Two of the three Havre de Grace City Councilmen whose two-year terms expire this spring, Steve Gamatoria and Garrett Lyttle, will not seek re-election, which leaves the ballot thin on candidates heading into the city’s May 6 election.
As of Thursday, only two people had filed to appear on the ballot – incumbent city councilman Jim Miller and former city councilman Fred Cullum. Both are assured a return to city hall unless at least two more candidates file for office, but city officials indicated Thursday evening no one had even picked up an application for candidacy recently.
Last year, the Havre de Grace election ballot was brimming with four incumbents running for mayor, eight candidates seeking three city council seats and a question about the future of city park property.
The Havre de Grace election will be held May 6 and candidates for city council have until Tuesday, March 18 to file for office.
Lyttle and Gamatoria both made it known recently that because of personal reasons they would not be running for office again in May.
“I will not be seeking re-election to the city council. My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in October and has been undergoing treatment since then. Doris has a very positive attitude and knows she will overcome this set back in her life. Our plans after treatment are to do some traveling and spend a lot of time at our place on Chincoteague Island in Virginia,” Lyttle wrote in an email.
After meeting with Mayor Wayne Dougherty and notifying the city council and administration of his intentions, Gamatoria forwarded an email to his friends and supporters this week informing them he also would not be returning to office.
“As with everything that we do in life, it is all about timing. It is unfortunate that I cannot commit to another term [at this moment] because I really do believe that I can make a positive impact,” Gamatoria wrote.
While appearing to be a sudden decision, Gamatoria said he knew in mid-January he wasn’t going to run for re-election, but decided to keep the information for himself to maintain a “business as usual” climate in city hall.
He said those closest to him probably realized something was afoot when he had not called them to begin strategizing his latest campaign.
“Had I planned to run, I certainly would have filed the first day,” Gamatoria said.
Here is what Gamatoria wrote in his email to friends and supporters:
After careful consideration, I have decided not to seek a second term on the City Council. Over the next 9-10 months, I am unable to commit the time that I believe is necessary to make a positive contribution. It is my nature to either be “100% in” or “100% out” … and I struggle when I cannot commit fully to a cause, especially one that is so important and deserves a 100% commitment.
In retrospect, I am very grateful and humbled for the time served, and those whom I served; I am thankful for the friendships that I have developed, and am enriched with the knowledge that I have gained.
I am most proud of the two Councils in which I have served – for demonstrating the highest level of respect for each other and maintaining a sense of dignity and integrity that our constituents deserve. Together, I truly believe that we set the standard for professionalism and re-established and promoted critical thinking, and a more business-like approach at City Hall.
I can only hope that my absence is short term, and that the citizens will again afford me the opportunity to serve.
For those Havre de Grace residents who will miss Gamatoria as a councilman, know that his departure from public office appears to only be temporary.
“I have many years ahead of me and will definitely run again, but only when I know I can commit the time that [I know] is required. I will not put myself in a position, whereby I cannot dedicate the proper time and resources to become intimate with the subject matter at hand. As you know there is a great deal of back ground information that must be reviewed, investigated and understood, prior to sitting at the dais the first and third Mondays of the month. I take the job and the responsibility very serious and to offer anything less than 100% is unacceptable to me and is short-changing the voters,” he wrote in an email interview.
Cullum, who spent a dozen years on the city council before losing his seat during a failed mayoral run last year, had indicated even before he lost his bid for the mayor’s office that he would likely run for council again if unsuccessful.
“Yes, I am running for the council again. I filed to run first thing the morning of March 4,” Cullum wrote in an email.
Cullum, a 58-year-old retired Aberdeen Proving Ground Fire Department Battalion Chief, served six terms on the city council from 1995 through 2007. He has been an active member of the Susquehanna Hose Company for thirty-eight years and currently serves as its vice president.
