City Council candidate websites

The other day I got a list of City Council candidates from the election commission so I could mail them a survey, so I went ahead and put the list on the Worcester Activist wiki too. I’m pleased to report that there’s been no vandalism yet.

Many people are running for City Council this year; only a few of them have websites.

(If there’s a website I skipped, e-mail and I’ll update this article.)

Allison Alaimo, At-Large candidate

Allison Alaimo

Bio, donation and volunteer info, some photos. Made with Yahoo! SiteBuilder. Not much info on issues. “Use one of your votes for change.” I’m told that “change” will be a big theme this year—several current Councilors voted themselves a big raise before realizing the City has no money and backtracking, so many voters are wanting to “throw the bums out.”

Update: A reader writes that this site “doesn’t render correctly in Firefox.” But it looks OK in Firefox for me.

Joe Casello, District 1 candidate (incumbent)

Joe Casello

I don’t care whether your site design is done with tables or CSS, but when you make all the table lines visible as on this site, you’re adding a lot of visual clutter for no reason. Some noticeable typos on this site: the “title” of the homepage is “Joe Casello to Elect City Councel,” the title of the Site Map is “Your Title Here,” and the Site Map includes as an entry “Our issures.” You don’t have to be a skilled writer to be a good City Councilor, but attention to detail is important.

Also, the photography is either lousy or distorted.

On the other hand, the homepage does a great job of communicating the essentials. I’m a big fan of “one page sites,” and in this case the site designer could fit almost all of the info onto the homepage by making it only 50% longer. That would help the casual browser learn more about Casello with less clicking, and obviate the need for a Site Map.

Barbara Haller, District 4 candidate (incumbent)

Barbara Haller

This site, most of it “under construction,” has been dissed in the past by myself and Dave McMahon. (Read the entertaining responses to Dave’s post.) Built by Bob Bourassa. (WoMag article on Bourassa/Dorman controversy.)

Barbara has well-articulated views on many issues, and it’s a disappointment that this site doesn’t have a real “issues” section.

Mike Perotto, At-Large candidate (incumbent)

Mike Perotto

Perhaps some people at the campaign were unhappy with the colorful but ugly design of the site, because the homepage claims the site is under construction. However, if you Google Mike Perotto, the first link is one of the interior pages (linked above). Bio, donation info, a little about issues and his accomplishments. No volunteer opportunities.

Sam Rosario, District 1 candidate

Sam Rosario

On the one hand, some broken links. On the other hand, a decent-looking site with candidate and contact info. No donate button, though. Man, if you only got one $10 donation, that would make setting up a donate button worth your time. (His page on “non-profit proliferation” is pleasantly confused. I think he’s mostly talking about social services here, but I don’t know if that would be clear to someone who’s not following the issues. “What possible adverse effect would an environmental group’s office have on nearby senior citizens?”)

Grace Ross, At-Large candidate

Grace Ross

I contributed some time to this one. WordPress site with a basic press release. Donation and contact info, a link to subscribe to her mailing list. The blog has an interview with her. At this point the campaign hasn’t taken advantage of the “dynamic” nature of the site. Needs a more substantial bio, details on the issues, and suggestions for volunteers.

Lynne Simonds, District 4 candidate

Lynne Simonds

All the basics, including good detail on the issues and a recent endorsement. On the other hand, an ugly site. Some of her supporters have a blog that they used to update all the time. No posts in the last couple months.

Joff Smith, District 1 candidate (incumbent)

Joff Smith

The gold standard of local politician websites.

Kate Toomey, At-Large candidate (incumbent)

Kate Toomey

This site is not good at all. It ignores the advances in website design since 1996. It has bio, contact, and volunteer info. There’s some stuff about the issues written before she was elected; this really needs to be updated. Very disappointing that a champion of government podcasting has this in the source of her homepage: “This page uses frames, but your browser doesn’t support them. Please use a Web browser such as Netscape or IE versions 3.0 or higher.”

I like Kate Toomey and will probably vote for her; I hope the campaign takes Seth Godin’s advice and creates a cheap, easy, professional, and pervasive web presence.

Hermis Yanis, At-Large candidate, District 3 candidate

Hermis Yanis

Hermis has had this crappy placeholder site forever. If you Google him, you find lots of stuff about his cable access show, which is entertaining but doesn’t tell you about his politics or how to get involved in his campaign.

Hermis is listed as running both At-Large and in District 3. Last time I talked with him he made no mention of the campaign, so I don’t know if he’s running for real or not.

2 thoughts on “City Council candidate websites”

  1. I wonder if Yanis will post details of his 5 1/2 year stint in Federal Prison? … or his now 9 1/2 years collecting “disability.”

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