Puglia launches Ward 7 alderman campaign

by Tom Nash on April 25, 2011

Joan Whitney Puglia

Joan Whitney Puglia has announced she will enter the race for the Ward 7 seat in the November Board of Aldermen elections.

Puglia, who has worked at Tufts University for 29 years, has close ties to the Board of Aldermen. Her father, Walter Whitney, and grandfather, John Whitney both served on the board and her husband, Andrew Puglia, have served as Ward 7 alderman from 1974 to 1983.

It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Puglia said of her decision to run. “It’s just the right time for me.”

Puglia’s website lays out a platform of government reform, naming “oppressive parking fines and fees” and zoning changes that would prevent “politically-connected developers from inflicting harm on our neighborhoods” as some of her key issues.

Puglia said she would also work to be a more responsive alderman than the incumbent, Bob Trane, who she says is too slow to act on the concerns of Ward 7 residents. One example, she said, is the city’s planning process on how to use the old Powder House Community School.

I think Bob’s missed the boat,” Puglia said. “He’s waiting for the mayor to decide what he wants to do.”

That attitude, Puglia added, appears to be common on the Board of Aldermen in general.

I would like to see the Board of Aldermen go back to the checks and balances it used to have,” she said. “There’s nothing wrong with asking questions. There’s nothing wrong with bringing that back.”

Community activist Barry Rafkind, who helps run Somerville Voices, is serving as Puglia’s campaign committee chair.

Joan will be a formidable candidate because she’s pragmatic, she can bring old Somerville and new Somerville together, and she can’t be intimidated,” Rafkind said in an email.

In deciding to run, Puglia said she had considered whether recently re-ignited talk of her husband’s past would be too much of a burden.

Andrew Puglia publicly challenged Mayor Joseph Curtatone’s administration last October after the Puglias’ son-in-law, Sean O’Brien, was continually passed over by the fire department despite being at the top of the eligible list because of his Iraq veteran status. A bypass appeal against the city is expected to be heard in July.

When defending the city after Puglia addressed the Board of Aldermen in October, Curtatone made an oblique reference to the fact that Puglia had been disbarred in 1998 for defrauding clients. He served six months in a house of corrections for embezzlement.

I’m not keeping him in the closet during the election,” Joan Puglia said. “He’s my husband and I love him dearly. He made mistakes, and I stood by him. I gave him the opportunity to heal from such a devastating episode in his life.”

Puglia joins Katjana Ballantyne in the race for the seat. Ballantyne will be hosting a campaign kick-off party tonight at Orleans in Davis Square.

Trane has not announced whether he is seeking re-election, and did not respond to a request for comment.

Post to Twitter

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Anon April 25, 2011 at 3:18 PM

Tom, while I usually am a fan of your writing, mentioning Mr. Puglia’s jailtime was both unnecessary and, to be honest, beneath you. Best of luck to Joan.

Barry Rafkind April 25, 2011 at 8:25 PM

Great article as usual, Tom!

Anon, Tom was right to mention the way Andrew repaid his debt to society.

James Norton June 2, 2011 at 4:07 PM

I agree with Barry – on both counts. Good article (I always liked Tom’s writing) and he was right in mentioning Andy’s past, especially since someone else decided to bring it up in a public forum (the oblique reference by the Mayor). I like Andy, always have, always will – irregardless of whatever he went through in his life previously, he has every right to stick up for his family.
Good stuff Tom, keep it coming.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: