By Seth Daniel
Candidates are lining up for what looks to be a very competitive City Election season this fall, especially in Districts 1 and 8 where long-time councillors announced this summer that they wouldn’t seek re-election.
The hotbed of the activity right now is in Prattville, where several well known candidates are seeking the seat vacating by Councillor Paul Murphy.
District 1 is the most active voting area in most municipal elections and so every vote will make a difference in what looks to be a very close race with very qualified candidates.
Four candidates have pulled papers as of this week, including former City Clerk Bob Bishop, School Committeeman Shawn O’Regan, Planning Board member Todd Taylor and Collaborative activist Sylvia Ramirez.
All are well known in the City and carry heavy constituencies at the outset.
However, as of Wednesday, none of the four candidates had been certified for the ballot.
The last day to turn in signed and completed nomination papers is Aug. 8 at 5 p.m. – so candidates have a little under two weeks to qualify.
The other hot district with an open seat is District 8, long dominated by Admiral’s Hill. Councillor Dan Cortell will not run for re-election this time, so many candidates are also in contention.
Already, newcomer Zaida Ismatul Oliva of Winnisimmet Street has qualified for the ballot and will be in contention for the seat.
Ismatul Oliva works for Bunker Hill Community College and is a life-long resident of the city.
Others pulling papers qualifying are long-time former Councillor Calvin Brown, who previously was an at-large councillor before losing out in the last election cycle. Interestingly, though, Brown has also pulled papers for at-large Council, but having qualified for District 8, it’s not likely he will also seek an at-large seat.
Long-time resident Lad Dell of Breakwater Drive has pulled papers, as has Jermaine Williams of Admiral’s Way.
In the last go-around in the City Election, there was plenty of action for the three at-large seats, but that isn’t the case so far this time.
All three incumbents, Councillors Roy Avellaneda, Leo Robinson and Damali Vidot have pulled papers and qualified for the ballot. At the moment, they have no competition.
In District 7, a spirited race looks to be coming between Councillor Yamir Rodriguez and License Commissioner Mark Rossi.
In District 5, challenger Henry Wilson has qualified for the ballot, and will likely face incumbent Councillor Judith Garcia – who has pulled papers but has not yet qualified for the ballot.
Garcia and Wilson faced one another in the last election as well, so a spirited re-match is expected.
In District 3, known as Mill Hill, former District 5 Councillor Joe Perlatonda – who has moved to Clinton Street – has qualified for the ballot and will likely challenge Councillor Matt Frank, who has not yet qualified but has pulled papers.
Frank and Perlatonda, when serving on the Council, had many sharp disagreements and are probably as far apart on the issues as any two people in the City. That said, it should be a spirited contest full of dichotomies.
In District 2, Olivia Ann Walsh of the Soldiers’ Home has qualified for the ballot and will likely face Councillor Luis Tejada, who has pulled papers.
In District 4 and District 6, incumbent Councillor Giovanni Recupero and Enio Lopez are the only ones to pull papers and both have qualified for the ballot as well.
The last date to submit completed papers, once again, is Aug. 8 at 5 p.m.