Tag Archives: Peabody election

No need for primary after Wojcik drops out of race for Peabody School Committee

28 Aug

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Travis Wojcik

Travis Wojcik

The only Republican in the Peabody School Committee race — who made fiscal responsibility one of his themes during the recent televised “You Make The Call” candidate forum — has saved the city money by dropping out of the scheduled Sept. 29th primary.

Travis Wojcik, 19, announced yesterday that he was ending his campaign for school committee.

That eliminates the need for a primary, which would have trimmed the field of candidates from seven to six. The primary would have cost the city roughly $25,000, according Peabody City Clerk Tim Spanos. Per city charter, it’s required that the final school committee ballot only have six candidates.

Candidates Brian Addesa, Joe Amico, Andrew Arnotis, Michel Bonbon, Brandi Carpenter and John Olimpio each automatically advance to the final election ballot on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Candidates for school committee vie for your vote tonight in TV forum

19 Aug

‘You Make The Call’ show will air at 8 p.m. on PAT Ch. 99

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Brian Addesa

Brian Addesa

After a decade, we’re finally on the verge of an era of new ideas and independent thinking.  The upcoming city election will ensure that change is inevitable for Peabody’s School Committee.

Joe Amico

Joe Amico

By January, we’re guaranteed to have two new members of that board, and maybe three should current member Jarod Hochman win his race for Ward 4 Councilor.

Travis Wojcik

Travis Wojcik

But don’t dismiss the possibility that we could change four of the six seats this year, as several very viable and competitive challengers seek to not only fill the two currently vacant seats, but also go after incumbent Brandi Carpenter this November.

Tonight, on our “You Make The Call” television show (8-9 p.m., PAT Ch. 99), co-host Dick Jarvis and I will introduce and quiz the challengers for school committee. Five of the seven candidates for the three seats this fall will appear, as you the voter get to hear from Brian Addesa, Joe Amico, Andrew Arnotis, John Olimpio and Travis Wojcik.

Andrew Arnotis

Andrew Arnotis

John Olimpio

John Olimpio

If you ask me, the above five gentlemen should be the only ones you consider worthy of your three votes. After all, each has enthusiastically accepted this opportunity to speak to you, the voter.

Meanwhile, Carpenter has declined to appear on the show, and challenger Michel Bonbon has neither accepted nor declined the invitation. Make of that what you will.

But we hope you can tune in to what will be an excellent opportunity to hear from candidates who will change – hopefully for the better – the way Peabody’s School Committee operates.

School Committee, Wards 1, 4 on city council races to watch in fall’s Peabody election

8 Aug

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

The deadline for pulling nomination papers for Peabody’s city election came and went at 5 p.m. on Friday, and it appears that the most-competitive races this fall will be for School Committee and in Wards 1 and 4 for the City Council.

election-2015Here’s a quick August analysis of how the field shapes up in the ward races, for councilor at-large, and on the school committee. Incumbent Mayor Ted Bettencourt was the only candidate to pull papers in that race, and for the second straight term, he’ll run unopposed.

City Council ward races

Incumbent councilors in Wards 2, 3, 5 and 6 are each unopposed.

 Ward 1 Councilor

It’s a three-way battle for an open seat between Jon Turco, Anne Quinn and Brian Barrett, which will necessitate a primary on Tuesday, Sept. 29th.

What’s interesting here is the race between Turco and Barrett.

Turco’s very active in the South Peabody community, and was instrumental in helping then city councilor Ted Bettencourt carry Ward 1 when the Mayor first beat Sean Fitzgerald for the chief executive seat in 2011.

Barrett, who was once Peabody’s assistant city solicitor, comes from an old South Peabody family, and his dad was a long-time city councilor.

This one is a battle of new Peabody (e.g., those who “emigrated” from places such as Revere, East Boston, Everett and Chelsea) vs. the “old Peabs,” who think anyone whose family hasn’t been here for 100 years is a “carpetbagger.” What’s interesting about that dynamic is that – these days — there seem to be just as many new arrivals as there are old families.

If Turco can get the newer arrivals out to vote in massive numbers (which is always challenging) he’ll win. If not, the Barrett name will be tough to overcome.

Ms. Quinn could also have an impact here. She’s the only woman on the ballot, and half the voting population is female. Typically, that dynamic has more of an effect on the councilor at-large and school committee races. But in a three person ward primary, it could be a factor.

