Few races are contested
By Jon Brodkin-Staff Writer
FITCHBURG- City Council
elections are shaping up to be real snooze-fests, as five Ward
councilors are running for re-election unopposed and only six
candidates are seeking the five at large positions.
the deadline to file nomination papers having passed Tuesday, the
only contested ward race is in Ward 6, where Jody M. Joseph, Patrick
R. Magnan and Dean A. Tran are competing for the seat Ralph R.
Romano III is abandoning to run city-wide.
Excluding the race for Ward 6, 10
council positions are being sought by a mere 11 candidates.
"Only six people filed papers at-large?" Romano said
when apprised of this development. "I am surprised.
I thought there were going to be much more people than that."
Romano and Councilor at large E.
Thomas Donnelly both speculated that the time commitment councilors
have to make discouraged potential candidates. "Or the
bad rap people get when they do not run," Donnelly added.
With fewer than 11 people running,
there will be no preliminary election for the at-large race, as
happened in the last election. There will be a run-off in Ward
6 on Sept. 25 to eliminate one candidate, and the final election is
scheduled for Nov. 6. Candidates can withdraw no later than
Ward councilors Kevin P. Maynard,
Matthew L. Moison, Susan M. Koeck, Matthew C. Straight and Stephan
Hay (of Wards 1,2,3,4 and 5, respectively) will win without a
fight. "It'll be a first for me," Maynard said of
Two candidates mulled trying to
unseat Maynard and Moison, as Board of Zoning Appeals member Joseph
Keegan took out nomination papers for Ward 1, and Joan B. David,
legislative aide to state Rep. Emile J Goguen, D-Fitchburg,
did the same for Ward 2. Both decided not to run.
The mayoral race, as expected, will
pit Mayor Mary H. Whitney against Councilor at-large Dan H. Mylott.
James L. Watson II, who took out nomination papers in February but
kept a low public profile, is not running.
Donnelly, who lost to Mayor Whitney
in 1997, considered throwing his hat into the mayoral race this
year, but said he decided months ago to run for councilor at large
again. Judging by his words Tuesday, though, he will likely
seek the mayor's office at some point. " I am looking
forward to it in the future."
Along with Romano and at-large
incumbents Herman J. Bourque, Annie K. DeMartino and Donnelly,
Rosemary Reynolds and Willie "Jay Jay" Johnson are in the
race for the citywide positions.
For School Committee, there are three
candidates for three open positions: Incumbent David Clark, James
Connors and James B. O'Donnell.
In Ward 6, Board of Zoning Appeals
member Joseph hopes his strong showing in the council election 2
years ago and his experience on city boards (he was on School
Committee for seven years until 1999) will translate into success.
Joseph said he hopes to organize a
Ward 6 community group that would focus on cleaning up the area and
discuss important council issues. "We'll address whatever
citizens wish, " he said. " My main campaign issue
is accessibility to the citizens of the ward."
Magnan has a similar idea with a
slight twist- if he's elected, he says, he'll let his constituents
vote on how he'll vote at council meetings. "That would
prove that I would be for the voters," he said.
"That's something new that nobody's tried before."
Tran, meanwhile, says he would
encourage conservative spending, and would be reluctant to approve
raises for city employees. "If we have a positive year, I
have no problem with any salary increase, " he said. But
this past year he did have reservations about Mayor Whitney's
decision to give 3 percent raises to employees. In some cases
"she needs to step back and say 'no this year is not the right
year (for raises)': and this year is a perfect example," he
Tran cited the Water Department as
one with a budget that is too large, and said money saved by not
giving raises to employees could go to the fire and police
departments. He is also concerned about the low number of
registered voters in Ward 6 and citywide, which is why he has
brought registration forms with him as he knocks on potential constituents'
doors. "The more we register, the better."
The Ward 6 race nearly had four
contestants, as Robert Osborn of Beacon Street took nomination
papers out, but later decided not to run. He said the
experience of the people in the field discouraged him.
6 Contest looms
By Mike Elfland
Telegram and Gazette Staff
The most hotly contested political race in the city is unfolding in
Ward 6, where the decision by City Councilor Ralph R. Romano III to
seek a citywide seat has set the stage for what will likely be the
city's lone preliminary election.
residents of the ward are seeking to succeed Mr. Romano, including
Jody M. Joseph, the former school committee member who lost to Mr.
Romano by 31 votes in the 1999 election. Besides Mr. Joseph,
others seeking the ward 6 post are Patrick R. Megnan, Dean A. Tran
and Robert J. Osborn. Each has taken out nomination papers from the
city clerk's office.
of the field will not be official until Oct.1, the last day to
withdraw a candidacy, but should three or more people seek the post,
the matter will move to a preliminary election, scheduled for Sept.
25. The top two vote-getters move to the Nov. 6 general
election. Candidates have until Aug. 7 to submit nomination
papers to the city clerk.
Romano, the Ward 6 representative for six years, is shifting his
focus to city-wide issues and is bidding for one of five at-large
spots on the council. As of yesterday, there were five
candidates for the at-large seats, among them Mr. Romano and
incumbent Councilor-at-Large Paul F. Fontaine has indicated he will
not run again and Councilors-at-Large E. Thomas Donnelly and Annie
K. DeMartino have not revealed their plans.
Mr. Romano is the only one of the six incumbent ward councilors
who is not seeking re-election. Only Ward 2 Councilor Mathew
L. Moison has a potential opponent. Joan B. David, an aide to
state Rep. Emile J. Goguen, D-Fitchburg, has taken out nomination
For now, it appears,
the lone certainty is that a new face will fill the Ward 6 seat in
January. The Ward 6 seat in January. The ward covers the
southeast part of the city, including neighborhoods off Summer and
Mr. Joseph, 42,
of 20 Tilton St., was two years ago by Mr. Romano, 587 votes to 556
votes, Mr. Joseph gave up his School Committee seat to run for
council and, soon after the council defeat, he joined the city
Zoning Board of Appeals.
known since the last time that I was going to continue pursuing
it," said Mr. Joseph, general manager of Weathervane Seafoods
restaurant in Leominster.
Tran, 26 of 99 Harrison Ave., made an unsuccessful bid for an
at-large council seat in 1999. The computer engineer finished
11th in a 12-way preliminary contest for the 10 spots on the general
very confident this time around; we achieved name recognition last
time we ran," Mr. Tran said.
Magnan, 34, of 33 Longedge Ave., is making his first bid elected
office. In preparation for his candidacy, he regularly attends City
Council and other City Hall meetings.
In what he says will be proof of his promise to be the voice of
the people, Mr. Magnan said if elected he will poll his constituents
on political matters and will then stand by the results when voting
on the council.
that I'm voting for the people," said Mr. Magnan, an operations
manager at a transportation company and owner of a cleaning company.
Osborn, 29, of 46 Beacon St., could not be reached for
comment. Mr. Osborn, unlike Mr. Joseph, Mr. Tran and Mr.
Magnan, has returned his nomination papers to the clerk, with
required signatures of registered voters.
it appears that Mayor Mary H. Whitney and Mr. Mylott will not meet
until the general election. James Lee Watson II, a third
potential candidate who could force a preliminary, has been absent
from the political landscape. He could not be reached
yesterday; his telephone has been temporarily disconnected,
according to an operator's recorded message.
planning to run for at-large seats are Rosemary Reynolds, Willie
Johnson and Michael T. Hurley. Only two people have taken out
nomination papers for the three four year School Committee seats on
the fall ballot. Incumbent David Clark and James Connors are
seeking the post.