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O'Neill, Arena, West and Quinn Winners in Local Reading Election

All four won their election bids, and West pulled off that rarest of feats in Reading—knocking off an incumbent.

The early results are in for Reading’s local election, and while it looks John Arena has been elected to the Board of Selectmen by a sizable margin, the races for Board of Assessors and the Reading Municipal Light Department were much, much closer.

According to unofficial results taken directly from the polls, Arena defeated challenger Karen Gately Herrick by a margin of 2,266 votes to 1,477—a gap of 789 votes.

Arena said he felt gratified by the margin of his victory, but thinks he could have done even better.

“Frankly, I think I could have kicked it up,” said Arena following his victory speech at RCTV Studios. “If I hadn’t had the work pressures, I think I could have campaigned a little more vigorously ... The trouble with a small town is that you can’t tell if you’re ahead or not.”

Elsewhere, the other two contested races were separated by just a handful of votes, and Marsie West will join Mary Ellen O’Neill on the RMLD Board of Commissioners, as she edged out Richard Hahn by less than 40 votes.

“I knew it was close,” said West, who didn’t find out she had won until she was called to the control room at RCTV. “It feels good, it’s been an interesting process. It’s tough when you’re running against an incumbent. This is a really positive statement for the fact that people heard what I was talking about in terms of RECs.”

As West has previously told Patch, her campaign was a one-issue affair, centering on the issue of Renewable Energy Certificates.

In somewhat of a surprise, Bob Quinn defeated Camille Anthony for a seat on the Board of Assessors, garnering 1,915 votes compared to 1,731 for Anthony, who after 18 years on the Board of Selectmen has been ousted from town government by the voters.

West was originally projected to lose, but a slight gaffe in the reporting of the numbers revealed that she had indeed ousted Hahn, the incumbent, from the RMLD Board. She was originally thought to have lost by 14 votes, but after a recount, it was determined she was the winner—by a mere 36 votes.

West said that, apart from RECs, she wants to make the RMLD Board’s decision making process as transparent as possible.

“I want that to be an open easy to understand process,” she said. “I don’t want the public wondering how did we come to this big decision. It’s a publicly owned utility. It’s important that people know that.”

In the other elections, Chris Caruso was reelected to the School Committee, while Robert Spadafora returns to the committee after an absence of several years.

Alan Foulds will return as moderator, and Andrew Grimes and Alice Collins will join the Library Board of Trustees.

There were two questions on the ballot this year, and Reading voters said yes to both of them.

First, the question was whether to authorize the Board of Selectmen to enter into a new three-year contract with Town Manager Peter Hechenbleikner, and the second question was to modify the budget process to require the Town Manager to consult with the BoS on the municipal portion of the budget before submitting it to the Finance Committee.

Both measures passed by a wide margin.

Reminder: All numbers are unofficial at this point, but Patch will update this story with the final results as soon as they are available, along with the local results of the primary elections.

Here are the results of the contested elections by precinct:

Board of Selectmen

Precinct 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Totals John Arena 407 260 230 270 250 249 306 294 2266 Karen Gately Herrick 198 162 179 195 203 122 189 229 1477

Board of Assessors

Precinct 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Totals Bob Quinn 291 261 208 223 198 211 276 267 1915 Camille Anthony 277 171 197 236 251 155 211 233 1731

