By ROBERT BOSWORTH
The City of Quincy Preliminary Election date has been changed to Thursday, Sept. 24 from Tuesday, Sept. 22 to avoid a conflict with the Jewish holiday, Yom Kippur.
“The decision to change to Sept. 24 was made in an effort to protect the rights of all voters in our city,” City Clerk and Chairman of the Board of Registrars Joseph Shea stated in a letter to all candidates July 29. The change is in accordance with state law that mandates that all voters be given the right to fully participate in voting in an election and not to interfere with religious observances.
Quincy is one of 16 communities that was advised by the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s Office to change its preliminary election date from Sept. 22. Some communities have opted to reschedule its election to the last week of September while at least one has moved the date to a day in October.
Yom Kippur, also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. Jewish people traditionally observe the holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer. This year, Yom Kippur is observed Sept. 22 and Sept. 23.
Shea said Thursday, Sept. 24 has been selected as the new date for the city Preliminary Election because other Tuesday dates earlier in the month are not feasible.
Another Jewish holiday – Rosh Hashanah – begins Sunday, Sept. 13 and ends the evening of Tuesday, Sept. 15. The second Tuesday in September – Sept. 8 – falls on the day after Labor Day – the final holiday weekend of the summer.
“We’re abiding by the state law and rescheduling the city Preliminary Election to Thursday, Sept. 24,” Shea said. “I wish we could have had this information (from the Secretary of State’s office) in April before we set the City Election Calendar in May. Moving the date is a bit of an inconvenience but everything else stays the same. We’re not moving any polling locations and the polls will still be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24,” Shea said.
With nomination papers due next Tuesday, it appears there may only be three races on the preliminary ballot Sept. 24.
A four-way race for mayor is shaping up and there could be preliminary contests for city councillor in Ward 3 and Ward 5. The two top vote-getters in those contests would advance to the final election Tuesday, Nov. 3
Shea noted the new Sept. 24th preliminary election date will trigger two minor adjustments to the election calendar. He said the last day to apply for an absentee ballot is now Wednesday, Sept. 23 at noon. The last day to register to vote for the preliminary election is now Friday, Sept. 4th.
Mayoral candidate Doug Gutro said Thursday it was a mistake for Mayor Thomas Koch to suggest that Olympic Beach Volleyball is necessary for public ferry service to Squantum and Marina Bay.
Koch last month joined Boston 2024 officials at a much heralded press conference organized by the group pushing for the Boston Olympic Games in asserting that a legacy benefit of the Olympics for Quincy would be permanent ferry service if Quincy agreed to host the volleyball venue.
In a release issued by Gutro’s campaign Thursday morning, the mayoral candidate said:
“The truth is that the money to both extend Commander Shea Boulevard and fund the construction of wharf and terminal improvements to host a permanent ferry operation exist today and what’s needed is sustained pressure on the Commonwealth to release the funds and move forward now,” Gutro said. Gutro noted that the Legislature has appropriated $800,000 in the most recent transportation bond bill for road extension work on Commander Shea Boulevard in Squantum Point as well as $3.5M in the last environmental bond bill for permanent wharf and terminal improvements and construction to sustain a permanent ferry operation.
“Quincy shouldn’t have to depend upon an unlikely vision, nine years in the future, for smart transportation alternatives like a Squantum ferry that are needed NOW and for which funding is authorized,” Gutro said. “The Mayor should never have been a part of any implication that the Olympics is necessary to justify release of this funding. We need this service now, not nine years from now,” Gutro added.
Gutro pointed to the work already done by the Heritage Bay Foundation in support of permanent ferry service at the Squantum Point Park. “Boston 2024 didn’t need to do any work to determine feasibility, costs or the permit path for ferry service because the Heritage Bay Foundation already did it,” Gutro said. “That work was complete before the Olympics ever became a possibility because the service was already needed,” Gutro added. “The Commonwealth had already awarded grants in support of those efforts,” Gutro stated.
“This election is about a forward vision for Quincy, leadership that makes smart decisions and electing a mayor who discerns wise priorities and fights for them,” Gutro said. “A Gutro Administration will make it abundantly clear that we need Squantum ferry service now not nine years from now.”
