Endorsements are like chicken soup when you have a cold. They may not do any good (which is, of course, to say “they MAY”), but they certainly can’t do any harm. Note that these are THE PLANET’s endorsement, not our predictions. That’s another story. Nostradamus, we ain’t.
What makes us dare to speak out? THE PLANET is always amused at this line of questioning. The response is: Why would anyone not think to do likewise. Moreover, we have been as inside these various campaigns as anyone can get other than staffers. If we were any more closer to the inside, we’d be outside and behind.
We have worked the phones, sent and received a flurry of e-mails, moderated more debates and forums that we can count, and have devoted much thought to the various races. Consequently, we present ourselves, my dear friends, as qualified observers. “Objectivity” has never been an honest journalist’s goal. Rather, the goal is openness and an unshakeable desire for Truth.
With that, here are THE PLANET’s picks. These rather brief summations may be expanded upon later:
FOR GOVERNOR: JILL STEIN
THE SKINNY: Stein has been the only one in this campaign dedicated to ending “insider politics” that have devastated our cities, our towns, and the lives of so many people who live in them. She has presented a practical, achievable game plan under which that could realistically come about. The insiders vehemently disagree, natch. Of course, that’s what makes the insiders.
FOR AUDITOR: MARY CONNAUGHTON
Connaughton made a convincing case that, as the only CPA in the race, she possessed the best overall skill set to tackle an underperforming though crucial office. The auditor CAN but hasn’t made a huge difference in fighting the enormous corruption and waste on Beacon Hill.
Every candidate in this race said that, and they are all correct. Connaughton demonstrated the best grasp of problem. As we know, the first step to a solution is to correctly understand and frame the problem. Smith Physics Prof. Nat Fortune would agree. Will Connaughton be tough enough? If she becomes the most unpopular person on Beacon Hill, the answer will be “yes.” If not, “Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.”
FOR FIRST BERKSHIRE REP: Gail Carriddi will vote for herself, guaranteeing victory in a race for an open seat that, shamefully, the Republicans wouldn’t enter.
FOR SECOND BERKSHIRE REP: MIKE CASE
A tough call, almost too close, between Case and Racz. The nod went to Case because he’s a Republican. Trust me, THE PLANET has as much love for the GOP as for the Dems (which is to say, little) but right now, the reality of one-party monopoly means thestate will be better served by a stronger, more credible opposition. Case will provide that. As a veteran, he’s seen combat. As a cop, he’s handled tough guys. He’s a fiscal, small-government conservative.
FOR THIRD BERKSHIRE REP: MARK MILLER
Do I have to draw you a map? Miller has run a brilliant campaign (measured not by money but by fervor-coupled-with-strategic thrust). Miller has done everything but raise a goober of $$, and that’s good, because unlike his Quaking Opponent in Hiding, he hasn’t made like Faustus selling his soul to that big, bad Mephisto dude. Combine Miller’s integrity with Quaker No Show’s lack thereof, and you have The Perfect Electoral storm. Miller may in fact pull off what will be the biggest upset in the modern and post-modern history of Western Massachusetts politics. History in the making.
FOURTH BERKSHIRE DISTRICT: SCOTT LAUGENOUR
Before settling in the Berkshires, Laugenour traveled the world and managed a $1 billion business unit of the Marriott Hotel Chain. He knows budgets. He knows economics. He had the more credible answer in this race on the question of the enormous budget deficit that will be facing the Commonwealth. Laugenour also had a winning issue with his stance on single-payer health care. His opponent says the two candidates both believe in single payer, but Laugenour pointed out the gap between talk and action. That being said, of the incumbents, William “Smitty” Pignatelli has run most honorably. He’s a good man (though that’s not [and never should be] the issue). But at least he had the decency to face his opponent in a live, unscripted debate.
QUICKLY, THE QUESTIONS:
Q1, Sales Tax Exemption on Alcoholic Beverages: NO
THE PLANET hates taxes, but we will concede that, however regressive a tax on alcohol might be, booze is not a necessity but a choice and therefore doesn’t warrant a special tax exemption.
Q2 Permits for Low- or Moderate-Income Housing: YES
A “yes” vote on this confusing question will restore local control on the zoning and approval of low-income housing units. Currently, state law permits developers to build pretty much anywhere without local control. Voting YES will repeal a law the state inspector general calls “a pig fest” and “one of the biggest abuses in state history.
Q3, LOWERING STATE SALES AND USE TAX: YES
A YES vote will reduce sales tax from 6.25 percent to 3 percent as of Jan. 1. It will put an extra $700 in your pocket. It will create nearly 40,000 jobs. It will attract shoppers from nearby states. It will reduce government waste and bureaucracy. A no-brainer. Don’t listen to the fear
tactics of the special interests (almost all of them public sector, Big Government types). With a YES vote, the odds are likelier for politicians to finally begin to seriously address the structural deficit in the state. No essential services will be cut with a YES vote. Don’t vote for fear. Vote for your own pocketbook. Vote YES.