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Thread: Cochituate, a Village of Wayland

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Wayland MA
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    Default Cochituate, a Village of Wayland

    There's something pleasant about the image of living in a village. I'm a resident of Cochituate Village, and as such, can walk to the Town Beach, to the Cochituate Ball Fields, to my bank, and to numerous shops. Moreover, I'm just a short drive from almost any store imaginable, one of my company's offices, and a major highway that can (sometimes) zip me in to Boston or start me on a journey to almost anywhere (my longest foray to date has been a drive to Cheyenne WY).

    Cochituate is an excellent village, but none of the above would disappear if the village boundaries disappeared (www.city-data.com). No, I'm defined much more by the borders of Wayland, in large part because it's the political entity that matters.

    A frequent contributor to the Town Crier letters to the editor section and the accompanying discussion board (including here) likes to point out that Cochituate makes up a majority of the town's voters, typically in combination with statements about Cochituate's relative lack of affluence compared with North Wayland (the latter ranking 3rd in the Commonwealth if it were its own town, the former ranking a still impressive 27th). The contributor also makes the curious point that Cochituate, despite its majority presence, somehow lacks a corresponding political impact. And most recently, the contributor makes the statement that Cochituate has not voted in favor of an override since 2003.

    The problem with this last statement is that it's not at all easy to know how Cochituate votes on any question at the polls, as the Town Clerk's office doesn't report vote counts for the Village. Rather, the office reports votes by each of the four Precincts: P1 in NW Wayland, P2 in SW Wayland, P3 in SE Wayland, and P4 in NE Wayland. As the attached precinct map with my approximation of Cochituate overlaid in red shows, there's a small but significant difference between Cochituate and Precincts 2 and 3.

    Geographically, part of Cochituate is in Precinct 4 (the part just south of Shaw Drive). And, part of Precinct 2 (the Stonebridge area) isn't in Cochituate. Precincts are artificial, just as the Cochituate designation is. There's no electoral college--every vote counts the same. If my understanding is correct, however, the four precincts are intended to have the same approximate population.

    Here's a summary of total votes cast and percent yes on the override questions going back to 2002.

    2002
    P1: 624 (60%)
    P2: 569 (58%)
    P3: 496 (58%)
    P4: 684 (56%)

    2003
    P1: 754 (65%)
    P2: 579 (51%)
    P3: 586 (58%)
    P4: 762 (66%)

    2005
    P1: 1154 (66%)
    P2: 1197 (47%)
    P3: 1081 (53%)
    P4: 1290 (58%)

    2006
    P1: 1385 (60%)
    P2: 1409 (48%)
    P3: 1196 (52%)
    P4: 1465 (60%)

    2008
    P1: 1117 (58%)
    P2: 1123 (47%)
    P3: 978 (58%)
    P4: 1228 (58%)

    A few observations:

    = Only P2 hasn't voted majority in favor of every override--they've rejected the last 3 after favoring the prior 2.

    = P2's "rejection" has only been by a few percentage points. It's not as if they are overwhelmingly voting against, only to have their voices swamped by other parts of town.

    = Even "rich" P1 and P4 never top 2/3 yes.

    = If the precincts have even voter counts, P4 always has the highest turnout. Remember, P4 includes part of Cochituate.

    = P3, a solid yes on overrides, almost always has the lowest turnout, even in 2008 when the ES reconfiguration was "front of mind."

    = P2, the "no" precinct, has had the second highest turnout the last 3 overrides.

    = The P1+P4 pairing routinely turns out about 200 more voters than the P2+P3 pairing (which is approximately Cochituate). If you look at the P4 voters in Cochituate, you'd have to guess that they are on the wealthier end of the Cochituate spectrum, and therefore perhaps more likely to vote yes on overrides (as the frequent contributor alleges). As a result, P3's yes vote is actually probably lower than if it included all of Cochituate. If you look at the P2 voters who are not in Cochituate, you'd probably say the same thing. As a result, P2's yes vote is probably higher than if it included only Cochituate. I have no reason to think that the "over/under" doesn't effectively cancel out, plus or minus.

