roughly 24 hours since I scribbled down the results at 2 of Ward 6’s polling places and hustled them over to Democrat Election HQs at 39 West. Even by RI standards the trip form Vasa Music Hall to Phenix Avenue (perhaps 4 miles as the crow flies) is a short one…but given the numbers/info that I was transporting it was an awfully long ride. As I entered 39 West I realized that it was going to be a difficult night for Cindy, her family, her friends, and her supporters. I was pleased to see the City Wide results. I have gotten to know and work with Councilpersons Lanni and Aceto over the past few months and I trust that they will play vital roles in moving our city forward. Councilperson Tony Lupino, who was also re-elected to a City-Wide seat, has over the past 18 months become more than my Councilperson; I consider him a friend and I was thrilled to see him prevail. In the whirl of high fives and congrats Mike Sepe called Cindy to the microphone to say a few words. With grace and dignity she thanked her supporters and staff and extended her congratulations to the night’s victors. As I was leaving I approached Cindy to thank her for the opportunity she gave me and to tell her how sorry I was that things didn’t break for her this time.
    I felt that I had let her down in Ward 6, but she would hear none of that. Some supporter I am, I wound up on the brink of tears and Cindy had to be strong for me…
    Kiersten, I think you did a great job as Campaign Manager and I throughly enjoyed working with you on this campaign…I hope you’ll consider bringing me along on the next one—-can’t wait to read the memoirs.

  10. Kiersten,

    Definitely looking forward to your writings on the campaign. I supported Fung and think he’ll be great for the city, but I definitely was encouraged by the tone of both campaigns. For me, I knew Fung had a great chance to win this election when RILPAC endorsed him.

    In my opinion, you learn more from losses than victories. I’m sure Fung learned a lot when he lost two years ago and Obama learned a great deal from his loss to Bobby Rush.

    Hopefully, the experience will make you a more savvy campaign manager next time.

  11. Don-I lived in Chicago years ago.Obama tried to fix what wasn’t broken when he went up against Rush.I’m not saying I would ever vote for a guy like Bobby Rush,but the people in that district like him just fine.Obviously race was a non-issue there.As it was a non-issue in the contest against Alan Keyes.Keyes,however,was an outsider brought into it at the last possible minute.
    I met Allan Fung once at a non-partisan event held by the Secretary of State relating to voter ID.He seemed like a very nice fellow.

  12. JFC, good to read your posts again. Doing so gets my heart rate up which is good for my dieting. Thank you for assisting in my quest for a healthier & leaner lifestyle.

  13. Thanks, everyone, for your comments. Rick and Andre, thank you in particular for your dedication and hard work for the campaign. If I ever try to run a campaign again, I will be calling you both immediately. You brought some great ideas to the campaign and worked hard to get the message out as best we could.

    Now that I have started the memoirs, I see it will be harder than I thought. I’m not sure I can publish today’s output, as it seems better to start with some things that happened earlier, and to get some advice on what to take out and what to add in. But rest assured, there will be daily production, and soon daily postings.

  14. Congratulations to Kiersten and Cindy on a well fought campaign. Cindy and Fung both brought a great deal to the table and either would have had their hands full with the mess of a council that was elected.

  15. I don’t want to particularly belabor the point, but I think that the disparity between the relative performances of the various democratic candidates was the result of more than Cranston voters behaving in a uniquely “savvy” manner.

    I looked at some of the numbers and allowing for the variances in races owing to candidates, match-ups, resources, etc. and acknowledging that each campaign is different, there is an apples to orange quality to this “analysis”. Be that as it may, it appears that democratic voters systematically abandoned their mayoral candidate in droves.

    I didn’t employ any of the standard statistical analytical methods, (e.g. chi square, etc.) as that would involve math. Also because the results are so clear, it doesn’t seem that all that fancy stuff was necessary. On its face, the variances are statistically significant.

    I looked at the mayoral and city council at-large races, comparing the votes gained by all four candidates in each precinct and in total. We could drill down further, but I don’t think that would yield much more than we already know – democrats systematically deserted their mayoral candidate.

    City wide, the three at large candidates averaged 15,872 votes each. On the same playing field, Fogarty won 13000 for a deficit of 2,872 votes.

    Parsed further, and meaning no disrespect, I assumed that Aceto was the weakest of the three democratic at-large candidates (the results support this assertion). On a precinct breakdown, Aceto won more votes than Fogarty in 28 out of 43 precincts. When the votes in these 28 precincts are tabulated, Aceto won 9018 votes to Fogarty’s 7229 for a + 1789 for Aceto.

