Happy Election Day

… to everyone in Massachusetts. What a terrific day it is to have a primary with several contested races: governor, lieutenant governor, and secretary of state at a minimum, plus some interesting down-ballot races (not for me). It’s a bit cloudy and cool today, but no rain yet. I voted at the Dilboy VFW post in Davis Square, Somerville, for the last time. Just before 9:00 a.m., they’d seen 168 votes, which, as one tiny data point, is apparently great for a primary in that precinct. The races for the nominee for governor and lieutenant governor on the Democratic side are close enough that turnout will decide the winners. Any of the 3 (Gabrieli, Patrick, Reilly) + 3 (Goldberg, Murray, Silbert) could be the nominee by nightfall.

Why I'm voting for Chris Gabrieli today for Governor

The great news for Democrats in Massachusetts, and Independents too for that matter, is that there are three different, strong choices for a nominee for governor in this year’s race. Despite the strength of the Democratic field, the choice, to me, is not hard. I consider it my great good fortune to have gotten to know Chris Gabrieli. I think he’d make an amazing governor. I’m voting for him later today when the polls open.

A few specific reasons:

– I think Chris is right on many of the key issues. His position on the state income tax strikes me as right on: we should roll it back ONLY if there’s a surplus, meaning that local aid is not eviscerated in the process. His Cape Wind stance is right on both process and substance. His views on energy policy are by far the most detailed and persuasive of any candidate. He’s on the right side of the gay marriage debate (and the right side of history). His stem-cell proposal makes sense. In addition to being right on the merits, I think he’s well-positioned to beat Kerry Healey and Christy Mihos in November.

– Chris will attract people into state government who would not have entered public service otherwise. He’s the kind of person who can talk people into joining a team and pulling hard to achieve results. He takes an interest in people and has a talent for putting together the right team for a job. The state would an influx of talent in a Gabrieli administration.

– Chris has devoted himself to improving education in our state. Since he retired from venture capital, he has poured himself (along with Jennifer Davis and other great people) into creating Mass2020, a truly extraordinary foundation in Massachusetts that supports the expansion of educational and economic opportunities for kids in this state. He’s personally invested millions in after-school-related work and leveraged tens of millions more. it’s through his work that cities and towns in Massachusetts are now experimenting with longer school days to keep kids engaged and out of trouble. (I am proud to serve on the board of Mass2020.)

Chris Gabrieli is a fine man. He’s a leader, a visionary, and a committed public servant. Despite his extraordinary success in many facets of life, he’s a genuine, decent, loyal, humble person. He can also be a totally geeky policy wonk, which I think is a great trait in a governor. For the first time in more than a decade, we’d have a full-time, dedicated governor, without designs on some other job. Chris Gabrieli will get the job done well.

Deval Patrick is pretty extraordinary, too. He’s run a very positive campaign, brought a lot of people into the political process, and run a campaign on the idea of Hope. His DevalPatrick.tv channel was a terrific idea, among other intriguing uses of the Internet (and he no doubt picked up support via the highly readable, active blogging of Blue Mass Group). While Chris Gabrieli is my first choice, if Mr. Patrick were to become governor, I’d be excited for the future of our Commonwealth.

For Lieutenant Governor, I’m voting for Deborah Goldberg. She’s terrific — like Chris, I believe she’s committed to the public service for the right reasons. She would be an effective advocate for the cities and towns of Massachusetts. I like her position on climate change, which she’s made a central plank of her campaign platform. I held a sign for Deborah during her very first campaign for selectwoman in Brookline. I’ll be pulling the lever for her at polls today.

Gabrieli campaign e-mail: Remember John Silber

The Gabrieli campaign sent out a blast e-mail to its supporters (I am one) to respond to the Boston Globe’s latest poll numbers — showing a big lead for Deval Patrick — that says that the Globe has a history of being very wrong in its polling in the lead-up to the primary. I have to say that I wonder about the reliability of ANY telephone polling at the moment. How many people realistically answer their home phone for a survey in this era of cell phones, e-mail, sms, and DO NOT CALL? It must be a self-selecting and skewed group in almost any poll. No doubt pollsters are clever and finding ways to correct for this obvious problem, but I don’t put much stock in the polls, by media outlets or internals for campaigns.

Here’s a partial text of the e-mail to supporters:

Memo: Great new Gabrieli poll numbers

A Gabrieli campaign internal poll shows that our campaign is gaining momentum with just days to go before the primary. Our poll indicates that Chris (30%) is within the margin of error — in a statistical tie — with Deval Patrick (34%), while it has become clear that Tom Reilly (15%) is all but eliminated from contention.

As more and more voters make their decisions, they’re responding to Chris’ common-sense commitment to putting results before useless fighting between Democrats and Republicans. The work that we’ve all done together over the past few months is paying off. That’s why Kerry Healey launched negative attacks against Chris last week. She thinks that the only way to beat Chris Gabrieli is to beat him in the Democratic primary.

Unfortunately, today’s Boston Globe poll misses the mark. The Globe poll — which was conducted mostly before Chris’s forceful response to the Healey attack ads — has a history of being off the mark. In 1990, John Silber trailed Lt. Gov. Francis X. Bellotti in a Boston Globe poll by 23 points just five days before the primary. Silber beat Bellotti 54-44.

