GET RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT UNDER CONTROL:
Since I left office in 2016, Revere has seen an overwhelming increase in the number of residential apartment building developments. In particular, Revere Beach and Beachmont have been built up with breakneck speed. Thousands of apartments have already been built and are being proposed. With the development of Suffolk Downs, a new neighborhood with a population similar to Back Bay will soon be constructed. That means 2,700 new apartments in Revere alone, and another 10,000 in East Boston.
We need to take a firm stance on this important issue that directly impacts each and every one of us. My first action as Mayor will be to ask the City Council to impose a Two-Year Moratorium on all Apartment Building Construction.
We need to take four huge steps before we approve even one more apartment building in Revere:
1: We need to shift our focus to commercial and business development.
2: We need to fix our antiquated zoning ordinances so that “if” apartments are to be built: they are constructed with conditions in place that limit size and scope, we mandate certain minimum construction codes and they are zoned for where they have the least impact and the most benefit for our current residents.
3: We need to ensure that every new development pays direct costs to overhaul our infrastructure. They need to help us pay for solutions that will alleviate traffic congestion and protect existing residents from flooding as well as water or sewer backups that may be caused by their project.
4: We need to prioritize greenspace, parks and services for our current residents so we don’t sacrifice our quality of life for the benefit of out-of-town developers.
When I was Mayor, from 2012 through 2016, I did not approve, nor did I encourage, a single market-rate apartment building. Instead, I focused on senior and affordable housing as well as parks and playgrounds. I also called for a two year moratorium, a stop, to all apartment building construction in order to get our zoning under control. This was ignored by the current administration and resulted in what you see today- a city that is overcrowded and in traffic gridlock. I feel the same way I felt four years ago: we need to focus on the people who live here now before continuing down this path and massively growing our population. We are a welcoming community but like everything else in life, there are limits on what can be built and placed into a geographic area. We need to make sure the people who live in Revere can afford to stay in Revere and we have to make sure they have the best quality of life possible.
FIND SMART SOLUTIONS TO TRAFFIC
The time for traffic studies is over: it’s time for real, substantive action. Traffic is not just a quality of life issue, it’s a health and safety issue. We cannot idly sit by while our emergency vehicles can’t effectively respond to calls for service and speeding drivers are cutting through neighborhoods to save time, putting our children at risk.
While a portion of the traffic we have to endure is regional, we cannot continue to magnify the problem by rapidly increasing our population. The first step towards slowing the increase in traffic is putting a stop to the construction of new apartments.
However, we need to take further action and proactively find solutions to our traffic woes:
1: We need to heavily invest in our traffic department. Our busiest intersections should have police officers who are trained on the best methods to reduce traffic and gridlock by directing traffic at peak hours. Doing so will help keep pedestrians safer.
2: At lights without traffic officers, we need to invest in smart lighting that effectively moves traffic as quickly as possible. Drivers should not be stuck at a red light while there is no traffic coming from a different direction.
3: Nothing is more important than safe neighborhoods. We need to crack down on speeding drivers cutting through our residential neighborhoods. Saving a few minutes in traffic is not worth the risk to our children. We will assign officers to the most heavily trafficked neighborhoods to keep our children safe.
4: I would hire a full time traffic professional to work inside City Hall to address traffic flows in our community who would provide suggestions and solutions to keep cars moving.
IMPROVE OUR SCHOOLS
A great city needs great schools, and great schools need the support of a great city. A top notch education is the gateway to a lifetime of success.
The massive population influx that has been caused by this rampant overdevelopment over the last four years has dramatically overcrowded our schools. The problem is most glaring at Revere High School, where classrooms are filled to the max, resulting in over 35 kids in a class, with some students having to eat their lunches in hallways and other schools holding classes in the cafeteria. This is unacceptable.
As someone who proudly supported a plan to build five new schools back in 2001 at the cost of $83.5 Million, I am both alarmed and embarrassed that our students and teachers are being forced to teach and learn in such difficult conditions.
Our students deserve the best, and if elected I plan to:
1: Fast track the process to get a new High School. I will meet with the Governor and the Massachusetts School Building Association to fight and advocate for the funds to build a new state-of-the-art high school based on our immediate needs. Our children deserve nothing less.
2: Make sure our students have multiple paths to success. I have talked to many students who would like to follow a different path by attending a trade school. We have to make sure our children are in an environment that is best suited for their personal success. I am glad that our students have the option to attend Northeast Metro Tech in Wakefield, but many students don’t get the chance to attend due to the limited number of seats available. I pledge to be an advocate for more seats at the Northeast Metro Regional Vocational School for our children as well as explore trade school options to be included as part of a curriculum at our newly designed High School. Students shouldn't be turned away from exploring their passions just because there aren’t enough seats.
3: Expose our children to multiple career tracks. I would explore more options for our students by encouraging internships within our business community and at City Hall to give our children the greatest possibility of success by providing real life experience.
