Wednesday, July 24, 2024

City councillor Leland Cheung, watched by politics watcher Robert Winters, drops off his reelection nomination papers Friday with the Cambridge Election Commission, only a few hours after picking up them up. Councillor Marjorie Decker also had a team out gathering signatures, including these men at the Porter Square T stop. (Bottom photo: Marc Levy)

It was clear Leland Cheung was an overachiever — at 33, he’s a Cambridge city councillor and earning MBA and MPA degrees at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — but he gave another example Friday when nomination papers became available for reelection.

He picked up his papers and returned them the same day, with double the number of signatures needed (and the maximum allowed, to the extent that “actually I got too many signatures and had to cross off some,” he said by phone, shortly after the Election Commission closed for the weekend).

There was one other candidate who filed Friday: Minka vanBeuzekom, who according to Robert Winters’ Cambridge Civic Journal turned in 75 signatures, or 25 more than are needed, with time to spare. Cheung turned in his at the last minute.

The deadline for filing and getting on the formal ballot for November elections is a month from now, Aug. 1.

“I set a goal for myself to see if I could get to 100 in a day,” Cheung said.

Twelve other candidates for City Council and four for School Committee walked a middle line, taking out papers Friday but not turning them in the same day, said Nick Leon, an elections worker.

Papers for the committee were all taken out by incumbents: Fred Fantini, Richard Harding, Marc McGovern and Alice Turkel. Incumbents Patty Nolan and Nancy Tauber haven’t picked up papers. Joseph Grassi, who was on the committee before losing a seat to Harding two years ago, is a likely candidate.

Papers for council seats were taken out by — in addition to Cheung — six incumbents: Craig Kelley, Marjorie Decker, David Maher, Ken Reeves, Sam Seidel and Tim Toomey. Councillors Henrietta Davis and Denise Simmons haven’t picked up papers.

In an indication there wouldn’t be a repeat of the last elections, when a missed filing deadline required her to spend extra thousands running as a write-in candidate, Decker and a small squadron of supporters were at the Porter Square T stop in the morning getting signatures. Cheung had a team of four volunteers helping him Friday, and vanBeuzekom said she had three.

“The reception was exceptional and many people remembered me from my previous campaign,” vanBeuzekom said. “I’ve been visible enough so that a few were surprised I hadn’t already been elected.”

Six council challengers took out papers in addition to vanBeuzekom, including four repeats: Charles Marquardt, Gregg Moree, Tom Stohlman and James Williamson. Of the four, Stohlman has kept the lowest public profile, although Moree’s appearances have been focused almost obsessively on promoting the publicity potential of a Cambridge visit by John F. Kennedy’s yacht, The Honey Fitz, and demanding locals be hired for construction done in the city.

The new names are: Matt Nelson, a Cambridge public schools graduate, master’s in public administration at Suffolk University and manager at the Massachusetts League of Environmental Voters who has managed campaigns for Davis and events for former committee member Luc Schuster; and Gary W. Mello.

But while Nelson held a campaign kickoff event May 14 at Atwood’s Tavern in East Cambridge and maintains a comprehensive and colorful candidate’s website, Mello is something of a mystery.

“No one knows who he is,” Leon said.

Former councillor Larry Ward, who lost his seat to Cheung after himself replacing Brian Murphy a little more than two years ago, is a prominent candidate despite not picking up papers Friday. Cheung has already held an impressive fundraiser — May 1, long before nomination papers became available — but Ward held a meet-the-candidate night Tuesday unparalleled in recent Cambridge history: charging $65 at the door at the Harvard Square Tommy Doyle’s that featured a monologue and question-and-answer session with Cambridge comedian Jimmy Tingle.

Another wild card in the campaign is Anthony Galluccio, the former city councillor, mayor and state senator, who resigned that position  in 2009 after pleading guilty to a hit-and-run incident that injured a 13-year-old boy. He was sentenced to six months’ house arrest, then imprisoned, accused of a probation violation. He has appeared and spoken occasionally at public meetings while pursuing a law practice.

This post was corrected July 1, 2011, to remove a misheard statement about Cheung leaving town for the Fourth of July holiday; and to clarify that one of the candidates is Gary W. Mello, not another Gary Mello with connections to Cambridge. It was corrected July 6, 2011, to remove outdated information about Nelson.