Monday, May 20, 2024

This update on the mayoral election isn’t much of an update at all: The votes are the same as they were during the City Council’s second ballot, held Jan. 9.

That means Monday saw three votes for Leland Cheung (from himself, Denise Simmons and Minka vanBeuzekom); three for Marjorie Decker (from herself, David Maher and Ken Reeves); and one each for Henrietta Davis, Craig Kelley and Tim Toomey, with each of those members voting for themselves to be mayor.

Five votes are needed from within the council for the election of a mayor. Two years ago, a deadlocked vote delayed the election of a mayor nearly into a third month of balloting — still far from the record 1,321 ballots set in 1948.

The issue of the need for a mayor arose a couple of times throughout the meeting, starting with Reeves noting that every citizen who spoke longer than the allotted three minutes during public comment had been granted an extension, which “creates the expectation the rules will always be suspended” and hinted at having the council’s Government Operations and Rules Committee look anew at the rules of the comment period. (As the longest-serving councillor, Reeves leads meetings for the council and School Committee until a mayor is elected.)

“Along those lines, our rules say we should start our meetings at 5:30,” Kelley said. Monday’s meeting began at 5:38 p.m.

“They also say we should have a mayor at some point, so we can have committees and figure these things out,” Decker said.

A reader, using Cheung’s extraordinary performance in the November elections as a starting point — he earned more votes than any other candidate and surpassed the next closest candidate’s vote total by almost 20 percent, for instance — explained (in her own words) why she hoped Cheung would be a good mayor:

  • Not only was he the No. 1 choice of the voters, he has the vision, ability and leadership skills to be an excellent mayor and chair of the School Committee.
  • His work on the diversity committee will serve him well in his role as committee chairman.
  • His work with MIT and the high-tech community will position him to forge stronger partnerships between Cambridge Public Schools and the science/technology community in Cambridge at a time when our MCAS science scores are low but the curriculum is being revised.
  • His knowledge of Kendall Square issues will help him deal with the thorny development issues related to East Cambridge and the schools in that part of the city.

If anyone else wants to weigh in on the mayoral choices, send e-mail here or just use the commenting fields below.

This post was updated Jan. 24, 2012, with the reader comments about Cheung. It was updated Feb. 15, 2012, to say that there had been 1,321 mayoral ballots in 1948. An incorrect, higher figure had been provided.