“I would like to return to the Council because I believe my past twelve years of experience on the Council is needed. I also believe I still have something good to offer the citizens of our city. During my years on the Council many changes took place in the city and many issues were addressed, I believe once again that with my past experience, knowledge and background I would be an asset to the Council. Since I am now retired I would have even more time to devote to the position then before as my main goal has always been to gather as much information and detail about a subject in order to make an informed decision,” he wrote.
Cullum said over the years that he was on the city council he was able to develop a working relationship with other local elected officials as well as the state delegation and was involved at the state level with the Maryland Municipal League – having served on the MML Legislative Committee for several years as well as serving on the MML Board of Directors.
“I truly enjoyed my years on the council and look forward to returning once again,” he added.
Miller, who will be the only incumbent on the May 6 ballot, got a taste of the city council years ago when he was appointed to the position, but after being election to the position in 2006, he is hoping Havre de Grace voters will return him to office so he can finish the work he’s started.
“I’ll start with the old cliche used by everyone that runs for re-election. ‘I have a lot of projects that I have started that I would like to see completed.’ That being said, I am near the end of my first term as an elected City Councilman,” Miller wrote in an email interview.
“Having to stand for reelection every two years doesn’t give a lot of time to see a project through from conception to completion. It takes time to budget and weigh the merits of the proposal. Time to convince the rest of the council and mayor how valuable the proposal is for the good of the City. I’m more interested in projects that benefit the many, rather then the few,” he continued.
Miller is perhaps best known for being the man who nearly single-handedly brought a new bathroom to Tydings Park.
Havre de Grace had a grand vision of partnering with Harford County government to bring a million-dollar comfort station with a rooftop observation deck to the city park, but Miller, both before he was elected to office and then continuing once he was sworn in, pushed hard to abandon the idea and use the funding for multiple, less grandiose bathrooms in public parks across the city.
Those interested in joining Cullum and Miller on the May 6 election ballot to vie for the three city council seats must be at least 25 years old, a citizen of the United States for at least the last 10 years, a qualified voter and a resident of of Havre de Grace for at least the last two years. They must also show up at city hall with a $50 filing fee sometime before 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 18.
How long do you have to be a resident in HDG before you can run for an elected office.
As per the last paragraph, at least two years prior to the election.
If I had my way the entire group would be ousted from office. My personal experiance with them (see marina mafia) is akin to dealing with a fraternal lodge rather than a ,supposidly sworn to uphold the constitution and md constitution, group of public servants.
There are a few who have sat on their hands so as to not ruffle feathers and a few who have been actively participating in the transgressions involving the retaliation and bad faith dealing revolving around my making a fuss about the unfair and special treatment of some of our HdG citizens at the expense of others.
Jim Miller in particuler has been at the forefrount of the issue from the beginning. His steadfast support of what was deemed by the citys own atty to be inappriotate allowances to John Narval and Millers efferts to undermine the determinitations and settlements of the previous administration have cost the city money. The city is po,ed at this and they seem to think its my fault that jim miller did this. This is of course all well documented. Jim Miller through his actions has made the city look like it acts in bad faith…simply because it did…by not stopping his efferts.
The law is the law and Jim Miller has a problem understanding this simple concept.
TO BUCK……read the artical…its all there….go for it!
RichieC you need to get a life and start telling the truth. Everyone at the park knows your story and why you were kicked out. You should worry about where your going to dock you boat instead of Havre de Grace politics. Your nothing but a bully and a blow hard. You have done a great job slandering good people.
The issue of candidates and ones experiances with them is worth sharing with people in general. People are very capable of accesing a lot of information and forming an opionion based on it. Park hopper still doesnt get the fact that its not about boats…but its about RIGHT and WRONG. (see marina mafia). Park hopper is close to the MARINA MAFIA situation…based upon the info he has (or thinks he has).
Park Hopper….I have a standing offer …Identify yourself and well go through the FACTS one by one. A cutsie little comment like the one you made in your last post here is baseless.
Parkhopper…..This entire disgrace is very well documented…and is still ongoing. In the end I wouldnt be surprised to see certain persons who got on board this nonsense to be the very ones who are out of that facility…although thats not my goal. The actual goal if for policey changes.