Ward 4 Councilor

School committee members Ed Charest and Jarrod Hochman compete for the seat being vacated by long-time Ward 4 Councilor Bob Driscoll.

This one is too tough to call at this point, and neither one of these candidates has ever run a one-on-one race. We’ll see what develops between now and Nov. 3rd. But it will likely come down to whomever runs the most-effective campaign.

Councilor At-Large

Incumbents Anne Manning-Martin, David Gravel, Tom Gould, Tom Walsh and Michael Garabedian are all huge favorites to win re-election at this point. The old adage that councilor at-large incumbents just never lose will likely hold true again this time. The last time a councilor at-large incumbent lost was in 1998, when then sitting school committee member Jim Liacos beat Bill Toomey by less than 100 votes.

Challenger Peter Bakula, making his second run for an at-large seat, faces very long odds here.

Russ Donovan, a South Peabody resident and frequent candidate for office, has pulled papers, but as of Friday at 5 p.m., hadn’t brought back the required 50 signatures. Donovan has until Tuesday, the deadline for returning papers, to decide whether he’s in or not.

School Committee

For the first time in a while, Peabody has a wide-open race for a citywide office that is filled with new candidates. That will make this the most-interesting race of this election cycle.

Two of the three seats are open, and Brandi Carpenter is the only incumbent. There are eight candidates overall, with seven bringing back the required number of signatures to be on the ballot.

At this point, here’s this pundits view on how things are shaping up:

Carpenter should be an odds on favorite for re-election, since she is not only an incumbent, but also the only woman on the ballot. Traditionally in Peabody elections, where voters have more than one vote, there’s a huge advantage to being the only female name on a ballot. But it has also been a rough year for the sitting members of the school committee, who have felt the public’s wrath over the FKO afterschool program issue, and the debacle of sticking the taxpayers with a large separation agreement settlement for departed superintendent Joe Mastocola.  Brandi should win back her seat, but it’s definitely not as big of a lock as it would have been in most other years.

As for the rest of the field, here’s how I feel it shapes up:

Based on who I feel are the most qualified candidates, educators Brian Addesa and Joe Amico and attorney and CPA John Olimpio should be considered the odds on favorites to compete for the two open seats.

Throwing in Peabody’s penchant for wanting to always vote for candidates with deep roots in the city, also throw Andrew Arnotis into the previous mix. My feeling on Andrew, who comes from a well-connected South Peabody family, is that he’s a bright young candidate with a great future in Peabody politics. But I also feel that he’s not ready at this point. He’s a college student, and my fear is that he’ll be manipulated too easily by the existing school committee members, who haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory this year.  It’s not a knock at Andrew, who I feel is a good guy. It’s just that I honestly feel it’s not the right job for any 22-year-old.

At this stage, I really don’t see the rest of the school committee field as being all that competitive.

Michel Bonbon has over the years been very active in the Peabody Democratic City Committee. But I see the key members of that committee supporting Arnotis in this election. Travis Wojcik is another young candidate who could have a bright future in Peabody politics, but his lack of name recognition and inexperience will hurt him this time.

The only other candidate to pull papers is Neil Papamechail, who has until Tuesday to bring back his signatures and get on the ballot. Papanechail pulled papers two years ago, and didn’t bring them back. If he gets on the ballot this time, I feel he’ll be the longest shot in the field of eight.

The school committee candidate field will be trimmed to six following the Sept. 29th primary.

Grateful for family, friends, and supporters met along the way

7 Nov

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

SUNRISEIt’s tough losing an election. The months of hard work puts major stress on not only the candidate, but his family and friends too. When things don’t work out on election night, there is shock, followed by disappointment, and then some frustration.

But if you did it right, and still lost, if you truly ran a campaign where you put the focus on helping people and sticking up for neighbors and neighborhoods, election night’s disappointment fades as quickly as that next day’s sunset.

Today, I have reached that point. The sun came up this morning, just as it always does, and with it came satisfaction for this former candidate. Despite battling money and power, we lost the election for Ward 5 Councilor by just 89 votes. Despite having what seemed like the entire Ward 5 political and business establishment against me because I promised to always be on the side of taxpaying residents, our underdog campaign almost pushed it across the goal line in sudden death overtime.