RMLD Board of Commissioners

Precinct 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Totals Mary Ellen O'Neill 303 242 278 271 269 231 284 257 2105 Marsie West 266 183 188 245 218 143 214 218 1675 Richard Hahn 259 191 186 184 215 150 227 227 1639
Barry March 07, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Who cares?
Barry March 07, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Charlie, I live in North Reading. I'm sure it's important to the people of Reading, but I can't remember when the Selectman of Reading have ever had an impact on my town.
Donnie B. March 07, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Charlie I live in Reading and agree with you 100%. These are awesome results and just priceless. Play the music, schedule the parade and fireworks! A new era has begun in Reading.
SMS March 07, 2012 at 08:53 PM
The ousting of Ms. Anthony was no surprise. The majority in town spoke loud and clear. We needed to get new people in, most people in town felt she was in for far too long.
Alex T. March 07, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Except for O'Neill getting back in it was a great night for the Reading citizens to get some sensible candidates in positions to better this town financially and culturally. So much for the same old lame representation we have had with figures such as Ms. Anthony. Time to take the town back from the PC police and moonbats, I expect strong targeting of Schubert next then Ben the worst of them all, both of whoms power has been severely weakened.
Tom Jeffords March 07, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Glad to see Benny Boy's coatholder was not elected to the Board of Selectmen.
Joe Veno March 08, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Congradulations to the winners...
David Talbot March 08, 2012 at 01:30 AM
Thank you Reading Patch for removing abusive personal comments from this string, and congratulations to the winners.
Joe Veno March 08, 2012 at 01:41 AM
We never had that problem up here in NR but I guess now we have to put up with it.
Mr White March 08, 2012 at 02:47 AM
I think a vocal BOYCOTT is in order for any business that continues to advertise on the new RNRPatch site. Voice your dissatisfaction to the local proprietors directly and it may reach someone who might care, like the head of advertising sales. The only way they'll listen is to hit them in the wallet.
Joe Veno March 08, 2012 at 12:12 PM
Mr White why do you want to take it out in the local businesses because Patch did this change we do not like? They are a victim just like us in my opinion. And I will admit I do not pay any attention to the ads on Patch anyways..
Mr White March 08, 2012 at 12:42 PM
@Joe Veno Do you have a better suggestion? For the past week or so there has been nothing but complete dissatisfaction expressed on both the R/NRPatch sites about the merge. The extremely limited response from the editors, who usually chime in at the drop of a hat, speaks volumes. In their eyes the readership holds little value, they bow down to the almighty dollar. This is obviously the only avenue to pursue in the hopes of any action. I do not want to "take it out on the local businesses" but at the moment I see no better way to address this. I ask again, do you have a better suggestion?
Joe Veno March 08, 2012 at 01:02 PM
No i do not. I wish I did. I also do not blame the local editors. i am sure they have passed along the complaints to the higher ups. I wish I had a solution but i do not.
Brian B March 08, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Mr. White, You are very correct in that the lack of response from the local editors speak volumes as to this issue. It is abundantly clear even the editors do not have their finger on the pulse of the communitites. If the editors and AOL really cared about the communities and needed to merge to save cost, as previous posters had already stated, North Reading has more in common with Lynnfield than Reading and they would have merged those two communities. My feeling is that there was a vacant editor's position in either Reading or North Reading and decided to merge instead of filling a position. Alas all good things must come to an end and hopefully the readers will cease to read and commont on the Pach, cease to frequent the advertisers. It is then and only then the editors of the Patch will truly understand the communities they cover.
Mr White March 08, 2012 at 02:31 PM
@Brian B I think you may be on to something regarding the open editors position. Over the past few months the ReadingPatch has had the following editors: Matt M. Casey Andrew Jeromski Roberto ?? and now Ashley Troutman who was the editor of the NRPatch. Didn't realize Reading was that tough of a town to handle.
Joe Veno March 08, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Mr White, FYI Ashley Troutman is STILL the editor of North Reading and we are happy for that.
Mr White March 08, 2012 at 03:02 PM
@Joe Veno Sorry to burst your bubble but she is no longer the editor of the NorthReadingPatch she has been promoted to editor of the READING-northreadingPatch:)
Joe Veno March 08, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Mr. White, You did not burst my bubble you bursted your own. Open the North Reading page on Patch and see who is listed as the Editor. I will save you some time. It is Ashley Troutman.
Andrew Jeromski March 08, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Please leave me out of this guys. I am a freelancer. I have NEVER worked for Patch. I'm just a guy trying to pay his rent.
Joe Veno March 08, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Mr White you also said that was a promotion???......NOT
Mr White March 08, 2012 at 03:24 PM
@Joe Veno What would the URL of the North Reading site be today? When I type in northreading.patch.com it takes me to the "New & Improved" R-NR site which lists Ashley as the editor. Am I missing something??
Joe Veno March 08, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Mr White you said in your post that Ashley "Was" the editor for North Reading like she no longer was. All i am saying is open the page and she is listed as the editor for North Reading and Reading.
Mr White March 08, 2012 at 03:48 PM
@ Joe Veno I think you missed my sarcastic :), it would have been more clear if I wrote "promoted".
Mr White March 08, 2012 at 03:59 PM
@Joe Veno As the NRPatch no longer exists it is impossible for her to remain it's editor. If you reread my post I clearly state "Ashley Troutman who was the editor of the NRPatch"
Joe Veno March 08, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Mr. White, I hope that last post was ment to be a joke if not you do not have a clue what is going on. You say North Reading Patch does not exist anymore?? Also I did read your post i pointed it out to you she is listed at the top if the North Reading/ Reading page as the editor.
Mr White March 08, 2012 at 04:17 PM
@Joe Veno You may want to lighten up a bit. Technically, neither the Reading nor North Reading sites exist anymore. All we are left with is the bastardized R-NR site which everyone hates. What do you say we call it a day? Get outside and enjoy this great weather:)
Joe Veno March 08, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Mr. White, I am not upset.and I agree with everything you said in your last post. Have a great day.
Joella Wieselquist March 12, 2012 at 10:54 AM
I sent an email to the editor about the merge. But if you go to 'contact us' there is an option to write your thoughts. Maybe if everyone who doesn't want the merger should just write something everyday. That might get their attention. But be nice. :)

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