Eight in the running for Rob Consalvo’s seat
Voters in District 5 — long represented by Rob Consalvo — will be faced with one of the largest slates of choices when they cast ballots for a new advocate on the City Council.
There are eight candidates for the seat representing Hyde Park, Mattapan, and Roslindale.
They are: Michael E. Wells, a salesman and Fenway Park beer vendor; Jean-Claude Sanon, owner of a business providing translation and legal services for immigrants; Margherita Ciampa-Coyne, a real estate paralegal; Ava D. Callender, a law student and former victim advocate in the Suffolk District Attorney's office; Andrew N. Cousino, who works as a security officer; Mimi E. Turchinetz, who works in the mayor's office of jobs and community services; Timothy P. McCarthy, a Boston Public Works manager; and Patrice Gattozzi, executive director of Hyde Park Main Street.
That field will be whittled to two when voters hit the polls for Tuesday's preliminary election.
Sanon, 54, is the only candidate who has sought office before; an unsuccessful campaign for an at-large council seat in 2009.
A Haitian-American activist, he stresses that it is time for the racially diverse district to be represented by a councilor of color. He would use the council seat to direct jobs and affordable housing back to the district.
The candidate who is currently entrenched in city politics is McCarthy, 43, who has been a longtime employee of Mayor Thomas M. Menino's administration working in neighborhood services, the summer jobs program, and, currently, in public works.
McCarthy said that his primary concern as a councilor will be improving the quality of neighborhoods.
He said he learned from Menino that the key to keeping residents happy and engaged is for them to be proud of what they see outside their front doors.
Mimi E. Turchinetz, 53, of Hyde Park is well known in the district and once worked as a Suffolk County assistant district attorney.
Citing her experience in the district attorney's office, Turchinetz said she would be a leader on public safety issues, and her work with City Hall would provide her with connections that would enable her to bring resources back to the district.
Fellow candidate Patrice Gattozzi, 58, of Hyde Park has worked as director of the Hyde Park Main Streets program, which assists small, locally owned businesses, for the last five years, and has worked as a substitute teacher in various public schools. Gattozzi said she has the broadest range of experiences.
Meanwhile, Callender, 25 and a lifelong resident of Mattapan, is the youngest candidate.
On the trail, she has emphasized that her work as a victim advocate prepared her to be a champion for violence prevention and public safety. As a product of public schools, Callender says that she understands that improving schools and educational options is the best way to create a pathway out of poverty.
The decision by Consalvo, who has represented the district since 2002, to run for mayor prompted a number of candidates without prior political involvement to get into the council race.
Wells, 43, of Roslindale, who went to high school with Consalvo, is one such candidate.
He works two jobs, one as a salesman for the John Nagle Co. and another as a beer vendor. He plans to focus on neighborhood revitalization, especially with regard to public housing.
The Archdale Village housing complex, which is located between Forest Hills and Roslindale Square, "looks like it hasn't been touched at all in my lifetime," he said.
Andrew Cousino, 28, of Roslindale is a newcomer to politics. He decided to run because this would be a way to help people on "a bigger scale."
A product of Boston public schools who currently works evenings as a security guard, Cousino said his priorities would be public safety and education, specifically increasing the number of trade schools in District 5.
Margherita Ciampa-Coynea, 54, of Hyde Park acknowledges that she may not be the best-known candidate in the race.
But the daughter of Italian immigrants and a lifelong Bostonian said she wants to focus on vocational schools, creating a hybrid School Committee, and implementing City Council term limits.