"Not eating chard. That's what all those weirdos eat at their stupid picnics on the Hungry Ghost lawn." -Nina

November 12, 2007

"Remember To Connect The Arrows"

Gene Tacy did quite a bit of press in his unsuccessful campaign for Mayor of Northampton. Bill
Dwight had him on air, Mary and I had him as a guest on the Community Radio Hour, he podcasted with Kelsey, and Gene also participated in many local debates. He was absent from a notable debate held at WWLP22 News, featuring the candidates for Mayor. That debate was for candidates who were on the ballot, and Gene was not on the ballot; Gene Tacy ran a write in campaign for Mayor.

According to a quote Patricia Shaughnessy gave to the Gazette, being a write-in candidate for Mayor was also why Gene Tacy was not included in this years' Elder Vision election issue. Elder Vision is the "newspaper of the Council on Aging", and Patricia is the Director. Every year, they publish a section that highlights who is running for what seat, with some words included that each candidate is asked to send in. Gene Tacy made public comments about not being included in this years' issue, in addition to noting that he felt that was a purely political decision made by the Director of the Northampton Council on Aging. Gene pointed out that in 2003, when Patricia herself was running for the City Clerk position, as a write in candidate, she was invited to participate in the issue, and was included in the election issue as a write-in candidate. If I am correct, Patricia was the Director of the Council on Aging at that time also.

Having reservations upon hearing Gene state that Patricia excluded Gene because he was a write-in candidate, while including herself in a past issue while she was a write-in, as well as having read on MassLive's Northampton Forum that Patricia was not a write-in candidate that year, but actually on the ballot, I stopped at Gene's campaign headquarters on the eve of the election to see if I could view for myself the proof he claimed to hold; An issue of Elder Vision from 2003 that features Patricia Shaughnessy as a write-in candidate for City Clerk.

Indeed, the issue does feature Patricia in 'The Candidates Contested Races' section, and as the photo above from an ad Patricia placed in that issue shows, she was a write-in candidate.

Imagining that there are very valid reasons why there has been an apparent policy change at Elder Vision regarding the inclusion or exclusion of write-in candidates, I sent Patricia two emails asking her if she would clarify why there has been a change of policy regarding write-in candidates, and when that policy was changed. For instance, it might be possible this policy only applies to Mayoral candidates. She has not yet responded to either of my queries.

You can view photos of the 2003 Elder Vision Election Issue featuring Patricia Shaughnessy as a write-in candidate, here.

The current 2007 Election Issue of Elder Vision, which excluded Gene Tacy per his write-in candidacy, can be viewed online at the Northampton on Council Aging's website. [pdf here]

UPDATE:: This post is headlined "Remember To Connect The Arrows". Daryl Lafleur left a comment here, and suggested that one might also try to connect the dots.

UPDATE:: And for what it's worth...unrelated to the lawsuit or the emails, I have been told and since verified with some intrepid journalism skills and dogged researching, (elder vision online) that Northampton resident Sam Welson, in an unsuccessful bid for the Ward 3 seat on Northampton's School Committee in 2005, was also excluded from the featured candidates section of Elder Vision's election issue that year, while his opponent was featured. I spoke with Sam about this on the phone, and he did recall receiving the invitation to participate, and sending back the material. He is unaware of any reasons why he might have been excluded, and does not recall if he followed up with any queries about it. Though very likely an oversight or mistake on either parties part, it seems prudent to note.

LABELS: elder vision, citizen journalism, city government, local politics