Election Season Brings Contests in Four Towns

With the calendar turning to March, four of the six Island towns have now closed their spring election ballots. Only in Aquinnah and Chilmark does time still remain for candidates to return papers and run for elected town office. Where ballots are closed, voters will have choices among candidates for the post of selectman in all the towns. West Tisbury has a race for treasurer, and seats on Island boards of health and planning boards are also attracting some competition.

Tisbury will open the town meeting season this year with its annual meeting on Tuesday, April 1, and its town elections on April 15. The Island's busiest political week brings annual town meetings in Edgartown, West Tisbury and Oak Bluffs on April 8 and town elections in all three towns on April 10. Chilmark plans its annual town meeting on April 28 and its elections April 30; Aquinnah closes the season with its annual town meeting on May 13 and elections the next day.

Overall, as the Island political season swings into gear, the rundown of races for town office is as follows:

Oak Bluffs

The Island's hottest political season this year may be in Oak Bluffs, where seven candidates are vying for two vacancies on the five-member board of selectmen.

Roger Wey is seeking reelection. Also running are Karen Achille, David Araujo, Gregory Coogan, Kenneth DeBettencourt, Linda Marinelli and Hans VonSteiger. Ken Rusczyk is not running for another term.

Three Oak Bluffs residents are running for one three-year term on the board of health. William White, seeking reelection, is opposed by Frank Case 3rd and Michael Santoro.

Jesse Law has a lock on his bid for another three-year term as cemetery commissioner, as does David Richardson for the one-year town moderator position. Also running unopposed are Judith O'Donaghue for the school committee, Joseph deBettencourt for tree warden and Kevin Johnston for water district commissioner. All are three-year terms.

Mimi Davisson, Thomas Wilson and Frank Case 3rd are the only candidates for three three-year term vacancies on the finance committee. No candidates have returned papers for the one-year seat and the two-year seat coming open on the finance committee.

Allan (Buddy) deBettencourt, incumbent, is being challenged by Gary BenDavid for the three-year job as parks commissioner; David Wessling is challenged by Phil Hughes for the five-year planning board seat; and John Leite 3rd is defending against Robert Iadicicco for a three-year seat on the wastewater commission.

The deadline for submitting nomination papers in Oak Bluffs was Feb. 20. The deadline for withdrawing is March 10.

Vineyard Haven

In Tisbury, where papers were due by the end of business Tuesday, there are three contested elections on the ballot.

Ray LaPorte, who completed Ed Coogan's term, is seeking reelection as a selectman. Running against him are Douglas Dias and Jamie Douglas.

David Dandridge is challenged by Joanna Jernegan for a three-year seat to the board of assessors. Clyde Griffin and Henry Stephenson are squaring off for a five-year seat on the planning board while Nat Orleans is running unopposed for reelection to a two-year seat.

The remaining vacancies in town offices are going unchallenged. Mark Campos and Remo Fullin Jr. are the only applicants for two three-year constable positions. Both are seeking reelection.

Four three-year and one one-year position on the finance committee will be filled, respectively, by incumbents George Balco, Meverell Good and Nancy Penhune and by newcomers David Willoughby and Bruce Campbell. Three three-year terms on the library board will go to Nan Carter, Nancy Hall and Nancy Hammond.

James Pringle is unopposed for reelection to a three-year term on the board of health, and Arthur Dickson and John Thayer are unopposed for reelection to three-year positions as public works commissioners. Robert Tankard is unopposed in his bid for reelection to the three-year term on the Tisbury School committee, and Jared Jernegan is unopposed in his bid for a two-year seat on the school committee. Ralph Packer Jr. is unopposed in his bid for reelection to a three-year term as water commissioner.

The deadline for withdrawal in Tisbury is March 13.

West Tisbury

In West Tisbury, the deadline to withdraw is March 10. Papers were due by Feb. 21. There are only two contested elections: for board of selectman and treasurer.

In the selectman's race, John Alley is being challenged by Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter for a three-year term. In the treasurer's race, Katherine Logue and Donna Michalski are squaring off for a one-year term.

Unopposed are incumbent F. Patrick Gregory for the one-year town moderator position, incumbent George Manter for a three-year board of health seat, incumbent Michael Colaneri for a three-year board of assessors position, incumbent Brent Taylor for the one-year tax collector job, incumbent Prudence Whiting for the one-year town clerk job, incumbent John Gadowski for the one-year spot as tree warden, Timothy Barnett for a three-year position as constable, incumbent Irene Mentzel and Leslie Baker for two three-year seats on the library board, incumbent David Douglas for a five-year planning board seat, Eileen Maley for a two-year planning board seat, incumbent Peter Costas for a three-year spot on the finance committee and incumbent Richard Reinhardsen for a three-year position on the park and recreation committee.

Edgartown

In Edgartown, Michael Donaroma and Mark Morris will compete for the unfinished one-year term on the board of selectmen left vacant by the December retirement of Fred B. Morgan. Arthur Smadbeck will run unchallenged for reelection to a three-year term as selectman.

There are only two other races on the April 10 election ballot in Edgartown. Jay Guest and Floyd Norton are both running for a seat on the wastewater treatment commission. Incumbent Norman Rankow and Roger Becker are running for a seat on the planning board.

Uncontested races are as follows: Wanda Williams for town clerk, Deborah Thomas for town collector, Robert Hathaway for library trustee, Bill Erickson for water commissioner, Jane Dooley for financial advisory committee, Morton Fearey for financial advisory committee, Raymond Snell for financial advisory committee, Larry Mercier for board of assessors, David Murphy for board of health and Leslie Baynes for school committee.

No citizens have yet expressed interest in running for one three-year-terms on the Edgartown library board of trustees. The unfinished one-year term on the financial advisory committee, left vacant at the end of last year after the death of Robert Chapman, has also not been claimed by contenders.

Chilmark

In Chilmark, the deadline for candidates running for political office is weeks away. There are as yet no political races. Selectman Frank M. Fenner Jr. is running for re-election, although he hasn't returned his nomination papers yet.

The deadline for obtaining nomination papers is March 10. The deadline for submitting nomination papers is March 12. The last day to object or withdraw is March 24.

Incumbent Leonard Jason Jr. has taken out papers for the board of assessors, a three-year term and John Flender has taken out papers for another three-year term as a cemetery commissioner.

Melanie Becker is running for a three-year term as treasurer, a post from which Judith M. Jardin has retired.