Bianchi, Marchetti Earn November Ballot Spot
Bianchi, who narrowly lost the 2009 election by some 200 votes to incumbent Mayor James Ruberto, came out on top with 3,430 votes, or 49 percent of those cast in the city's seven wards.
Next in line was Marchetti, a four-term city councilor, with 2,759, or 39.4 percent.
Mood at the Bianchi celebration at Mazzeo's Ristorante was pleased and unsurprised by his nearly 700-vote lead.
The candidate joked that "I'm still not sure if my daughter voted for Steve Fillio" and said third-place candidate Joseph Nichols had pledged to support him.
Nichols and Melissa Mazzeo, both whom are often in the voting minority together, were both in attendance.
Bianchi and Marchetti were the front-runners going into the five-way race, although some thought that Nichols, a local businessman finishing up his first term on the council, might cut into their leads. Nichols ended with 691 votes, barely 10 percent.
Marchetti, with supporters at the Itam Club where he launched his campaign a few months back, said he's ready to start the real race. Supporters seemed surprised at his second-place showing but committed to the campaign, including Ruberto, City Councilor Peter White and state representative candidate Tricia Farley-Bouvier.
"I'm happy to be a winner tonight, and we'll continue to fight until November 8," said Marchetti.
Trailing far behind were past mayoral candidates Stephen Fillio with 77 votes (1 percent) and Donna Walto with 44 (.6).
Unlike in North Adams, voters selected only one candidate.
Ward 4 voters had their own preliminary election to select two candidates who will try to replace outgoing Councilor Michael Ward.
They picked last election's challenger to Ward, Christopher Connell, with 610 votes and former ward representative Ozias "Chuck" Vincelette with 523. Left out was newcomer James Brosnan with 346 votes.
Alcombright, Boucher Take Top Preliminary Spots
Campaign supporters were out at St. Elizabeth's Parish Center, where four of the city's wards vote.
Toting up the results of Tuesday's preliminary election.
Incumbent Alcombright outpolled both his challengers in the balloting that saw about 18 percent of the city's 9,000-odd voters go to the polls.
"I was very pleased. If you look at the numbers, the percentages almost to follow kind of what they did in the last election back in '09," said Alcombright. "I think we were upwards of 60 percent."
The incumbent said this was just a battle and his campaign will "run a strong, hard campaign for the rest of the time."
"We have to work hard," he said, pledging to "stay focused on our message and stay positive." "Ron's a good candidate and the next few weeks will be telling as we dig into the issues and see really where our differences lie."
Boucher wasn't too far behind the incumbent. Both handily outstripped third place Robert Martelle, whose campaign barely registered.
"I'm very excited," said Boucher. "I thought the turnout for us at 751[votes] was excellent considering less than two weeks ago, we just had our kickoff and our campaign has only been together, working at it for only six weeks.
"The mayor probably outspent us three to one in advertising," he said. "All I can say is I look forward to the opportunity to debate the mayor in the coming weeks. We will talk about the issues that are important to the city ... the vision and the ideas going forth."
Boucher noted the large number of voters who failed to turnout. "I believe this is going to be a horse race to the end ... there's a lot of people sitting out there waiting for what we have to say."
In total, Alcombright received 1,105 votes; Boucher, the current City Council president, earned 751, and Martelle 216.
Ken O'Brien, head warden at St. Elizabeth's Parish Center, described the turnout as "medium" and said it "was steady and slow all day."
"It went as smooth as can be," he said.
The voting wasn't straightforward, however, because voters were asked to pick "not more than two" candidates. That means some people voted two candidates, but many more apparently voted for one if the high number of blanks is any indication.
A blank vote occurred if only one vote — or no votes — was cast on the ballot. So one ballot could have an actual vote and a blank vote. There were 1,206 blank votes on the 1,664 ballots cast, indicating that voters may not have understand they could vote for two candidates or didn't care to vote for two.
Each of the five wards showed a similar trend with about two-thirds of voters selecting only one name. Some supporters may have tried to outwit each other by selecting their candidate and throwing a vote to Martelle; others likely picked the two front-runners.
But it's obvious many more voters didn't even bother to come out, figuring they'd wait to cast their ballots for real come November.
|Total ballots cast
Update: Rewrite throughout; quotes added at 10:48 p.m. Tuesday.
Pittsfield Selecting Mayoral, Ward 4 Candidates
There are five candidates, including two former mayoral hopefuls, vying to fill the office being left vacant by three-term Mayor James M. Ruberto.
