February 16, 2011


The print size on the ballot in the Ballot Questions section is small and hard to read. This discourages people from voting on these questions. Election inspectors can attest to the number of ballots which leave the ballot questions section blank. In the [New] North End where we have many senior eyes, this can have the effect of SUPPRESSING THE VOTE.

I called the City Clerk's office, asked if there are LARGE PRINT ballots available at the polls? They forwarded me to a message machine. I called back and said I needed an answer now, and they put me on hold. Obviously, later confirmed, there are no LARGE PRINT ballots available.

So why not just print all the ballots so the questions are clearly readable? Page two of the current ballot has question #4-#8 on a half page. The print could easily have been enlarged. Could it be that the city does not want people to vote on the ballot questions, especially seniors who are a big part of the voters in wards 4 and 7?

CANDIDATE NAMES are HUGE compared to the wording of the ballot questions. The question headlines are larger and bolder, but they can be deceptively vague or misleading. PROPOSED CHARTER CHANGE -- COMPOSITION OF BOARD OF FINANCE. That tells you nothing, and the small print that follows is not likely to be read, or read carefully.
Discussion at North End NPA last night revealed serious need for clarification on several ballot questions due to creative, selective and thereby potentially biased and misleading headlines and summaries. Question #5 about 50% run-off voting is a good example. The word run-off was intentionally removed from the summary, by vote of a political block on Council.

February 8, 2011


Miller Center, 130 Gosse Court

Town Meeting Ballot

6-7 PM  OPEN HOUSE: Spokespersons for ballot questions and Candidates for School Board and City Council are invited to an Open House to meet personally with residents of Wards 4 and 7 before the Assembly begins. You are encouraged to bring handouts, flyers, posters, and cookies. NPA will provide tea and hot cocoa.

Forum Agenda

7- 8 PM  BALLOT QUESTIONS:  A spokesperson for each ballot question is invited to define the question succinctly, and briefly summarize pros and cons (4 min max, so plan, share the time, focus, and talk fast*). Where possible, invited spokespersons are from our Wards, serving on the Board or Commission that is associated with each ballot question:

#1~ Increase School Budget: Bernie O'Rourke W4 (School Board). 
#2 ~Increase Municipal Budget: Mayor Kiss, Kurt Wright W4 (Finance Board). 
#3 ~Increase BED general obligation bonding authority for capital improvements: General Manager Barb Grimes W4, Jean O'Sullivan W7, Paul Hines W4, and Bob Herendeen W4 (BED Commission).
#4 ~Request for revenue supported general obligation bond to purchase...: General Manager Barb Grimes W4, Jean O'Sullivan W7, Paul Hines W4, and Bob Herendeen W4 (BED Commission).
#5 ~50% majority threshold for mayoral election. Mayor Kiss, Paul Decelles W7 (Ordinance Committee). 
#6 ~Council majority, define as majority of members present and voting. Paul Decelles W7 (Ordinance Committee).
#7 ~Composition, Board of Finance, remove CAO as voting member and add a City Councilor: Mayor Kiss, Kurt Wright W4 (Finance Board).
#8 ~Preserve subsidized housing, advisory to State Legislature: Brian Pine (CEDO, Director Housing), Loyal Ploof W4 (Housing Board).

Presentations will be followed by 25 min questions and comments from residents* 1 min each. Answer/response 1 min. We have a lot of ground to cover.

8-9 PM  CANDIDATES: Each candidate will have 5 min to campaign, followed by 30 min for questions from organizers (steering committee - BT lessons learned, NPA participation) and questions/comments from residents, 1 min max for comment or question, and answer. *

~ School Commission - W4:  Ben Truman. W7: Nate Moreau and Ed Scott.
~ City Council - W7: Vince Dober and Greg Jenkins. W4: Dave Hartnett.
~ Inspector of Elections - W4: OPEN; W7: Kirstin Decelles, Linda Deliduka

* We will stay on schedule, with additional time added at the end to continue until everyone has been heard. Residents speak first, and everyone is invited to speak once per issue, additional comments/questions after all have had a chance to speak once. Please use the microphone to project your voice clearly for the camera audience and for everyone in the room.

Regular NPA business will resume on March 15.  March Program to focus on state legislature and impact of key legislative issues on municipal government and our neighborhoods.