Suffolk County candidate would eliminate the job he's running for
John Keith told members of Progressive West Roxbury/Roslindale this week that if he elected Suffolk County register of deeds, he would work to try to make the obscure position an appointed one.
Keith, an independent, is running against former Boston City Councilor Steve Murphy, a Democrat, and independents Margherita Ciampa-Coyne and Joe Donnelly in the Nov. 8 election.
"The office should be abolished," because it's purely an administrative position, Keith told the group. "The problem is, there's not a lot of responsibilities in this job."
The position has actually been vacant since Mickey Roache resigned in December.
Murphy, making a rare appearance at a candidate forum, opposed the idea of making the job appointed, because "voters lose the ability to have a say." He compared making the post appointed to Boston losing an elected school committee.
Ciampa-Coyne and Donnelly did not state an opinion on making the position appointed during their sessions with the group - in which each candidate spent five or so minutes alone with members, rather than sitting in a panel discussion together.
All four candidates said one of their first tasks if elected would be to do something about the registry's creaky Web site, which has not had an upgrade since the late 1990s. Keith said too much of the data is encapsulated in images of records, rather than in text, making it hard to extract comparative information from them.
On what makes them most qualified: Ciampa-Coyne said she has worked with land records and titles for some 25 years as a paralegal and has been an operations manager of a national title-insurance company, so she has experience managing a large group of workers..
Ciampa-Coyne said she would look to hire workers or even interns who speak languages other than English to serve the county's growing population of immigrants and would work to promote an e-mail system that notifies residents whenever somebody files something related to their property - a potential alert to possible fraud.
Donnelly has long worked as a real-estate broker and has also managed a large group of people. He added that after 40 years working on commission, "I'd like a nice steady paycheck."
Donnelly said he would want to learn from current registry workers, whom he said have a wealth of knowledge.
Murphy said he was the only candidate who has been a manager in the public sector. Murphy said he would try to establish office hours in public buildings across the county so that people would not have to go all the way downtown to do registry business and work on improving information sharing with city and state agencies that try to protect residents in foreclosures and against scams.
Like Donnelly, Keith is also a broker and has also managed groups of people. Keith said one of the reasons he is running is because he grew annoyed on learning how the register job across the state often seems to attract candidates who don't really want to work full time. He vowed he would be a full-time register - the other three candidates said the same.
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Freudian slip: John Murphy
No problem, Adam. We all want John A. Keith, anyway.
Backing him because Ciampa-Coyne (like Keith, a relative unknown) is from Murphy's neighborhood and so stands less of a chance to win than Keith.
We need to unite around Keith (no, I don't know him)!
Fixed. Not sure if Freudian or another sign I shouldn't write things after midnight!
(Shouted like Lucy van Pelt does after Schroeder plays the plinky, toy-piano version of "Jingle Bells")
Fraud in a booming RE market-
Fraud in a booming RE market--or current bubble if you will--will continue to be a problem. In a city in Michigan of all places, the Register of Deeds there noticed and started investigating during the last bubble. If Register is appointed, who's to stop that person from just answering to the money makers behind the last market crash who back the mayor? Sorry, I think an elected register can be front line in this. Who might that be? I find myself agreeing with Murphy of all folks! Enough with the strong Mayor set up.
I was considering a vote for John Keith, not so sure now.
Has the register ever done anything noteworthy?
Has the register of deeds ever done anything noteworthy in the past few years? An elected register could be in the front line but if person who is that position hasn't done much of anything in the past few decades, I struggle to see why they would going forward.
If you feel Steve Murphy is the candidate least likely to "just answer to the money makers" then I'm not sure what to tell you.
* Mayor couldn't/wouldn't appoint; this is a county position.
Impressed with the creative set up of the forum.
It's kinda jarring reading an article that talks about a candidate, then scrolling down and seeing a big "Elect John Keith" ad in the middle of the page. Plus the guy is a frequent commenter on this site. I don't know the first thing about journalistic ethics or the like, but should there be some kind of disclaimer in the article?
Ads like that get placed not by adam but by teh Google as it looks over your shoulder, watching you surf - like a mad clown with a cleaver.
Oh wait, this isn't the Halloween thread is it?
As adam said in a previous post..
John Keith bought an ad on Universal Hub, to run between stories and their comments. Until last week, it was randomly rotating with two other ads from groups that also purchased an ad for that particular slot, but those ran out and now Keith is the only one with an ad running there. You'll see it on every single story on the site, no matter the topic. His opponents are also free to buy an ad to run n that slot, and if they did, they'd rotate with Keith's (I have not approached them about buying ads - if they're reading this they can drop me a line - I also didn't approach Keith, he came to me).
As with all the other ads on the site, its placement on the site doesn't imply any editorial approval of its content. Advertising is, for the most part, how I make money here, and you may recall that I let folks know when I added that particular in-story ad space.
