Slimy Campaigning by Guy Glodis

I just received a push-poll call representing itself as an unbiased survey that was obviously paid for by the Guy Glodis for Auditor campaign (it talked about what a great Worcester County Sheriff Glodis has been and touted his work with seniors as part of the "background" info. without offering this kind of positive information on the other candidates).

The negative (and unethical) push-poll part of the conversation came at the end with a series of questings implying unethical connections with the insurance industry on the part of one of Glodis' opponents. I don't want to spread the malicious attacks, so I won't get into the details here, but it seemed to me things were being exaggerated and taken out of context to imply wrongdoing where none existed.

They say people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, and Glodis has a lot of baggage he probably doesn't want people looking at.

I wonder if this is a sign of desperation on the part of the Glodis campaign that they would resort to these unethical tactics.

By way of full disclosure (and as I told the pollster), I like both Suzanne Bump and Mike Lake, but will be voting for Bump (as I did at the Democratic State Convention).


Best places to visit in Newton?

I'm not sure why we needed a state commission to come up with a list of the best 1,000 places to visit in Massachusetts and I haven't had time to read through the entire list, but skipping down to the Newton section, I was pretty disappointed. They list just two, and one of those is just part of a street. Granted, the Newton History Museum at the Jackson Homestead (the state messed up the name calling it "Jackson Homestead and Museum") is a fine place to visit, but Heartbreak Hill? One day a year, it is pretty exciting to see runners huffing and puffing up the hill, but the rest of the time? It's just a block of Commonwealth Ave.Newton History Museum at the Jackson Homestead

I can think of a dozen nicer and more interesting places in Newton off the top of my head -- Crystal Lake, Cold Springs Park, Nonantum Village Centre, Cabot Woods, Auburdale Cove, Angino Farm, the Newton Free Library, Newton Centre Playground, the Newton Cemetery, Durant-Kendrick House, Webster Conservation area, Hammond Pond. . . If you want a street, what about Needham St.? If you want a hill, how about West Newton Hill? Or Chestnut Hill?

Newton has many interesting buildings. How about putting some of our historic churches on the list? Or City Hall? Or (dare I say it?) the new Newton North High School? There are so many great places to see in Newton. Is Heartbreak Hill really the best they could do?


Phone Survey About State Senate Race

I just got a call from "ADG Research" asking whom I plan to vote for in the state senate race. The caller was not very polished and hung up on me when I asked who was paying for the survey. Usually, they say they don't know and then I answer their questions, but this guy appears to have panicked. When I Google "ADG Research" nothing turns up. Sounds like a made up name. Could be funded by either the Rudnick or Creem campaign.

Anyone else get this call?


Ruthanne Fuller Wins "Visionary Legislator" Award

Last night on Common Ground, I handed out an award for the first time in the show's 6-year history. The "Visionary Legislator" award was created to honor Ruthanne Fuller for her work during her first six months as a Newton Alderman. Specifically, she earned the recognition for her work in two areas:

1) advovating during the City budget process for an inventory of city buildings that would allow us to develop maintenance plans to better maintain muncipal facilites (a similar study of school buildings was completed recently); and

2) proposing that Newton adopt the state statute that would allow us to begin funding post-retirement employee health care benefits.

While it is easy to advocate current expenditures on services people value (schools, police, fire), Ruthanne Fuller has taken politically courageous action to prevent future fiscial crisis. We are currently flying blind with respect to our building maintenance schedule and if we don't take action soon, we will be forced to borrow extensively to reconstruct and replace poorly-maintained buildings. Conducting a study of current building conditions is the first step in developing a sustainable maintenance plan.

Similarly, continuing to defer the problem of our growing (over $600 million) post-retirement health care liability would burden future generations of Newton residents with massive tax increases and cuts in services. By working on a plan to address this growing deficit now, Ruthanne Fuller is demonstrating the kind of visionary leadership Newton so badly needs.

Hopefully, this will become an annual (or more frequent) award with lots of Newton officials worthy of this recognition.

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