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Undecided until Tuesday

Posted by Chad O'Connor  November 1, 2013 11:00 AM

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On Tuesday night, we will know who will be filling the biggest, boldest, and hardest working shoes in Boston. We love this City because of what was built by the man who still walks in these shoes, and yet I am still undecided as to who should be next for his job.

I am undecided. I shouldn’t be. I am not alone.

I feel totally empowered that I will help hire the next Mayor, the next man to take something really great and make it even greater. But at the same time, I feel utterly despondent, not because I haven’t done enough homework on the candidates or paid enough attention.

It’s because I am torn. Both seem to be hard-working, deserving, nice guys. We are lucky to have this problem, but someone has to emerge as Mayor. I know there are differences on key issues; I’m not naïve to who is behind which candidate. But every time I feel like I’ve come to a solid conclusion, I hear that someone that I respect, someone close to the inside, is for the other guy.

A friend the other day said that it doesn’t really matter who gets elected. “Both candidates seem to have good experience. We should be fine with either.” I was shocked by what he said and gave my “local government matters so much more to our daily lives” speech, but when asked who I am behind, I just looked blank and embarrassingly replied, “I don’t know.”

The current Mayor is known globally for having personally met over half of the residents of this City. There may not be voicemail throughout the building. They may not satisfy every demand, but unequivocally he or his staff in City Hall are accessible and responsive, especially online. I’ve been there, I’ve seen it, and I’ve done it. That’s the type of administration I want in City Hall. One who responds to us: our faces and our avatars.

I was at the #NextBosMayor event recently with both candidates. Each had 45 minutes to answer questions that were tweeted from the audience. Many questions didn’t necessarily get asked publicly, which is fine. But they also didn’t get recognized afterwards. They still linger in the Twitterverse, left to dangle in last week’s thread. There are questions that are not answered that could and should be. A number of attendees, including some from our host organizations, remain undecided.

Not surprisingly for this narrative, the friends I sat with from both camps question their instinctual choice. In a town where passionate voters are hyper-connected and engaged in media meant to be social, we (and our votes) are easily accessible.

Regardless of which candidate becomes the next Mayor of Boston, there will be a gigantic void that will be left, one that will be felt to the core, painfully missed, and forever revered. Let us, the rest of the City, help.

But first, help us decide.

This #UndecidedinBOS Forum is for those of us that will vote on Tuesday and are still unclear on a choice. Shamelessly collect and post your questions for the candidates and let’s see what they have to say, if anything at all.

Sam Hammar is the Executive Director of The Capital Network. She is a former staffer at City Hall and worked on digital communications for the Innovation District from its second day and other civic engagement projects alongside the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics. Also a retired Boston Public High School teacher, it's hard to believe she is #UndecidedinBOS.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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