Incumbent, newcomer vie for Ward 4 seat

NASHUA – A retiree with an aim to help seniors is challenging a younger working professional who promotes his record of community involvement.

But that does not suggest the race for the Ward 4 alderman seat rests entirely on age. Challenger William McCarty also has ideas for the community at large, including the improvement of roads. He faces incumbent Mark Plamondon in the Nov. 4 election.

Ward 4 includes the Tree Streets and Little Florida neighborhoods, and the central part of downtown. The seat carries a two-year term.

Plamondon, 46, is seeking another term so he can continue working on projects he has taken on during his three terms on the board. He served from 1996-97, and then returned to the board in 2000.

Among his plans is a continued focus on downtown redevelopment, including the Broad Street Parkway. He also wants to improve Ledge Street traffic and keep fusing the volunteer efforts of the youth _ keep fusing the volunteer efforts of the youth and elderly in that neighborhood.

McCarty, 65, has never held political office. But he is dissatisfied with city spending and the performance of the board.

He promises to work with other aldermen, but remain true to ideals that he considers different from those of current board members. He also said he would make himself available to constituents, including the immediate return of phone calls.

“Let’s get rid of the big spenders,” McCarty said. “And I want something done for the elderly: lower taxes.”

McCarty endorses a ballot referendum to tighten the city’s spending cap. He also thinks the Department of Public Works has too much control of city affairs, and he criticizes the condition of city streets and sidewalks, particularly those in his Tyler Street neighborhood.

He doesn’t see the need for a second roundabout near Rivier College, and thinks public works funds should instead finance the paving of roads. McCarty also wants to see traffic proceed more smoothly on Main Street.

“I’m stubborn enough.” McCarty said. “If I believe in something, I fight for it.”

Plamondon serves as the aldermanic liaison to the Board of Public Works, Board of Fire Commissioners and Ethnic Awareness Committee. He’s interested in serving the ward for a fourth term.

“Not in this ward. It’s the busiest ward,” he said. “You’ve got the inner city, downtown development, hazardous waste at the Mohawk Tannery, Broad Street. It really takes three or four aldermen, but once you get it into your blood and the longer you do this, the more you know people and situations.”

Plamondon cites many reasons why he should win re-election, but chief among them is a desire to keep working on the Ledge Street neighborhood.

In what he calls his master plan for the area, Plamondon said he is helping to link residents of Davidson Landing and Gatewood Manor with city youths to work on the rehabilitation of the Heritage Rail Trail and Mine Falls Park.

“I’ve got the life experience from the seniors and the efforts of the Boy Scouts and the Boys and Girls Club,” he said. “I hope the commingling of the elderly and the kids gives them the wherewithal to expand the quality of their lives.”

Plamondon wants to keep working on redeveloping the downtown, particularly by focusing on parking and traffic issues. He supports the current but still unofficial scheme of the Broad Street Parkway – a scaled-down road and bridge – but wants to make sure it does not ultimately infringe on residents in his ward.

“There’s a target date of 2008. It’s going along good,” he said. “We’re still waiting for the EPA supplemental environmental impact study, but I don’t foresee any problems.”

Plamondon said he also wants to center his attention on improving the parks of Ward 4, including one on Palm Street. The skateboard park on Pine Street has proved successful, he said, but the kids want more work to be done there.

He disapproves of the proposed change to the spending cap, and believes that any tightening of spending would threaten city services to the point where layoffs and program cuts would have to be considered.

Plamondon believes all youths should benefit from Stellos Stadium, especially bands, and said events for adults should be able to take place there with a special exception. McCarty said the stadium “was built for children and it should be used by children.”