    = So, I contend that Cochituate = P2+P3 for all intents and purposes. Given that both the Cochituate and precinct boundaries are arbitrary, and given that voting data is only available easily for P2+P3, I see no reason not to redefine Cochituate as P2+P3 for the purpose of gauging voting patterns.

    = If you look at P2+P3 (again, approximately Cochituate), their yes percentage has been:
    - 2002: 58%
    - 2003: 55%
    - 2005: 49.8%
    - 2006: 49.8%
    - 2008: 52%
    In other words, even if every Cochituate voter had turned out, even in 2005 and 2006, it wouldn't have changed any of the override votes.

    = Cochituate (P2+P3) votes in favor (or a hair less than in favor) of overrides. The frequent contributor's "not since 2003" contention is likely not true.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Default

    Jeff, I think you could have made an even stronger for Cochituate generally supporting overrides.

    Looking at your map, it is clear that there is a lot more of Cochituate missing from P3 than there is Cochituate over-counted in P2.

    If we removed from P2 the tallies from the 6 or 7 streets that are not part of Cochituate, we would eliminate a relatively small number of votes, likely divided roughly evenly (perhaps a little in favor) of the override.

    However, there are many more Cochituate streets omitted from P3. I think it would be fair to expect that the override approval rate in that section would be somewhere between the values for P3 and P4 (in fact, there’s absolutely no reason to think anything different).

    So, the translation from P2+P3 to Cochituate would require one to first delete a small number of YES and NO votes to adjust for the section of P2 that is not in Cochituate. Then, one would have to add in some number of votes (difficult to estimate exactly how many) for the area of P4 which is actually in Cochituate. Since that area of P4 that is in Cochituate should be expected to behave somewhere between P3 and P4, historical figures would lead us to expect those votes to generally favor overrides (if we figured that area would be exactly in the middle of P3 and P4s outcome, we'd expect it to have had values of 55%, 56% and 58% in the last three votes). Using the same methodology, one would expect the subtracted votes for P2 to be between the P1/P2 outcomes (so, 56%, 54%, 53%)

    Summary to adjust from P2+P3 to Cochituate:
    * subtract a small of number of votes at approximately 53-56% Yes
    * add a larger number of votes at approximately 55-58% Yes

    Since the ratios are a bit higher and the number of votes considerably larger for the second line than the first, we are adding in a larger number of Yes votes than we are subtracting, so this clearly would move the constructed Cochituate vote to be a higher percentage in favor than just P2+P3.

    Conclusion: Cochituate override voting % is highly likely to be higher than combining P2 and P3. We can't know, because the data is impossible to create, whether this value exceeded 50% for 2005 or 2006 (though I think it's very likely), it is quite clear that it did exceed 50% for 2008 (as well as 2002 and 2003)
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 05-26-2009 at 12:58 PM. Reason: clarification

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    1

    Default The Village of Cochituate (Our real town center)

    I couldn't agree more about the Village of Cochituate. As I stood watching the Memorial Day Parade, I realized that the town has everything: nice sidewalks, a ball-field, a pizza parlor, a liquor store, a fire station, two play grounds…

    The trouble is that it also has two closed restaurants and several barely surviving businesses. It fact, it is deteriorating before our eyes. Meanwhile, the town has been obsessed with building a NEW Town Center. But, that plan is apparently not going to happen, at least not any time soon.

    So, we’ve been focused on a NEW Town Center and NOT putting a CVS in Coch. What if we instead focused on what Cochituate Center could be… a vibrant magnate for people to come stroll, shop and sit outdoors at nice community run cafes or restaurants. In fact couldn’t Cochituate Center be everything that we have hoped for in the new Town Center?

    If you get a chance, go take a visit to Media Pennsylvania. It is a wonderfully vibrant little town about 17 miles west of Philadelphia. We could create that kind of town in Wayland.

    So, how can I help and where do we start?

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