We should be neighborly and welcome Lowell to the 6th
From a taxpayers point of view, John Tierney has a 27
percent rating with the National Taxpayers Union, and Marty Meehan has a 25 percent, so what difference does it make
which one doesn't represent us?
I'd miss Lynn, of course. But I will always have my fond
memories of a long-ago mayor Tony Marino calling me "that broad from Marblehead" during the Proposition 2½
Sorry that my friends in Tewksbury might lose Meehan to
Marblehead. But as a Navy officer of my acquaintance said to another bachelor junior officer who was being
transferred from Greece to Antarctica, the goats' loss is the penguins' gain.
John Tierney is presently my congressman through no fault of
mine. Though I have to tell you, he didn't break a term limits promise -- never made one, actually -- and we are
rarely embarrassed by seeing his talking head defending sex-crazed presidents on
television. We rarely see him at all, and that is fine with me. His staff responds nicely to
phone calls and faxes.
I almost ran for Congress in this district once myself, when
it looked as if Michael Harrington was going to run unopposed in '76. I was a lifeguard at the time and
envisioned a flyer with me in a red, white and blue swimsuit giving CPR to a
Resusci-Annie doll dressed like Uncle Sam. The caption would read: "She will save
Forget about it, fans; the swimsuit no longer fits.
Let's look at the bright side. None of us are in the 9th
District, where primary voters have to choose among Cheryl Jacques, Brian Joyce, Steve Lynch and Marc Pacheco. I was
rooting for Lynch, who is good on education and the Second Amendment, until he got
caught not paying student loans and taxes. He's still better than the others, though.
Of all candidates everywhere, none is worse than Brian
Joyce, who ran for the Massachusetts Senate on the income tax rollback.
His paid ad was even better than my imaginary lifeguard ad.
There was a drawing of a knight (Joyce) fighting a winged monster, with the words "When others were faint of heart
... One leader had the courage to fight the tax dragon." Then it showed his top priority:
"Sponsored legislation to lower State Income Tax from 5.95 percent to 5
Then four months after winning the election, he voted
against lowering the state income tax from 5.95 percent to 5 percent. I guess, as Marty might say about term limits, that
was then, and this is now.
Hey, I just noticed: the new 6th district looks a lot like
Brian Joyce's dragon!
Living as I do in the hometown of Elbridge Gerry, who
invented gerrymandering, I grasp the concept of protecting incumbents with snaky, sliced or surrealistic districts. But in
the computer age, how do they get away with it? Why can't they just take our almost
rectangular state, put the basic number of people per district as close together as possible,
and make a few adjustments to avoid dividing communities?
And what is this minority district nonsense? What the heck
is a minority? A Chinese restaurant owner? A Haitian cab driver? A Vietnamese student? A libertarian intellectual
like Walter Williams, or a liberal demagogue like Jesse Jackson? Hispanics come in
Puerto Rican, Mexican, and many other national cultures and they are, as John Silber
once pointed out, Caucasian, just like the Italians and the Irish.
Many Boston activists are arguing that community interests,
not race, should be the criteria. In fact, one of their criteria is the vote against the income tax rollback. If I
lived in Boston, I'd be a minority in the minority district!
Actually, the true minority voter in Massachusetts is a
Republican. Maybe we need a Republican district, starting with my friend Pat in eastern Marblehead and stringing its
way, person by person, up and down the commonwealth, until it ends on a farm in
It's important to remember that the 6th recently had a
Republican congressman, Peter Torkildsen, who got his start in politics as a result of an earlier redistricting that Peabody
and Danvers didn't like. Some unhappy locals voted against the Beacon Hill Democratic
leader that they held responsible and instead elected Peter to the Massachusetts House.
Eventually he ran for Congress and won.
Unfortunately, there's no way for angry voters in the
present Meehan district or Lynn to vote out Tom Finneran, so they should lobby the Senate to change the Finneran plan. If
that doesn't work they can always vote Republican in the next national election.
In the end, no matter how redistricting gets done, it's not
as if we voters really get ourselves represented in that alien world of Washington, D.C. anyhow.