Low turn-out for preliminary election is troublesome

Sept. 27, 2021 | G. Michael Dobbs

Generally in politics, an open seat is an opportunity to change the course of government a bit.

You probably know there is an open seat in the Northampton, as the incumbent mayor has decided to not seek reelection. There is an open seat for mayor in Holyoke with the departure of Alex Morse for the town manager position in Provincetown.

As a journalist, open elections are the most interesting to cover. An open election usually means a larger field of candidates – more candidates, more stories.

Morse’s tenure in Holyoke was marked by many issues from a revolving door in several city offices to an element of stagnation. It did not help the city that Morse threw much, if not all, of his political efforts in a lengthy campaign to unseat Congressman Richard Neal.

Interim Mayor Terence Murphy has been lauded for his efforts to right the ship of government in the Paper City, but Murphy was not seeking the position permanently.

There were seven candidates vying for the job in last week’s primary. That’s a whole lot of candidates. We saw people with considerable government service looking for the job as well as people with experience outside of government.

One would imagine with such a field the voter turn-out would have been strong as each of those hopefuls needed as many supporters as possible to bring them to the top two positions and move onto the November elections.

Generally, primaries are for true believers, people who are strongly in favor of a particular candidate.

Only 18.95 percent of the registered voters bothered to make it to the polls. That’s pathetic. I don’t mean to sound critical  – heck, yes I do – but what happened?

I worked in the Paper City for years and I truly believe it is unique community with a considerable future. There has much been done in the last 20 years to reshape the city for this century.

The next mayor will have a huge task on his hands – both finalists are men – and that is to take the progress Murphy has started in cleaning up the messes left by Morse and move the city forward. There is a lot to be done.

I only hope more of the voters will understand they now have a choice to make in November and they actually participate. I will be redundant in saying once more: yakking and complaining on social media is not participating in government. Voting is what changes government.

If you don’t vote, don’t complain with what you get.
Too soon?

The Big E is back in business. I’m a fan by the way, as it gets as close as one can get these days in old-fashioned show biz hoopla.

I went last week to add to our story you will find on page two. I didn’t know what quite to expect, but I was not completely surprised by the absences I saw of vendors.

Frankly, I remained masked the entire time I was there with the exception of the two times I ate something. I’ve managed to be out in the public for this job and not catch it and didn’t want to risk getting it or spreading it unknowingly.

Yes, I’m vaccinated.

And while having my annual frozen banana – chocolate with nuts – made the experience seem a tad bit normal, I realized this is a transitional edition of the fair.

I’ve been avoiding large gatherings of people as a rule, but this was for work.

Although some people might suggest cutting off my head on putting it on a spike in front of the Big E administration building, I’ll just say that perhaps we should have waited another year.

Yes, I know the economic repercussions would be great. I get it. I just want to see this pandemic end.

I get it, though, why the show had to go on this year. I just would advise if you go to follow the rules, wear a mask and enjoy yourself.

And for goodness sake try a frozen banana.

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