No matter where their path leads after leaving Revere, we need to do our best to accommodate all students, based on their individual wants and needs, to prepare them for life after Revere High School. Whether it is college, the military, or entering the workforce, it is our job to give them the tools that they need to succeed and prosper. When I was Mayor, Revere High School was selected as the Best Urban High School in the country by the National Center for Urban School Transformation, and we built the state-of-the-art Hill Elementary School. Our children are our future and I will continue to invest in their education.
FIGHT CRIME HEAD ON
You deserve to feel safe in your school, place of work, on our streets and in your home. During my time as Mayor, I made it my number one priority to make our city safer and we succeeded in doing so. I hired an additional 20 critically needed police officers to protect our streets and put them under professional, experienced leadership. I also opened a new Revere Police Substation across from City Hall so our residents could access officers who were closer to downtown.
During my time as Mayor, the city’s crime rate went down by 20%.
Under my administration, a SWAT team was created and our Honor Guard was reinstituted. We combined our Drug Unit with our Detective Bureau and formed long neglected alliances with the FBI, Massachusetts State Police, Boston Gang Unit and the North Shore Gang Task Force. In 2012, Operation Whiplash took dozens of guns off the streets near Shirley Avenue and numerous gang members into custody. This led to a safer more livable area for residents. We also developed a formal recognition program to recognize officers who went above and beyond. Police officers work hard every day to protect our community and deserve to be recognized.
We also made a commitment to our Fire Department. In 2012, during my first few months as Mayor, ten firefighters were coming off of a Federal Safer Grant. This meant that the city would either have to lay these firefighters off, or fund these positions. This decision for me was an easy one. When someone in our community calls 911 looking for assistance because of a fire or medical emergency, there is no compromising on manpower. We funded these positions and as a result, made our city safer.
If elected, my priorities will not change. Without safe streets and neighborhoods; without highly trained public safety personnel; without an effective strategy to respond to every area of the city, all else becomes less meaningful. I will continue to build on the infrastructure that we have and make sure every resident of our community feels protected.
GET OUR TAXES AND BUDGET UNDER CONTROL.
Families need to keep more of their money and City Hall needs to do more with the money they already collect. Over the last three years your property taxes have increased by 20% in order to pay for an unprecedented $50 million dollar budget increase.
A large part of that $50 million increase was used to hire an additional 124 city employees, an absurd and unnecessary increase. City hall has become bloated and inefficient. Think about the cost of 124 new paychecks, 124 new benefit plans, and 124 new additions to our retirement system! It is putting a strain on the taxpayers and it is time to end this senseless, bureaucratic spending.
I want to make sure that the people who live in Revere can afford to stay in Revere. If taxes keep increasing the way they have been over the last four years, our residents will soon be priced out of the city.
Think about this- a budget up $50 million and your taxes up 20%..... and what do we have to show for it? When I was Mayor, we did the job with 124 less people. It can be done.
During my time as mayor, we won the city’s first ever budget award and took the city to its highest bond rating in its history. When elected, I will fight to get our budget, and as a result, our taxes, under control.
I plan to do this by:
1: Putting a stop to the rampant over hiring at City Hall.
2: Attracting increased commercial investment that will bring in revenues without increasing our population and expenditures.
3: Analyzing each and every department and investigating options to create economies of scale.
4: Incorporating an anti-fraud program where our entire finance team periodically evaluates internal control procedures to ensure they are working. Also, we need to create established performance measures and form an audit committee, by reviewing and updating our ethics policy.
END CORRUPTION AT CITY HALL
You work hard for your money and invest in our city through property taxes. It is a slap in your face to see that money stolen or wasted due to corruption and lack of oversight.
Since I left office in 2016, the City of Revere has dealt with not one, but two major corruption scandals. First, the city lost tens of thousands of dollars due to a city employee, who was hired by the current administration, selling stolen water meters to unsuspecting residents for cash. Only when uncovered by an outside audit, it was determined that the city had lost approximately $90,000 from our parking meter revenue account. What is possibly the most alarming part is for 14 months, no revenues whatsoever, zero, not one quarter, were deposited into this account, yet no one noticed. This lack of oversight is simply unacceptable. To have two active corruption cases open in Chelsea District Court in just 4 years time is not a recipe for good financial footing.
I am proud to say I oversaw a completely scandal free administration.
I made sure to get monthly reports from every department and reviewed these reports through our program named Rev Stat. This was a forum where our department heads and finance team met monthly to understand precisely where we stood financially. When we found city employees taking too much overtime, we put a stop to it. If the current administration had utilized this methodology, these cases of public corruption could have been prevented or stopped within the first month.
With proper oversight of each and every department of the City of Revere, we will end corruption at City Hall and effectively use taxpayer money.
To protect your taxpayer dollars and stop corruption at City Hall I will:
1: Reinstitute monthly department head meetings with our finance team to cut waste and protect your tax dollars.
2: Enforce our residency requirements for those who work in City Hall. If you work for the city, it should be a requirement that you live here. I want city employees to feel obligated to do right by the city that they live in.
3. Pay special attention to our outside audit reports and implement feasible policies and procedures to take tighter control of all revenues coming in and out of City Hall.