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New challengers emerge for city council seats

Jule Pattison-Gordon
New challengers emerge for city council seats
Tito Jackson signs nomination papers to run for mayor. Credit: Tito Jackson Facebook photos.

With city council applications for nomination papers made available Wednesday, a spread of challengers are emerging. The list of competitors for the District 7 seat being vacated by Tito Jackson grows increasingly long. The departures of Councilors Sal LaMattina of District 1, and Bill Linehan of District 2 have been answered by several candidates. The at-large councilors and District 8’s Josh Zakim face fights for re-election.

To be on the Sept. 26 primary ballot, candidates must meet the one year residency eligibility requirement and gather a qualifying number of signatures between May 2 and 23. Would-be district councilors need a minimum of 200 signatures from district residents, while at-large councilors must collect at least 1,500 signatures. If enacted, a home rule petition that passed in March in city council would allow voters to sign as many candidates’ papers as desired. Without the new policy, voters will be limited to giving signatures to only up to four at-large candidates and one district candidate.

While candidates were only able to pull municipal election applications starting today, many set their campaigns in gear weeks and months in advance. Below, the Banner provides an overview of candidates.

District 1

LaMattina has spent eleven years representing Charlestown, the North End, East Boston and Beacon Hill as District 1 councilor. As he retires, the first to step forward for the seat are East Boston’s Lydia Edwards, the current deputy director of the city’s Office of Housing Stability; Charlestown’s Jack Kelly III, a policy advisor to Councilor Linehan; East Boston’s Michael Sinatra, LaMattina’s chief of staff; and the North End’s Stephen Passacantilli, current director of operations for the Boston Transportation Department and former aide to both LaMattina and Mayor Martin Walsh.

In her role for the city, Edwards, 36, is responsible for programs aimed at assisting residents who face displacement. Tasks she is charged with include collecting eviction data, negotiating housing solutions between tenants and landlords and advocating for policies, with the Jim Brooks Stabilization Act as a recent example. Previously, Edwards served as a public interest lawyer with the Greater Boston Legal Services and was received the 2015 Bostonian of the Year honorable mention for her advocacy around immigrant and domestic workers rights. She opened a first-in-the-nation law and policy clinic for domestic workers and was later part of the team that wrote the Massachusetts’s Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights.

Last year, Edwards made a bid for the state senate seat vacated by Anthony Petruccelli, but lost in the Democratic primary to Joe Boncore. She ranked in fourth out of seven primary contenders, taking 14.6 percent of the vote, according to state records.

As of January 20, Edwards had $10,533 in the campaign fund she established for that race. As of April 19, she has yet to file a new statement of purpose with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance designating her campaign for the city council race. Her treasurer is Vann Snyder.

Meanwhile, Passacantilli, 41, is a Boston Public Schools parent whose experience includes several years as president of the North End/Waterfront Neighborhood Council. His grandfather, great-grandfather and great-grandmother all held public positions: city councilor, state senator and immigration commissioner, respectively. Passacantilli formerly served as a special assistant to the mayor’s office. He has yet to file his campaign with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, as of Thursday morning.

Jack Kelly III, at age 36, is the founder of the iRecovery mobile app and the mental health and addiction policy adviser to Linehan and formerly served as the city’s Charleston neighborhood liaison. He made an unsuccessful bid for at-large city council in 2013. At the time, he said his key issues were ensuring access to quality public schools and combating violence and substance abuse. His latest filing with the OCPF, in 2015, states a negative balance of several hundred dollars.

Michael Sinatra served as chief of staff to LaMattina for the past four years, a role in which he says he demonstrated experience and effectiveness diving into ensuring that “day to day, the nuts and bolts of basic city services are addressed,” according to the North End Waterfront. Taking up the councilor’s seat would be a natural progression of his current work, he says. As of Thursday morning, he had yet to file with the OCPF.

District 2

Bill Linehan steps down after a decade representing Chinatown, South End and South Boston.

