A Seasoned School Committee

Brown contrasted Grassi's approach with schools using more progressive educational styles, such as Cambridgeport or Graham and Parks.

Fantini's success is likely a combination of two factors. Outgoing committee member David Maher, who is hanging on the edge of getting a City Council seat, said much of his support had rolled over to Fantini. The two candidates appeal to the same working-class constituency, he said.

Also, Fantini renewed his campaigning efforts this year after pundits blamed his lackluster priming of the public in his 1997 loss.


"Whoever can get out there and shake the most hands, and kiss the most babies, wins," said Roger O'Sullivan, president of the Cambridge Teachers' Association.

And this morning, as the final tallies come in, Michael Harshbarger may be questioning his decision to run as an independent candidate and decline the CCA's endorsement.

"I think the race would have been a lot closer for Mike had he been on the slate," Ken Carson, CCA president, said last night. "A total of 40,000 pieces of literature were distributed with the CCA slate on it. That makes a difference in a close race."

The departure of committee member Robin Harris, a black woman endorsed by the CCA, likely siphoned votes into Simmons' camp--she, too, is a black woman endorsed by the CCA. It also helped other CCA-endorsed candidates.

Though Harris is black, she is not a resident of the less affluent and predominantly black Area 4, as Simmons proudly is.

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