Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Democratic Primary Tomorrow Wednesday, September 16. An Endorsement and a Commentary.

Endorsement and Commentary

Ed McKeon is a current member of the Board of Education.  He is not running for re-election. He is a lifelong registered Democrat.  He assisted Sean King, Hope Kasper and Suzanne Wesoloski in their bid to force a primary election.

I’m only casting four votes in Wednesday’s Democratic primary.

For the Board of Education, I’m voting for Sean King and Susanne Wesoloski. 

For the Common Council I’m voting for Hope Kasper and Gene Nocera.

And here’s why.

What the ballot will look like with my votes.

You don’t have to cast all votes you’re entitled to.

In this primary there are nine candidates running for Common Council.  Eight are candidates endorsed by the Democratic machine.  One, Hope Kasper, petitioned to be on the ballot after the Democratic Town Committee.  You are allowed to cast up to eight votes.  I’m only casting two, for Hope Kasper and Gene Nocera.

In this primary there are seven candidates running for Board of Education.  Five are candidates endorsed by the Democratic machine.  Two, Sean King and Sue Wesoloski petitioned to be on the ballot.  You are allowed to cast up to five votes.  I’m only casting two, for Sean King and Sue Wesoloski.

Bullet Voting: Support your candidates by only voting for them.

It’s called bullet voting, and it works.

People might try to convince you that you need to cast all the votes you’re entitled to.  That is your privilege, but you are not required to do so.

In fact, voting only for the candidates you truly believe in multiplies the power of your vote.  It’s a technique that has been embraced by political candidates for a long time, because it effective bolsters your candidate without supporting others.

When there are more candidates running than there are seats available, you should only vote for the candidate(s) you absolutely want to win.

In this primary, there are nine candidates running for Common Council.  Only eight will get a spot on the November ballot.  There are seven candidates running for Board of Education.  Only five will get a place on the November ballot. Voting only for the candidate(s)you support will help them, win a place on the ballot, and work against their challengers.

Remember, only the highest vote-getters will go on the ballot in November.

By casting a single vote for your candidate(s), you are increasing their total, while not increasing the totals of any of the other candidates.  A mathematics teacher could probably explain it better, but by increasing your candidate(s)’ total, and denying an increase to other candidates, it's almost like two votes for your candidate.

And now the why.

I’m voting for all the candidates who have petitioned to be on the ballot because they have already completed the difficult job of getting five hundred signatures each to force a primary.  This, in itself, is an accomplishment.  But, there’s more.

Hope Kasper, for the Council, and Sean King for the Board of Education, hoped to run as endorsed candidate.  Both were rejected by the town committee.  The reasons are unclear.  Hope is an experienced Council member who has helped to create a financially strong pension fund as a member of the Pension Board.  Sean King had demonstrated his concern for city schools by fighting for appropriate budget, and participating on Board of Education committees.  Susanne Wesoloski saw the slate of endorsed candidates and decided to run because she felt she had the energy and experience lacking in those candidates.

I feel the town committee method of endorsing candidates is flawed.  A very small sub-committee interviews, selects and recommends candidates to the larger Democratic Town Committee.  With very few exceptions, the recommended candidates are endorsed by the lager committee.  This means that a very small sub-committee makes the selection for the candidates offered to you, the voter.  Unless other candidates make the effort to get signatures to force a primary.  That’s what happened again this year.

In addition, the Democratic Town Committee has selected some new candidates who appear to have been selected because they have strong connections to state and federal office holders.  One is an employee of the governor’s office.  One is employed by the Attorney General.  And one works for Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy.  Is this an attempt to garner support from these offices?  Or is this an attempt to create a larger, stronger Democratic machine where decisions on issues will no longer be made only on the city level, but will be directed from higher offices in the state and federal government?  Or is it a manner of raising and distributing campaign funds?


Sean King.  I know him personally, and I have observed his passion to make the schools the best that they can be.  He will fight for funding for the schools, and will closely monitor, and challenge the mandate to over-test our students.

Susanne Wesoloski is an experienced educator who has taught hundreds of students in Middletown at a variety of grade levels.  She is deeply concerned about the effects of over-testing on our students, and will fight for early education intervention in preschool.

Gene Nocera has been a colleague on the Board of Education for four years.  He is an experienced educator, and has an instinct for what’s best for our schools.  As a Common Council member he will be sympathetic to the needs of our schools, and understands the absolute necessity of adequate funding.

Hope Kasper is a Council member who votes her conscience even when she is voting against Democratic colleagues and allies.  This was most recently observed when she voted for all-grass fields for Middletown parks and schools when that vote cost her the support of a valued colleague.  She has been a staunch supporter for financial stability of the city pension system, and has fought to prevent raids on those funds.

Your vote counts.

The sad truth is that very few people know there is a primary election on Wednesday.  Fewer still will vote.  In the last primary election only 1100 voters made their way to the polls.  That’s a very small percentage of registered Democrats.  In that election, a place on the November ballot for Planning and Zoning was decided by 24 votes (Dan Russo - 592, Paul Turrene - 568).  When you divide those votes among candidates, a spot on the November ballot can be decided by a handful of votes.

