Phase one of the silly season comes to an end tomorrow as voters in Manchester prepare to head to the polls for the primary election that will whittle the field of contenders to the final contestants for November’s general election.
Atop the ticket is the race for mayor, where incumbent Ted Gatsas faces former Ward Twelve Alderman Patrick Arnold, who will be our guest this morning, Ward One Alderman Joyce Craig, who repeatedly said sh’ed be a guest but didn’t bother to reply to our invitations, grocery store owner Jawed Alibaba Shaikh and citizen activist Glenn RJ Ouellette. The race has been characterized by an ongoing assault against what Gatsas’ opponents say is his record on the issues of public safety and education. Gatsas, for the most part, has touted what he considers his record of achievement, pointing to advancements in those very areas as proof he’s leading in the right direction.
Gatsas shocked the political establishment in July, announcing he’d raised over a quarter of a million dollars for his reelection bid. Craig and Arnold criticized the mayor over his fund raising efforts, saying they were evidence that he was bought and paid for by businesses in the city. In her filing late Friday afternoon, Craig reported raising two hundred thousand dollars, which counted a seventy eight hundred dollar transfer from her aldermanic campaign account. A cursory glance at the report, which we will publish with this news read at Girard at Large dot com, showed Craig raked in cash from establishment Democratic pols across the state, pro-abortion interest groups and individuals from around the country and with labor union interests.
Arnold, Shaikh and Ouellette have yet to file.
Other races that will be on tomorrow’s primary ballot include welfare commissioner, where incumbent Commissioner Paul R R Martineau squares off against rivals Diane Guimond for the third time, Ward Twelve State Representative Carols Gonzalez for a second time and newcomer Joseph McKinley Leonard.
In the race for Alderman at-Large, incumbents Dan O’Neil and the embattled Joe Kelly LevasseurNeil face former Alderman at-Large Mike Lopez and Ward Six Alderman Garth Corriveau, in addition to newcomers Robert Tarr, Pierre Cetoute and Devin Noiseux-Varrieur.
There are primaries for alderman in wards One, Four, Six, Ten, Eleven and Twelve. For school board, there are primaries in wards One, Three, Four, Six, Seven and Twelve. Overall, Wards one, four, six and twelve will be the ones to watch with primaries for both ward offices on the ballot.
Click here for the complete list of candidate filings.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
In response to the New Hampshire Sunday News asking the mayoral candidates this question quote:
“There have been many different numbers tossed around regarding the deficits that will appear in FY’17 and FY’18 following the passage of the contract with MEA members. While the numbers vary widely, all interpretations of the financial analysis done on the contract show some sort of deficit in both years.
As mayor, how will you handle these projected deficits, and where might the money come from to make up the difference?
Mayor Ted Gatsas dropped a bombshell, replying quote:
End board member benefits: Currently, elected officials receive very generous health benefits provided by the taxpayers. The offering of these benefits is not a guarantee within the city charter and needs to end. The savings generated will be significant and can be used to meet our financial obligations.”
The mayor also reiterated a point he first made here on the Girard at Large Radio Show, saying there were only nine months left in the fiscal year to find as much savings as possible to carryover into the next fiscal year to offset the deficit projected by city Finance Officer Bill Sanders and school district Business Administrator Karen DeFrancis. In her response, Craig denied there were any projected deficits.
Why would I not be surprised if Gatsas were to bring forward a motion eliminating board member health and dental benefits at tonight’s meeting of the Board of School Committee?
Anyway, it will also be interesting to see whether or not the board takes up the contract extensions for DeFrancis, Assistant Superintendent David Ryan and Superintendent Debra Livingston. Both the board and the administration hid them from public view until their meeting on August Tenth, despite their terms being amended in public votes made by the Coordination Committee on July twenty ninth.
The board tabled the contracts on the tenth at Livingston’s request. She said she couldn’t accept any contract, never mind one with a pay raise, given that the teachers’ union contract was vetoed the week before. Now that that’s been overturned, we’ll see if they go for it or decide to await the outcome of the challenges citizens have launched against the three aldermen, Ron Ludwig in Ward Two, Barbara Shaw in Ward Nine and Normand Gamache in Ward Eleven, who voted in direct violation of the city charter’s prohibition against involvement in matters where a member of the elected official’s immediate family has a personal or financial interest. Ludwig’s wife is a teacher as are daughters of Shaw and Gamache. All are defined as “immediate family” by the charter.
The Manchester Police Department continues to urge members of the public to review surveillance video from the day Denise Robert was shot and killed in a North End neighborhood. They say they’ve seen a lot of footage from businesses, but not so much from residences. Police are hoping to find some clue that will help break the case and urge residents not to dismiss any piece of information, video or otherwise, that may lead to it. Nothing, they say, is too insignificant to share with them. The reward for information that leads to the capture and conviction of the white male in his twenties or thirties with a short cropped haircut wearing, at the time, a white tank top shirt driving a dark colored pick-up truck has grown to thirty seven thousand dollars. If you even think you might have some info, please call the Manchester P D at 6 6 8 8 7 1 1 or Manchester Crimeline at 6 2 4 40 40.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next!