Monday, March 31, 2008

Caucus Saturday: I am Supporting Nikko Mendoza

This Saturday I am attending a district Democratic caucus in Massachusetts. I am supporting my good friend Nikko Mendoza, who is running to be the female delegate for Hillary Clinton representing the 8th Massachusetts Congressional district.

A couple of things that are strange about this.

1) I didn't vote for Hillary Clinton in the primary. I voted for Barack Obama.

2) I don't live in the 8th Congressional district. I live in the 9th Congressional district. I can't even vote at the caucus I am attending Saturday.

These strange things should show you how strongly I support Nikko. To say she is a dedicated public servant in her role within Mayor Menino's office is an understatement. Nikko is on call 24-hours a day, 7-days a week for the people of Boston.

Furthermore, to say that Nikko is a dedicated supporter of Hillary Clinton is also an understatement. She helped organize ground efforts in Manchester, New Hampshire when Hillary was way behind in the polls there (She even inspired me to drive up there and help her).

She volunteered in Rhode Island on the second Super Tuesday, placing phone calls to Texas towns when the victory in Providence was secure.

Now for those of you who want a little bit of education about how the delegate selection process works in this state, here it is in simple terms. The Presidential primary on Super Tuesday determined the delegates awarded to Senator Obama and Senator Clinton. However, the delegates are awarded by Congressional district. In the 8th Congressional district, Senator Obama won seven delegates (and alternates) and Senator Clinton won two delegates.

Once the total count is determined, each congressional district holds caucuses to determine which individuals will fill the elected delegate positions. Each candidate holds a caucus. So in the 8th Congressional District, the Obama campaign and the Clinton campaign are holding separate caucuses.

At the Clinton caucus in the 8th district, the attendees will elect one female and one male delegate to the convention in Denver in August to fill the seats the primary voters gave the Clinton campaign in February.

Confused yet?

Simply put, in my case, I cannot think of a better delegate to represent me and my Democratic party than Nikko Mendoza. And I am looking forward to supporting her on Saturday even though I cannot vote for her. Anyone else who is a registered Democrat in the 8th District (meaning your Congressman is Mike Capuano), please join me in supporting her. The caucus is being held at Bunker Hill Community College in Charlestown. Also-- You should know that her full name on the ballot is Marie Nicole Mendoza.

8th Congressional District DNC Caucus for Hillary Clinton

Saturday, April 5 at 1PM (please arrive no later than 12:45PM - doors close promptly at 1)

Bunker Hill Community College
250 New Rutherford Avenue, Charlestown

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Managing Boston Common Use

Local papers and bloggers are buzzing after news broke last week that the City of Boston Parks Department is considering kicking certain large events off the Boston Common. I have had a pleasant experience working with the Parks Department on issues related to the Common, and thought I would post my thoughts.

The Boston Common is a sacred space, and it is heavily used. With that use comes damage. I attended meetings this time last year with the Parks Department, as they planned to shut down the parade ground space on the Common to rehabilitate the turf (the parade ground is generally the area right above the Boston Common Garage. The project was not cheap, and for that reason it makes complete sense for the department to evaluate use of the parade grounds, and the entire park itself.

There are too many events on the Boston Common. Some of these events would benefit from switching their location to the City Hall Plaza area. For one thing, the T access to City Hall Plaza is immediate. Plus, the buildings around City Hall Plaza are a natural noise container. You do not know how many times I have heard that the noise on the Common is excessive-- and that noise travels right into the homes on the south slope of Beacon Hill.

In summary, given how much the City has spent on repairs to the Boston Common, it is the Parks Department's responsibility to taxpayers to evaluate use of the park to make sure the refurbished areas remain pristine for years to come.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Mr. Levanto Goes to City Hall

This past Tuesday one of the Boston City Council's committees held a hearing on towing policies in Boston and their affect on keeping the city's streets clean. Since I have been involved in this issue (fortunately or unfortunately) since I first volunteered in Beacon Hill, I decided I would got to the hearing to testify.

I took a half day off and decided to take a tour of City Hall in the process. Some of my friends work there, and I always like to meet my elected officials. In the morning, I stopped by the office of John Connolly, newly elected City Councilor at large. Mr. Connolly is a very hard worker-- I have heard anecdotes that he gets to the office early and stays very late. During my visit, he commented that he's been studying the budget process-- He's on the Ways & Means Committee.

I voted for John Connolly and can say, following my visit with him, that I am happy I did. We talked for twenty minutes about hot topics on Beacon Hill, many of which I have written about on this blog. I also mentioned to him that I had recently cheered on a basketball team of fifth graders (coached by my good friend Jen) who are from his home neighborhood of West Roxbury. New piece of Boston knowledge: "The 'Parkway' includes both Roslindale and West Roxbury-- the team in question was from Parkway.

I then went to the Council Chamber and attended the hearing. Here's a quick summary of my testimony: Street cleaning works, and towing cars for the sweeper is a great idea. There's a discussion underway about making street sweeping in Boston a year-round program. I think that's a great idea. Street sweeping is overwhelming effective, but it's worthless unless the street sweeper can reach the curb. Making the program year-round will be tricky, given that-- among many reasons-- there sometimes will be snow on the ground. But we can work through those issues. If you are still reading this (bless you), you can email me to learn more on this.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Campaign Without Momentum

I have been talking to a lot of people lately about how the current Democratic primary race has shown no momentum for either side. I usually say this in the context of the way the media is covering the race.

I usually tell the story this way: If you had predicted, based on the way certain demographics voted on February 5th (Super Tuesday), the way things would have unfolded in this race, you would have said:
  • Clinton loses the 11 contests between Super Tuesday and the primaries in Ohio and Texas.
  • Clinton wins Rhode Island, Texas and Ohio but loses Vermont.
  • Obama wins Wyoming and Mississippi.

Given this is exactly what has happened, how can anyone say that either side has momentum?

Dan Kennedy wrote a much more eloquent entry on this point, which is worth a read.

By the way, for further evidence of the lack of momentum in this campaign, look at when voters in Mississippi made up their minds. Way more than half of them said they made their choice more than a month ago. How does that support the claim of momentum for Obama the media is talking about this morning? (I heard the "momentum" word on WTKK during the drive to work.)

Monday, March 03, 2008

Certified Results

I received an official letter from the City of Boston on Saturday that read:

"You are hereby notified that it appears from the results of the February 5th, 2008 Presidential Primary, that you were elected to the Ward 5 Democratic Committee for the City of Boston."

I wonder if the elected Mayor of Boston receives the same type of letter?

So I guess that means my election has been "certified"? : )