Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Polls Open Until 8 P.M. For Primary

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—Brockton residents have until 8 p.m. tonight to vote in this election season’s primary to pare candidates will be on the ballot for the general election Nov. 8 in the mayor and Ward 3 school committee race.
Mayor Linda Balzotti (pictured, right) has competition from political newcomers Ron Matta and Gwendolyn Garvin and longtime school committee woman Janice Beyer faces challenges from lawyer Anthony Donegan and Dr. Joao Rosa.
Matta, 68, said he believes the city is broken and needs much more oversight from elected officials, most especially when it comes to the budget and its many nuances.
He said while he doesn’t have political experience he has been a small businessman for most of his life and feels confident he can cut through the city’s budget.
“We need to run the city like a business,” Matta said.
In 2009, Matta ran for school committee in Ward 3 against Janice Beyer. Matta lost the school committee primary to Beyer and Donegan.
Matta said if he is elected he would give back 20 percent of the mayor’s salary, or about $26,500, or Balzotti’s $137,000 yearly wage, and put it towards paying for a police officer.
Balzotti said hiring police officers is not as easy as it may seem. She said Matta’s gesture is noble, but wonders where the money will come from to pay for the new officer’s health insurance and other benefits.
Money also has to be available for more than one year, or the city will have to pay unemployment costs if the officer has to be laid off.
Matta said it would be a step in the right direction, much like the city’s recent $63,000 move to put beat cops back on the streets of downtown.
“We have to make this city safe for everyone,” Matta said. “People need to be able to go out at night without fear of being robbed, raped or murdered,” he said. (Pictured, above)
Garvin, 46, a marketing specialist for WXBR 1460 AM, said she has three main planks on her platform: business development, finances and tourism to Brockton.
She said she has run for other political offices, but did not specify what those were. She earned her masters from Ohio State University and bachelor’s from Benedict College in South Carolina. From 2003 to 2004 she was a member of the board of directors of Brockton Symphony Orchestra.
On the school side, Janice Beyer is facing another run by Anthony Donegan and a challenge from Dr. Joao Rosa.
Beyer, 79, said she is seeking a 7th term because there are many things left for her to do, including curriculum development, school renovations that have just begun and connecting the numerous schools and activities with the committee and broader community.
“Two experienced people are not running again,” Beyer said. “We’re going to have two new people no matter what,” she said.
Richard Bath and James Daley are not seeking reelection in Wards 2 and 6.
Beyer noted she had not missed a meeting during her time on the board.
Beyer was a teacher at the Kennedy School for 31 years and is still a tutor.
Donegan, 49, who ran against Beyer in 2009 and lost, said Beyer is a well-liked and nice woman, but she has not been a strong voice that asks questions about the budget, or issues with Superintendent Matthew Malone.
“One of my strengths is my ability to slow people down, and ask the questions that need answers,” Donegan said. “She connects the schools with all her other civic activities, but over the last 5 or 6 years, I don’t think she has done everything she could with some other issues,” he said.
Donegan, a juvenile defense lawyer, said he is unsure if Malone should be paid nearly $1 million during the 5 years of Malone’s contract.
He said he believes the school committee needs to press Malone to make Brockton his full-time residence—an aspect of Malone’s contract that was clear to all two years ago when Malone was offered the position.
“It’s a question of his credibility and his word,” Donegan said.
Dr. Joao Rosa is a member of the board of directors of Brockton’s Cape Verdean Association. He is an assistant professor at UMass Dartmouth.
Rosa could not be reached for comment by today’s deadline.

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