2007-11-01 / Front Page

Tuesday is election day in Jamestown

By Dotti Farrington

Some 4,506 residents, most of them not affiliated with any political party, are eligible to vote for municipal leaders in next Tuesday's election that will complete the charter changes started five years ago.

Of the registered voters, 1,062 are Democrats and 716 are Republicans. Some 2,728 are registered as unaffiliated with any political party.

On Nov. 6, the registered voters will choose five Town Council members for two-year terms from among 10 candidates and two School Committee members for four-year terms from among three hopefuls. They also will vote on the reelection of Democrat James A. Donnelly, who is running unopposed for town moderator for a two-year term.

The voters will cast their ballots between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. at three polling places, the community center and Lawn Avenue and Melrose schools.

Council race

Four incumbents and six challengers are running for the five council seats. David Long, council president for two terms over four terms as a councilor, is the only incumbent not seeking reelection. The council race roster consists of five Democrats, three Republicans and two independents.

Candidates have focused on protecting the island's water sources, managing development, providing affordable housing, improving infrastructure and containing costs as key concerns. Many talked about fears of overdevelopment on the island.

The Democrats are Julio DiGiando, a teacher and council vice president, going for a third term; one term incumbents William Kelly, a retired public works ad- ministrator and Michael Schnack, personnel manager; Robert Sutton, a first-time council candidate, was the town's first town administrator from 1975 to 1992, and recently retired Department of Environmental Management division chief; and Michael White, a former Veterans Administration official, in his second try for a council seat with a close finish the first time.

Republicans wanting council seats are Barbara Szepatowski, engineer and businesswoman, who tied Long as top vote getter in the last election, her first campaign; David DeAngelis, Republican first-time candidate and an insuranceman; and Frederick W. Glomb, a business consultant and first-time candidate.

Candidates who are not affiliated with a political party are Sav Rebecchi, a computer data specialist, who previously ran in very close elections; and new candidate Ellen Winsor, a respiratory therapy clinical instructor, and leader of efforts to educate townspeople about Jamestown's limited water sources and to expand protection of it.

Democrats DiGiando's top priorities include more groundwater regulation, more work at East Ferry and the town Country Club and a water system with controlled use and better rates.

Kelly pushed increased recycling and replacement of old town equipment during his first term, zeroed in on unneeded police overtime and identified many sources of grants the town gained.

Schnack would emphasize easing water conservation measures and approving more customers, and to provide affordable housing through higher density.

Sutton wants to encourage energy alternatives, monitor state aid cuts, continue to promote authentic farm efforts, and decrease time to implement council decisions.

White is for affordable housing at Southwest Avenue and favors accessory apartments, and wants to find new, economical ways to keep the town "safe and beautiful."

Republicans

Szepatowski's worked on the liquefied natural gas (LNG) issue; and promoted attention to the needs of teens, elderly and pets. She wants to monitor water needs of existing and proposed businesses; develop a volunteer juvenile hearing board; continue support of teens; and complete a local pet shelter.

Glomb would work for a homestead tax exemption, for lower water costs and for guarding water quality.

DeAngelis wants a discounted Claiborne Pell (Newport) Bridge toll for islanders. He would postpone downtown rezoning and development until management of the town water system, including user rates, is improved.

Independents

Rebecchi is for aquifer protection, especially for the North End. He has proposed a Water Rate Payer's Task Force to supplement the work of the council as town water board.

Winsor wants to monitor use of town reserve accounts; establish a land bank for affordable housing, do more to protect the town's water supplies; and help find grants for water and sewer needs.

School race

The three candidates for School Committee agree about town use of money and resources for quality education and meeting state and federal mandates as state aid decreases. They are:

Julie Kallfelz, Democrat, seeking a second term, and first time candidates, Melissa Burrows, Republican and fourth generation Jamestowner, and Bruce Whitehouse, Democrat.

Kallfelz, a marketing and staff recruiter, and Burrows, a computer specialist, both operate home businesses. Whitehouse has been a public school music teacher for 22 years.

Footnote

Jamestown's elections were formerly held in May, until a new charter provided for fiscal and election calendar changes that have been phased in over five years. This first municipal election in November completes implementation of those changes.

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