EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 20, 2013

Campaign Notebook: Taking a stand

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Taking a Stand

METHUEN — Mayoral challenger Jennifer Kannan is donating the $250 campaign contribution she received from Laborers International Local 175 to the Methuen YMCA.

Kannan announced the donation at Thursday’s mayoral debate. The donation will support local YMCA programs geared toward empowering children and adults to stand up against abuse and bullying, according to a campaign press release.

The donation is in response to Local 175 Business Manager Michael Gagliardi, who oversaw the distribution of several Kannan attack fliers at a recent political breakfast. The fliers also ran as advertisements in a local publication.

In her press release, Kannan said Gagliardi — who she did not mention by name — donated $250 to her mayoral campaign in March. But in April, Kannan said Gagliardi threatened her when she voted against his preferred city solicitor candidate.

Kannan said Gagliardi has spent “nearly $4,000 on negative ads targeting Kannan’s family and her physical appearance.”

“I believe the hard-working members of our DPW, whose union dues were wasted on these ads, can hold their heads high knowing that their hard-earned money is being spent to make Methuen better,” said Kannan. “I can take the swings, but not everyone can. That’s why I am standing up against this bully by taking his check and giving it to the Methuen YMCA. My hope is this will help the organization’s efforts in bolstering young people’s confidence so they can stand up for themselves too.”

DeJesus moves to Lantigua’s corner

LAWRENCE — Unsuccessful mayoral candidate Nestor DeJesus announced last week he is supporting incumbent William Lantigua as the city’s next mayor.

Lantigua is seeking reelection against challenger Dan Rivera, a city councilor-at-large.

“We are endorsing Lantigua because his opponent has demonstrated he does not understand the issues and problems in the city,” said DeJesus. “His only concern is getting 10 police officers on the force and the fact that he can help bring jobs to the city because he speaks English and Spanish.”

DeJesus said he is disappointed that Rivera is unaware of the issues in Lawrence, considering his years on the council.

“He’s not capable of being mayor,” said De Jesus. “I decided to support Lantigua because for the past four years he knows what has gone on in the city.”

Straw poll taken

HAVERHILL — The Haverhill Democratic City Committee held its annual breakfast and candidate forum yesterday.

All democrats running for state and local offices were invited to speak. There was also a straw poll taken for several races, including Governor.

The poll showed Treasurer Steve Grossman in the lead with 69 votes, followed by Attorney General Martha Coakley with 57 votes, followed by Don Berwick with 24 votes. Other announced candidates didn’t get any votes.

Quiet on the set?

METHUEN — Cell phones interrupted the action on at least four occasions during Thursday’s councilor-at-large debate, which was taped and aired live on Methuen Community Television.

The first ringer to go off was on stage. City Councilor Joyce Campagnone’s phone rang just as the moderator was asking the first question of the debate.

“What an attention grabber,” joked candidate Robert LeBlanc.

“You’re just mad because you didn’t think of it,” said Campagnone.

Playing the name game

LAWRENCE — What’s in a name? A seat on the City Council, according to candidate Wendy Luzon.

Luzon said she is considering seeking a court order directing the city to reprint more than 10,000 paper ballots for the Nov. 5 election to remove her middle name, which is Raquelina, or at least replace it with just an “R.”

“At the primary, I lost many votes because of that,” Luzon said about the Sept. 17 preliminary election, when her name appeared on the ballot as Wendy Raquelina Luzon.

Luzon said she asked City Clerk William Maloney and City Attorney Charles Boddy that her middle name not appear on the ballot. She said the middle name confuses some voters, who are looking only for “Wendy Luzon.”

Luzon said Maloney and Boddy told her they were guided by her voter registration card, which includes the middle name.

Maloney would not comment.

How townie are you?

METHUEN — One of the qualifications several City Council candidates highlighted at their debates last week was how long they have lived in Methuen.

A few, such as Central District incumbent Jamie Atkinson and West District challenger George Kazanjian, were born and raised in the city formerly known as the Town of Methuen.

Others made clear they have been here a long time.

“I’ve been in the Central District for 45 years,” said Central District challenger Jack Cronin.

East District incumbent Ron Marsan said he’s owned a business in Methuen for more than 30 years. Challenger Tom Firth, who moved to Methuen from Chelmsford, said he’s “been involved in town for 43 years.”

East District incumbent Tom Ciulla more recently moved to Methuen from Everett, where he also served on the City Council.

“I felt at home driving down Merrimack Street,” Ciulla said. “(Methuen is) close to New Hampshire, close to the beaches. It’s close to everything. I feel at home here. I’m glad I’m here.”

Question of leadership

METHUEN — Two groups of City Council candidates in two separate debates last week were asked to name the most important qualities a council chairman should possess.

Several candidates listed leadership, as well as knowledge of the city charter and generally-accepted meeting rules.

Current City Council Chairman Sean Fountain, whose leadership has come under fire this year, had a different take.

“I think a chairman needs to be outspoken,” said Fountain, who represents the West District. “You need to have a firm voice to address issues head on. I think you need to be open, need to have an open door. Every voice, every concern needs to be addressed.”

West District challenger Ken Willette said the council chairman is the second most important position behind the mayor.

Willette listed the qualities of a good chairman: “Balancing openness and making sure everyone has an opportunity to place items on the agenda. Making sure every voice is heard. Speaking last. Making sure side conversations are not engaged in.”

George Kazanjian, also a West District challenger, said honesty is the most important quality in a chairman.

“That person has to show that he’s upright and has the best interest of the city at heart,” said Kazanjian.

Fighting cancer

METHUEN — Mayor Stephen Zanni’s Columbus Day weekend roast raised $3,450 for the American Cancer Society, according to Zanni’s reelection campaign.

All proceeds from the event were donated to local fundraising group The Stepping Stones, who are raising money through Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

Volunteers wanted

HAVERHILL — School Committee candidate Maura Ryan-Ciardiello is seeking campaign volunteers.

Those interested can send an email to Maura52157@aol.com. Volunteers with Ryan-Ciardiello’s election committee will be out every weekend leading up to the election and on Election Day.