WARNING - OBJECTIVITY MAY HAVE BEEN THROWN OUT THE WINDOW!
Well it's over. All the build up over the last several months has come to a climax for some there is the warm afterglow of a hard fought race won, for others the bitter aftertaste off defeat. Let's rundown some of the noteworthy events of last night.
The Grassroots Candidate
He's young! With fresh ideas and doesn't believe in 'politics as usual' and last night the voters voted him into office!
Of course I'm talking about Eric Poulin! Eric's election is really one to scratch your head about. Did you hear tons of Poulin ads on WSAR? Me either. Did you see tons of Poulin signs? Did you see ANY Poulin signs? Bumper stickers? It seems Eric ran the ultimate grass roots campaign. He showed up to all the different functions, tried his best to get his platform out there and relied on word of mouth and the reputation he has from 2 years ago. And it worked! I think having Eric Poulin on the City Council is a step in the right direction for Fall River, but how he got there should puzzle those candidates who ran a 'traditional' campaign.
Last night the voters of Fall River also welcomed back two former City Councilors in Brad Kilby and Ray Mitchell. Now personally, I don't believe in term limits so philosophically I have no issues with 'retreads'.
I like Brad and thought he was one of the better councilors, but I'm disappointed how easily he got his seat back. Kilby hardly campaigned at all and honestly I think if you want the job you need to get out there and prove you deserve it. This isn't really a knock on Kilby, it's more of a knock on the people of Fall River for not demanding more from a familiar name.
On the other hand I don't know if anyone campaigned harder than Ray Mitchell. Mitchell seemed to be everywhere. It is really no exaggeration to say that you could see Ray waving to you on your commute to work and then waving to you as you made your way back home. Ray has been away from the council for almost 2 decades, so you really have to tip your hat to all the hard work that went into an amazing first place finish.
Nothing annoys me more than Mike Lund's return to the City Council. Mike "I was to busy to campaign this summer" Lund kicked his campaign into high gear after being the only incumbent to finish out of the top 9. Lund ads and mailers started popping up all over the place using the clever acronym L.U.N.D - Leadership Under New Direction, at the same time he still displayed campaign signs all over the city with the same non-existent web address from 2 years ago. I had a friend correctly point out that I should be angry at the incumbents who were not bothering to campaign at all. Believe me I am, but there is something that is so 'in your face' about deciding to do it only after realizing your seat isn't safe. This same friend pointed out that Lund stood up to some pretty severe harassment during the whole fire chief issue and this is true too. But he is also the same guy who advocated expanding the Arts Overlay District down to Ferry Street where his family has a vested interest! Lund has hardly been the worst City Councilor but that is hardly anything to brag about.
Vote out the incumbents!
This is the cry I've heard at least for the last 4 years. Vote out the incumbents it's time for new faces! The reality is we get very few new faces and vote out even fewer incumbents. In the general election there was exactly ONE incumbent voted out of office, School Committeeman Tim McCoy. There's your change folks. The school department is in chaos and only 1 committeeman has paid the price. I'm not sure voting Tim out was the answer. Considering the chaos why was he the only one? Weak field? Poor attendance?
More thoughts later......