Wednesday, July 24, 2024

The following letter was in response to a Friday morning message from City Manager Robert W. Healy to “all municipal candidates,” saying “The City of Cambridge will hold the 16th Annual Danehy Park Family Day this Saturday September 24 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. I am requesting that candidates, their staff and volunteers refrain from setting up tables to distribute literature and holding or posting signs at Danehy Park during this family event. For the many years that this event has been held, candidates have traditionally cooperated with this request. Thank you.”

To all and sundry:

I wish to associate myself with the thoughtful, and even courageous, remarks of Tom Stohlman.

Were it not for Tom’s message I suspect I would have simply ignored the original e-mail and filed it under “useless drivel,” or something like that. I have had no plans to do any tabling or the like at Danehy — frankly, I was more concerned about the rain — but I fully expected others to table.

Embedded in the original message seems to be the notion that “family” and the civic life of our, or any, community are separate and distinct entities that should be and permissibly may be segregated.

This is not just nonsense, it is pernicious nonsense.

Let a thousand flowers bloom! (Even on the former [toxic?] waste dump!)

The timing of this e-mail is curious. Friday afternoon? No discussion; no reply? Why was the message sent to reporters? Are they to be the putative “enforcers” of this purported “request”? How bizarre!

Is there any actual law that’s relevant here? That alone might be of interest, if there is, indeed, any point in this sort of communication at all.

Should the manager’s office be giving instructions (veiled as a “request”) of this kind to elected councillors and candidates, for a public event in a public park? Paid for with public dollars?

I’m just as uncomfortable with campaign clutter as the next angry citizen, but I see this as a very peculiar and highly unusual “request” and find it just a tad offensive, given that the manager should not be interfering in any way with lawful campaign activities, even where incumbents would appear to have distinct advantages.

I look forward to the very same reporters mentioned above investigating this intriguing and rather suspect matter.

Happy campaigning! Happy (civic) Family Day!


James Williamson, candidate for City Council