Friday, August 26, 2005

Local politics...Massachusetts style

A little bit of history...

DH and I met back when we were both back "home" in Massachusetts. We are from the same home town, and met on a political campaign (in 1982 -- wow, it WAS a long time ago!) for a mayor's race.

Both of us grew up around political campaigns. My first real exposure to political campaigns was in 1970, where my dad and I stood outside at my elementary school handing out books of matches with the slogan "Danny Hayes for Ward 4 Councilor" printed on them, complete with a picture of Danny Hayes on the front. My dad instilled such a love of community and sense of duty to be an informed voter that I registered to vote ON my 18th birthday!

DH, on the other hand, grew up around politics on the "other side" from my dad. No, not in the ward council race, but in the Mayoral races over time. He was a "Rogers guy"; my dad (and me) were with Markey.

Okay -- all this Mayoral race stuff was in the mid-to-late 70's. So fast forward to 1982. There was a special election for Mayor because Mayor Markey was named a judge, and the "Rogers guys" were scattered supporting a myriad of candidates. DH and I met on one of these "myriad of candidates" campaigns.

What made our home town politics very "different" from other places was the use of negative campaign tactics. I shouldn't even say "use" -- it was practiced as a fine art form! Back in the 70's and 80's, there were outright wars between whomever was occupying the Mayor's office, the folks surrounding the mayor, someone on the local "talk radio show" at the radio station, the editorial page of the local newspaper, and whatever local politician was spending some time either with the threat of going to jail or actually behind bars at the moment. to today.

DH and I received a two page letter in the mail. It was from a dear friend who was heavily involved in local politics when we were, and someone who is indeed a patriarch of my undergraduate university. The letter requested our financial support for a candidate opposing the current mayor of our home town.

DH saw the letterhead and immediately started moaning. "How in the world did we get on THIS blooming list?" he asked. Then he read who signed the letter -- our mutual dear friend. He then muttered something about how he loves our dear friend, and he's going to write him a letter saying that he loves him, but there's no blooming way he would support that candidate, etc., etc. Why would he never support him? Because one of the very key players in the current Mayor's circle of trust is a very high up "Roger's guy".

So, I figured I would go and see if my dear friend's candidate had a web site. Yes indeed, he does. Well, the "slash and burn" politics of the 70's and 80's isn't gone, believe you me. I found this on the web site -- dated August 8, 2005 -- Matt Morrissey's letter to Mayor Frederick Kalisz regarding George Leontire's threats at the Portuguese Feast. I do some Google searches -- and find that a former mayor wrote a letter to the editor of the local paper about the "Portuguese feast incident". And, an article from 2000 discusses how a talk radio show host at the local radio station is involved, too.

Who says that politics is any different some 30-odd years later?

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