November 7, 2001

Peterson Takes Fourth Ward; Second Race Too Close to Call

Print More

Last night was filled with elation and uncertainty at the Democratic Party headquarters — the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union in downtown Ithaca — as election results for the two City of Ithaca fourth ward Common Council seats were announced.

The fourth ward district consists of West Campus and much of Collegetown.

In the race between East Hill Unity Party candidate Peter Mack ’03 and Democratic candidate Jamison Moore ’04, Mack appears to have edged Moore 154 votes to 133 votes with all districts reporting.

The fourth voting ward comprises four districts. The first and fourth districts voted in the Class of 1922 Hall, while the second and fourth districts voted at the Collegetown Fire Station.

Peter Mack received 85 votes in the first and forth districts, while Moore received 49 votes in the same districts.

Mack then received 69 votes in the second and third district, while Moore received 84 votes.

These vote totals, however, do not include 11 absentee ballots and an unknown number of affidavit votes. These votes, which have the capacity to swing the election in favor of Moore, will be tabulated by this afternoon.

Mack, when reached for comment, said that he could not comment on the results, because “the election has not been finalized yet.”

Moore described the election as “a very close, hard race.” He added, “We tried our best in the limited amount of time we had.”

If the absentee ballots and affidavit votes are not enough to elevate Moore to victory, he plans on going “back to [his] normal life.

“I will continue to stay active and will continue working for my causes,” he said.

Moore was disappointed with the voter turnout for the election. “The turnout could have been a lot better,” he said. “A lot of students are apathetic. This is proof that ‘get out the vote’ is the most important part of the election.”

Mack, however, was “very happy” with voter turn out. “It was great to see students voting,” he added.

In the race for the other contested Common Council seat, Democrat Carolyn Peterson beat out incumbent East Hill Unity Party candidate Joan Spielholz, 168 votes to 114 votes.

Peterson received 59 votes in the first and forth districts, while Spielholz received 62 votes in the same districts.

Peterson then received 109 votes in the second and third districts, and Spielholz received 52 votes.

Peterson “didn’t know what to expect” going against the incumbent Spielholz. “The fourth ward demographics are difficult,” she explained amid celebratory cheers last night at party headquarters.

“Students will keep seeing me,” Peterson said. “Just because I won doesn’t mean they’ll stop seeing me.”

Peterson urged the need to “get to know Peter Mack and work together as a partnership,” assuming Mack is still the winner following the count of absentee ballots and affidavit votes today.

Peterson discussed the importance of getting the student community involved in local politics through the neighborhood Collegetown Council. The program needs to “broaden its attendance and outreach,” Peterson said.

To do this, Peterson said she will suggest changing the meeting times of the council to better suit students’ schedules in an attempt to “try to get more students involved.”

Peterson also wants to commence a parking study in Collegetown and look into filling the numerous Collegetown shop vacancies.

Finally, Peterson wants to begin correcting the “pretty poor housing conditions” throughout Collegetown. This all “must be achieved within a budget,” she added.

Defeated Joan Spielholz said she was “disappointed, but not entirely.” Spielholz conceded that her opponent had “put in the energy and got the results.” She agreed that the fourth ward is a “very strange ward” when it comes to voter turnout.

Students are often hard to read, and election results depend a great deal on “which students vote,” she added.

“I felt strongly about the issues,” Spielholz said, “but I didn’t put in the effort that Carolyn put in.”

Spielholz will return to work at Cornell now that she is no longer holding a seat on the Common Council. She will also be “spending more time with the family.” Although partially disappointed by the election results, Spielholz said her ten-year old son responded to the news with a “shout of celebration.”

Archived article by Marc Zawel