GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

October 12, 2013

Election 2013: Full house of candidates seek at-large seats

By Sean Horgan
Staff Writer

---- — There are some crowded races on Gloucester’s city election ballot this fall — none more so than the run for councilor-at-large.

There are four seats available and a full slate of eight candidates seeking an at-large seat in the Nov. 5 city elections.

There are three incumbent councilors-at-large — Joseph A. Ciolino, Robert D. Whynott and Sefatia Romeo Theken — seeking re-election. There is one ward councilor — Ward 5’s Gregory P. Verga — looking to move up to wider representation, and a former Ward 3 councilor — Steven Curcuru — looking to make his way back onto the council.

Then there are the new challengers — Paul A. Lundberg, Dennis Latham and Robert K. Whitmarsh. Though none has held elective city office, each is familiar with the landscape of city government.

Lundberg served six years on the Gloucester Planning Board (two as chairman) and served on the board of directors for the Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library. Whitmarsh was a member of the steering committee that helped secure state approval for the new Gloucester Harbortown Cultural District and Latham considered running for mayor in 2011, but did not return papers because of family concerns about his decision to run.

Here is a quick look at each of the eight candidates, with basic biographical information and their choice of the three issues they expect to run on or which they believe will define the campaign:

Joseph A. Ciolino

Address: 28 High Popples Road

Age: 66

Occupation: Owner of The Weathervane shop on Main Street

Current office: Incumbent councilor-at-large

Three campaign issues: Continue moving toward sensible development of the waterfront to increase tax base through additional businesses and jobs. Create incentives for businesses to relocate to Gloucester while protecting the city’s maritime heritage. Assist in the development of a five-year plan for city schools based on continuing the philosophy of community schools.

Sefatia Romeo Theken

Address: 287 Magnolia Ave.

Age: 51

Occupation: Health and human services liaison and financial counselor at Addison Gilbert Hospital

Current office: Incumbent councilor-at-large

Three campaign issues: The three S’s: Safety, schools and seniors, she said. Wants to make sure police and fire stations are fully staffed. Wants to work with the school administration to maintain academic standards and facilities. Will support local senior centers and advocate for seniors on issues such as Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.

Gregory P. Verga

Address: 381 Essex St.

Age: 45

Occupation: Realtor

Current office: Ward 5 city councilor

Three campaign issues: Support Option C on the ballot question regarding future use of the Fuller School building, which calls for mixed use of city offices and private for-profit and not-for-profit tenants. Develop a consensus on Designated Port Area, based at least in part on findings from Harbor Plan Committee and city-state DPA boundary review. Infrastructure, most specifically exploring ways for water and sewer rate reductions.

Robert D. Whynott

Address: 27 Poplar St.

Age: 68

Occupation: Retired Gloucester city clerk, now part-time Essex County sheriff

Current office: Incumbent councilor-at-large

Three campaign issues: Wants to see the Fuller School building and adjacent land used to consolidate city offices, as well as construct new facility for police, fire and emergency services. The city needs to redouble its efforts to find a business use for the city-owned I4, C2 parcel to expand tax base and return something on $1.5 million purchase investment. Believes the city’s Designated Port Area should be modified for additional commercial uses.

Steven A. Curcuru

Address: 26 Granite St.

Age: 58

Occupation: Owner of Curcuru Plumbing and Heating

Current office: None

Three campaign issues: Infrastructure, particularly in the maintenance and improvement of city property and assets. Education — a 100 percent supporter of the new West Parish School and continuing school facilities and curriculum upgrades. Municipal fiscal responsibility, using accounting instruments such as capital improvements stabilization account.

Robert K. Whitmarsh Jr.

Address: 2 Blueberry Lane

Age: 71

Occupation: Owner of Whitmarsh Lock & Safe Co.

Current office: None

Three campaign issues: Giving people value for their tax dollars and insure Gloucester gets its share of state and federal funds. Maintaining city buildings and assets and improving city services. Supporting the arts and cultural communities.

Dennis Latham

Address: 8 Sibley St.

Age: 62

Occupation: Retired U.S. Post Office employee

Current office: None

Three campaign issues: Finding a proper use for the city-owned I-4, C-2 parcel. Determining the future of the Fuller School property, with a preference for using it as a new headquarters for the city’s emergency, fire and police services. Infrastructure, particularly finding a solution for the city’s continuing water delivery problems.

Paul A. Lundberg

Address: 22 Raven Lane

Age: 62

Occupation: Transportation management consultant

Current office: None

Three campaign issues: Economic development and the need for the city to adopt a business-friendly attitude while removing any barriers to business development. Developing more public-private partnerships, using as models the creation of the city’s industrial parks and the renovation and improvement of Newell Stadium. Supporting the school systems in developing the necessary resources to achieve standards of excellence.

Sean Horgan may be contacted at 978-283-7000 x3464, or shorgan@gloucestertimes.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanGDT