Strapped for campaign funds and concerned about voter apathy, this year's candidates for City Council are forgoing expensive mailings and hitting the streets in an effort to win votes in next Tuesday's election, several candidates said yesterday.
Both incumbents and new candidates said they are emphasizing door-to-door campaigning in order to cut costs and to establish personal contact with voters.
"I know I've walked door-to-door more than ever before," said three-term Councillor William H. Walsh. The voters "don't believe the politicians anymore, so you've got to get your message out personally."
Some candidates said that financial concerns have also forced them onto the city sidewalks.
"Giving to my campaign is down 10 percent," said 10-term Councillor Francis H. Duehay '55, who has stumped repeatedly at Harvard's dorms and houses and said he plans to visit every Harvard student registered to vote.
Other candidates said that they had set specific numerical goals for their door-to-door campaigns.
"One of the goals I set out this time was to knock on 10,000 doors," said Jonathan S. Myers, who is seeking a second council term. "And I'm now entering my tenth precinct of about 1000 voters each."
Many candidates said they intend to use the weekend to make a final appeal to voters. Some candidates said they are organizing "visibilities"--gatherings of sign-holding supporters at busy intersections--instead of more traditional mailings to build candidate name recognition.
"There's a lot less mailings and frills," said Walsh. "People have cut down on parties," said Walsh, adding that his Halloween costume bash at the Sheraton Commander this Friday will be his only party of the season.
Despite the effort that Walsh said he is making at pinching pennies, at least one candidate said yesterday that she has ample funds to support a race
R. Elaine Noble, a former Massachusetts state legislator who is vying for a seat on the city council, said that she plans to finish up a long-term 40,000-piece mailing by the end of this week.
Noble said that she was less concerned about money than about what she sees as increasing apathy among Cambridge voters.
"The reason we have voter apathy is because we have Plan E," said Noble, referring to Cambridge's unique proportional representation voting system. Noble is campaigning against this complicated voting system.
Although several other candidates echoed Noble's claim about voter apathy, Duehay said citizens seem to be ready for November 5