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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Last Thursday, while knocking on doors in Ward 6A I drove my car to a small side road off South Main St. I parked across from the only house I could see. The car was nestled alongside a forest. There were no parking signs. I took off my bicycle and locked the car.
I knocked on South Main St. doors and a bunch of side streets for the next three hours until I finally had to take a break at Seabra, I had met dozens of people and sensed the campaign was going pretty well. As I was leaving the Men’s Room my cell phone rang. It was the Attleboro Police. “Please remove your car and find another parking spot. A neighbor has complained about where you parked.”
I thanked the officer, told him I was hopping on my bike and would be at my car in five minutes.
A few minutes later, while I was putting the bike upon the back of the car, a tiny woman came out of the only house I could see on the street. She walked straight towards me. I figured she was going to scold me.
Rhonda was really nice! She was thrilled that I was running for city councilor and am the Attleboro YMCA Social Worker. She invited me to park in her own driveway the next time I was in the area. Rhonda offered to call the police back and tell them I had been very prompt and was moving the car.
Just then a big garbage truck turned into the dead end road. I hustled my car up the driveway and waited for the city crew to do their duty and they quickly left the street. I had parked on this street on garbage day!
Then Rhonda offered to take one of my campaign signs. I looked at her and said, “But you hardly know me.” Before I could say a single word about my campaign she blurted out, “I WANT TO VOTE FOR YOU, TY.”
I almost hugged Rhonda and said, “but, you don’t know why I’m running for office yet?” Rhonda really didn’t care. She just liked me. I don’t know why.
The next time I’m on her empty street she wants me to park at the top of her driveway.
You have got to love Rhonda and the spirit inhabited by so many of the neighbors in Attleboro! Campaigning can be such a joy!
Friends – – I met an enthusiastic young woman in South Attleboro today knocking on doors on Robinson Ave. I told Bethany I will be a strong education supporter… and Bethany told me about the day in Attleboro High School when she walked into Latin class and was told her teacher was gone and Latin was cancelled for the rest of the year … and beyond.
I looked Bethany in the eye and told her I would vote NO to layoffs during the school year. I told her I want Attleboro schools to return to the level we were at before the massive layoffs a few years ago. Bethany go excited and told me she would definitely vote for me.
I also met a woman who is an aide in our school system. She was offered no pay raise this year and was deeply offended. Her union fought back and helped her get a tiny raise but she won’t forget the slap in the face when told she didn’t deserve a raise. We need dedicated teacher aides in Attleboro…. and we want them to feel appreciated.
Every day I meet teachers, aides, students and voters like Bethany who want stronger schools in our city. We will be building a new high school… lets continue to build what happens inside the classrooms!
If you want to volunteer to hold signs and canvass with me in September and October, please let me know (508-577-1412). Attleboro can be the strongest city school system in Massachusetts. Let’s invest in our youth!