The mayor’s point-man on debates – an out-of-town, uninformed, corporate executive named Ed Fouhy – told the Boston Herald it was because MassVote “lacks the organizational capacity to sponsor a debate.” This is of course nonsense. In 2006, MassVote put on a candidate forum for gubernatorial candidates. Additionally, MassVote has registered and educated thousands of voters throughout the city. MassVote also produces publications, conducts registration drives and offers training seminars for other non-profit organizations in Boston. Clearly, they have the capabilities, resources and community presence to successfully host 3 mayoral forums. Despite what Menino’s hired-hand may be telling us – it’s really not that hard to do and MassVote are well able to do it.
Of course, Ed Fouhy doesn’t care about that – and neither does Tom Menino. Because instead of actually speaking directly to voters, they would rather attack an organization that is working to create positive change in Boston. Instead of participating in a forum sponsored by an organization whose purpose is to empower and enfranchise voters, Mayor Menino would rather undermine the credibility of the organization and ignore these voters.
This is de facto disenfranchisement and disempowerment. If Tom Menino will not participate in a debate over the future of our city, then less people are likely to turn out to vote. If Menino can keep the turnout down, he knows he can strong-arm his army of patronage workers to line up behind him. Now is the time to stand up to these tactics. We need to take a stand and call the mayor out on his refusal to truly represent the people of this city. Democracy thrives when more people are participating in the electoral process – not less.