Elections

Bernie Sanders signature event in Portsmouth Jan 30

Local supporter Linda Ujifusa is hosting an event to gather signatures to get Sen. Sanders on the ballot in Rhode Island on Saturday, Jan. 30 at Foodworks in Portsmouth from noon-2pm.

You can find out more information or RSVP online.

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02871, Localblogging, Elections

Portsmouth Republican statistical misdirection

14oct30_ptimes_insert.jpg
Click to embiggen.

The Portsmouth Republicans have had a blaring yellow insert in our weekly Portsmouth Times for the past month, and while I've previously covered their gibberish, it didn't seem worthwhile to go after their cherry-picked statistics. But this week's installment featured such a shameless whopper that as a graduate of Edward Tufte's workshop, I feel obligated to point it out.

Here's their statement:

DID YOU KNOW...that voter turnout in Portsmouth increased from 54.4% in 2010 to 65.5% in 2012? Keep up the good work! See you at the polls.

Let's start with the less obvious problem. The Republicans appear to be doing their percentages against the entire Portsmouth population (17,343) rather than the eligible voter universe (12,327). That's the only way I can get their numbers to work, since in the the 2012 election, Portsmouth voters cast at least 9,182 votes for President, which works out to 74% turnout, rather than the 54% they computed, apparently using the census number.

But that's merely the little chocolate squiggle atop this confection of innumeracy.

Let's leave percentages aside for just a moment and look at the raw numbers. Here are the vote totals for the past five elections, using the Portsmouth Town Clerk (the race with the the single most local votes) and the "top of the ticket" contest to represent total Portsmouth turnout.

  Clerk Top of ticket
2012 6,733 9,182
2010 5,806 7,051
2008 7,096 9,740
2006 5,744 8,069
2004 7,918* 9,205
*contested race



Source: RI Board of Elections

Notice something about the numbers — kind of, like, a pattern? The numbers seem to fluctuate regularly. What could possibly be driving that? Oh, yeah, right, 2012, 2008, and 2004 were Presidential elections.

If you pick a local minimum (2010) and only use one other data point (2012) you can make the data say something quite dishonest, because comparing total votes across the range doesn't support the inference the Republicans want to make. As Tufte drilled into us, always ask, "Compared to what?"

And if you're willing to distort the data to support a relatively minor point like turnout, clearly, you cannot be trusted to play fair when there are issues of significance on the table.

Editorial note: I have Tufte's three books within arms' reach, and I'm not afraid to use them.

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02871, Localblogging, Elections

Portsmouth Republicans struggle with proofreading

14oct30_shool.jpg
Shool time. Click to embiggen.

Another Portsmouth Republican direct mail piece dropped today, and it's clear that this team has problems with basic proofreading skills.

Take a look at the graphic above Tom Vadney. Yeah, they misspelled "School" in advertising their candidates for school committee. It's quite unfortunate, and it's certainly not Tom's fault — he's much smarter than that. I've served with him on the technology committee, and I intend to vote for him next week, and suggest that supporters of the shools will want to do the same.

The other major blunder is just weird. Take a look at how they caption Dan Reilly's race, compared to Chris Ottiano.

14oct30_state_cong.jpg

I don't know what the heck "State Congress" is, but I heartily support the idea of voting for Dan Reilly in District 12. Wherever that might be. Please, by all means, write his name in. (Voters in the actual State Representative District 72, on the other hand, should consider the incumbent Democrat Linda Finn.)

14oct28_robiceau.png
The "h" is silent.

Add these together with the howler from earlier this week — where they misspelled the name of their former Town Council President on their own web site, and you get a pretty poor impression of the ability of local Republicans to manage a spell checker, let alone a Town budget.

Full disclosure: I am a partisan hack. But I know how to spell.

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02871, Localblogging, Elections, Joe Robicheau

Portsmouth Republican flier offers puzzling word salad

14oct26_ptimes_insert004.jpg
Click to embiggen.

For the past three weeks, the Portsmouth Republicans have had a screaming yellow insert in our local weekly, the Portsmouth Times, and while I generally just laugh at their sad attempts to use cherry-picked statistics to mystify the electorate, I'm still scratching my head over their description of what they call "the new reality."

Gone are the presumptuous times of our past when elected officials believed they were impervious to their spending and taxing appetites and that the taxpayer was forgiving of their every transgression

I can shrug off "presumptuous" and "transgression" as a bad case of thesaurus-induced incoherence, but "officials believed they were impervious to their spending and taxing appetites." Uh...impervious?

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Editorial note: Since David Gleason accused me of being "partisan" today, let me be very clear. THIS is partisan. I am a Democrat, and I am making fun of Republicans who try to talk with big fancy words to dress up their tiny little ideas. That's partisan. When I confront David Gleason for using the Portsmouth 375 logo, and he admits that he did it because he needed cheap signs, that's not a partisan attack. That's me exercising my voice as a citizen and objecting to him taking a public good for his private gain.

Are we clear now, Mr. Gleason, or are you, well, impervious?

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02871, Localblogging, Elections

Gleason calls use of Portsmouth 375 logo in campaign signs "recycling"

14oct25_gleason_transfer.jpg
Council candidate David Gleason at transfer station.

Interviewed at the transfer station this morning about his use of the Portsmouth 375 logo in his campaign signs, Town Council candidate David Gleason defended his use of the mark as "recycling," and asked this reporter if I would "give him money for new signs."