    Now, please don’t misunderstand – nobody’s suggesting that Fogarty would’ve beaten Fung (whose appeal I agree is nearly mystifying) had voters not switched en masse, but the race might have been more competitive had the supports that propped Aceto also propped Fogarty. I think the comparison between Aceto and Fogarty is particularly instructive. Both were non-officeholders, both weren’t particularly well known, and frankly neither waged particularly aggressive campaigns. Indeed, Fogarty was listed first on the ballot and Aceto was listed third.

    I think its fair to say that there was a certain savvyness on the part of voters. But it’s interesting that that same savvy voting didn’t translate to other races. That would presuppose that all democratic candidates were superior in qualifications and campaigning to their opponents to warrant the results we saw last Tuesday. We can be pretty sure that that’s not true.

    So, what carried the day? Part of the answer lies in the traditional supports usually available to endorsed democratic candidates. In part, union support is critical. Also the integration of the component campaigns is critical.

    I think that the support of many local unions for Fung along with their support of many of the non-mayoral democratic candidates, combined with the problem of “branding” in the campaign both contributed to the disparity of performance between Fogarty’s vote and that of her democratic colleagues. And if that is the case, at least in part, one has to wonder why this happened and what this says about the party and its leadership.

  16. Carville:

    Your analysis of the Council vs. Mayor tallies indicates that, rather than voters “switching,” many voters simply didn’t vote for Mayor. An overall loss of something like 5,000 votes from 2006 indicates a certain level of apathy toward both candidates — but it clearly hurt Fogarty more.

    I would suggest that the Council tallies (and Fung’s) were propped up by the campaigning that the candidates did. People are more likely to vote for someone they’ve met (in the case of Council candidates) and/or heard about (in Fung’s case). The fact that Fogarty released a TV ad introducing herself a week before the election proved that Fung had a long head start on name recognition.

    As far as “the party and its leadership,” I’ve offered a few thoughts on this in past threads (I’ve linked to one of them below). Suffice to say, though, that Fogarty could not have believed that the local party was going to magically generate the tens of thousands of dollars and thousands of votes she needed.

    See Comments #17 from Geoff Schoos and my response in Comment #22, as well as a few others further down on the following thread:

    http://kmareka.com/?p=1878#comments

  17. Jesse,

    I’m not sure you caught what I was driving at. I wasn’t looking at totals and comparing them from 2006 to 2008. I was reviewing the performance of voters in this last election. And, as an aside, according to the totals posted by the Board of Elections, in the mayoral contest of ’06, the total number of votes cast was 32,000 even. This year, the total cast for Cranton mayor was 35139. Rather than a reduction of 5000 votes from the last election to this, there was a net increase of 3,139. I don’t think apathy was much of a factor.

    So, permit me to play pretend. Pretend that Fogarty received those 3,139 votes to bring her total to 16,139. Fung loses those votes, which brings his total to 19000 even. Result? He still wins by 2681.

    However, if Fogarty were able to garner the difference between the average vote for the at-large council candidates and add half that total, or 1436 votes, to her “pretend” vote, and please recall that average vote difference was calculated at 2872, then Fogarty’s in the hunt if not over the finish line first (albeit just barely).

    Put another way, subtract 1436 from Fung’s adjusted “pretend” total and that brings him to 17564. Take the same 1436 and add it to Fogarty’s adjusted “pretend” total and you get 17575, with the lucky winner receiving an all expense paid trip to the Board of Elections for an interminable round of recounting ballots – and the after count litigation.

    So, what does all this mean? Frankly, this can be interpreted in any number of ways. In the real world, where elections are won and lost, I think that any permutation or parsing of votes from one to another candidate that doesn’t strain credulity results in the conclusion that under no foreseeable circumstance could Fogarty have won. That was not the point of the above illustrations.

    The point was to drill down and show that there was a dramatic dessertion of democratic voters away from the democratic candidate for mayor. And that desertion had a profound impact on Fogarty’s race. I agree that Fung ran a better race, but not that much better. He was the better known candidate, but not because of anything he did this year – rather for what he did (or didn’t do) two years ago. Right or wrong, there was clearly an element of “buyer’s remorse” in this race.

    But that doesn’t erase the notion that there was something else going on here as well. Nobody’s suggesting that the local dems would come up with a trunk load of cash. We all know that’s not going to happen. However, there are constituent groups over which the party (both parties as it were) have some influence. It seems evident from the lack of similar disparities in votes in any other permutation of races that the effort expended for the rest of the ticket was not similarly expended on behalf of the democrats’ mayoral candidate.