Edward Flynn, probation officer and son of former mayor Raymond Flynn, has thrown his name into the ring, as has Michael Kelley, former campaign manager to mayor Thomas Menino. Both bring sizeable war chests: As of mid-April Flynn had spent about $6,365, leaving his campaign with about $53,000, while Kelley’s expenditures of $26,845 left him with $64,617. The Kelley campaign released a promotional video on April 10 that features a diverse array of residents.

Filling out the field are three further candidates. Corey Dinopoulos, a 32-year-old designer and community organizer, says he would bring a new, younger viewpoint to the council, as well by his membership in the LGBTQ community. Dinopoulos, who has lived in South Boston for the past nine years, co-founded the Boston 2024 Olympics bid, which failed, and says he learned greatly from the process. As of April 17, his campaign had $9,981 and had spent a total of $2,291.

Frank Ullip, a downtown resident and analyst for Fort Point-based software company Clavis Insight announced his candidacy and stated that he would strive to enhance innovation in Boston and create an environment that attracts top-level talent to the city. He highlighted the importance of STEM skills to the economy. He has served on the executive committee of Minds Matter, a nonprofit that mentors low-income high school students in preparation for universities and academic summer programs. He has yet to file with the OCPF.

Peter Lin-Marcus, Chinatown resident and director of Brookline-Based corporate fitness training firm Lean Force, also is running. His LinkedIn lists prior participation on Ed Markey and Deval Patrick’s campaigns. As of April 3, his campaign had spent $3,547, leaving it with $32.

Three South Boston residents are making a bid as well: Joseph Kebartas, James Lauper and Erica Tritta. None had filed with the OCPF by Thursday morning.

District 7

Four newcomers have added their names to the District 7 field, which includes former state Rep. Carlos Henriquez; Kim Janey, senior project director at Massachusetts Advocates for Children; Deeqo Jibril, founder of executive director of the Somali Community and Cultural Association; Joao DePina, owner of At Your Time of Need Floral Designs and Ward 12 Democratic Committee treasurer; attorney Hassan Williams; Rufus Faulk, Boston Ten Point Coalition’s director of the Gang Mediation Initiative; and Charles Clemons Muhammad, who runs a low-power radio station.

James Jackson, a 23 year-old Roxbury resident announced in April that he also will seek the council seat representing Roxbury as well as parts of Dorchester, the South End and Fenway. As of April 18 his campaign had about $1,160 and had spent $639.

Brian Keith, president of Mount Pleasant Avenue, Vine and Forest Street Neighborhood Association, has joined in, raising $149 by April and spending none of it.

Jose Junior Lopez has raised $1,990 and spent about $10.

District 8

Josh Zakim, who is running for reelection, faces competition from Kristen Mobilia, member of the Fenway Garden Society and director of finance and administration at VideoLink LLc, a video production firm that serves corporate clients. By April 17, Mobilia had raised $1,000 and spent none of it. By April 5, Zakim held more than $292,000 in his campaign account.

At-large

The four at-large councilors — Ayanna Pressley, Annissa Essaibi George, Michael Flaherty and council president Michelle Wu — face five challengers to date.

Aziza Robinson-Goodnight, a Dorchester artists and chair of the Frederick Douglass Sculpture Project, makes her first bid for political office. She told the Dorchester Reporter that issues important to her include gentrification, youth employment resources, education resources and preserving cultural assets. By April 10, she had raised $420 and made no expenditures.

William King, a 27-year-old, formerly worked in the tech department at TechBoston Academy in Codman Square and currently performs IT for a real estate development firm. He had raised $10 as of April 17, and told the Dorchester reporter that being young, biracial and Dorchester-raised gives him a unique perspective.

Hyde Park resident and former city youth worker Domingos DaRosa also is running. Currently he runs his own property maintenance firm and has filed officially with the OCPF but has yet to raise funds.

The Fenway’s Robert Couture Jr. and Dorchester’s Althea Garrison are also running. Garrison is a former Fifth Suffolk District state representative, who made unsuccessful bids to regain that office in 2012, 2014 and 2016, and for the District 7 city council seat in 2015.