He asked if I would take a statement, and I recorded the following, reproduced verbatim:

"It's been pointed out that I'm re-using the 375th material for my signage. All I want to say is that I'm running a low-budget campaign this year, I'm recycling my literature from 2012, and those signs I purchased in November of 2013 to honor old houses in town and I've just put my logo on them, it was never meant as any more than just recycling materials to run a low-budget campaign. If people want to vote for me, then that would be great. But I just don't have the money. I've spent all the money I've made as a Councilor on projects around town, and I'm hoping people see that for what it's worth, and I'm a recycler at heart. That's the bottom line for me."

Asked how he would respond to those who would say that he was taking a non-partisan logo developed as a public good for the town and degrading it by using it in a partisan fashion for his own personal gain, Gleason responded:

"I would say I never thought about that when I put those signs out, nor do I think it's an issue at this point. Actually, if you look at the sign, it'll say '375 plus one' so I'm just carrying on the tradition honoring Portsmouth history."

Editorial note: Mr. Gleason made the accusation, during the interview, that this was partisan. Let me be very clear. When I post something because I'm a Democrat, I mention that if it's not blatantly obvious from the context. I'm pissed off about this because this was the logo for our Town's 375th anniversary, and he's using it as a campaign prop. What you are hearing right now is not faux partisan outrage; I'm personally offended and personally angry.

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02871, Localblogging, Elections, David Gleason

Portsmouth Council candidate uses Town anniversary logo in signs

14oct25_gleason_375.jpg
Click for original.

At least two signs for Independent Town Council candidate David Gleason contain the official logo used by Portsmouth for its 375th anniversary celebration. The signs — located on West Main Road and Union and on Park Ave next to the landfill — appear to have been made by attaching a Gleason campaign message to existing Portsmouth 375 signage.

I sent the following e-mail to the co-chairs of the Portsmouth 375 Committee, the Town Administrator, and the Town Council, cc'ing local media.

From: jmcdaid@torvex.com

Date: Sat, 25 Oct 2014 08:24:31 -0400

To: taiping35@cox.net, ggump1@verizon.net, JKlimm@portsmouthri.com, jseveney@portsmouthri.com, jblaess@portsmouthri.com, mbuddemeyer@portsmouthri.com, dgleason@portsmouthri.com, khamilton@portsmouthri.com, mmagee@portsmouthri.com, contactlizpedro@aol.com

Cc: jmcgaw@eastbaynewspapers.com, johnson@newportri.com

Subject: Misuse of Portsmouth 375 logo for campaign material by David Gleason

To the Portsmouth 375 Committee and Town Council:
As a founding member of and donor to the Portsmouth 375 Committee, I am outraged that the official logo developed by Roskelly is being used on campaign signs by Town Council candidate David Gleason (See attached photo).

This beautiful, award-winning logo was developed by Roskelly, Inc. as a non-partisan representation of our town, and it was intended to celebrate our whole community, as its use in many communications and official materials over the past years attest.

Using it in political advertising degrades the brand equity of this mark and does irrevocable damage to this important symbol. I'm publicly calling on Mr. Gleason to remove this from his signs, and I urge Portsmouth's Council and administration to support this position.

Best Regards.
-John

Full disclosure: There's not much in politics that makes me lose my cool. Most of the time, I can just accept that, hey, sketchy stuff happens. But this is different. Roskelly did such a beautiful, poetic mark for the Town's 375th anniversary celebration that it makes me really angry to see it reduced to political signage.

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02871, Localblogging, Elections, David Gleason

Mayday hits $2M -- just five days left to reach $5M goal

mayday2m.jpgMayday.us announced today that they've hit $2M in pledges to the "SuperPAC to end all SuperPACs." This grassroots, kick-started experiment in restoring democracy is the brainchild of Harvard Law professor and activist Larry Lessig, and the goal is to raise enough citizen contributions to put some muscle into 2014 races as a proof of concept -- the concept that Americans care about campaign finance reform, and that Congress needs to treat this as a serious issue.

I'm asking you to pitch in if you can. You can pledge on my page at MAYDAY.US.

Still need some convincing? Listen to Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Remember -- Friday, July 4 is the deadline. Don't wait for the kick...)

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02871, Localblogging, Mayday, Elections

Portsmouth Water District election June 11

13may24_vote.jpgThe Portsmouth Water and Fire District will hold its annual election of officers on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at the District's main office at 1944 East Main Road. The polls will open at 7:00 AM and close at 8:00 PM.

Of the Board's seven seats, the positions of one (1) Water Commissioner and one (1) Clerk are up for election.

Running for the position of Water Commissioner is incumbent Terri-Denise Cortvriend of 46 Mary Lane.

Running for the position of Clerk is incumbent Philip T. Driscoll of 169 Immokolee Drive.

As required by the recent change in State Law, voters will be required to show identification to vote in the District’s election.

Commentary
Just because you only see one candidate for each position, please don't assume that these races will be uncontested. Turnout is typically in the low hundreds for these elections (to a quasi-governmental body with taxing power) and it is possible for undeclared candidates to succeed on a write in. In fact, this has actually happened in Portsmouth Water Board elections. If you're a ratepayer in the District, I urge you to get out to the polls on June 11. Don't worry -- I'll remind you.

Editorial note: The news section, before the commentary, is written from a press release.

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02871, Localblogging, Elections, pwfd

Portsmouth swearing-in next Monday night

According to an e-mail this morning from the Town Clerk, the swearing in of Portsmouth's new Town Council and School Committee will take place next Monday, November 26 at 7pm in Town Hall.

The Portsmouth Girl Scouts will conduct the flag ceremony, followed by an invocation by Father Gray. The new elects will be sworn in by the Honorable J. Terence Houlihan, Jr., State of Rhode Island District Court Associate Justice.

Hope to see you there!

Tags: 
Localblogging, 02871, Town Council, School Committee, Elections

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