    Finally, while I agree with the contention that the difference between the results of the mayor’s race was in part the result of the diffence in the candidates’ respective campaigns. That’s not what I’m driving at. You’d have to assert that all the other democratic candidates for city-wide and ward council seats ran spectacular races compared to Fogarty. And if we’re brutally honest, we know that’s just not true.

    Not only was this perhaps the dullest campaign season in a long time (at the local level) but the lack of effort on the part of most candidates was astounding. One quick example involving a state senate race, and this candidate won more votes in that race (broken down by precinct) than did Fogarty. This candidate, an incumbent, printed and mailed out the SAME (word for word) campaign piece that was mailed two years ago. Wait – I take it back. The last line at the bottom of an inside page was new. The rest was the same; same picture, same layout, same everything. Now, was that candidate better known than Fogarty? Probably. But did that candidate run such a great campaign so as to have earned more votes than Fogarty? Not a chance.

  18. Carville:

    Oops, I hadn’t seen the updated count. Thanks for the correct numbers.

    I found the updated tallies here: link to projo

    In the future, feel free to post the links so others can see the information you’re citing.

    Now, as to your overall points:

    1. “(T)he effort expended for the rest of the ticket was not similarly expended on behalf of the democrats’ mayoral candidate…”

    My question is, why? Fogarty received the unanimous (though largely symbolic) endorsement of the city committee. Why, suddenly, would their support wane? Maybe distancing herself from Nap and refusing to give more than tepid support for his administration had something to do with it. Maybe failing to work with the committee to organize bigger fundraisers that get those “constituent groups” in the room was a cause.

    2. I’ve watched several races in Cranston, and it seems that the citywide candidates generally get better results than the mayoral contenders. Again, the question is: Why?

    I don’t know that I’d chalk it up to more exciting campaigns. Maybe local Dems just made the decision that a 9-0 Council was more desirable than having the Mayor’s office, given the candidates they had.

    And I’m with you on the mailers — the citywide guys sent out the same piece they issues in 2006, with only the text changed.

    In the end, there was something in the overall tenor of Fogarty’s approach to the campaign that turned off the people who would otherwise have supported her. For better or worse, there’s a way to “play the game” in Cranston — and Fogarty didn’t do it.

  19. Jesse,

    You’re right, I ought to supply the links to the BOE. By way of explanation, I’m just starting to get this blogging stuff down – inserting links will come later. Thanks for your forbearance.

    I think we’re pretty much in agreement on this race. I think we agree that many democrats “walked” on the mayor’s race. The key question is why? But then, more often than not, that’s the key question about pretty much anything.

    There is no question that, for the most part, the council races at all levels were not “exciting” or “inspiring.” Dull, boring, uninformative yes. Exciting or inspiring, no. As much as I think that every candidate should prove his/her case, the burden falls on the proponent of change to make the case for change. Clearly, with a few exceptions, the challenger proponents for change didn’t do a particularly good job at advancing their cases for change in the legislative and council races.

    In large measure, the lack of engagement falls squarely on the shoulders of most of the republican candidates. Some of that, I’m sure, was part function of lack of money and part function of the general lack of experience and skill. We’ll have to wait and see how much learning took place and how that learning will be applied to the politics of 2010.

    I found your comments about relationships to be very interesting. And probably on target. I assume you’re pointing more to party leaders/regulars (e.g. ward committee, stalwart volunteers, etc.) than to voters approached at their homes.

    Thus the biggest “why” questions – why, indeed, was Fogarty unable to connect w/ constituent groups in the party, let alone the party’s leadership? Why were the principals unable to bridge the various chasms? I know that Napolitano caught the party short with his announcement not to seek another term, but from the party’s perspective, why wasn’t there a “bench” from which to draw his (acceptable?) replacement? Why were those who initially stepped forward not deemed attractive/compatible/acceptable to the party, at least enough to convince them to make a run?

    I think people, often at their peril, overlook the importance of relationship building, especially in politics and governing. In any endeavor in life, one often has to work with someone they don’t like, if not downright loath. So, in the end, the question of why – why did Fogarty think she’d be able to gain support w/o, as you suggest, reaching out to others in the party and wage a viable campaign? How did she think she’d be able to reach out after she won in order to effectively govern? And why did the party find itself in a position of endorsing a nominee that leadership found to be lacking in many areas, if not downright unacceptable?