Parkhopper ….Take notice to the language you use…..”EVERYBODY at the park”…..this is interesting because actually its a small group of tight knitt friends involved in certain things. Most of the “park” is oblivious to this entire affaire. There are 300 boats in that marina…the marina mafia consists of about 15. This is small fry.
Parkhopper said in the (marina mafia) the following comment….”Sorry, don’t live on or own a boat and have never been kicked out of a marina.”….yet he seems to be very close to the issue. And has picked sides. I think parkhopper is a fake phoney fraud.
Park hopper….you are entitled to your own opionion but not your own facts. If you feel that you want to live in a society where one citizen has more rights than another…in general….so be it. …..BUT……..Trying to keep it under raps and hidden from view through harassment and intimidation is another thing altogether. Thats when the line has been crossed! It shows you know right from wrong but choose to ignore it.
OK I admit I’m a big lier. I didn’t get my way so I made up the whole marina story.
[edit – admin note. Please do not post using someone’s real name that is not yours. This is you first warning. Next time you will go on full moderation]
Wow Ritchie!! Someone tried to pretend to be you. That’s shamefull…..real liers exposed.
UPDATE: As of 4:45 p.m. Friday, Havre de Grace public information officer Jim Newby reported no new applicants had filed their candidacy to appear on the May 6 Election Day ballot. Newby did note that several people picked up applications Friday, but none had returned them before the end of the business day.
Would-be candidates still have Monday and Tuesday to file at city hall.
Anyone know what might happen if only two people file to run for the three city council seats?
from the REAL richie c
Par for the course !!!…
Park Hopper says “You should worry about where your going to dock you boat instead of Havre de Grace politics.”
I guess the real fear is that somone who lives “up the hill will not take bullieing from somone down the hill” !
This is very sad indeed as the people up the hill are as much HdG residents as those down the hill.
Mabey they should be reminded that this is the united states and not the old soviet union. The good people parkhopper mentions are those that would very happily re-distribute your hard earned property and possesions to the state….as long as THEY are the state ,(in this case the city), and tell you they did you a favor.
We have serious problems here in HdG. Basic understanding of our American system is severly lacking and has eroded to those who know somone and those who dont.
PS to the fake phoney fraud poser….actually i did get my way…and we are better for it ! The ones who didnt get their way are the ones who are engaging in this farce! They are really mad and all they can do is not mail me a slip lease…thats all. The lease issue is still being worked out. Nothing is over until the fat lady sings!
Remember…its not about boats…its about ethics…moral compasses…and un-americanism.
“To the schmuck who cant use his own name. I’m sorry my big brass balls intimidates you and makes you feel like less of a man. Try staying off the steroids it will help you with your shrunken testicles. If you were a real man you would use your own name. The real men in the Marina are the ones who blew off your petty pettition for the nonsense it is. ”
People need to challenge all candidates running for council or run yourselves…the devisiveness bad judjement brings is counterproductive. The microcasm of our city…the marina is a prime example of how a community can be destroyed when a few run roughshod over others. Many people stand back and watch……get vocal…write…go to council meetings …vote…and be seen.
Hypocrasy ,bad ethics and disreguard to our basic beleifs by elected officials lead to a bad community.
Speak out !
Brian…do you know who they are…who picked up apps……so i can see if I want to help or support them in any way?
Jim Newby told me he was in the back of city hall and didn’t see who picked up the applications.
I would love to see…and support candidates from the newer developments….with new attitudes and ideas…
Without the baggage of old ties and friendships that seem to supersede fairness and judgement…….
WE NEED A HERO OR TWO…..MABEY THREE……
Did you know that not many people vote in the local election?…..cummon…..you can do it!
RESCUE US !
An insider has told me that Jim Miller was po,ed at an article about street paving. In his normal revengfull way he suggested we, (the city), no longer advertise with the publication.
