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Haller wins fourth council term
Simonds defeated in third straight try

November 7, 2007

Reprinted from the Worcester Telegram article

WORCESTER— District 4 Councilor Barbara G. Haller swept into her fourth two-year term on the City Council with 61.9 percent of the vote in yesterday’s election.

Ms. Haller defeated Lynne H. Simonds, a founder of the Worcester Youth Center, by an unofficial count of 1,281 votes to 787. It is the third straight time she has defeated Ms. Simonds, who called Ms. Haller at 9:30 last night to concede.

Ms. Haller gave the victory sign and then pointed her fingers at a band of supporters who gathered at Gilrein’s, a blues bar Ms. Haller once owned, at 802 Main St. “Our victory is clear, our victory is decisive, our victory is you,” she told cheering partisans.

“Our neighborhoods are what make Worcester great,” said Ms. Haller, who has worked to protect neighborhoods from problem properties and from being overrun by what she called unchecked social services.

Asked what her first initiative will be when she begins her fourth term in January, she answered unabashedly, “crosswalks.” She still delights in the recollection of eyes glazing over when she announced in 2001 that one of her top priorities would be trash in the neighborhoods.

Ms. Haller believes the key to her success is knowing what bothers voters, even if it’s not what makes headlines. She noted that a 77-year-old woman crossing the street was hit by a car in Webster Square in the past two weeks, suffering serious injuries.

A dejected Ms. Simonds, who had been confident of victory this time, said she does not know what went wrong. “We worked hard,” she said, but “there just seems to be a disconnect.”

She called Ms. Haller’s election “the will of the people,” and congratulated her and wished her well. Asked whether she would run again, Ms. Simonds said, “I’m really tired. I’m going to take a vacation.”

In increasing her margin of victory over Ms. Simonds from 271 votes two years ago to 494 votes yesterday, Ms. Haller lost only one precinct, Precinct 3 in Ward 10 that includes the Piedmont neighborhood, out of the 10 precincts in Wards 8 and 10. She said that her diverse campaign organization included Latinos, Asians, Africans, Albanians and Russians.

While many of the issues were the same as two years ago, Ms. Haller said her increased success probably stems from the progress she has made in city government over the past two years. That includes an initiative that is attacking “problem properties” in the city and a task force she serves on studying homelessness in the city.

Among those congratulating Ms. Haller at the celebration last night were state Rep. Robert P. Spellane, D-Worcester; School Committee member Jack L. Foley; Frank Kartheiser of Worcester Interfaith; lawyer Hector Pineiro; Worcester Housing Director Scott M. Hayman; Ms. Haller’s old partner at Gilrein’s, Robin Scott; Probate Court official Paul LaCava, a former city official; and Javian Gutierrez, a Holy Cross senior Ms. Haller credited with giving her campaign a big push.

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