Thursday, August 23, 2007

Another website review? Yes!

Okay, I thought I was done with the website reviews. Dionne's apparently not a computer-user so he won't be having a site at all, and I already covered everybody else.

While Donnelly's site has changed a little (for the better, in my opinion), it's not so different as to warrant a new review. Ditto for DeSalvatore, whose site still looks like crap, but has had some minor updates.

Lisa Wong, on the other hand, has pretty much a whole new site! Which makes my previous review totally obsolete! So please join me for yet another installment of reviews of mayoral campaign websites with!

Okay, first thing I noticed is probably obvious to everyone who goes to the site. Right there up top in the header thingy it says "Fitchburg Mayor". I'm pretty sure that Wong is not yet the mayor of Fitchburg. Self-confidence is nice and all, but that's getting a little ahead of the game.

Also somewhat baffling is the image of a fish getting speared in the same banner. Maybe it has some metaphorical significance or something that I'm missing, and it actually doesn't look bad, it's just sort of odd. Is Wong the spearfisher? Does the fish represent Fitchburg's poor bond rating? If so, that's a really weird metaphor.

Traveling over to the "About Lisa Wong" page, we get stuff that was mostly on her old site, but this time there's a picture of a puppy at the bottom! And yes, it's a pretty damn cute picture. Not sure what that has to do with being mayor, but people who enjoy pictures of puppies are in for a treat!

There are also some pictures of her doing things across the globe in a lot of places I've never been to. For instance, "Scuba Diving in Belize":

I can only assume that this so-called "scuba diving" may also have involved some spearfishing, which would make the image in the banner make total sense!

This also raises an important question. Now that we know what Wong looks like in a wetsuit, when are we going to get to see Donnelly, DeSalvatore, and Dionne in their own wetsuits? Also, what the fuck does scuba diving in Belize have to do with being mayor?

Oh yes, Wong is well-traveled. We get that.

I don't honestly know if that helps you or hurts you in a town where people seem to almost take pride in never having been anywhere interesting. Hell, as far as I can tell Donnelly has been here his entire life! While some of us may appreciate a mayor who knows more of the world than the Route 2 corridor, I have to wonder if there aren't others who view the well-traveled as "outsiders".

On to the "Accomplishments" page!

I looked at this page a couple of days ago and one of the images was HUGE. Like 2 or 3 megabytes. Now they're both quite tiny and reasonable. Way to update!

The actual content of the page is pretty decent, albeit a little boring. Also, there's a typo where the word "properties" is spelled as "propertied". Also also, there's a misplaced comma in the middle of "Fitchburg Redevelopment Authority". Argh! The pedantic proofreader in me bristles with disgust!

Overall though, the page does a decent job of presenting what Wong has done in the past, which actually looks pretty good. This is a candidate website so it's not like she's going to present herself in a bad light, but these accomplishments come complete with facts and figures so it's hard to argue with them.

Now, there's the "On the Issues" page.

This is actually where the new website really shines. Wong presents four "top priorities": "Financial Stability", "Cultural Vibrancy", "Economic Growth", and "Opportunity".

Each of these headings has its own link which in turn leads to "Measurable Goals", a statement of "Fitchburg's Challenge", and then "Lisa Wong's Solution/Plan of Action". This is actually a really nice and very well thought-out issues platform.

If you're wondering where crime falls (since it's so overhyped by some other candidates), it's actually under "Cultural Vibrancy". She doesn't harp on it, and in my opinion that's a very good thing. This is hardly the first time I've said this, but crime in Fitchburg is just not the huge boogeyman that other candidates are trying to make it out to be.

I was going to quote from the issues pages a bit, but really you're better off just going and reading them yourselves because there's so much stuff there. They're quite extensive and specific, which is great to see. I thought Donnelly had done a very good job with his issues page, but Wong one-ups him with her new site.

