The anti-incumbent mood was present throughout a race involving 13 candidates for three major boards, but following the town election Monday, April 10, the winners are all familiar faces but one.
Joseph A. Curro Jr. and Stephen M. Byrne are Arlington's two new selectmen, while incumbents Jeffrey Thielman and Cindy Starks won reelection to the School Committee and Kevin Feeley gained another term on the Board of Assessors.
Preliminary figures showed Curro, who will step down from the School Committee, received 3,417 votes. Byrne, who is 24 and a legislative aide, got 2,805.
Full unofficial results including Town Meeting members (Town of Arlington .PDF) >>
Edged out in third place was Joseph E. Curran, with 2,706 votes, and lost for the second time in two years. Robert Tosi Jr. ran fourth, with 2,447, and Romano last (1,431) in her third unsuccessful run.
Thielman led the school candidates with 3,426 votes, and Starks got 3,284. Newcomer James Flanagan came in third, with 2,433 votes.
Feeley, at 77, was the top vote-getter in the election among contested candidates, with 3,508, beating Marty Thrope, the former School Committee member, who received 2,774.
The results for the other school candidates:
A. Matthew Pallett (1,402), Andrew O'Brien (1,049) and Jackson (445).
Despite the largest field of candidates since 1993, the turnout followed a pattern of recent town elections of about one-fourth of registered voters. The town results say 25.9 percent voted April 10, or 7,441 of 28,696 registered voters.
With Curro off the School Committee, that board now must seek candidates to vie to fill the spot. The committee will choose the candidate after public interviews.
Daniel Brosnan won a seat on the Housing Authority in an uncontested race, receiving 4,684 votes.
Mood at ACA
The mood at the Arlington Center for the Arts, where about 45 people gathered to watch returns come in, turned from nervous expectation to cheers, but not until the end.
As runners called in results from 21 precincts, and those numbers were projected on a large screen behind the stage, people reacted with "oohs" as Byrne and Curran switched places a number of time.
Toward the end, as results from precincts 8 and 10 remained to be entered, some boohed as numbers for decided contests were entered, but those for the undecideds were held back for suspense.
A cheer went up as the number 315 was entered in Precinct 8 for Curro -- and a bigger cheer when the results for Precinct 10 made the margins clear.
In turn, Thielman, Starks and Curro thanked their supporters.
"It was a nail-biter, but I'm so excited," Starks said with a broad smile. "This [these wins] will mean so much for the town."
Curro credited Starks with coming up with his signature campaign line -- "Joe with an 'O'" -- aimed at distinguishing him from Curran, who had the first ballot position.
In the parking lot, as the three walked toward a car to head for Town Hall and an appearance on ACMi, Thielman noted how nervous he had been beforehand.
2 alcohol measures pass
Both alcohol-related ballot questions passed, giving the Board of Selectmen the authority to grant as many as two additional licenses for liquor stores and to allow licenses for the sale of wine and malt beverages to be drunk in theaters with seating capacities of at least 100.
Question 1 passed 3,958 to 2,648. Question 2 was adopted 3,719 to 2,897, in unofficial numbers.
All candidates for key boards who were not at the Center for the Arts have been asked to comment about the election.
Flanagan responded April 11:
"We feel great about the election, honestly. Being a first time candidate, we had managed expectations, and I feel very fortunate to have finished with as many votes as I did and as the runner-up to Jeff and Cindy.
"We worked hard, we had important ideas that we were able to communicate, and I was able to connect with so many great folks. I've walked away from this with a number of new and what I know will be life-long friendships. I wish Jeff and Cindy much success. I've enjoyed getting to know them, as well as Matt, Andy, and Ian.
"The focus now needs to turn to filling the shoes of a strong and important member of the committee -- those of Joe Curro. He will be missed on the School Committee, and I think the committee members will agree that they were a stronger committee with him beside them.
"Thank you to everyone who took time to get to know me, those who believed in me and worked so hard for us, and a very special thanks to my family (especially my wife, Joanne) and to my campaign manager, the incomparable Lauren Boyle, who molded our campaign into something I am immensely proud of."
Feeley acknowledged his vote-getting status April 11:
"I'm very pleased with the results. I think the electorate understands that the department is working well. I hope to continue this."
In a post to the Arlington email list, published with permission, Thrope wrote:
"I would like to express my deep gratitude to all those who in ways great and small supported my run for Assessor -- with your enthusiasm, with your time, with your financial support, with your encouraging words and, of course, with your votes.
"It is truly heartening that the important issues, themes, and goals we together brought forward resonated as widely as they did, and perhaps we planted seeds that will bear fruit in the future. Though the result was not what we hoped it would be, we have much to look back on with pride. Thank you all so much."
Romano wrote April 11:
"The people spoke and that is the system of democracy that we cherish in our country. The results will please some but not all of the residents.
"I can hold my head high and know that I have listened to the residents and hoped that Ii would be the fresh voice for the majority.
"It did not happen that I was elected selectman. I will be in Town Hall as a Town Meeting member for Precinct 7 and know that I will speak on any issue that needs to be looked at and questioned, for it's worth and integrity.
"I will not vote yes to a warrant that is not clear and concise in its language and intent. It is that simple and I will hold true to my beliefs.
Jackson wrote April 11:
"First, I would like to thank the people that signed nominating papers this year.
"Second, I would like to thank the people that voted.
"I would like to also thank the everyone that took part in the elections as fellow candidates, poll works, sign holders, the clerk's office, League of Women's voters, journalists, etc.In the future, I plan to search for ways to help Arlington. But for now [and here he quotes Sitting Bull], 'Let us put our minds together and see what kind of life we can make for our children.'"
As of April 13, the following had not responded: Byrne, Curran, Tosi, Pallett and O'Brien.
Unofficial Town of Arlington results
(* means an incumbent):
League of Women Voters' Guide >> (large .pdf)
The League of Women Voters' Candidates' Night was held March 29, at Town Hall. Read a summary here >>
FYArlington guide >>
Q & A's: Serious interviews with some levity
by Kurt Fusaris
March 31: Steven Byrne
March 24: Joseph Curro Jr.
March 16: Andrew O'Brien
March 10: Ian Jackson
March 3: James Flanagan
Feb. 26: A. Matthew Pallett
All potential town and school candidates have been contacted; not all have responded to questions.
April 5: Q & A: What makes Marty Run?
March 31: How candidates view finances, future
Jan. 9: Rowe, LaCourt won't run
Dec. 8: 18-year-old takes out papers for School Committee (not running)
Nov. 12: 24-year-old takes out papers for School Committee (not running)
Campaign kickoffs held
Flanagan: 1 p.m. Saturday, March 10, American Legion (School Committee race)
Tosi: 2 p.m. Sunday, March 4, Knights of Columbus (selectmen's race)
Thielman: 7 p.m. Friday, March 2, 3 Brantwood Road (School Committee race)
Curro: 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26, Sons of Italy, Prentiss Road (selectmen's race)
Starks: Sunday, Feb. 12, from 1 to 3 p.m. at 135 Jason St. (School Committee race)
Byrne: Saturday, Feb. 3, 7 to 10 p.m., Sons of Italy, Prentiss Road (selectmen's race)
Pallett: Saturday, Feb., 3 to 7 p.m., 127 Winchester Road (School Committee candidate's home)
Curran: 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, Knights of Columbus Hall, 15 Winslow St. (selectmen's race)
2012 election information: Town website
Previous town election results: Town Web site election link
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