Every tax is a pay cut.  Every tax cut is a pay raise.
Citizens for Limited Taxation

Do these numbers really indicate anything? Thursday, April 1, 2004
Rob Haneisen Metrowest Daily News
Harold Wolfe's performance on Tuesday - garnering some 1,300 votes - elevated him above fringe candidates like Anthony Blois and Thomas Blandford. But I think it is premature to say Wolfe and his brand of ultra-conservatism are a political force to be reckoned with in town.

I'm not taking anything away from Wolfe mainly because I'm not convinced there is anything there yet.  Wolfe's vote total was more a matter of who was on the ballot with him than his own campaigning prowess.

Put plainly: Wolfe rode the coattails of Ginger Esty and her brand of anti-George King politicking.  When the voter turnout is low, retirees and old-time townies turn out dutifully to vote and this is Ginger's strength.  They hear Ginger vow to fight sex offenders and social service agencies run amok in town and they give her support.  Seniors, pressed by the ever-rising cost of living and property taxes in town look at Ginger as their voice and believe her rhetoric about blaming King for taxes, the high cost of operating the town, etc.

Few people, I would wager, voted for Wolfe because of his stances against protecting open space, anti-illegal immigrant crackdowns, overpaid teachers and an operational under ride.  Instead voters saw in Wolfe, much like Esty, a disdain for King in a community that is being polarized around the town manager, fairly or not.

I disagree with Mal Schulze's contention as told to me Tuesday at the polls, that CCFIILE and the likes of Wolfe have staying power, although it was interesting to see Wolfe and CCFIILE co-founder and anti-illegal immigrant crusader Jeff Buck stroll into the Memorial Building together.  Surely, it's an alliance of mutual benefits.

So Wolfe can rejoice in his vote total all he wants but until he is in a race with high voter interest will he truly know what kind of political weight he carries.

Esty of course was in full glory with her first place finish, besting Charlie Sisitsky by more than 500 votes.  This should not be a surprise again given the turnout favoring Esty's voter base.  Also, Sisitsky gave Esty a free road to first place by declining live debate on cable television programs and only showing up to one of two public forums (Esty missed one as well).

Perhaps Sisitsky was playing for second place all along given the lumps he would take trying to take on Esty, someone he referred to during an editorial board meeting as a "nasty lady."

But Sisitsky did not live up to one of the responsibilities of public office which includes public debate about the issues regardless of how uncomfortable those debates will be.  No doubt Sisitsky knew Esty and Wolfe would gang up on him about his role as Natick's DPW director but Sisitsky has fended off those claims of conflict numerous times with ease.

The plain truth is that Sisitsky, who has a record to be proud of, should have accepted invitations to appear on cable television with his opponents.  By not doing so, he looked a little foolish.  On Jim Pillsbury's live call in show Monday night, Esty and Wolfe sat on a panel next to someone dressed up as a chicken which occasionally played recordings of Sisitsky's voice.  The unsophisticated, though effective, jab had its point and Sisitsky should take notice.

In other election moments of absentia, ousted Keefe Tech School Committee veteran Ed Weinberg likely received the results of the election via long distance phone call. He was attending a school committee convention in Florida Tuesday.  Voters apparently took his defensiveness about Keefe's performance on MCAS and changes needed for improvement as an indication that he was a road block to true change.  Weinberg placed out of the running, beating only an unemployed Keefe graduate.  John Kahn, who topped the ticket even though he left the Board of Selectmen last year vowing to retire from politics, has his work cut out for him.

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