As for why I led with Keith's idea in the story, it seemed to me, as a reporter, like the only major thing that really separated the four candidates. They're all in favor of fixing the pre-21st-century Web site, all said they would do stuff to improve the visibility and general services of the registry. There are some specific differences in what they proposed (Murphy with his sort of traveling registry offices, Ciampa-Coyne with her hiring people who speak something other than English), but, really, proposing to do away with the elected position altogether is quite the difference.
I really apologize for responding to every comment in this thread. I promise to not do it again. I hate comment hogs (like, when Boug Dennett posts).
I agree; seeing me discussed as a story subject rather than a commenter is a weird situation, and uncommon.
What type of disclaimer would you suggest? Something exactly like your comment, above?
Regarding the ad, I know I thought about it before approaching Adam, and I assume he thought about it, before agreeing.
I feel as though the coverage of this race has been fair - there's only been this and maybe one other post about it? This post seems to reflect what happened that night; if you weren't there, I realize you have no idea.
I knew that I had a lot of awareness on Universal Hub, so that's why I asked if I could post an ad. Duh.
I also asked how he felt about me posting my own entries, because someone on a different thread was shocked that I wasn't "advertising the hell out of yourself" on Universal Hub. Adam said, um, no. It didn't seem appropriate to me, either.
Did you know that the only time you see my ad in front of you is when you first read comments, that if go back to "New Comments" it goes down to the first unread comment? So, you don't see the ad every time.
And, it's not as if Adam has given me a free ride on this site. Believe me, I remember.
If I could, I would vote for
If I could, I would vote for Mr. Keith. From what I've read about him this morning, he seems like a breath of fresh air.
Can we combine them?
Make it appointed, update website, watch for fraud, hire people who speak other languages, learn from the staff, make it easier to do business, update records...that all sounds pretty good.
Keith's right about one thing
Agree 100% that it should be an appointed position. It's crazy to expect voters to be able to make an informed choice for such an obscure job.
I'm sure most voters do the "Moe" vote
for such obscure positions - as in "Eeenie Meenie Miney Moe."
Did you just call me a 'mo??
I'm voting for Ciampa-Coyne,
I'm voting for Ciampa-Coyne, I like that she is mindful or our linguistic diversity.
John Keith has a history of attending public meetings and shouting over, and yelling at, opponents of Indy and Olympics.
* I was against the Olympics.
And I hope you did shout. Shouting seems like a fairly reasonable response to that stupid, stupid idea.
Is Keith really an independent?
Keith claims to be an "independent" but he seems to be a closet Republican. Keith states on his website "I am not a member of the Democrat or Republican party". Calling the Democratic Party the "Democrat Party" is a long time childish Republican trope. I don't trust anyone who claims to be an independent while using Republican terminology to explain their alleged independence.
And although he states he wants to eliminate the job of Register, his website has no actual plan other than to "be open to suggestions" and "contribute to conversations". So unless I see an actual plan, I believe Keith isn't really serious about it.
I'm voting for Murph.
OK, I'll bite
Please explain what 'Murph' has planned for the office other than padding his pension and spending a lot of time in Florida, his other home?
I voted early today for Murphy
If you dont like the pension laws, that's not Murphy's fault. And if you're jealous he has property in Florida, that's not his fault either
Despite Keith's wishes, Register is a political job. And it's important to me to elect Democrats for any and all offices. Murphy was campaigning recently in NH for Hillary. Who is Republican, er, I mean "Independent" Keith campaigning for?
Regarding "specifics", I did go into it a bit more in a blog entry on my website:
You coaxed me with some catnip and now I'm gonna bite, so congratulations. Calling me a Republican is a sure way to get me mad.
If only there were some independent way to verify whether or not I was a closet Republican. Oh, wait, there is. Call the Boston Elections Department on Monday and ask them for my voting history. As an independent, which ballot I pulled in any partisan primary is public information.
The Elections Department will tell that I haven't missed voting for as far back as they have records. They will tell you that there have been 13 primaries since then, and 13 times since then, I've asked for a Democrat ballot (ugh, I mean, Democratic) ballot.
Here's how it shows up on the CD I bought from the Elections Department in April. (Yes, I could have doctored it.)
I guess I could be a closet Republican, but be registered Unenrolled while voting Democrat (ibid.) every time. I mean, I guess? Or, I vote Republican, but only when I can hide it?
And, the obvious question is, why would it be bad to be a Republican? Other primary / general election candidates for the Register of Deeds office this year have been / are pro-life, and at least one contributed to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign!
Yes, it was an editing error to say "Democrat" because that doesn't make any sense in the sentence I wrote, if for no other reason. (I use "Democratic" on other pages; for example, when describing State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, who crushed me in my earlier race.)
PS. Did you notice you wrote "Democrat" in your comment?
If I am a Republican, I''m the only gay, HIV+, pro-choice, anti-death penalty, Fight for $15, universal healthcare supporting, Hillary-loving Republican out there.
I think it's great that Steve was up in New Hampshire supporting *our next president*. I was in Hyde Park reaching out to residents of Boston, instead.