On the ballot are Stephen Fillio, who said he is representing the blue-collar vote; Donna Walto, an entrepreneur who made an unsuccessful bid for the office in 2007; Joseph Nichol, a businessman elected to represent Ward 7 two years; Daniel Bianchi, a five-term city councilor and former administrator for the city who narrowly lost his bid for the office in 2009; and Peter Marchetti, a banker and four-term at-large councilor who is currently vice president.
Voters in Ward 4 will cast ballots in two preliminaries. In addition to mayor, they will determine which of three candidates to represent their ward will vie in November. The seat is being left vacant by popular Ward 4 Councilor Michael Ward who has declined to run for a fourth term.
Candidates are Ozias "Chuck" Vincelette, who served as Ward 4 councilor until being ousted by Ward in 2005, Christopher J. Connell, who lost a bid for the seat against Ward in 2009, and newcomer James Bronson. Voters will select two of these candidates.
Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Ward 1, Precinct A: Reid Middle School, 950 North St.
- Ward 1, Precinct B: Reid Middle School, 950 North St.
- Ward 2, Precinct A: Morningside Community School, 100 Burbank St.
- Ward 2, Precinct B: Somerset Fire Station, Somerset Ave.
- Ward 3, Precinct A: Providence Court, 379 East St.
- Ward 3, Precinct B: Egremont Elementary School, 84 Egremont Ave.
- Ward 4, Precinct A: Herberg Middle School, 501 Pomeroy Ave.
- Ward 4, Precinct B: Williams School, 50 Bushey Road
- Ward 5, Precinct A: Masonic Temple, 116 South St.
- Ward 5, Precinct B: Fire Station, 331 West Housatonic St.
- Ward 6, Precinct A: Columbus Arms Housing, 65 Columbus Ave.
- Ward 6, Precinct B: Conte Community School, 200 W. Union St.
- Ward 7, Precinct A: Fire Station, 54 Peck's Road
- Ward 7, Precinct B: Capeless Elementary School, 86 Brooks Ave.
North Adams Preliminary Election Set Tuesday
On the ballot are the incumbent, Richard J. Alcombright, who is seeking a second term in the corner office; Ronald A. Boucher, a six-term councilor and currently City Council president; and Robert Martelle, an employee of a local aluminum anodizing plant.
Polls are open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voting in Wards 1, 2, 3 and 5 will be at St. Elizabeth's (St. Anthony's) Parish Center; Ward 4 votes at Greylock Elementary School.
The only race on the ballot is for mayor; the two highest vote-getter will move to the next election.
Martelle Running On Lower Taxes, Jobs
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Robert Martelle got angry over some of things said at the recent Proposition 2 1/2 information meetings about raising property taxes. Instead of just stewing over it, he decided to run for mayor.
"I'm doing this to stir things up," said the 54-year-old homeowner on Monday. "People can't take it. They can't take the taxes."
That's what he heard when he stood outside Big Y getting signatures on his nomination papers, voter after voter telling him that taxes are too high. He got 75 names in an hour and a half.
Martelle, who has worked at Berkshire Anodizing and its predecessor, Modern Aluminum Anodizing, for 20 years, said the city needs someone who'll look for more revenue and bring in better jobs.
"We need jobs here, well-paying jobs," said the Clarksburg native. "You've got to have 21st century jobs."
He suggested recruiting complementary manufacturing, such as a solar panel producer who could use aluminum from his own place of business.
Martelle also suggested more regionalized purchasing cooperatives to bring down costs of such materials as fuel, salt and asphalt. He'd also like to see more exploration of alternative energy options.
"The landfill is full of methane gas that should be looked at," he said. "It's just sitting there."
He doesn't think voters will pass a Prop 2 1/2 debt exclusion for two new schools but had no answer at the moment for what the school system could do and is still researching the subject.
He has little use for Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, which he says has siphoned stores away from Main Street rather than sparking new businesses. He'd also like to see ways to get revenue out of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, such as charging a street use fee.
Despite running for mayor, Martelle thinks it might be good to get rid of the position and move to a town manager system because of the drop in population. "We're not a city anymore," he said.
Martelle is married and has lived in North Adams for more than 30 years. He attended Drury High and McCann Technical schools but graduated from "the school of hard knocks and the college of common sense."
He will face off against incumbent Richard Alcombright and challenger Ronald A. Boucher in a preliminary election on Sept. 27. The two highest vote-getters will move to the general election in November.