This vengfull streak is reminiscisint of the current situation with the marina and the original complaints against John Narvell…that he is also po,ed about.
Of course Jim Miller can refute with facts or justify his actions here.
If this is accurate is it a characer flaw that makes him feel a need to act out like a child when he doesnt get his way?
Just somthing to ponder with an election coming up.
I know a place where they can advertise if it is no longer kosher to advertise with a local publication. And that new place is probably cheaper and more effective. 😉
Dave Yensan says
That is a superb idea. While on Council I asked about internet advertising versus the antiquated and very expensive “local newspaper.” Without looking anywhere or bringing in a quote, the established folk (good old boys?) responded that it would violate Maryland law. I believe a municipality could advertise on its own web page for free plus selecting one or two other “respectable” sites and save better than half of the approximately $15,000 currently being invested in a reg.
As for city advertising, they should be able to do whatever they feel is in the best interest of their city, sounds like another stupid state law.
As for commercial advertising, it amazes me when I see ads in the local paper with their web address. If the goal is to get people to your website, their are much more effective ways to do that by advertising on other local websites. Of course, the reason they don’t currently is because there were no real options… until now. Wonder if it has ever come up at chamber of commerce meetings…
Steve…the point of what i said was to show the way Jim Miller does buisness…..with retrobution and vindictivness and secrecy. Somthing that must be considered on election day. It had not one thing to do with any state law…it goes hand in hand with trying to make such things as the 4th carnival and other “engraved in stone” events by private groups non accountable to the citizens.
The point was to take a serious look at his comments in council and his many attempts at more UN-ACCOUNTABLE and SECRET govt.
Thats what that bathroom cost…a trailer…portable…..for a million dollars…is the vender his brother?
Im going to spec a like bathroom and see the cost…if that was a million…please check your number….thats absolutly insane.
Must be the 55,000 toilet seats…army surplus……built with 25,000 dollar hammers…also army surplus.
A million dollars?
are you sure?
A million…as in 1,000,000.00 ?
It cant be !
M i l l i o n.
$ 1 , 0 0 0 , 0 0 0 . 0 0
My taxes should be half of what they are…another accomplishment of idiotes.
How much was city hall…and does it have as many stalls?
If in fact the bathroom was a million dollars that means that the maide service bathrooms for the marina were defended at a million dollars and the new slips for the hooligans were also a million…and my street in front of my house is falling apart…although two houses down at the mayors house they repaved his parking.
Mine is gravel and broken asphalt.
Delegate Dan Riley says
RitchieC sounds like you have a lot of concerns on many issues and you seem to be actively involved. Well, the water is fine, jump in and become a candidate for elected office.
Before I entered the teaching profession, I was a carpenter. One of my tools was the hammer. It is a simple, but important, tool. You can use the hammer to build or to destroy. So to it is with all of us in the political arena, we can be constructive and work with others or be destructive and just critize the efforts of others.
I believe the goal of the majority in elective office, be they Democrat, Republican, Independent, etc., is to improve the quality of life for their constituents. You may disagree with their methods and policy but try doing it in a manner which is “constructive, not destructive”.
Have a great day!
vietnam vet says
I don’t think richie feel’s as tho he has the ability or even want’s to be and elected official.
I suspect he was hopeing’ those elected would get there hand’s out of the tax payers pocket & do what is right’ there ”job” they were elected for.
lot’s of rhertoric about what there( the elected officials ) are going to do which is nothing !
To clarify for RichieC and others:
From the June 23, 2006 edition of The Record newspaper (full disclosure: I was the editor of the paper and author of this quote):
“Harford County budgeted about $450,000 for the project, but when new estimates indicated the bathrooms will cost more than $600,000, Havre de Grace was asked to pay the difference.
The final cost of the comfort station is expected to be about $630,000, but a picnic pavilion planned to be constructed on the roof is expected to push the price tag above $800,000”
It’s important to note, this is NOT the bathroom that was built in Tydings Park. The current Tydings Park bathroom, which was installed last May, cost about $200,000.