So, if you truly believe in a candidate, or candidates, it’s imperative to vote on Wednesday, September 16.


Anonymous said...

Great way to support voter suppression Ed.

Middletown Eye (Ed McKeon) said...

Anon 7:08:

At least you got my name right, yours BTW is?

I re-read the post, and it's difficult for me to find support for voter suppression there. Vote suppression, maybe. In the article I implore everyone who can, to vote. I just want them to vote only for people they know and trust, especially in a primary. Obviously, and I make it obvious, I have a preference, which I share.

For voter suppression, I suggest you check out the Republican efforts, fueled by racism, in Georgia and Florida. I personally think Oregon has it right. You're registered unless you opt out.

I'd love to hear your recommendations for voting tomorrow, but only if you're willing to sign your name.

Gene Nocera said...

Ed, I appreciate the support and thank you for your hard work and dedication these past four years on the Board of Education as secretary, but for the record I oppose the idea of vote suppression.

I do however encourage all our Democratic voters to take time on Wednesday, September 16th to go to their regular voting place and exercise their right to vote. " Every election is determined by the people who show up"

Gene Nocera

Rachel Drake said...

I find your argument short-sighted Ed. You seem to disregard the DTC candidates solely because they were nominated by the DTC. Does that somehow make them less qualified than your candidates? There is a process, and although it may be imperfect, it is still a process that is necessary to create a ballot. Yes, your candidates had to obtain 500 signatures to force a primary, and kudos to them for doing that extra work. That doesn't make the DTC candidates unqualified for the positions they are running for just because they didn’t have to. And implying they are lesser than because they followed procedure and got the nomination is just silly.
My husband is a DTC candidate for the BOE, and has been working tirelessly since he was nominated, attending the BOE and redistricting meetings, finding out the issues from superintendent Charles and Gene Nocera, and talking with Middletown residents and voters. He takes this role seriously (even now, as an unelected candidate) and wants to do his best if elected. You discount him because he has worked in the Governor's office, although that is hardly a reason to lessen him as a candidate. He has worked tirelessly in his role at the OTG, and has had a lot of experience with education issues in his position. He also can think independently, and isn't just a pawn in some large political scheme, as you suggest.
The us versus them mentality is so tired. Isn’t that so much of what is wrong in politics already? If you want to affect change in the nomination process, then get involved with the DTC instead of taking this constant stand as an outsider. Your methods don’t seem to be making much headway in changing what you argue is a flawed system.

Thanks for encouraging people to get out and vote tomorrow, but it would have been nice if you could have kept your bias to yourself for once. Give the voters the information they need to make an informed decision, and leave your opinion out of it. Encourage people to vote and be part of the process, with their own voice. And then let the process happen.

Middletown Eye (Ed McKeon) said...

In actuality, I'm not advocating vote suppression. I'm advocating smart voting. There are lots of Democrats listed on the ballot who I would never vote for. You might call it vote suppression. I would call it voter expression. That being said, I respect all the hard work you took on as Chairman of the Board of Education, andI still support your election, but I can't recommend voting as a block for a group of individuals who I can't muster support for.

Your remarks are appreciated, and I admire Chris' desire to do a good job. I've met him and I'm impressed by his intelligence. If he's elected, I'm sure he'll make a capable candidate. However, I know that Sean King was also prepared to do a good job, and had demonstrated it by working hard to get an adequate budget passed, and through his volunteer service on school committees and on the redistricting committee. It's a complete mystery how someone with Sean's qualifications, desire and intelligence were overlooked for a slate of candidates, most of whom had never attended a Board of Education meeting until they were nominated. Say what you will about "the process," I find it extremely flawed. If we want to point fingers and admit the truth, I'm sure we could find the one or two people who are actually responsible for choosing the BOE slate as presented by the DTC. So, I do not find the process fair, representative or indicative of the best choices for the people. BTW, you've got to be kidding about trying to play a part in the DTC. It's not a club easy to win acceptance to. As for my "constant stand as an outsider," I actually take some pride in being identified as something other than part of a machine that colludes to work against the best interests of residents and taxpayers, and in fact, I do think I can think of a success or two that came as a result of being outside. Yes, the "us vs. them" mentality is tired, but I wonder if you've really considered who has created the mentality. It ain't the outsiders, for example, who have advocated for testing in public schools. It ain't the outsiders, for example, who have made it impossible for third parties to share in public campaign financing. And it ain't the outsiders who tried to knock down a historic neighborhood to build a Starbucks.

And, I never implied anything about the other BOE candidates qualifications. I just don't know where they stand on the most serious issues we face - adequate budgets, testing, state-issued standards, charter schools, funding of Special Education.

I also don't find it attractive to have the Democratic "team" campaigning against qualified candidates, but I guess that's the nature of competitive politics.

