First of all and most importantly, I must issue a correction to last week’s column. I said that Brian R. Mannal, who is challenging State Representatives Demetrius J. Atsalis (D – Barnstable) for the Democratic nomination, had requested — and was denied — an endorsement by his former boss, former state representative Marie J. Parente.
That was a goof on my part, plain and simple. Ms. Parente called me last week and spoke at some length about her shared history with Mr. Mannal, and I misunderstood her account of how her endorsement for Rep. Atsalis came about, so I offer an apology and a mea culpa on that aspect of the story.
That part was all me, but other parts? Not so much.
The match that lit this particular fuse was Ms. Parente’s endorsement last month of Rep. Atsalis. Mr. Mannal responded by pointing out various dark spots on Ms. Parente’s professional record — allegations of pension-fudging and ties to the probation department scandal — as if to say, “Well, she’s a bad person so her endorsement is worthless.”
Ms. Parente took offense at these accusations, and in a letter to the Enterprise that ran last week she made some accusations of her own against Mr. Mannal, detailing a four-month tenure in her office allegedly marked by excessive absences based on untruths — the classic, “Yeah, well, you’re not so great yourself” defense.
Mr. Mannal this week issued a brief response to the response, in which he flatly denies that he was fired by Ms. Parente or resigned under threat of termination, and reiterates that he never solicited an endorsement from Ms. Parente. “I choose not to dignify the remainder of Marie Parente’s statements with a lengthy response,” he wrote.
Both Ms. Parente and Mr. Mannal have indicated that they just want to move on from this issue, much of which happened behind closed doors and is within the realm of “he said/she said.” Good call. This sort of public spitting contest is doing only one person any good: Rep. Atsalis, who has wisely remained quiet throughout this brouhaha.
And, if I might be so bold: maybe Ms. Parente and Mr. Mannal should talk to each other, directly and privately, rather than bicker via press releases and letters to the editor. It sounds like there is a lot of lingering hostility and unresolved conflict between them that needs to be addressed, if not laid to rest.
In other Second Barnstable District news, which will, hopefully, not generate even more unnecessary drama, Congressman William R. Keating (D) has formally endorsed Rep. Atsalis for re-election. In a one-page statement issued last week, Rep. Keating praised Rep. Atsalis’s dedication to his constituents and work in helping the small business community.
Rep. Atsalis also received endorsements from legislative colleagues State Representatives Timothy R. Madden (D – Nantucket) and Sarah K. Peake (D – Provincetown).
Now, over on Mr. Mannal’s side, this Sunday is (and this is his name, not mine) “Mannal-Palooza” in Osterville. The Fred Clayton Band, Alicia Mathewson, and Mr. Mannal himself will be among the musical acts performing at the Veterans Hall (a.k.a. The Fox Hole) at 753 Main Street from 6 PM to 10 PM. The event is a campaign fundraiser for the candidate.
Go to Mr. Mannal’s website (linked above) for more information.
Let’s spread the controversial love elsewhere, shall we?
It was brought to my attention that Stephen M. Palmer, who is challenging Senate President Therese M. Murray (D – Plymouth) for the Democratic nomination, once dropped out of a political race amidst allegations of signature fraud on his nomination papers.
According to a Boston Globe article dated July 23, 1989, Mr. Palmer, at the time a South Boston resident, withdrew his candidacy for an at-large seat on the Boston City Council after city officials accused him of forging voter signatures on his papers – which is, legally speaking, perjury.
A key paragraph in the story reads, “Palmer, who did not deny that some signatures may have been forged, said yesterday: ‘I’m going to pull out, and I hope it doesn’t go to a grand jury. It just doesn’t look good. I’m taking full blame. I don’t want to see it go to court’.”
To reiterate: Mr. Palmer did not explicitly deny committing fraud and was clearly worried he’d be prosecuted – which he was not, nor was he ever charged with anything. Added note: I can find no similar allegations raised in connection with Mr. Palmer’s unsuccessful attempt to unseat former Senate President William M. Bulger in 1990.
While this casts some doubt on the candidate’s integrity, I don’t think Sen. Murray’s camp has anything to worry about. As I’ve noted here previously, the man is running a campaign so under-the-radar it’s practically subterranean. Sen. Murray is better off saving her energy for Republican Thomas F. Keyes, who will undoubtedly pose a much stiffer challenge.
Finally, US Senator Scott P. Brown (R) will be on the Cape next week to attend a Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Hyannis. That event, at the Hyannis Golf Course, is scheduled to being at 11:30 AM on Wednesday, August 8.
Admission is $28 per person, and you can make reservations by registering via the chamber’s website at www.capecodchamber.org, by calling 508-362-3225 extension 532, or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Political news and announcements may be e-mailed to Michael Bailey, senior political reporter, at email@example.com.