The Short List Looks Ahead To The Greenfield, Mass., Mayoral Race
In our look back at news of the week, we check in on the mayoral race in Greenfield, Massachusetts. There's an open seat after the incumbent, Bill Martin, decided not to run for another term.
Roxann Wedegartner and Sheila Gilmour were the top two vote-getters in September's preliminary election. Third-place finisher Brickett Allis, who was 54 votes behind Gilmour, is also mounting a write-in bid in November.
Wedegartner and Allis are veterans of Greenfield politics, while Gilmour is a relative newcomer.
Panelist Chris Collins said the outcome of the race will depend a lot on turnout.
"Historically, mayoral races — when you elect a new mayor — attract a turnout over 40%," Collins said. "Typically, a turnout over 40% favors more conservative candidates. But the demographics have shifted since the last competitive race, and I think that Greenfield's a lot more progressive than it was four years ago."
Collins said he thinks write-in candidate Allis could hurt Wedegartner.
"I think he takes votes away from Wedegartner," Collins said. "But I also think it's going to be a lot more people voting. It's possible he splits Wedegartner's support and it goes to Gilmour, but we'll see."
Two big ballot questions are going before Greenfield voters next month: Whether to build a new library, and a question on a "safe city" immigration measure.
"That's going to attract a lot of attention and interest in this ballot," panelist Dave Eisenstadter said. "I really think both of those have a good shot of passing. They have a lot of support in the community, and a lot of people have shown up."
"There's a lot of talk about the library right now," Collins said. "Once again, the mayor has updated his executive order, and has further reduced public use of that building. Some say that was done for political reasons to push the ballot question. I'm not sure about that. I'm not sure Bill Martin works that way. Safe cities — I still fail to understand why it's the political hot potato it is. It seems very straightforward. But I agree with Dave, I think that could affect the mayoral race — depending on who comes out."
Officials in Connecticut this week renewed concerns over the use of PFAS chemicals at Bradley International Airport, which are used in firefighting foam. An accidental discharge of the chemicals this summer at Bradley led to the pollution of the nearby Farmington River. The foam was also used in the fatal B-17 crash earlier this month. Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal has called for the Federal Aviation Administration to ban the use of PFAS foam, but the FAA says alternatives are not as effective.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission released casino gambling revenue figures this week for September. The news was not good for MGM Springfield, which posted its second-lowest numbers for a full month — and 26% off the September 2018 figure.
And Hampshire College announced changes to its academic program, which it hopes will bolster the school that's been struggling financially and with a sagging enrollment. According to the plan approved by the Hampshire board, students will focus on challenges in today's world, such as global warming, and break down barriers across all fields of study. Hampshire next month will have to defend its accreditation before a regional panel.