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June 30, 2007



im with you on all counts. since you posted it has come to light that the ward 4 school committee seat may need a special election. in both our opinions this will be to a powerless body. too many elections.
this could have been done in the 60s which is the last time we had a one term mayor. what are we waiting for?


If you give these morons four years at a time do you really think that they will ever say "NO" to a Mayor that they all suck up to now just think how much your "TAXES" and "WATER BILLS" will increase then please just say "NO NO NO"


If you give these morons four years at a time do you really think that they will ever say "NO" to a Mayor that they all suck up to now just think how much your "TAXES" and "WATER BILLS" will increase then please just say "NO NO NO"


We already have term limits - they are called elections. Voters have the option in every election to change their representatives -from school committee to president of the United States.

Term limits let those who opt out of the process pretend change is happening. Rather then get active and vote - much less actually run for office - they complain about current elected officials and belive that the grass will always be greener with someone else in office.

Finally, term limits take away my right to vote for the candidate of my choice. If I believe that an experienced, longer term officerholder is doing a good job, I demand the right to vote for him or her. If you term limit my choice of elected official you effectively take my right to vote for the candidate of my choice away from me (and yes I know, I could still vote for him or her but they couldn't hold the office - great I get to protest ineffectively with my vote).

Sorry, the answer isn't term limits. Bring back civics in grade school, stop demeaning every candidate that dares to pull papers with attacks on personal appearance or lifestyle choices, recognize that holding office takes time, dedication and really is a second job worth paying the person to do correctly.

As voters, be the employer you would like to work for in your job.

So get up off your lazy butts and vote for the government you want - you won't get it by taking away my right to vote with term limits.

Somerville Resident

I'm for term limits: Given the apathy of the voters and the strong nepotistic tendencies in the city, that would result in mandatory, periodic and healthy changes.

concerned Tufts St. Resident

I'm up for any changes that would put officials in charge that give a damn and want to address the problems facing somerville - gangs, crime, corruption, quality of life. too much to ask for? the crew we have now clearly don't have a clue.

Somerville Resident

Don't worry, Concerned Tufts St. Resident. We got the fireworks, right? People watched in amazement, right? So, just be happy and enjoy the upcoming day off.


To thenoseknows;

The last time we had a one-term Mayor was 1978-80 when Thomas August held the office.

Both Jim Brennan and Harold Wells served a single term during the 60s.

I personally prefer the 2 year terms for local elected officials and understand why they exist.

And by the way, the firewirks display was spectacular in my opinion.

One thing to also keep in mind about its sponsor is that N-Star is the largest taxpayer in the City.


Somerville Resident

Are you saying that N-Star, a for-profit company, sponsors fireworks out of good heart? That the customers will not be charged what they spend on fireworks in terms of rate boosts? Look at your bills, man. Pretty naive view, in my opinion.
Have you ever seen fireworks before? Seen one seen all, really...


to are correct sir...i forgot about mayor august..between lester ralph, gene brune, mike capuano, thats close to 30 years, we must be very intelligent voters...instead of 15 elections we could have had only 7....but you didnt comment on the school committee. ya or nay?


Somerville Resident:

I'm not saying anything about why N-Star sponsors things like fireworks displays--merely pointing out that they are the City's largest taxpayer. They probably do it out of their advertising and PR budget. It probably costs less than a 30 second TV spot in prime time on any of the Boston area network stations. And yes, I look at my electric bill regularly.

Keep in mind that electric utilities are extremely capital intensive. A very slight change in the prime lending rate impacts them a lot more than the cost of a 15-minute fireworks display.

Food for thought: one issue being discussed in some corners is municipalization of electric distribution. There hasn't been an instance of muni-'ing of a utility in Mass. since, I believe, 1926. However, from what I'm hearing it's getting more and more shrift these days, especially following the restructuring of the Commonwealth's electric industry. Just something to think about.


As far as my opinion on the School Committee goes; I agree that it has likely outlived its usefulness as a popularly-elected body. The difficulty comes in what to replace it with. An appointed professional board sounds great, but what will it cost and who will it be made up of?

The School Dept., as I see it, was once a relatively autonomous entity--almost like it's own little city. It had the separate and distinct school tax as its revenue stream, the superintendent as its mayor, and the school comittee as its aldermen. As such, it exercised a high degree of influence over education.

Education reform in Massachusetts changed all of that, concentrating much more power in the hands of the Superintendent and pretty much eviscerating the authority of the School Committee. Item: I have personally been told by my School Committee person that she was "frustrated because we have so little power". That told me a lot.

Is an appointed school committee the answer to all of that? I don't know. I suppose the first question to ask is whether or not an appointed board would be more empowered than the elected board it is replacing. If it is, and the cost of maintaining such a board is the same, then maybe it would be a good thing. If not, then in my opinion it would be a waste of time.

As a purely rhetorical question, may I ask how YOU would change it if the clean sheet of paper was put in front of you?


a somerville developers' victim

go for one year terms, and term limits!

the sooner we get the current bums out, the better for the city.

Somerville Resident

Could not agree more with that. Hopefully, it'll take more than fireworks to fool people!

Bill Shelton

Another good discussion. It's hard for me to think of any real value to keeping the School Board. I would like to hear any reasons why we should. I'd also like to hear from anyone who can suggest answers to JAR's questions, which are all great ones.

I really don't know what to think about terms limits. We really do need to change what has become a stagnant political culture, but I'm not sure that limiting incumbents to sixteen years in the same office is going to do that.

Finally, George, you say that "in the end [four-year terms] would be...welcomed by everyone."



as far as i know, and im not 100%, the current 7 member board makes around 12-15K per year. they may also have medical coverage and retirement benefits. why not appoint a 3 or 5 member part time board,something like the condo review board, with no benefits. since the current members of the board love their positions so much and are so interested in keeping them, maybe they will vounteer to be members of the new board to help get it going in the right direction.
their is a better and cheaper way to have a school board and dont forget they have limited to no power anyway.
on the term limit question. the original question was should we change the term of alderman and mayor to 4 years. i would say yes to both. by the time a new elected official gets familiar with his position a year has gone by and its time to start raising money to run for re-election.this is especially true of the mayor.
on a side note im going to contradict myself right now by saying that the current mayor of everett got elected last election and promptly raised the budget by 10.5 million dollars and the board of alderman cut only 8500.00 from that budget. this year the budget was raised by 11 millon dollars and the alderman cut around 4 million from that. so in two years the budget was increased by 17.5 milion dollars. but you know how it goes it was the last mayor fault and this is the true budget. i think somerville is light years ahead of everett in knowledgeable voters and professionalism of all our eleced officials

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