    Probably like you, I find the “why” question to be the most interesting and likely to yield the most interesting answers. I hope that over time, on this blog and other venues, some of the principals who lived this campaign come forward and give those answers. It’s a wonderful learning experience for the public who often has no clue what goes on in these campaigns, and for the party and it’s participants so that it can learn what to do better and what not to do at all.

    But for now, I have a friend who’s a Buffalo fan. I need to gloat while the gloating is good!

  20. Kiersten,

    You might want to be careful what you say about what happened in the campaign. It might be protected by employee-employer confidentiality and party officials might not take kindly to you disclosing information that you were privy to on the campaign trail.

  21. Friendly Reader:

    Kiersten is perfectly entitled to offer her own insights on the campaign. To my knowledge, there is no such thing as “employee-employer confidentiality” unless a specific written agreement has been signed by both parties.

    Also, I can’t imagine anyone objecting to finding out that the Fogarty campaign was, in reality, just as dysfunctional as it appeared to be. It wouldn’t be that much of a scoop.

  22. I have to echo what Jesse says. There is no employer/employee relationship, and absent a confidentiality agreement there’s no reason that Kiersten or anyone else shouldn’t write about their experiences.

    These campaign “employment” relationships are sometimes tricky. I recall that a couple (or more) years ago, some campaign workers who were paid a “salary” for their work, tried to apply for unemployment benefits after the campaign ended. They didn’t get far. I believe that they were disqualified b/c by the nature of their work situation, they were viewed as independent contractors rather than employees. Based on what I understand of the distinction between employee and contractor, it seems that contractor is the right call in these instances.

    I can’t imagine anything like “trade secrets” being disclosed by any post by Kiersten.

    In the end, people talk/write about campaigns all the time – winners and losers. It’s how the public finds out about the inner workings of campaigns/policy/etc. I think it’s a great opportunity for people to learn about the process, confront errors, celebrate successes and move on to the next time. There’s nothing to be gained from keeping this stuff secret.

    Besides, the dems went 9-0 in the city council, and swept the legislative races. I would think the party would be thrilled for people to know how smart they are.

  23. Thanks, Carville and Jesse, for your analysis and for responding to “Friendly.” There was no confidentiality agreement and I am continuing to write daily about my experiences. When I will publish these writings is another question. Right now things are still unfolding that are influencing my thinking about everything that happened, so it seems best to write now and get it out, then come back and review everything later (maybe give it a few months to settle) before publication.

    I exchanged emails with the Mayor-Elect today, congratulated him on his victory, and offered my two cents about the need for our incoming Mayor to establish a much stronger relationship with the school committee, noting that we have several new members of the committee so there may be opportunities for real change in the way things are done. He heartily agreed.

    I say this not to point out that I am chatting with the higher-ups, but to let people know that I will not shy away from conversations about the issues facing Cranston and will draw on my experiences as a campaign manager (where I learned more about the way things work and what needs to happen for things to work better) as I talk to others. It’s called freedom of speech, Friendly, and people who are worried about what I might say will just have to deal with their anxiety and get over it.

  24. I was very pleased (and not surprised) to watch a civil campaign for the mayorial spot. It seems to me that both Cindy and Alan are similar in many areas. Cheers to them for being model campaignors, unlike Mike McManaman and some other folks right here in Ward 6.

    I am just sick that most people don’t know about what’s going on and what assinine statements and actions some of the already prosiding Citycouncil members have entertained at our expense. The message is clear that this state takes 20 years before getting it (remember the addage from a marketing perspective…it takes 20 times before you try it!)….Montalbano is finally thrown to the curb. It’s disgraceful and we consistently look like the keystone cops.

    I for one, would have been relieved in knowing we had some new republicans on the council (and I wasn’t thinking of Carr either because he was endorsed by “you know”)…rather this council should be picked by merits.

    What is the victory of our next appointment for City Council. I for one would rather see Livingston in there. Yes he missed 40% of the meetings, however, Aram called a lot of meetings only a couple of days before. So playing devil’s advocate….how could a lawyer make so many meetings on that little time. As a mom of two little one’s, I would be hard pressed to be able to perform in such a manner. My point, Livingston has made responsible comments compared to Lanni. I cannot say I have ever been to a City Council meeting where I heard frightening and disturbing words uttered by Mr. Livingston, unlike many of his co-council members. Yes, progressively he looks like the next one and I would support such a concept. Remember, it’s not an entitlement to be the President because of seniority…rather, let’s give it to the one that deserves it on merit and who has best represented their constituents.

