Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Guy with funny nickname running for mayor!

I'm a day late on this (due to laziness), but there's big news in Fitchburg politics!

According to the Sentinel, here's the deal:
Local sandwich shop owner Michael "Fuzzy" Voisine has pulled papers to run for mayor against incumbent Lisa Wong.

Voisine, 43, a Maverick Street resident, said he's running on a campaign of "change" and that he's fed up with the "good old boys" network that permeates city politics.

"I'm going to give it a shot," Voisine said.
I like that winning attitude, Fuzzy!

So, besides giving Mayor Wong something to do during the run-up to the election, what's Fuzzy all about? Besides sandwiches, I mean.
He's known widely around the city as "Fuzzy," a nickname he said he's had since junior high school.
I'm sure there's an interesting and/or humiliating story behind that nickname. Sadly, we don't get the backstory. I'm going to assume Fuzzy was either remarkably hirsute in junior high, had an unfortunate haircut, or maybe it was something to do with pubic hair (kids that age are crazy about pubic hair!).

What else do we know about Fuzzy?
He's worked on Main Street in Fitchburg for most of his life, first at Domino's Pizza, then managing Espresso Pizza for 14 years.

He left Espresso almost five years ago to start his own sub shop, Premier Subs, at 500 Main St.

"No one thought I would last a year, and I've been here for four and a half," he said.
Well, now I'm a little embarrassed. I drive by that place fairly often and had no idea it was still operational. My mistake! (Hey commenters, is the food any good?)

Anyway, it's nice to know that in addition to sandwiches, Fuzzy also enjoys pizza. He's a man of the people! Except maybe the people who think that sugary-sweet sauce they use at Espresso Pizza is incredibly disgusting, like me.

Maybe it's time to get into the part that's actually relevant to politics, though. Knowing his culinary habits is fine and all, but doesn't really say much about his qualifications.
Voisine said has been considering a run for public office for a few weeks.

He got frustrated during the Civic Days celebration when, he said, some city officials would not allow him to have a band or a vendor's tent during the city's block party celebration on July 3.

"I've had some tough runnings with certain people in the mayor's office and I don't like to be talked down to," Voisine said.

Running for mayor after minimal consideration, based on some petty frustration, is not really the best way to get into things. Remember what happened with Rachel, who ran essentially the same way and then had to drop out due to shame health problems?

Also, dude, your name is "Fuzzy." If you don't like to be talked down to, you might want to choose a different nickname. I suggest "Admiral Ignatius." That would get you much more respect.

Perhaps it's part of a larger problem?
Voisine said that points to a larger issue of city officials not being receptive to local residents and business owners.

"It seems like they don't care about existing businesses," he said. "Whoever is in office needs to listen to everyone."
Well, those are some... pretty vague charges, actually. I mean, I agree that officeholders need to listen to everyone (within reason, anyway), but do you really think your one little difficulty means that the city government is ignoring huge constituencies? I'd like some more examples, please.

So, what are Fuzzy's plans for improving things?
He said after two decades of working on Main Street in Fitchburg, he would like to see more change.

"Downtown is dying with all the empty storefronts," he said.

One idea, he said, is to make parking more accessible and he likes Wong's idea of angled parking on Main Street.

He also said he would like to continue and expand Wong's First Thursday initiative, which encouraged residents to visit downtown shops on the first Thursday of each month.
Okay, those are really the current Mayor's plans for improving things. But they are good ideas, and there's nothing wrong with supporting them. They're just not really new.

Indeed, Fuzzy thinks Mayor Wong is doing a pretty good job:
Voisine does not have many criticisms of Wong.

He said "given the hand she's been dealt," she is, "doing as good of a job she can."
Oh no, Fuzzy! You're dangerously close to losing the crazy "I hate Mayor Wong no matter what she does" voters!

Actually, that's fine. There aren't very many of those, they're just disproportionately loud.

I have, however, detected another problem:
Voisine said he's not sure he can do better than Wong in terms of managing the city finances, but he would bring a different "mind frame."

Okay, I know that Fuzzy hasn't run for office before, but I'm pretty sure that saying you won't actually do a better job with city finances (by far the single most important issue) than your opponent seems like a way to make sure nobody will bother to vote for you.

At this point I'm having a hard time figuring out just why anyone should vote for Fuzzy. He supports ideas Lisa Wong proposed, and he doesn't know if he could do a better job than her on city finances (which suggests he probably couldn't). Given that, why not just vote for Wong?

Give us something fresh, Fuzzy!
Voisine said he would be a down-to-earth, receptive mayor, and would rely on a group of trusted advisers.

He said during his campaign and if he gets elected, he hopes to surround himself with "the best people I can."
That's not fresh! Tom Donnelly said pretty much the same stuff in the last mayoral election, and now he spends every day shining shoes for nickels down at the bus station [Citation needed].

But what's this?
Voisine said he hopes to run a clean and inexpensive campaign.

"Throwing dirt does no good," he said.

He said he may hold fundraisers and looks forward to researching city policies in the coming weeks in preparation for the election.

"Once I get going, if I surround myself with the right people, I think I can make it work," he said. "For my own peace of mind, I need to give it a shot."
Well, that's admirable. Ron Dionne did largely the same thing last election (sans fundraising), and Ron Dionne is awesome! He's not the mayor, obviously, but he's still very likable!

It's much too early to say with any certainty, but I suspect that's what we're going to get with Fuzzy too. A well-meaning guy who figures he might as well give running for mayor a shot. Because why not? I, for one, welcome him!

Unfortunately, so far he comes off as sane, reasonable, and unqualified to run the city. This all adds up to "sorta boring." As such, I have some unsolicited advice for Fuzzy.

Dear Fuzzy,

You seem like an okay enough guy, but from what I've seen so far you're probably not going to win this election. You probably already know this.

So, what to do? I have two options you may wish to explore.

The "Respectable" Option: While you're researching city policies, try to come up with some original policies of your own. They don't have to be great, but they should at least be new and interesting. Armed with these interesting new ideas, you can present them to the public and the current mayor as things to consider. Even if you lose the election, if your ideas are good enough they may get adopted by the winner.

Then you can sleep comfortably, knowing you ran a clean and respectable campaign and through the
power of your ideas, you will have made an impact on the city, win or lose.

The "Batshit Insane" Option: Look at the past mayoral campaigns of Ted DeSalvatore and Rachel Rosenfeld, and try to be like them. Say lots of things that make no sense, and back them up with bluster and lies. Get personally offended by broad societal trends, and make bombastic, threatening gestures for no apparent reason. You can easily pull in the crazy asshole vote this way.

This option won't win you the election. It also won't make you look respectable, or even sane. However, it would be entertaining and make for some easy blog posts in which I'd be very mean to you.

Either way, good luck.
Pope Unicow

PS The second option will more easily allow you to start calling yourself "Admiral Ignatius," and is clearly the better choice!