My point, which I think even his competitors (if there will end up being any) will agree, is that Miller helped put the brakes on the $800,000 “comfort station,” with its rooftop picnic area and gazebo, and guided the city to the much cheaper, yet still adequate facility currently in use in Tydings Park.
Del Riley…..The shagrin i feel for this administration goes back to the retaliation of my constructive critizim that has been exhibited by the ones I criticize here. The resistance to do the right thing when the right thing has been determined by civil and constructive means. When a deal is made that says…will you agree to allow the determination to be made by the city atterney …and than he goes with me …and than they start retaliating …is certainly not me destroying with the hammer. This shows a base lack of integrity by those who are retaliating and a lack of intestinal fortitude by those who sit and watch with their hands up their a%&.
The go along…get along attitude and gang mentality bastardizes the entire process.
The fact is that working from the inside is ok as long as it is their way that is derived.
Been there…done that…for years.
Thanks for commenting and if you want to know more contact me. Im easy to find. You might be surprised at what you here.
Vet is right….entering public office is not to be taken lightly. You must be able to focus on it…its not a hobby. Peoples lives are affected by your decisions.
vietnam vet says
it’s common practice too address our politician’s as ” honorable” as far as I can see there main concern is there pocket’s.
smooth talkers’ that rarely accomplish anything, accept trying to pass some silly bill that will inhance there pocket in one or another.
Honorable ”rogue’s” is more like it.
just take a look at some of that ” trash” they try to pass in annapolis’ what was we thinking…. when we managed to get them elected.
Vet I always let a man prove himself before I make a judgement.
vietnam vet says
I’am with jacob, it’s time for a revolution. if we wait on them to prove them self’s we will all be pushing up daisy’s.
Richie it ” ain’t can’t & won’t happen. there in’& we are out. they no longer need your vote. just your tax money”
I’am famous for holding kangaroo court. tried & convicted with out a judge & jury.
Vet…thats why Im jumping up and down and screaming for somone to get off the stick…new blood…..new ideas…and most of all…integrity and adherance to our base values.
Ill be damed if I will sit still and waite for the cattle prod to get to me.
vietnam vet says
tired blood& pathetic ideas, are becomeing the american way.just take a good look at our elected goverment & the mess were in.
the economy is a disaster. local politic’s are a joke.it’s all about ”money” your’s & mine and the duped public.
I did get a side walk repair. accomplished by none other than ruth elliot here in aberdeen.
needless to say”I’am paying for it now. with the blessing of a property’ tax increase. house appraisal was $ 200,000 it might sell at $ 125,000.00 on a good day.
remember election day! it’s comeing again.
Delegate B. Dan Riley says
RichieC I would enjoy sitting down and talking with you. Hope you are not allergic to beer. My email adress is Daniel.Riley@house.state.md.us and my district phone number is 410-676-1131. I will, for the most part, be living in Annapolis to April 7. I usually get to Edgewood, my home, late Saturday afternoon, spend Sunday with my family and then back to Annapolis. I think I can learn something from you.
vietnam vet says
Richie the powers that be have taken notice! speak your piece, watch the beer it ‘s fatning. don’t touch the stuff my self, I prefer to remain sober.
I will put a hold on my kangaroo court till further notice. and a BIG thank you too the dagger for allowing democracy to shine!
freedom of speech is a wonderfull thing.
good luck richie
Vet…THANK YOU!….and thank you for the kind words of encouragement.
I will take up Del Rileys offer in short order and let you guys know how it goes. Its a great oppertunity to get a one on one and very generous of him.
PS…. I love this venue…thios is unedited letters to the editio “gone wild”!
Rumor has it that John Curerri and Anderson paid a visit to city hall today. Could they be dropping off some paperwork?
Fact: James W. Walker and William Thomas Napier Martin have both filed to run for Havre de Grace City Council.
That’s two people, by the way, perhaps more coming soon.