    Friendly Reader….Da! I would stick friendly reader to watching your reality t.v., as it doesn’t take too much effort to research (21st century research in a nanosecond on the web) before you make statements. Now you’ve lost credibility in my eyes…so pick a better pen name.

  25. To revisit one of the topics discussed here, RI Future has a link to a site that breaks down the effect of straight ticket voting.

    Here’s the link:

    http://www.rirollcallvotes.com/2008RIElection/GAByDistrictRace.htm

    The short version is that Charlene Lima received 36% of her votes on straight-ticket voting; Art Handy received 31.1%; and Josh Miller received 30.2%. Beyond those three, no other member of the Cranston delegation received more than 30% — even Hanna Gallo, who received 16%.

    If you look more closely at the vote tallies, you see that the Democratic candidates (that is, those with opponents) took substantially higher numbers of votes — even without straight-ticket ballots. So, when Charlene Lima beats her opponent 3,268 to 1,093, the idea that straight-ticket voting had any impact is flat-out wrong. Even without the 1,180 straight-party votes, that’s still a 2-1 drubbing.

    It also seems to offer another dimension to the result of the Mayor’s race: that part of Fogarty’s support came from straight-line voting, but nowhere near enough to make it a close race. Using the Representative district totals (14 through 19 and 41 and 42), I count 5,333 straight-ticket votes out of Fogarty’s 13,019 total.

  26. Jesse,
    Thanks for the link. I think that it is clear that straight-ticket voting didn’t affect many of the races, based on Allan’s percentage of the votes over Cindy’s.

    It looks as though he survived the Dem wave, but he was about it.

  27. In 2008, the Council had a scapegoat for all poor financial decisions made in the City – the Mayor. While I am not thrilled at the makeup of this current Council, it will be interesting to see who steps up to work with Allan to fix the City and who is in there for other reasons. Hold onto your hats everyone it’s going to be an interesting two years.

  28. Jim,
    I agree that it is going to be an interesting two years and I will be watching to see if Allan can “step up to work with” our elected City Council to improve our city’s current lot. Your Napolitano as Council scapegoat theory is certainly a clever twist/spin/aside for a City-Wide Council candidate that was roundly rejected by the electorate last week. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the Cullion settlement put in play by Napolitano probably depends on which part of Cranston one lives in. It should also be noted, AGAIN, that the genesis of the entire Cullion ordeal took place during the second term of former Mayor Laffey and that Napolitano and the ’06 council inherted that mess. I hope that Mayor-elect Fung and the newly elected Council can work together to improve our city’s financial outlook, it is not going to be easy.

  29. Richard:

    Cheers for correcting the record with regard to the Cullion project. I’d also add the Rivera car-crash settlement and the Providence Water situation as problems left behind by Laffey.

    I also think that Nap has not received enough credit for standing up to the runaway spending of the school committee. He also succeeded in court, which seemed to go unmentioned in this election cycle.

    Still, I guess we should not be surprised by spin like Mr. Quinlan’s, which seems to be based on the concept that the Council has to “step up to work with” the Mayor (i.e., follow the Mayor’s lead), instead of the opposite — which is what the Charter outlines.

    In fact, didn’t the Council’s powers under the Charter just get stronger with the passage of the referendum question that allows the council to change the budget at any time during the year (and preserves the mayor’s veto power)?

  30. I read in yesterday’s Herald that the caucus met and announced the new Council’s leadership. Pres.-Lanni VP-Livingston Majority Ldr.-Lupino

  31. One thing that wasnt covered in the Cranston Herald’s story about the caucus, was those important seats on Saftey Services, Ordinance committee and Finance.

  32. Rachel:

    The Herald reported the following:
    “Committee assignments were also made, with Emilio Navarro (Ward 2) replacing Livingston as chair of the all-important Finance Committee and political newcomer Michelle Bergin-Andrews (Ward 6) becoming chairwoman of the Claims Committee.”

    So, that answers 1/3 of Councilman Elect’s riddle.

    The other two? No reporting in the Herald, ProJo, or on the City’s website. If he knows, I agree with you — he should share what he knows.

  33. Jesse,
    I saw that too, but that’s all the info that I saw anywhere.

    I don’t know if the members of those committees will remain the same if serving in the next term.

  34. Let’s face it, we are doomed when we have people like Lanni who are so Liberal to wave his wand and pay a claim for Demolition Derby Carlucci’s $9,000 driving mistake. Ethics are not likely during this term either.

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