He might end up regretting not spending that extra day campaigning here in town. :o)
You almost had me convinced Mr. Keith
But when you asked
, I can not support you and will vote for Murphy.
If you dont know what is bad about being a Republican then you don't deserve my vote. And I now think that your use of Democrat vs Democratic was intentional.
Methinks John Keith doth protest too much
Some of your arguments are not convincing, John Keith.
It really doesn't matter much which ballots you pull in the primaries, a matter of public record. It matters more who you vote for in the final election, which is not a public record. If you truly vote for Democrats and against Republicans all the time, then why the charade of defining yourself as an independent?
You ask what's so bad about being a Republican. If you believe in the various progressive causes you profess to believe in, then you should be able to answer you own question easily.
You claim your use of the term "Democrat Party" was a typo, and then proceed immediately to defend its use for what you say are grammatical reasons. So was it a typo or not? You cant have it both ways. The name of the party is the Democratic Party, not the Democrat Party.
The question on the table is the use of the term "Democrat Party", not other uses of the term Democrat so your p.s about anon using the term Democrat is irrelevant. In that case it was the noun "Democrat" not "Democrat Party". By the way this argument is exactly what Republicans say when they are confronted on their petulant use of the term Democrat instead of Democratic.
I personally don't trust anyone who calls themself an independent. The difference between the 2 major parties are profound. If you are truly a progressive as your list of policy positions suggest, then I suggest you should join the Democratic Party.
Most likely a typo in my book
This comment seems a bit of a reach.
A bit of a reach?
I realize I am just a mere anon, not a full fledged anonism, but the use of the term "Democrat Party" is not a bit of a reach and really is something Republicans do and have done for a long time. Google it and educate yourself.
If this job were to be an
If this job were to be an appointed job, wouldn't that just make it easier for some hack to appoint one of his buddies to this obscure role to do absolutely nothing but cash a check? No thanks. I'd rather the voters have a say. Obscure or not, let the people choose, not a hack.
Keith needs to pledge to quit
Right now he says if he gets elected he will work to insure the job is his for life. Journalistic integrity Adam.
You're assuming ...
That if he somehow got the job converted to an appointed one, he'd be the one appointed to it.
Yes I am
The obvious move would be for Galvin to appoint the last winner. So Keith would have to pledge to not take the job and stick to it. Not that I think this is his plan but it is absolutely what will happen and should be addressed.
Key detail you are missing
Galvin has shown himself to be a very partisan Democrat (see UI treatment) and he employs Steve Murphy's wife so why should we assume John Keith would be his favored candidate?
Your gossip knowledge outranks mine.
Just the same if the job becomes appointed ( say, 2 years down the line) the job would just go to whoever was voted in and currently doing the job. You can say that he can be removed if needed but as long as the appointee doesn't get caught stealing the job is theirs for life. Maybe the govna should make the appointment, as Secretary of State is just another position the public doesn't focus on.
I pledge to quit, and I wish I was as optimistic as you that it would only take 2 years to accomplish.
The Q&A at the forum only covers half my proposal, so I can understand your confusion.
There are two steps; or, one step but with two parts. Having this as an elected office doesn't serve anyone well, I don't believe. There is no policy role for this position. I like democracy, but I don't think anything is lost by having this appointed rather than elected.
Again, that's only part of it. The next part is to abolish the role, completely, meaning putting all 21 county Registers out of a job.
In their place would be one Register, appointed by either the Secretary of State or the Governor or .. I don't know. Yes, I realize it could be abused. But, I think it could end up like the Registrar of Motor Vehicles - whose name I dare you to guess without checking your license.
The negative is, lack of elections.
The positive is, immediate savings (remember, each Register makes $100k+) and simplification, so that policies and procedures can be set from the top instead of dealing with 21 bureaucracies.
Are you getting the government you deserve by having this as an elected position?
Registry of Deeds Division
Registry of Deeds Division
For whom did I vote?
I don't vote exclusively on a partisan basis. But it seems to usually look that way because rarely have I encountered a current Republican who doesn't make me seriously question Intelligent Design. For this office I voted as any: for the candidate who I either like the most or concerning whom I need to hold my nose the least.
I certainly did not vote for a candidate who has all but admitted he is just looking to pad his retirement pay with a pension. Of the other candidates only one reached out to a place that I regularly read.
While I don't always agree with that gentleman's opinions I don't have reason to hold my nose in voting for him. Plus at least he reached out to a place where my eyes regularly fall. If the other two candidates had done so I would have considered them.
Someone willing to reach out to me and others on this forum is already saying that they are interested in my and like minded opinions. It comes down to trust and whether somebody is actually paying attention. There is only one that I think is paying attention. As for who is more qualified in terms of experience and profession? I don't know. But then do we ever really know?
Testimony/Reports. Appointed/Elected Registers of Deeds.
Have the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or any other experts or Candidates or Journalists ever testified/reported about whether Registers of Deeds should be Appointed/Elected ?