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Who are the ward bosses? – WesternmassGOP

Tuesday, December 16

PITTSFIELD – The owner of one restaurant and the wife of the owner of another eatery are the first two official City Council candidates for the Ward 3 special election.

Paul J. Capitanio, who has managed East Side Cafe for the past 28 years, and Melissa Mazzeo, whose husband Anthony operates Mazzeo’s Ristorante, filed nomination papers with the city clerk on Monday. Capitanio and Mazzeo wasted no time getting the required minimum 50 signatures of registered voters, as nomination papers only became available on Friday afternoon after the council scheduled the special election for March 31.

The winner will serve out the term of Linda M. Tyer until the citywide election in November.

Her council seat in Ward 3 opened up late last week after Mayor James M. Ruberto chose Tyer to replace Jody L. Philips as the city clerk. Tyer’s appointment will become official after the City Council votes on her nomination Jan. 9. After 10 years as clerk, Philips is leaving the post Jan. 1 for a job at General Dynamics.

A third possible candidate, Daniel Zunitch, of 121 Edward Ave., has yet to return his nomination papers for certification in order get on the ballot. Zunitch and any other potential candidates have until Jan. 6 at 5 p.m. to submit election papers to the city clerk’s office.

If more than two candidates emerge, a preliminary election will be held Feb. 24.

Capitanio and Mazzeo are seeking

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elected office for the first time, but both have been active in city politics for several years. Capitanio is a member of the Democratic City Committee in Ward 3, while Mazzeo has been part of the local political action committee, WHEN, since 2003. She had been its president the last three years, until she resigned in order to run in the special election.

Mazzeo said joining WHEN jump-started her fledgling political career.

“I saw the group marching in the Fourth of July parade and read an article about the group,” said Mazzeo on how WHEN piqued her interest in city politics.

Capitanio’s community involvement is rooted in several civic and youth organizations. Among his accomplishments, Capitanio is a past president of the Pittsfield Chapter of UNICO, the Italian-American based volunteer group and he co-chaired the committee that established Kid’s Place, which deals with abused children.

Capitanio said the time was right to run for political office.

“I want to help my neighborhood, my ward, and the city too,” he said.

If elected, Capitanio said public safety is among his priorities.

“I want to keep the Police Department intact as well as the Fire Department,” he said.

Mazzeo, along with Capitanio, wants to maintain the quality of education in the city public schools.

She said it won’t be easy while Pittsfield deals with it’s budget crisis.

“In the (city) budget, the largest part is education and the biggest thing that’s going to be hurt,” Mazzeo said.

The City Council last month approved across the board spending cuts totaling almost $1 million dollars. City officials had said it was money they could afford to lose, but any future cuts could mean city worker layoffs and a reduction in direct services to residents.

Capitanio said economic development is crucial to improving Pittsfield’s financial situation.

“I am committed to improving the local economy by supporting future job development activities, particularly at the PEDA site,” Capitanio said.

Mazzeo is confident there are new jobs in Pittsfield’s future.

“There are still companies out there that can expand,” Mazzeo said.

She added, the expansion of the Pittsfield Municipal Airport must be part of the economic development plan.

Mazzeo, a native of Dalton and a part-time dental hygienist, lives at 57 Winesap Road with her husband and two young daughters.

Capitanio was born and raised in Ward 3 and lives at 106 Parkside Ave., with his wife Beth and one of his two daughters, both of whom are in graduate school.

To reach Dick Lindsay: rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com, or (413) 496-6233.

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