And I guess, by this time Thursday, we will know how the Democratic process itself.

BTW, I really appreciate you and Gene signing your posts.

Anonymous said...

Voter suppression isn't a joke Ed. And to say endorsed candidates aren't qualified us wrong. 3 are minority women, are you implying something because it sounds like you may be. If you don't want unsigned comments, which BTW anyone can sign anyone else's name, why allow any?

Middletown Eye (Ed McKeon) said...

Anon 4:13:

Who's making a joke? Voter suppression criminal. And like I said, if you want good examples look to the Republican party in states like Georgia and Florida. No joke. In encouraging people only to vote for those they know and trust, and to be sure to vote, there isn't a hint of voter suppression. If you are hinting that my motives are racist, then you are, simply, wrong. I didn't say I any other candidate was unqualified, only that when candidates pledge fealty to a party first, they start on the wrong foot with me. Tell me that you're a board of education candidate who cares about the schools, the district and the students, first and foremost, no matter what the party says, and I'll vote for you. I'll campaign for you.

Now as to the whole anonymity thing? Plain and simple. Anonymous posters are cowards. We often allow these comments just to point that out. In addition, anonymous posters have no credibility because how can you trust the opinion of someone you don't see, because they're hiding behind a silly mask.

So, let your accusations fly, and we'll hang you out with the white sheets to dry.

As always, my name is Ed. What's yours?

Anonymous said...

The First Amendment and case law protects and enforces the right to speak anonymously.

Robert Reutenauer said...

'Damned if you do and Damned if you don't"-- the damnable nature of dynamic democracy! Ed, your critics come from all angles-- the cowardly hidden (not sure the sheet color, could be white, as you suppose) "anonymous" has you keeping the voters uninformed , ignorant , and staying home. Your more thoughtful critic has you damned for exercising your unwarranted bias -- aka passionate political opinion in advance of free election! keep it up thanks.

re: bullet vote-- mine shoots six.. Daley and Bartolotta to your four. They did great work, with the Mayor, leading council majority Dems from following TSerra down the path of taking Parks Bond from November referendum.

Middletown Eye (Ed McKeon) said...

Oh Anon 9:17:

What frightens you, "the tyranny of the majority?" You're right, case law does say that the first amendment protects your right to communicate anonymously, if you have fear of real retribution. And if you publish yourself.

I'm not a lawyer, and maybe you are (obviously one with a lot of time on his hands), but the first amendment does not guarantee you the right to have me, or any other publication, publish your cowardly anonymous screed. That would be up to you. Bring your tiny complaints to a printing press and tack your vacuous bloviating on utility poles up and down the street (oh, that might be against the law in and of itself), or find yourself a discrete blog where like-minded fools cower behind a wall of anonymity and post your baseless bile for all to see (well, not all, because only the most wretched tea baggers spend their precious minutes poring over such drivel), or run down to the Comcast studio, put a bag over your head (please), and appear as the anonymous pundit scouring the reputations of those who actually spend their time in civic duty to their community, and when challenged, dismiss it as "comedy," because, even with a bag over your head, you are to frightened of real discourse to ever really "own" your opinions.

So, like today, when we can take the opportunity to poke fun at your hilarious ill-begotten notions, we will publish your mindless drivel and laugh. And when you step over the line with lies and defamation, we will ignore your anonymous twaddle, and drag it to the trash, and laugh. And though we won't know exactly who we are laughing at, we can spend some minutes laughing and guessing. Guessing and laughing. You are, after all, pitifully funny.

So adieu, anon 9:17, and until you find a flimsy soapbox from which to spew your own craven commentary behind a camouflage of constitutional integrity, I wish you courage.

My name is Ed. What's yours?

Middletown Eye (Ed McKeon) said...

BTW, Anon 9:17, the first amendment also protects my right to call you on your cowardice. Boo!

As above, Ed.

Anonymous said...

It's understandable that people post anonymously because of the personal and mean girl kind of attacks that come from Ed when he disagrees. This from someone on our BOE who should demonstrate behavior for our students to model, not snarkiness.

Middletown Eye (Ed McKeon) said...

Anon: 2:29:

It's okay to attack Ed, I guess, but when Ed doubts your sincerity or integrity, you feel so, so bad.

I'm beginning to think that The Middletown Eye ought not publish any anonymous comments because some people just don't get how little credibility comes with those comments. For all I know you could be a PhD, but I doubt it. You could be a city official, or a teacher, or a fireman, or a baker or a priest. But we'll never know, will we?

I say that because I'm a "mean girl," of course, and don't have the dignity that a BOE member ought to have. In fact, I think it's the anonymous posters who ought to worry about what their children might think of them as they post cowardly insults under a cloak. Isn't that the hallmark of a bully?

BTW, what do you mean by "mean girls?" It's a weird kind of insult for an adult to make. It's also sexist. But I guess I should expect that.

Here's the irony. Are you happy now that I've rolled out the snark for the likes of you.

My name is Ed, and you're always anonymous, aren't you?