The Koch campaign, in response, submitted this statement to The Quincy Sun Thursday afternoon:
“It’s ironic that a career bureaucrat in the federal government is trying to gain attention by saying that funding a project takes too long,” said Koch campaign spokesman Conor Yunits. “Of course these projects aren’t tied to the Olympics — and a lot of people have been working on them for a long time.
“In his own press release, Councillor Gutro points out that our state delegation — working together with the Mayor — has put a great deal of effort into moving the ball forward on this project with our without the Olympics. The Mayor is more concerned with continuing to strengthen our partnerships with state leaders and getting things done rather than insulting other people’s work to score a few political points,” Yunits added.
By ROBERT BOSWORTH
A fourth resident took out papers Wednesday for the Ward 5 city council seat, bringing the number of potential candidates for that ward seat to four.
Joseph Graham, 90 Wendell Ave., pulled nomination papers Wednesday afternoon, according to the Quincy Election Department.
Three other residents in Ward 5 have also taken out papers and two of them have already qualified for the ballot.
Qualifying for the ballot are:
Incumbent Ward 5 Councillor Kirsten Hughes, 116 Willow Ave., with 77 certified signatures and Gina Ostis, 57 Estabrook Rd., with 93 certified signatures. Fifty signatures are required from registered voters in the ward to qualify for the ballot.
Gordon DeCambra, 64 Dickens St., has also taken out nomination papers but as of Wednesday afternoon had not returned any.
The deadline to submit nomination papers is next Tuesday, Aug. 4 at 5 p.m.
If three or more candidates qualify for the ballot in a ward council race, there would be a preliminary election Tuesday, Sept. 22. The top two vote-getters would square off in the final election Nov. 3.
By SCOTT JACKSON
The Willard Street resident who pulled nomination papers to run for mayor has announced he will not seek to serve as the city’s chief executive.
Charles Dennehey Jr. announced his withdrawal from the race in a prepared statement Wednesday afternoon; his withdrawal leaves four candidates – each current or past citywide office holders – vying for the first four-year mayoral term in Quincy’s history.
In his statement, Dennehey said he gathered the requisite 50 signatures to appear on the Sept. 22 preliminary ballot but will not turn them in as he feels he is not qualified to serve as mayor.
“My name is Charles Dennehey Jr. and I was a candidate for mayor of this city of Quincy.” Dennehey stated. “I do have the requisite signatures to submit to the city clerk’s office, but my conscience won’t allow me to. My conscience has been bothering me for over a month regarding this election, and I realized I don’t have the qualifications for that office. I do have a conscience as well as common sense; both are not allowed for that office. Also, I am not a politician by any stretch of the imagination.
“I am sorry for being a disappointment to my fellow overburdened taxpayers for removing my from consideration from mayor.
“I do love this city and it hurts me to see what the politicians are doing to it. The so-called Adams Green is putting about five more stores out of business, with the no parking out front. Like I said, no common sense, as well as no conscience, I have, they don’t.
“I do wish the candidates well but I will not endorse anyone for mayor; again, my conscience won’t allow it.”
The four candidates remaining are incumbent Thomas Koch, who was first elected in 2007; Councillor Doug Gutro; School Committee member Anne Mahoney, who challenged Koch in 2011 and lost; and former Mayor William Phelan, who was elected to three terms as mayor in 2001, 2003 and 2005 before being ousted by Koch in 2007 and losing a rematch in 2009.
The candidates for mayor and other municipal offices have until 5 p.m. on Aug. 4 to submit 50 signatures from registered voters to the Election Department in order to qualify for the ballot.
As of Wednesday, Gutro had qualified for the ballot with 468 signatures and Phelan qualified with 315.
Online registration for Quincy Youth Soccer’s fall 2015 season is now open for all returning players.
Registration for first time players, who need to bring proof of birthdate, will be held Friday, July 31, from 5 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. at Veterans’ Memorial Stadium, corner of Hancock Street and Merrymount Parkway/Southern Artery.
Please check quincyyouthsoccer.com for more information.
The eight-week fall season will begin in the second or third week of September.