Why, I have a date with my wife this evening! Javi is off to a concert with his grandpa, and shall be spending the night over in Melrose. The benefits of having a working musician parent...it's the Melrose Symphony's "Children's Concert", but unlike other children's concerts you may have heard about, this one has a strict age limit and dress code, and they play *real* classical music, not just Peter and the Wolf and other kid-friendly things. Javi was old enough to go last year, but we had a schedule conflict and couldn't make it. So Javi gets a road trip, and Mrs. TriSec and I will have an evening to ourselves. Imagine that!
Ah, but let's talk politics. This past week, I went off to the Waltham City Council meeting. It's an election year, so I thought I should probably do some networking and find out what's going on around here. It was a quiet night....a local girl's softball team was recognized for winning their league championship, a developer presented a proposal for a sewer connection on a lot he was developing, and some routine license approvals and other business took place.
You should probably still never watch sausages or laws being made, and the poor developer withstood 45 minutes of increasingly banal grilling by members of the city council. Apparently, it was a very slow night. But nevertheless, all the business was done, and the council knocked off after a little bit less than two hours.
But during the course of the evening, I managed to corner my friend Tom Stanley
(who does double-duty in City Hall and the State House), to see if the rumors were true. Mr. Stanley is the son of the legendary Mayor Tom Stanley Sr., who served in the office for over 20 years. I've known Tom since our kids started school together a few years back. (But curiously not through Scouting - he's got girls.) In any case, he is going to run for Mayor next time against two-term incumbent Jeanette McCarthy. Rumor is that she is retiring, but has not made a clear announcement one way or the other.
It's very curious. I've run for School Committe twice in the past, neither time meeting success. I had designs myself to run for an At-Large City Council seat this time around, but in looking over my allies on the Council, there's actually nobody I'd want to take on right now. Of the 15 members of city council, I am personally friendly with 7 of them, and have made acquaintances of 2 more. This doesn't include the Mayor, who I have had many close dealings with through my time as Cubmaster.
Nevertheless, I feel the city has stagnated a bit...of all the members of City Council, there is but one member that has served less than 2 terms. Everyone else has been there for years, in some cases being members of the Council from before I moved into this city, over 15 years ago now.
This is the issue with the Mayor. Mr. Stanley thinks she's become too comfortable, too established, and just too complacent to actually lead the city anymore. While I have no personal beef with the Mayor, looking around the city and seeing what has gone on the last 5 years or so....I'd have to agree.
But that's not the only game in town. I'm also next-door neighbors with Peter Koutoujian.
He's another one I've known since we moved into town. At the time he was our Representative in General Court, so once I figured out where he lived, I literally walked next door and introduced myself. His daughter plays soccer in the same League as Javi, so I still see him about from time to time.
The rumor about him is that he's planning a run for Ed Markey's seat, should we send him to the Senate.
And on top of all that, there are 3 seats open at the School Committee this year, and the rumor there is that long-serving member Bob Cincotta is going to retire. His kids are out of the school system, and I've heard that he sold his house and is looking to retire completely to Maine.
But after all that....I may not run for anything. I've already signed on to help Tom Stanley with his mayoral run. If Peter goes through with it and runs for Representative, I'm almost certainly going to knock on his door again and see what I can do.
Locally, if Tom Stanley wins, that will free up both a City Council seat, and a State Rep seat. I've already told him that I was "interested in his seat", and if I help him become Mayor, I expect to have coattails to ride. And if my neighbor Pete gets into the House of Representatives there, those coattails will turn into a toboggan.
It's all very interesting....and likely nothing that's actually going to happen this year. I'm envisioning at least a two-year process here on all this.
Do you think that John Q. Public, with no training as a lawyer or other policy wonk, can live the dream and actually become a Citizen-Representative in this day and age?