“I’m forever opposed and against the rezoning of the Inner Harbor,” says mayoral candidate Francisco A. Sclafani.

Over the years, Francisco A. Sclafani has found different reasons to run for mayor.

In 1995, he visited his sister at Addison Gilbert Hospital as she was treated for breast cancer and lamented the loss of the Babson Maternity Ward at the hospital.

“I said someone should do something about that,” Sclafani recalled.

His sister told him that instead of waiting for “someone,” he should do something himself. The next day, Sclafani said, he took out papers to run for mayor.

He lost that year and again in 1999 and in 2001. But in each campaign, he found new issues — restoration of the Paint Factory, stopping Inner Harbor rezoning, fixing potholes.

The result is a three-page, typewritten document that is Sclafani’s campaign platform this year in his fourth run for mayor.

But Sclafani said he also has a personal reason for running: “The things I do to meet women,” he said.

Sclafani is one of seven candidates on the ballot for the Oct. 2 preliminary election. The top two vote-getters will face off in the final election Nov. 6. The winner gets a two-year term and a $75,000-a-year salary.

After his three mayoral campaigns and an unsuccessful run for city councilor, Sclafani appears to have picked up on one of the biggest rules of politics: Stay on message. Questions about his personal life are barely answered before he reverts to his platform.

“I’m 49 years old; I’m in excellent condition for 49 years old,” Sclafani said, before returning to the issues: “I’m forever opposed and against the rezoning of the Inner Harbor, because you’re either a friend and ally of the Gloucester fishing industry, or you’re not.”

A question about his hobbies, which include reading, friends, family, golf, billiards, horseback riding, swimming and the design of a hydrogen-powered trailer truck, which he calls a “turn-the-course-of-history kind of invention,” leads directly into a discussion about a freeze-dried sewage plant, “one of my many proposals for mayor.”

His other proposals run the gamut from a task force for sidewalk repair to construction of a facility to desalinate seawater so it can be sold as bottled water to make money for the city. Sclafani said he has an opinion on almost everything and that’s what will eventually get him elected mayor.

“I don’t believe that bumper stickers or yard signs determine the outcome of political elections,” he said. “I think it’s the issues.”

Sclafani’s only fundraising channel is asking people to send him donations during his campaign speeches. He no longer goes door-to-door to solicit money, as he did during his first campaign — “I’m not built for long distance and I’m not built for heat,” he said. And after 38 yard signs were stolen during an earlier campaign, he’s given up on them.

Sclafani is single — though he says he has been proposed to six times — and a lifelong Gloucester resident who left briefly to get a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in marketing from Western Connecticut State University.

He has written a self-published book, “Breach of Faith,” which chronicles his memories of Gloucester. He’s a sometime truck driver and crane operator and a full-time politician and “American author.”

“I have no family. I am single. I have all the time in the world to commit myself to being the mayor of Gloucester,” Sclafani said.

Sclafani is a long shot again this year, jostling to make himself known in a crowded field, on practically no money. His opponents have slick Web sites with their photographs and their platforms; he has speeches written on a typewriter.

“I’m actually the underdog,” he said, but he won’t calculate the odds. “I’ll leave that up to the voters of Gloucester.”

It may be the last time they get the opportunity to decide, however. Sclafani said his life is at a crossroads. If elected, he would treat the job of mayor as a “lifelong commitment,” but he might go elsewhere if he loses again. He said he has an offer to become partner in a disco; he wouldn’t say where.

“If I pursue that interest, I won’t even be around,” he said.

He also might go back to writing the salt-free cookbook he planned before he switched to writing his memoirs.

Or, he said, he might be back in two years. “Every time you run, you say it’s the last time.”


Name: Francisco A. Sclafani

Address: 28 Middle St.

Age: 49

Family: Single

Occupation: Full-time politician and “American author,” sometime truck driver and crane operator

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