Tisbury voters elect Larry Gomez selectman, reject school administration building

Voters approved the VNA building purchase and rejected funding for new school administration building.

Pamela Brock, left, and Leslie Clapp were outside the Tisbury voting booths, encouraging people to vote for senior support and for Larry Gomez as selectman. — Photo by Michael Cummo

Updated 2:20 pm, Wednesday, April 29

Tisbury voters went to the polls on Tuesday and elected Larry Gomez, owner of Greenwood House inn and longtime chairman of the finance and advisory committee, to fill one seat on the three-member Tisbury board of selectmen.

Voters split on the six Proposition 2.5 ballot questions. They said yes to questions 1, 2, and 3, and no to questions 4, 5, and 6.

A total of 578 voters, or 17 percent of the town’s 3,321 registered voters, exercised their right to determine town affairs.

Mr. Gomez (462 votes) soundly defeated Frank Brunelle (84 votes), and will fill the seat formerly occupied by Jonathan Snyder.

“I would like to say thank you to all who supported me in this campaign,” Mr. Gomez said in an email to The Times following the election. “I hope I can live up to their expectations. I will continue my careful review of items that come before the selectmen. If I feel it is not in the best interest of the town, I will just say no.”

Mr. Brunelle fared no better in a face-off against incumbent Daniel Seidman for one five-year term on the planning board. Mr. Seidman received 357 votes while Mr. Brunelle received 129 votes.

“My congratulations to Larry Gomez — hard-working, honest, and deserved to win — Now the work begins,” Mr. Brunelle said in an email to The Times. “I would compare myself somewhat to the Green Party, which usually gets 1 or 2 percent. So by my reckoning, we did pretty well. Thank you everyone for your vote and your confidence in me.”

“It is always beneficial to have an opponent, give people a choice,” Mr. Seidman said in an email to The Times. “I would like to thank the residents of Tisbury for the opportunity to continue on the Planning Board. We have a great board and have made amazing progress since the start of the vision process. My goal is to continue to keep the momentum going and have the planning process transparent and inclusive. I look forward to a fruitful five-year term and a reinvigorated Tisbury.”

Voters filled several open seats by write-in ballot. Keenan Delaney (11 votes) was elected to the board of assessors; Pamela Brock (38 votes) was elected to a two-year term on the finance and advisory committee; Barbara Fortes (22 votes) and Pamela Brock (2 votes) were elected to one-year terms on the finance and advisory committee; Ben Robinson (85 votes) was elected to a three-year term on the planning board. George Balco (35 votes) will join Nora Nevin (411 votes) and Pamela S. Street (405 votes) on the library board of trustees; and John Thayer (21 votes) will join Jeffrey C. Kristal (367) on the the public works commission.

Also elected: constables, Mark J. Campos (387), Kenneth A. Barwick (371); board of health, Malcolm Rich Boyd (449); school committee, Amy B. Houghton (414); water commissioner, Roland B. Miller (401); finance and advisory committee (three-year term), Paul J. Cefola (312), Nancy B. Gilfoy (385), and Thomas Lawrence Keller (331).

Voters also confronted six Proposition 2.5 questions. Voters approved a request for $208,929 to fund the Tisbury School budget (351-202); voters approved a request to help pay for the county-engineered purchase of the former VNA building for the Center for Living (289-254); and voters approved a request to fund the cost of installing underground utilities on Beach Road (319-219), despite a decision at town meeting to table the question. Voters now have the option of passing the measure on town meeting floor within six months to avoid another ballot question.

Voters said no to acquiring two lots adjacent to the Vineyard Haven Library (210-309); voters said no to a request to fund the purchase of property at 14 Pine Street (185-319); and voters turned down a request to kick in the town’s share of the estimated $3.6 million cost to build a new administrative building for the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School District (212-326).

Approval of the school district request was dependent on approval by all of the six towns. Edgartown said yes. West Tisbury voters said no. Chilmark voters went to the polls yesterday. Oak Bluffs voters decide the question today. Aquinnah votes on May 13.