Could this lead to some sort of Issues arms race between Wong and Donnelly? I hope so, because that's where the important stuff is. DeSalvatore is a very distant third in this, and Dionne doesn't even exist. If Wong and Donnelly are the USA and the Soviet Union in the war of addressing issues, then DeSalvatore is the island nation of Tuvalu and Dionne is lost at sea somewhere.

Moving on, Wong has a "Media Room" page, which basically reproduces articles written about her. That's fine, but doesn't particularly thrill me since I've seen most of these articles already.

Finally, there's a "Get Involved" page, which is sort of standard issue for mayoral campaign websites. I'm not sure why the form on it defaults to Alabama for the state (aside from the obvious alphabetical reason), but that's a pretty minor issue.

So what's the verdict?

Overall, this is a pretty decent website for a mayoral campaign. The important part really always comes down to how the candidate addresses the issues, and Wong has done quite a good job with that. It's not the most professional looking site (appears it was made with godaddy's "Website Tonight"), but none of the mayoral candidates have particularly professional-looking websites.

I'd put it a bit above Donnelly's site at this point thanks to the depth of information on the issues and way ahead of DeSalvatore's site, which is really terrible on the issues. Dionne, of course, has no website and is the loser here.

Since I had Donnelly in the lead before, that means the lead has changed hands! Will Donnelly respond with an improved web presence? One can only hope so, because the better the quality of the information online, the better the voters of Fitchburg are served. Let the website war begin!

In closing, here's that picture of the cute dog. Enjoy!


ReallyRachel said...

Only the tiniest criticism.

Lisa is from the Internet age. Most of our voters here in Fitchburg are not. Many of our elderly voting block do not own a computer.

The online invitations are cute and very hip, but only capture a tiny minority of actual Wong supporters.

People are clamoring for signs. In Fitchburg, the signs are as important as the door-knocking and the Internet presence.(Well, the placement of signs I should say - four on one property is just stupid....)

It's a learning experience of course. Do I think Lisa's inexperience at campaigning, particularly in a city that's arguably a bit less internt-savvy than other metropolises, is a sign that she would not be a fantastic mayor?

Absolutely not. As a matter of fact, it's her 21st centuriness that is one of the reasons I believe she's the best choice for mayor.

But, Lisa, to get you there, we need signs and lots of them as part of the package. The Fitchburg mayor's race will not be won or lost through Internet presence. But an election can be lost due to lack of visibility.

Fantastic updated website!

Wish we had signs with the web address on them.....


Fitchburg Ninja Supply said...

Rachel, seriously, lighten the fuck up. It's a tongue-in-cheek website review. No one is attacking Lisa Wong. At worst, they're attacking her font choices.

Of the people who vote in the primary, maybe one tenth of one percent will actually know the names of the candidates before entering the booth. People are idiots. They're going to look at the list of names, and vote for the happiest-sounding name. Lisa should change her name to "Lisa Awesome Fun Responsibility Wong" and then offer free cake to everyone who votes for her. I guarantee she'd win every election for the next hundred years.

ReallyRachel said...

I stand corrected. Lisa Wong's website address IS on her signs. Way to go, Lisa.


john_h said...

I think someone should look into the validity of her claims. I believe someone else spearheaded most of those "accomplishments" she takes credit for. Ah, another typical politician full of lies. Isn't "trust" one of the things we're all looking for in a candidate? I'm not finding it with her.

john_h said...

I should have used the term "honesty". Either way .....

JustSayNoToDeSalvo said...

Well speaking of website reviews, I have a candidate for the worst political website:

Now, granted, the guy is running unopposed, but come ON - this website is a hangover from several elections ago when Joseph was opposed by the late Pat Mangan and Dean Tran.

If this is an example of the attention to detail the current Council President pays to the councilor position, that's scary.

How about this, Jody: Update it or remove it from the blogosphere. Nothing looks more stupid or CARELESS than old garbage passed off as new.