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City council seat challengers emerge

District, at-large competition kicks off

Jule Pattison-Gordon
City council seat challengers emerge
Tito Jackson signs nomination papers to run for mayor. (Photo: Photo: Courtesy Tito Jackson)

With city council applications for nomination papers made available Wednesday, a spread of challengers are emerging, causing the list of competitors for the District 7 seat being vacated by Tito Jackson to grow increasingly long. The departures of Councilors Sal LaMattina of District 1 and Bill Linehan of District 2 also have opened the field for several candidates. The at-large councilors, District 8’s Josh Zakim and District 9’s Mark Ciommo, 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 requisite 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 the city council in March would allow voters to sign as many candidates’ papers as desired. Without the new policy, voters will be limited to providing signatures only to up to four at-large candidates and one district candidate.

While candidates were only able to pull municipal election applications starting last week, 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, among 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 city role, Edwards, 36, is responsible for programs aimed at assisting residents who face displacement. Her duties 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 honorable mention as 2015 Bostonian of the Year for her advocacy of 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 fourth out of seven primary contenders, nabbing 14.6 percent of the vote, according to state records.

As of her January 2017 filing, Edwards had $10,533 in the campaign coffers established for that race. She has filed 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 papers for his campaign with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, as of Tuesday morning.

Jack Kelly III, 36, is the founder of the iRecover mobile app and the mental health and addiction policy adviser to Linehan. He formerly served as the city’s Charleston neighborhood liaison. Kelly 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, shows a zero-dollar end balance at the end of 2014; he dissolved the committee in 2015. By Banner press time, he had yet to create a new committee.

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 by ensuring that “day to day, the nuts and bolts of basic city services are addressed,” according to the North End Waterfront. Occupying the councilor’s seat would be a natural progression of his current work, he says. As of Tuesday morning, he had yet to file with the OCPF.

District 2

Bill Linehan steps down after a decade representing Chinatown, the 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.

Rounding 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, enhanced by his membership in the LGBTQ community. Dinopoulos, who has lived in South Boston for the past nine years, co-founded the failed Boston 2024 Olympics bid, but says he learned greatly from the process. As of April 17, his campaign had $9,981, having 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. As of the mid-April filing, his campaign received $25 and has spent $4.

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 19, his campaign had spent $5,598, leaving it with $247.

Three South Boston residents are making a bid as well: Joseph Kebartas, James Lauper and Erica Tritta. None had filed with the OCPF by Tuesday 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; Angelina Camacho, program manager at Action for Boston Community Development, Inc. (ABCD); 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 spent $639, leaving a balance of about $1,160.

Brian Keith, president of Mount Pleasant Avenue, Vine and Forest Street Neighborhood Association, has joined in, raising $891 by April 15, and spending none of it.

Jose Junior Lopez had spent about $10, leaving his campaign with $1,990.

Domonique Williams of Roxbury also is said to be running.

Districts 8 and 9

Josh Zakim, who is running for re-election, 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 15, Zakim held about $310,566 in his campaign account.

Incumbent Mark Ciommo has represented Allston and Brighton since 2008 and has not stated intentions to step down. As of April 15, his campaign held $82,680. He faces competition from would-be councilor, Allston’s Brandon Bowser. Bowser has registered his campaign with the OCPF but has yet to raise funds.

At-large

As of presstime, the four at-large councilors — Ayanna Pressley, Annissa Essaibi George, Michael Flaherty and council president Michelle Wu — face six challengers.

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 15, 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 15, 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.

Pat Payaso, 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. Garrison’s previous campaign ended with a zero balance, and she has yet to file a new statement of purpose. Couture has not yet filed with the OCPF, and Payaso has filed with the OCPF but has yet to raise funds.