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The results of the preliminary election, the Somerville Homeless Coalition’s Road Race, and the Ignite festival to take place in October



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Bypasses a run for governor


Residents reflect on what it’s like to live with the highways in their backyards


Councilor Will Mbah leads in mayoral race

On September 14, Somerville held its preliminary election for the fields of mayor, Ward 5 City Councilor, and Ward 7 City Councilor. There were four candidates in the mayor’s race: Katjana Ballantyne, Mary Cassesso, Will Mbah, and William “Billy” Tauro. Mbah came in first place, receiving 30% of the vote. Ballantyne came in second. The two will be advancing to the ballot in November.

Mbah earned 4,498 votes, while Ballantyne took 4,162. Cassesso came in with 4,083, while Tauro received 2,215 votes. Mbah, Ballantyne, and Cassesso are all Democrats, while Tauro ran as an independent. In the City Council race, Tessa Bridge and Beatriz Gomez Mouakad won the race for Ward 5, while Becca Miller and Judy Pineda Neufeld won Ward 7.

“I want to express my deepest gratitude to all voters who came out, all of our volunteers who knocked doors, and to my opponents Katjana Ballantyne and Mary Cassesso, who both have run honorable campaigns,” said Mbah, in a statement. “Only in Somerville, could an immigrant from Cameroon be elected city councilor and now have the opportunity to make this city a place for all those who dream of a better life. I’m incredibly proud of the grassroots campaign we ran, all without taking a dime of developer money. I look forward to using the coming weeks to speak with voters about my progressive vision for Somerville, which will include dramatically expanding our affordable housing, a Green New Deal for Somerville, a commitment to make developers pay their fair share, and making public transit accessible, efficient, and free for everyone.”

On September 16, Tauro released a statement in his Somerville News Weekly, saying, “We are still in the race!” On September 18, Tauro claimed that there was a mishandling of ballots and that “the election department will be investigated and when found guilty of crimes that tangible evidence has come forward, will be held accountable 100%. He added that he expects to see his name on the ballot in November and will be holding a sticker/write-in campaign.

“The time for election fraud is over in this CITY, and its now the time for every citizen to protect this valuable right to vote as strongly as if we were invaded by illegal hackers or others meant to destroy the Democracy that has built our great nation,” wrote Tauro. “Have faith and trust in the system of due process and with a bit of honesty, all will be revealed shortly.”

Somerville 5K Road Race will support homeless

 The Somerville Homeless Coalition has announced that after an Arlington Detour Race in 2019 and Virtual 2020, this year, their Road Race will return to the heart of Somerville. The 26th Annual Somerville 5K Road Race will be held on Saturday, October 2, 2021 in Davis Square. With over 200 supporters already registered to run on behalf of SHC clients facing homelessness, eviction, and food insecurity, organizers say “the race’s return to Davis Square is sure to be an exciting event.”

“The Somerville 5K road race has been a fixture in Somerville for over 25 years,” wrote Somerville Homeless Coalition Executive Director Michael Libby, in a statement. “Each year the event is critical in raising funds needed to operate our wide-range of programming, and remains essential to raising awareness for our neighbors who struggle to put food on their tables, stay safe in their housing and move off the streets or out of shelters into a place they can call home. We cannot do this work alone and we are grateful for the community’s support for our race.”

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, SHC was able to provide food, shelter and affordable housing to clients, with an 87% increase in the number of people served over the last year. As a result of contributions from community members and others, SHC was also able to support 72 families in keeping their housing in 2020.

However, they still have 394 families in need of rental assistance. This year alone, SHC has been successful in keeping 65 families from eviction—each instance averaging $4,250. If you’re unable to attend the race in person, SHC is also offering a Virtual Race option. This way, participants can run the race from the comfort of their neighborhood, and still support SHC clients.


Start: 9:00AM sharp! (rain or shine)

Entry Fee: $30 before 9/24, $35 after 9/24

Registration & Check-In: On race day 7:30AM – 8:30AM

Registration, start, finish and awards ceremony take place behind the old Rite Aid at the end of the Bike Path near Highland Avenue and Grove Street in Davis Square.

Course: Urban, varied terrain, arrows at all turns, mile markers, 5K (3.1 miles). Click here to view the course map!

Results: Professional, computerized CHIP TIMING and results by Spitler Race Systems.

T-Shirts: Free t-shirts for those registered by 9/17 (a small amount of t-shirts may be available for purchase on race day).

Ignite festival will light up Union Square

The Somerville Arts Council is hosting Ignite 2021: A Global Food and Fire Festival. It will be held on October 2, in Union Square, from 6-10 p.m. There is a suggested donation of $2, and you will get a tiger sticker with your contribution.

“To celebrate Union Square’s sizzling food landscape we bring you: Ignite, an evening of international eats, fire throwers, roving entertainment, and a raucous celebration of global culture,” reads the event’s Facebook page. “In addition to many local food vendors, there will be interactive light installations, numerous illuminated performers and to top it all off, FIRE! Local eateries throughout the Square will be featuring Ignite themed specials.”

Food Vendors:

-Nibble Kitchen


-Masala Square

-Siam Ginger

-(Nibble grads) Carolicious

This article is syndicated by the Somerville Wire municipal news service of the Somerville News Garden project of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism.

All Somerville Wire articles may be republished by community news outlets free of charge with permission and by larger commercial news outlets for a fee. Republication requests and all other inquiries should be directed to


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Shira Laucharoen is assistant director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism and assistant editor and staff reporter of the Somerville Wire.

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