Selectmen Candidates Share Signature Issues

School Committee, Library Trustees and Housing Authority hopefuls also offer thoughts to live and tv audience

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From left; Brent Putnam, Ahmed Mustafa and Catherine Bumpus speak to the League of Women Voters

As the May 2o local election draws nearer, Falmouth voters are getting ample opportunity to explore the candidates' stand on a host of issues. The latest forum, sponsored by the Falmouth League of Women Voters, was held at the Morse Pond School last night and offered a taste of the hopefuls' views on everything from climate protection to regional transportation to, of course, the upcoming ballot questions.

Moderated aptly by former Associate Town Counsel Ed DeWitt, the forum featured a question-and-answer session where citizens in attendance had the rare opportunity to ask collective questions for the candidates. While contested races like the School Committee and Housing Authority inspired a couple of residents to stand up and query the candidates, the line to ask those running for the town's highest office streched halway up the aisle in the Morse Pond School Auditorium.

The Haymaker in this title bout was certainly the discussion on Question 1 on the ballot, which seeks $18.8 million to finish the renovation of Falmouth High School.The Haymaker in this title bout was certainly the discussion on Question 1 on the ballot, which seeks $18.8 million to finish the renovation of Falmouth High School.  While Incumbents Mustafa and Bumpus offered an "unequivocal yes" and "yes" respectively when asked how they would vote on this election season's most debated issue, Putnam appeared to waffle a bit, first offering a "yes, but there should be an audit now" answer, which morhped into an "I'm leaning toward no" response when pressed further by Precinct Five Town Meeting Member Nick Lowell.

Most other questions received a fairly unified response from the three candidates.  Each expressed support for regional transportation, although Mustafa appeared to be the only candidate that knew that Falmouth has an appointee to the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority.

The most interesting discussion of the evening came from a seemingly unscripted question from Moderator DeWitt.  As a follow-up to answers that mentioned veteran Town Manager Robert Whritenour, DeWitt asked, "How's he doing?"  The answers fell well short of a ringing endorsement.  Two-term incumbent Mustafa expressed confidence in the town's top appointed official, while Bumpus and Putnam both raised concerns about complaints received regarding the lack of responsiveness and openness from the corner office. Each promised a more open and positive  government if elected.

On what is potentially the most expensive issue in the town's history, townwide wastewater planning, each candidate offered a different perspective.  Bumpus called the ongoing New Silver Beach sewer project a "failed model," while Mustafa expressed confidence in water quality volunteer and Comprehensive Wastewater Planning Chair Jack Barnes, while Putnam lamented what he perceived to be a lack of listening on the New Silver Beach initiative and promised not to support projects that pit neighbor against neighbor.

Polls are open Tuesday from 7 A.M. to 8 P.M. For information on polling locations, contact Town Clerk Michael Palmer at 508-495-7360, or via e-mail.

Money, Money, Money

Bumpus outraised and outspent her opponents, taking in $5,795, while doling out $3,383.This week was also the deadline for filing campaign finance documents with Palmer's office. Each candidate filed the required listing of receipts and expenses on time.

As of the filing deadline May 12, Bumpus outraised and outspent her opponents, taking in $5,795, while doling out $3,383.  Putnam raised $4,050 while spending $2,853 in his second bid for public office, while Mustafa raised $3,630 and spent $2,844 to retain his seat.  Bumpus spent $1,890 on newspaper advertising with the Falmouth Enterprise, an amount nearly double her opponents combined.

Local notables donating to their favorite candidate included former Town Administrator Peter Boyer ($100), former County Commissioner Vicky Lowell ($100), 300 Committee Chair Leonard Johnson ($100), and local gadfly and Finance Committee member Adrian "Andy" Dufresne ($200) to Bumpus; Selectman Chairman Kevin Murphy and wife Karen ($200), former donut magnate Amancio "Amos" Correia ($100), local jeweler Mustafa Akkawi ($500), and Dufresne ($200) to Mustafa; and former ZBA members John Druley ($500) and Matt McNamara ($100), as well as cranberry activists Linda Davis ($250) and Henry Dick ($200) to Putnam.  It should be noted that Druley is Putnam's Father-in-law.

The candidates will sqare off again tonight in a live telivised debate on Falmouth Community Television at 7 P.M.

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