NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

April 22, 2013

City Council race draws candidates

Derrivan will not seek re-election; others still deciding

BY DYKE HENDRICKSON
STAFF WRITER

---- — NEWBURYPORT — The declaration of three candidates for the mayor’s office — and the mayor’s likely intention to seek re-election — is providing an early launch to the political season, and now numerous City Council incumbents are also announcing their plans to seek another term.

Additionally, two more residents recently took out papers to run for the council in November: Christopher Welch and Joanne McCarthy. Welch, who served as Ward 2 councilor from 1986 to 1994, will run from Ward 2. His address is listed as 33 Federal St.

McCarthy, of 158 Crow Lane, will run as an at-large candidate, according to officials in the city clerk’s office.

Brian Derrivan, who is completing this third term representing Ward 5, has announced he will not run again due to employment commitments.

But because of early maneuvering, it appears that there will be at least two new councilors after the November election.

Councilors Greg Earls and Dick Sullivan Jr. have stated they are running for mayor. If they follow through and are on the ballot, they will be giving up their seats on the council.

Welch said the likely departure of Earls as the sitting councilor from Ward 2 was a factor in his decision to take out papers.

“When I served in the past, I had a young family and a relatively new law practice,” added Welch, a local lawyer. “Now I have more time to invest, and I think I can be useful in dealing with civic issues.”

McCarthy could not be reached for comment.

In informal polling, the following say they are running for City Council again: at-large Councilors Barry Connell and Ed Cameron, and ward Councilors Allison Heartquist, Ward 1, Bob Cronin, Ward 3, and Tom O’Brien, Ward 6.

Councilors who say they are still undecided are Ward 4 Councilor Tom Jones and at-large Councilor Steve Hutcheson. Councilor Ari Herzog did not respond to a message from The Daily News.

Non-incumbents who have announced they will run include Larry Giunta and Bruce Vogel.

Vogel, a resident of 28 Myrtle St., had initially indicated he was running from Ward 5. But last week he said chances are “99 percent” that he will be running for an at-large seat.

“I will probably be moving, within walking distance of the downtown,” said Vogel, who represented Ward 5 on the council from 2004 to 2008. “So I would be running at-large.”

“I am committed to the city and want to serve again,” he added.

Giunta said he is in favor of “keeping the waterfront open as a park for all to enjoy and will monitor closely the future development of the New England Development waterfront properties to ensure Newburyport residents’ best interests are represented.”

He said he would work for a sidewalk on Hale Street, “so neighborhood children can walk to school safely.”

And he wants the “continued monitoring of the Crow Lane landfill to ensure past work does not deteriorate over time,” he said.

O’Brien will run for his ninth term on the council. “It has been a pleasure to serve the people of Ward 6 these years and hope to continue to win their support for another term.

“I feel that I have listened to my ward and voted what the majority felt, whether it was Plum Island water and sewer (where I voted ‘no,’ as I felt it would be difficult to find a company that has provided this type of service when laying the lines and the beach was constantly moving and will look like the proper vote as future history will bear this out),” he added.

“I am against any buildings on the waterfront,” O’Brien said.

Heartquist said she is looking forward to continuing to serve as Ward 1 councilor.

“I enjoy representing the people of my ward and value the relationships we have built over the past three years. I look forward to continuing our efforts moving forward,” she said.

Cameron said he plans to pull nomination papers for an at-large seat within the next several weeks and then will start knocking on doors.

Cronin said he is driven to seek re-election due to a deep love for the city.

“The biggest example of possible change is our waterfront; this is what makes us stand apart from other communities. We can’t lose what we have so long cherished,” he said. “There are many things that can and should be done to improve this waterfront gem that doesn’t involve major building construction.

“I am a vocal advocate for the Meals on Wheels program for our seniors and for responsible government that is inclusive and not exclusive,” Cronin added.

Connell, who is serving his fifth term, said he believes he has the experience to make a contribution. He listed several recent improvements to the city.

“We needed better schools, and now we’re building them,” he said. “It was becoming more difficult to protect the river from our wastewater effluents, so we upgraded and improved the sewer plant. Downtown streets and sidewalks were crumbling, so we dedicated revenues to fix them. Downtown parking is better organized and more self-sustaining than it used to be.

“We haven’t yet settled on a plan for the central waterfront; and turnover among educational leaders prevents Newburyport schools from moving into the upper echelon statewide,” he added. “But we’re making progress, and I enjoy working with residents, volunteer boards and elected colleagues to move us in a positive direction.”