I have to admit, my focus was split yesterday between the town election and the upcoming graduation of one of my former foster children, Dave Daigle (who also has a history of support in the town, having worked at the skate park for many years and helping to develop its management structure).
I spent the evening at the UMass Lowell South campus, attending a ceremony where he received a Leadership award that resulted from his creation of a university organization to help former foster children and other students learn their way through the maze of administration.
Good on him.
So thats why I really wasn’t paying much attention at the town.
As to the Election…
The threat of an override was a driving force in the campaign, but its interesting that on the school election the voters chose the two most in support of a large override, while in the Selectmen race (the race that most counts when it comes to actually raising revenue) they chose the two most apt to lack support for the large override.
An evaluation of the “blanks” may tell us something about whether a people just turned out for the school race or the selectmen race. We’ll have to look at that later.
In the School Race, I was sort of surprised in that Miles came in last. Significantly. But then again, I really didn’t see him trying too hard this time, and even he agreed that all three candidates were good and he wouldn’t be hurt not to win it this time.
The schools need people who can figure out how to do more with less. The school department is tasked with spending, so support for or against an override doesn’t mean much in that race, but some voters may have thought so. I need to review the figures some more, to compare them to the race for selectmen.
Miles’ focus on the at-risk student population did not bring him the support this time, as the election was about overall spending on education. I can understand that.
The override question will be over in a couple months, and having two members who understand the education system can’t be bad as the board has to figure out how to move forward.
In the race for the two Selectmen’s seats, I always saw it as a three way race between Malliaros, Richardson and Archinski.
Nason didn’t bring much to the table, and had little knowledge of the issues. You can’t win on a platform of “they’re all bad, throw them all out” unless you bring a reason for the voters to vote for you.
Dristiliaris had a history of being involved in some town functions, both public and private, but the fact is, she was unknown. The Garry/Bond campaign behind her did get her some significant votes, but what she did become was the spoiler in the three way race.
Archinski had built up a base in his prior election runs, and continues to have strong union support. Richardson and Malliaros brought their own voting base to the table. All three thus arrived with about the same number of votes.
The “throw everyone out” crowd, that always exists..especially in a bad economy.. threw their support to Archinski and Dristiliaris, thus pushing Archinski to the top of the group of three.
As to second place, Richardson’s strong “no new taxes” stand pushed her over the line.
I’m told that someone started a rumor that the vote for an override was on the ballot, and that brought out a number of people. I think it was intended to bring out the “parent” crowd, but instead I’m told elderly were calling town hall during the day concerned that they didn’t see the question when they voted, or that they didn’t understand why it would be on the ballot yet.
This rumor may have brought out a large anti tax contingent, and be a harbinger for the future.