Council hopefuls chase signatures through raindrops

This week’s rain hasn’t dampened the spirits of the city’s political candidates as they fan out across the city to gather signatures each day. Competing for signatures, they cross each other’s paths often, and they’re civil to each other, most of the time.

Though Mayor Thomas Menino and challenger Michael Flaherty both turned in more than enough signatures to qualify last week, other mayoral challengers and those running for council are still slogging it out.

Both Ayanna Pressley and Felix G. Arroyo were moving past the 1,300 mark as of Tuesday, while Kevin McCrea, who intends to run for mayor if he can get enough signatures to qualify, had turned in around 2,200, according to his campaign manager John Tracey. All three campaigns had more bundles of signatures to carry in to the elections office.

Several of the other candidates including the incumbents have also submitted sheets, with the notable exception of Ego Ezedi Jr., the Baptist minister and YMCA-director running in the at-Large race.

An unexpected frontrunner in the signature race is Doug Bennett, ex-Republican who is noted on his home ground Nantucket as ‘Rotary Doug’ for his habit of accompanying his huge campaign signs along local roadways.

His moniker in Boston could become ‘Knock Knock Doug’ as he has been banging on doors in neighborhoods across the city since May last year—he claims over 30,000 so far.

Bennett’s campaign was claiming over 4,000 signatures as of Monday, putting his competitors in the dust. Many speculate money or Republican backers or both are behind the effort—though Bennett called his organization of 150 people “volunteers,” adding that around 20 are working around the clock.

Bennett is married to Kathleen Ann Galligan, daughter of Thomas J. Galligan III, CEO of Papa Gino’s Holdings. Bennett’s campaign chairman is John W. Sears, one of the only Republicans ever elected to City Council in 1980.

Bennett also allegedly got into a tangle with dark horse candidate Bill Trabucco of Dorchester at the Stop & Shop on Morrissey Blvd. last week.

Trabucco, who popped up when he pulled papers late last month, is campaigning as the ‘no-nonsense’ candidate.
“I don’t suffer fools and I don’t deal with nonsense,” said Trabucco, who grew up in St. Margaret’s parish. “I’m a straight shooter and I fight my fights for matters that make improvements for working class people.”

According to Trabucco, he spotted Bennett in the parking lot of the supermarket collecting signatures while he was on his shift as an EMT. On his way out of the lot, he pulled up the ambulance to introduce himself to Bennett.

On a lark, the two agreed to sign each other’s sheets, a sign of good will. But as Trabucco drove off, he noticed Bennett marked his address as “45 Porter”—which, as any good ambo driver would know, is a non-existent address. Bennett actually lives at 85 East India Row, in a luxury condo overlooking Boston Harbor.

After a few choice words with Bennett, Trabucco said it became his own personal side mission to see that Bennett does not get elected. He said he would be filing a formal complaint against Bennett for falsifying his address.

“I think he’s as artificial as anybody I’ve seen in my life,” Trabucco said, speaking of Bennett. “You are never becoming a candidate for Boston City Council. Go back to Nantucket.”

Called for comment, Bennett said he didn’t know what Trabucco was talking about. Confronted with the fact that his signature is on Trabucco’s nomination papers with a false address, he said,
“I don’t know anything about it. Hey listen, I have to go,” and then immediately hung up the phone.

The last time Bennett hung up on the Reporter was when he was asked about his campaign stickers, which are plastered all over the neighborhood.

According to the Mayor’s press department, which handles calls for the elections department, the incident is a new one on them. But likely Bennett’s signature would simply be disqualified.

“The elections board will look at it,” spokesman Nick Martin said of Trabucco’s formal complaint, if it is filed. “But I think the bottom line is it just wouldn’t count.”

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Comments

No matter whether he was on break or not, this EMT was collecting signatures to get on the ballot while in uniform during his shift from the driver's seat of his ambulance. Whether you agree or not, this creates the appearence that his activity was inappropriate and because of this he's lost my vote too.

This EMT has a job to do and that's rescue peoples' lives. I'm sure if his supervisior was aware of his campaign activities during his shift, he'd be in big doo doo.

It seems the same person - probably this Bennett character - is posting negatives about Mr. Trabucco under different names. Although Mr. Stedmen said that Bill Trabucco is not a city employee, this same poster - most likely the Bennett character - keeps repeating the lie. Guess he learned alot from his fellow Republican George Bush who understood if you repeat the lie enough times - it has the potential to become truth. I call upon all Dorchester residents to call this Bennett character out. Do not sign his nomination papers, shake his hands, or give him the time of day.

I know Bill Trabucco. He is a true son of Dorchester. He also is a very honorable person who is running for all the right reasons. From what I hear, read and see, the same does not apply to this Bennett character. From what I hear and have read, he falsifies his name on other candidate's nomination papers, he gets in people's faces, is rude and obnoxious, and puts his stickers all over public property (I even saw his graffiti at Dot Ave and Columbia as well as other places). This is not a person we want to serve us on the Boston City Council.

Hey folks,

You're jumping to conclusions here, there are EMTs who don't work for the city or the state, and Bill's one of them. Nowhere in the story does it say otherwise. He works for a private company and by his description of events, he was on a break.

The only signature he said he collected in the incident he described is the one he got from Bennett, which seemed to be impromptu and proposed by Bennett.

So as far as I know, in addition to not being a public employee, he was not actively collecting signatures on the clock, nor did anyone claim he was.

Shouldn't this EMT been out there rescuing members of the public and trying to save lives as he is charged to do by the nature of his job? No, he derelected his duties to the public and while on the clock, was being paid from the pockets of good taxpayers like you and me, and was collecting signatures from the driver's seat of his ambulance.

I wonder how many people needed medical assistance, while this EMT was out there trying to get on the ballot. I'll never vote for this guy, he put his own interests while on the clock ahead of the people he was supposed to protect... the community of Dorchester.

You are not even registered to vote you DONK!!

....public property is a crime. And that is just what Bennett has done to many neighborhoods....namely Neponset. He showed what respect he has for the voters and residents of Boston with that "gorilla marketing" stunt.

You mean to tell me that this EMT who is was on the clock being paid by the taxpayers' dollars was collecting signatures while driving around in his Ambulance? This is outragous! THIS EMT SHOULD BE FIRED!

You idiot can you not see the 3 other comments HE DOES NOT WORK FOR THE CITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!