The Citizen Editor

In the past several weeks, I’ve been playing with a new format that my friends at TopTenSources developed. We’ve seen the Citizen Journalist; this idea is the Citizen Editor. Several of us have been using a new bookmarklet-style tool that makes it very easy to tag a story when you’re reading it, provide a bit of analysis, and have it posted to a dedicated website on the topic. It’s in many ways what lots of bloggers do anyway. I remember Dave Winer showing me an aspect of Manila that renders a river of news and then lets you check off stories that you want to appear somewhere — dead simple and fun; this idea is in the same vein, only using different tools and with a different output.

The one I’ve been playing with, as part of a group of “citizen editors,” is tracking the Massachusetts Governor’s Race. It’s a ton of fun. (There are a variety of perspectives among the group as to whom we support, as with most group blogs, I suppose.) As I read the utterly amazing and surging group of bloggers/MSM commentators — for instance, Blue Mass Group, GOPNews, Boston.com, Adam Reilly at the Phoenix, Kimberly Atkins at the Herald, and several dozen other blogs and news sources each day — I tag some of the best, most relevant sources and pop them into the aggregator for others to see. I think it’s pretty novel. The idea is that someone who is interested in the race, but not spending so much time in the details and reading every blog post, can come to a one-stop shop and scan the Editor’s Picks. Over time, the idea is to use a combination of technical tools to pick the most important stories from the most important sources with an editor or group of editors able to over-ride, make decisions about placement, and provide some context and editorial color. I think it’s pretty neat.

(My disclosures: I am a founder, am chairman of the Board, and hold equity in Top Ten Media, Inc., in my extra-Harvard capacity. And I am supporting Chris Gabrieli for governor and Deborah Goldberg for lieutenant governor of Massachusetts.)

A Neighborhood Watch for the Kenyan Parliament

One of Berkman’s all-time great graduates, Ory Okolloh, has launched Mzalendo, which is watching over the Kenyan parliament. Subscribe to their RSS feed; bound to tell important stories, and to be an important story itself.

They are “a volunteer run project whose mission is to ‘keep an eye on the Kenyan Parliament.’  The project was started by two young like-minded Kenyans who were frustrated by the fact that it is difficult to hold Kenyan Members of Parliament (MPs) accountable for their performance largely because information about their work in Parliament is not easily accessible. In our opinion Parliament should be one of the most open institutions in government, yet beyond the coverage from local newspapers it is virtually impossible to keep track of what Kenyan Parliamentarians are doing. Of course one can peruse copies of the Hansard, but one has to go through an arduous process to get access to Hansard copies from the Government Printer’s Office and most people do not have the time to filter through the dense information that is contained in the Hansard hard copies.”

The Leaders Project at White Oak

Former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, along with his colleague Doug Wilson, has been hosting a very interesting “successor generation” event called The Leaders Project for the past several years. The sixth iteration of the event is hosted at a remarkable estate in northeast Florida called White Oak, as it has been for five of the previous sessions. A run late this afternoon took me past zebras, rhinos, and horses spread across a wildlife sanctuary. The substance of the event: “The Media and the World: Through Each Other’s Eyes.” The group assembled is as varied and unexpected and exciting as the venue. The dinner speaker tonight was Dan Senor, whom I’ve come to respect enormously over the past several months. (Dan’s strategy firm has ably advised us on media strategy for StopBadware.) He focused on the 24-hour news cycle and the challenge of being a spokesperson to a global media, where a single news conference in Iraw is covered not just by Fox and CNN but also the satellite networks serving the Arab world.
From the description on Conde Nast of White Oak: “Hidden away among pine trees, palmettos and tidal wetlands of Florida’s northern border with Georgia is the exclusive White Oak Plantation, a sanctuary for numerous species of endangered wildlife and a centre for the arts. Originally a private estate owned by Howard Gilman – whose grandfather, Isaac Gilman, was to the US paper industry what the Rockefellers were to oil and Andrew Carnegie to steel – the plantation has now become a refuge for endangered species, and other more exotic species in need of care. With the guidance of conservationist John Lukas, White Oak has become perhaps the most exclusive conservation facility in the world, home to more than three dozen species of endangered and threatened animals, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, kept in a secluded 600-acre section at the heart of the estate.”

Benkler's The Wealth of Networks in podcast form

Yochai Benkler’s recent lecture at HLS, a “very concise version” of the key arguments of his new book, The Wealth of Networks, is available in the form of a must-listen podcast at AudioBerkman (41:22; the book, at 500 pages, takes much longer — and is worth it.)
Also around Berkman today: a pre-meeting for One Web Day, organized by fellow David Isenberg, friend/prof Susan Crawford, et al. at 7:00 p.m. tonight in Harvard Square’s John Harvard’s Brewhouse.

And word has it that Beyond Broadcast may be about to sell out? Pretty cool. If you plan to come, sign up fast!

Presidential signing statements v. the veto

Powerful op-ed in the New York Times about the fact that President Bush has yet to veto a single bill, instead relying upon 750 “Presidential signing statements” to argue that he does not have to enforce the laws that Congress passes (with props to a Boston Globe article by Charlie Savage that made this case). Among the many things not to like about a presidency, this one is pretty far up the list.