This is a campaign for the people of Attleboro.

Today we put up signs for the first time this campaign season.

We went to 39 homes in Ward 1A in South Attleboro and Ward 6A near Capron Park and Thacher Street.  John and David prepared all the signs, handed out magnetic bumper stickers and buttons, and accompanied me around the city.

I was struck by the happiness I saw on face after face. Most of the homeowners were delighted to see me. It was awesome, as though I was Santa Claus bringing them a sleigh full of presents. Many of the folks were glad to accept our buttons and magnetic bumper stickers, and show me where they wanted us to put up their signs. One lady on South Main Street even helped us put up my sign on her front yard fence. She was having fun.

This is a campaign for the people of Attleboro. Seniors need to be helped, valued and served. Children need the best possible education. Our library needs the resources to help all those who enter its premises.

This is a people’s campaign. This campaign is for good government that is transparent, just, and responsive. This is a campaign for a city council that echoes and expresses the voice and will of our people, young and old, wealthy and poor alike.

Then he said, “I don’t like politicians.”

I met a man who drove home while I was at his front door today. He looked concerned so I went over to his parked car. He didn’t look comfortable while I told him I am running for city council. Then he said, “I don’t like politicians.”

I understood him. Politicians can be threatening to some people, they can appear fake, powerful, slick, manipulative, corrupt, liars, or worse. I found myself saying, “I am not a career politician. I have no ambitions beyond this position. I don’t like many politicians either.” Then he smiled a bit.

I really don’t see myself as a politician. I see myself as a social worker, working for the good of people. I envision weighing each city council vote to see how I can have the most positive effect on our city. I won’t get into a political war with other councilors. To me, getting in a battle is pointless and negative. I will seek ways to do something positive. Each vote will be answering an inner question.

How can I be helpful?

I am not a power-monger. As a councillor, I will be open and accountable to the public and give my reasons for votes. I don’t want anyone guessing why I voted yes or no.

I also believe in term limits so I can’t stay in office too long… maybe six years, eight max. I don’t want to get powerful. The idea of seeking power is repugnant to me. But I do plan to help Attleboro and our citizens. That is why I’m running.

REAL LIFE IN GOVERNMENT

Saturday, August 4th – Today, after the rain, I met someone who once played an important role in our city. This is an abridged version of the story:
Not so long ago, the school committee didn’t have enough money in the budget to meet the request of the teacher’s union. The school committee figured out a fiscal compromise. If the teachers could accept level funding for an additional six weeks beyond the end of their contract, they could then save the jobs of 8 teachers. After mid-August the teachers would then get their raise.
    But
The union turned down the school committee’s offer. The budget was too tight and eight teachers were laid off. The teachers did not even get to vote on the compromise offer.
     Both of my wives were teachers. On one occasion we had to make a similar decision. Accept level funding or see other teachers get laid off. We decided it was best to live at the same income for a while so other teachers and their families could have a job. The teachers union took a poll of all the teachers and they accepted the compromise. No one was laid off.
     If I were on the city council I would not want to see qualified teachers/city employees laid off. But in a tight financial year it might mean employees are offered less to save jobs.
 I hope it never comes to this. But compromises are sometimes necessary to keep our city solvent and people working.
I hope to have a happy story tomorrow.
Ty, on the trail.

Government works best when…

Today I woke up with a throbbing big toe and a budding case of gout. My dad was crippled by it. I have been campaigning hard 5-6 hours daily for the last seven weeks and it finally caught up to me. My doctor said I can resume activity by Sunday due to the non-addictive miracle drug I just started taking.

I attended Thursday night’s City Council meeting when the Council voted 7 to 2 NOT to schedule a re-vote on our acting director of the local Water Dept. Everyone needs to take a deep breath and cool down.

Government works best when we are open and honest with each other. We have forgotten how to reach across the aisle and communicate with those of another political party, another philosophy, another age group. I am talking about our entire country. We are knee deep in another civil war but this one isn’t always civil.

What is occurring nationally seeps down to our local government. We need more leaders like Senator John McCain; Senator Susan Collins; and our own Sen. Ted Kennedy who reached out to leaders of opposite parties and formed coalitions and even dared to establish friendships. If our country, state, and especially our city are to prosper we need to cooperate with one another as much as is humanly possible.

We have slipped into an era of judgment, disagreements and vitriol. But that is not the world I and many others want to live in. We have a ways to go to find peace and harmony.

But we need to listen to one another and learn from each other; whether it be in our City Council or in the Supreme Court, the halls of the United States Senate, or the Massachusetts State House.

Only then can we solve the leadership issues of Attleboro’s Water Department.

Peace, Ty

Ty runs into two Attleboro High School seniors

Monday I met a pair of Attleboro High School seniors who live on Phillips Street. They said the biggest problem is with the school administration. I asked what they meant and they replied, “The principals need to be more concerned with what is going on inside the classroom and with the teachers. They’ve been focusing too much on the building.”

I asked them if anything seemed different since the layoffs two years ago. They answered, “Teachers were definitely more stressed this year. Most of them are teaching in front of the class now instead of walking around the classroom checking in with individual students. A lot of teachers seem to be struggling with the increase in the size of classes.”
I asked them if this is true with all their classes. They responded, “The Honors courses don’t seem to be affected because those classes are smaller. But teachers are stressed out in our other classes.”
When I was leaving, both students shook my hand, smiled and said, “Thank you for the visit.”
Let’s listen to our students.