POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica

None of the Above.

by David Trumbull

November 4, 2005

I'll be in Florida on business on Tuesday, November 8th, so I have already voted, by absentee ballot, in the mayoral and city council election here in Boston.

Maura Hennigan, who is challenging the incumbent mayor, Tom Menino, is vacating her current position as councillor-at-large, so we are assured of at least one new councillor-at-large. Normally an opening should generate considerable interest in the election.

I really wanted to vote for someone for councillor-at-large, but my candidate, the lone Republican Althea Garrison, was defeated in the preliminary election back in September. I tried to find a "next best" choice. I even tried asking some of my Democratic acquaintances for information on the candidates. But they were as in the dark as I. The candidates' "literature" wasn't of much help either.

Michael Flaherty, in a fancy glossy circular, wrote to me that he is for "affordable housing", "public safety", and "education." While Matt O'Malley, in a letter, asserted his belief in three fundamental rights: "a great education, a safe neighborhood, and an affordable place to live, work, and thrive." John R. Connolly, according to his campaign literature is, likewise, in favor of an "affordable city with innovative schools, safe streets" Connolly deviated from the standard trinity of vacuous phrases by adding a fourth to the list --"a thriving economy."

I received no campaign literature from the remaining five candidates. But in fairness to them I must remind you that I did vote early. Perhaps I'll find campaign circulars from Sam Yoon, Patricia H. White, Stephen J. Murphy, Edward M. Flynn, and Felix D. Arroyo waiting in my mailbox when I return on Wednesday. No doubt they, too, are in favor of affordable housing, safe streets, and good schools.

Much has been said and written about low voter participation in American elections. In the September preliminary election here in Boston the turnout was only 15 percent. Surely our substance-free candidates who run on the same predictable platitude have much to do with voters' lack of interest.

Me? Well, I'm one of those rare persons who never misses an election. I got my ballot; signed as a citizen who met the requirements for absentee voting; left the selection of councillor-at-large blank; and mailed it back. At least I voted!

David Trumbull is the chairman of the Boston Ward Three Republican Committee; he may be contacted at (617) 742-6881 or Boston's Ward Three includes the North End, West End, part of Beacon Hill, downtown, waterfront, Chinatown, and part of the South End.