We fell short, but we’re not disappointed anymore. Why? Because we had the right message and we put a scare into those whom are more interested in making a buck than they are with protecting the quality of life of residents. We scared them so much that they filled my opponent’s campaign war chest with thousands of dollars, and helped with a massive get out the vote effort on election night.  Their GOTV effort was just better than our GOTV effort, and they made sure since they wanted no part of this independent-minded Ward 5 Councilor candidate.

But I know as well as anyone that this will always be the nature of politics, and at the end of the day, people get to choose who they want based on what they hear and who they like. That’s America at its finest, and I believe in the system. We lost. That’s just the way it is.

Mr. Saslaw and his team were just able to convince a few more people than we could. He now says he’s with the residents, and I wish him well in his pursuit. I expect, though, that it’s going to be hard to say no to developers who just covered you in cash, and carried you across the finish line.

As for me, I’m just not sure where the political winds will blow me. It’s too soon to do anything other than thank those family members and friends whom I love, and tell them how much I appreciate everything they did for me. There are too many names to name here, so I anticipate writer’s cramp from so many thank you notes in the coming weeks.

I’ll also never forget the people who supported me because they liked my message when I came to their doors during the long campaign. Today, just as I was starting to feel down again, an elderly woman from my neighborhood — who I didn’t even know before meeting her on Election Day — called to tell me it was a “pleasure voting for you.” And then, she told me a story that inspired me to start thinking about my next step.

It was a story about her son, who was diagnosed with dyslexia back in the 1950s, only at first they didn’t know what it was, and because of it he began failing in school. Persistence and a mother’s love and determination forced this son to not give up.

He somehow made it through the Peabody Schools, and kept working hard enough to make it into college. Despite several setbacks along the way, the son — pushed by his wonderful mom — not only graduated from college, but went on to grad school and then got his PhD in education. He just recently retired from his job as Superintendent of Schools for a South Shore community.

His mom, meanwhile, despite being 87-years-old, legally blind and needing a walker, made it to the polls at the Kiley School on Tuesday after our campaign was able to give her a ride.  When I thanked her for going above and beyond to support me like that, all she said to me was:

“You’re a good guy. You deserved it. I didn’t give up on my son, and I wasn’t going to give up on you.”

You know, maybe I did go down to defeat because I said I would always take the side of residents like this great lady who is my neighbor. But … I think I can live with that, and even start sleeping through the night again.

Here’s to another beautiful sunrise.

Bob Croce running to become: ‘Your’ Ward 5 Councilor

24 Jan

By Bob Croce, Candidate for Ward 5 Councilor

 

CroceA political mentor always tells me not to leave out the most-important detail when it comes to running for office. I hear him saying, “before you do anything else, let people know why you are running.”

It’s the thing that the people you seek to serve will ask, and you better be prepared to give them an answer.  So, on this Arctic-like January morning, I come to you with an answer to that very first question.

I am running for Ward 5 Councilor this fall in Peabody’s city election because I believe that I can be a strong advocate in supporting my neighbors on issues that affect our quality of life.

My message during the long campaign ahead will be clear: If elected, no issue will be too small for my attention when a taxpayer calls me.

That is what being a ward councilor is all about.

People reach out to you, and you help them. You become their watchdog on the City Council, taking their side when developers don’t follow the rules of their special permits. You ensure that the rights of citizens are protected.

You answer their call in the early morning hours when their street isn’t plowed. You ensure that their streets are properly maintained, and that you respond immediately when they have any concerns about public safety in their neighborhood. You do things for people, and you come to the job realizing that being a ward councilor truly means being a public servant.

It’s something that retiring Ward 5 Councilor Dave Gamache learned over his 24 years in this seat. And it’s something on which I will center my entire campaign.

To the people of Ward 5, I want to be Your Ward Councilor.

There will be a lot more on my campaign as the ground thaws, spring makes its debut, and I burn shoe leather going door-to-door under the hot summer sun.

But for now, I hope you will consider helping me in my pursuit to become a good public servant.

If you would like to find out how you can help with my campaign, please visit my campaign website.

Also,  please  “like” my campaign Facebook page.

I also welcome your questions here in the comments section.

Sincerely,

Bob Croce, Candidate for Ward 5 Councilor

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