Today’s Gazette reports:
Angela D. Plassmann defeated incumbent Ward 3 City Councilor Robert C. Reckman Tuesday by 68 votes.On her campaign website, Ms. Plassmann outlines her priorities as follows:
Plassmann captured 576 votes to Reckman’s 508 votes, winning in both Ward 3 precincts.
As your Ward 3 City Councilor, I will represent your interests in these critical areas:
Schools: I am committed to keeping all four elementary schools open, including Bridge Street School.
Infill: I support enacting design standards to ensure that future development is in harmony with the character and density of our neighborhoods, and that our green space is preserved.
Exit 19: I want to protect the Bridge Street neighborhood from the proposed massive I-91 Interchange, the need for which is not clear.
Roads: Our crumbling streets need priority attention.
Crime: Northampton’s rate of property crime exceeds the statewide average by 25%. I will work with citizens and the police department to bring this down. In particular, the two years of suspicious fires in the Hawley/Market Street area need to be resolved.
Drugs: It’s time to address drug use in our schools, meadows and neighborhoods with education, treatment and enforcement.
Accessibility: I will hold regular open office hours throughout the ward to address your concerns as they arise, and use my website and other media to alert you to matters that affect your interests.
Best Practices: I will work to implement Best Practices—term limits, explanation of the City budget, protocol for conducting meetings and making documents related to decision-making public.
Here are brief comments from Ms. Plassmann on her victory last night, recorded at City Hall by Adam Cohen:
Gazette: “Displaced Ward 3 councilor reflects on outcome” (11/5/09)
Valley Street resident James Nash, Ward 3 captain for the Higgins campaign, who held signs on Election Day for both incumbent Mayor Clare Higgins and Reckman, said he sees a strong connection between Reckman’s showing and Higgins’ vote totals in Ward 3.
“Both those candidates chose to support each other and I think that worked against them in Ward 3,” he said.
Higgins lost in both precincts in Ward 3, getting a total of 540 votes to challenger Michael Bardsley’s 674 votes.
Also working against Reckman, Nash believes, was a controversial development off North Street that has been vigorously opposed by neighborhood residents. Nash cited the Planning Board’s approval of that project after months of wrangling as the source of voter dissatisfaction with Reckman.
“Bob saw this as a private-property issue and he steadfastly refused to get into the political shouting match that’s gone on around it,” he said. “I have no doubt that his refusal to get involved with that affected his chances of getting re-elected.”
Springfield Republican: “Political observers speculate why Northampton Mayor Mary Clare Higgins won re-election by only 344 votes” (11/4/09)
Reckman, who lost by 68 votes, believes he was done in by voter dissatisfaction over a condominium development in the North Street neighborhood and a dispute over soccer traffic on Island Road. That dissatisfaction spilled over into the mayoral race, as Bardsley took Ward 3 from Higgins, one of only two wards he won.
Northampton Media: “Angela Plassmann Issues Candidate Statement” (10/28/09)
Springfield Republican: “Northampton City Council candidate: Angela D. Plassmann” (10/26/09)
Northampton Media Video: Plassmann Debates Reckman for Ward 3 City Council Seat, 10/19/09
Northampton Media: “Plassmann v Reckman” (10/20/09)
Gazette: “Ward 3 hopefuls air override, drugs” (10/20/09)
Northampton Media: Interview with Angela Plassmann, Ward 3 City Council Candidate