Election '13: Fitchburg has choices
Posted in the Leominster Forum
#1 Sep 15, 2013
Election '13: Fitchburg has choices
Fitchburg has choices
By Alana Melanson, [email protected] e.com
Posted: 09/15/2013 06:30:01 AM EDT
ROADS: A motorist approaches a rough patch on the John Fitch Highway last winter.
FITCHBURG -- Rolande Gamache, 66, said she doesn't feel safe at night outside her Theresa Street home because her streetlights remain dark.
She said she's called every city councilor about the issue, but only Councilors-at-Large Marcus DiNatale and Dean Tran have responded. As far as Gamache is concerned, those who did not call her back won't receive her vote in this fall's City Council race.
Joseph Byrne, 71, a resident of Ward 4, said the biggest problem in the city right now is its crumbling streets.
"I had friends come up from New Jersey, and their statement to me was,'My God, there's no streets without bumps,' " he said. "I know the mayor is trying to do the best she can, because for so many years streets were
CRIME: Police search the ground for evidence after a shooting on Dec. 14 at the intersection of Orange and Cedar streets.
repaired politically and not on a regular scheduled basis, and she's brought that back in, so hopefully we'll be moving down that road to better streets."
Unlit streetlights and crumbling streets are just two of the many issues on residents' minds heading into the homestretch of this year's City Council campaign. With the primary election for Wards 1 and 4 out of the way and the ballot officially set for the November general election, candidates now have less than two months to convince residents why they should earn their vote.
While Mayor Lisa Wong is running unopposed for the first time since she took office six years ago, the race for City Council is shaping up to be an interesting one, with four of six wards guaranteed to see new faces representing them and some current ward councilors aiming for at-large seats.
So far, four key issues are emerging: roads, streetlights, public safety and bringing more business to the city.
In Wards 1 and 4, in particular, public safety has come to the forefront of issues, with both wards being rocked by homicides and other violence over the spring and summer, especially Ward 4.
Candidates in those wards have pledged to do whatever they can to hire more police to
LIGHTS: A streetlight near the Upper Common on Main Street. Residents would like to see more of these lit at night.
make the city safer, as well as promote ways in which all residents can be more involved in keeping one another safe.
Wong has said more police does not necessarily guarantee less crime, but many current councilors have expressed a desire to hire more officers.
"We have had more police and more crime and less police and less crime," said Wong. "My public-safety strategy will be to continue to invest resources in crime-prevention strategies, which includes the schools, summer programs, parks, code enforcement and housing."
June Sears, 74, a Ward 4 resident, said people need to be more involved and contribute to public safety, as well as put more effort into understanding what police do. She wants to see city government choose
#2 Sep 15, 2013
SCHOOLS: Residents would like to see city students, including those at the Arthur Longsjo Middle School, perform better.
a police chief who is like the soon-to-retire current chief, Robert DeMoura, because she believes he has done a good job.
Josephine Cormier, 91, a Ward 1 resident, wants to see the Senior Center and Director Joan Goodwin receive more support from the council, as well as residents and local businesses. As a member of the original team that started Our Father's Table, which has restaurants that regularly donate food for the less fortunate, she believes local establishments should do the same for seniors.
Phyllis Winter, 74, a resident of Ward 3, said she is happy Wong will be staying in office, because "she's not afraid to attack particular areas," but she's not very happy with the prospect of a slots parlor coming to Leominster.
"There's enough poverty in Fitchburg and Leominster already," she said. "A casino just makes more."
After New England Wire Products announced it would be moving its operations from Fitchburg to Leominster earlier this year, some in the city said Fitchburg must do more to keep and attract business. That debate will likely focus on taxes: Fitchburg's commercial tax rate is $25.26 for every $1,000 of assessed property value, while Leominster's is $17.96.
In July, the City Council unanimously approved creating and funding a new position that will manage economic development. Wong said having a person dedicated to economic development will help retain current businesses and attract new ones to the city.
Byrne was happy to see three new people who had never run for office take a shot at the Ward 4 council seat. He said they have "brought new life to the political scene" of the ward.
"I just hope they're quick learners, so that they can get their feet wet on the budget issues, and I hope they work closely with the mayor so that we're all on the same page together," he said.
#3 Sep 15, 2013
To some, there are still not enough candidates coming forward to seek office. Scott Hay, 65, a Ward 6 resident and brother of Councilor-at-Large Stephan Hay, believes this speaks to a lack of involvement on the parts of the residents of Fitchburg.
In addition to Wong, Hay's council representative, Council President Jody Joseph, is running unopposed this year, as is Ward 5 candidate Angelo Bisol.
"I think Jody does a decent job, but I think there are probably other candidates who could come in with new ideas and fresher views," Scott Hay said. "And I think even if someone else isn't elected, I think it pushes -- as is the case in any situation -- competition pushes people to do a better job."
Councilors have to be willing to speak out and present ideas, monitor the budget and "not just sit there and acquiesce and accept whatever someone else is saying, whether it's the mayor or other city councilors," Hay said.
He said the city has terrible roads and many departments have not gotten the funding they need, which he believes is the result of deferred maintenance and a small commercial tax base.
"We're not attracting business," Hay said. "It's tough, I think, for the politicians to try and do that because of the fact that we don't have any highways and easy access to Fitchburg, but you've got to increase your business base and tax base in order to really fund public safety, or fund road improvements, or schools -- any of the things we want to have in services."
Given the results of a recent state Department of Revenue review of the financial status of the city, Wong said she will be putting as much time as possible into addressing ballooning pension and other retirement costs.
Just like police have been using and analyzing data to determine where to target resources, Wong said, the schools are now doing the same, for the first time. She said better targeting of resources within the schools will lead to better student outcomes, and better schools will lead to higher property values.
The city has lost $15 million in state aid since Wong took office. The city needs to look at where it can find new revenue, Wong said, though it will likely not keep pace with how much has been lost.
Things like grants and finding savings through renegotiating health care for city employees have assisted in back-filling state-aid cuts, Wong said, but they're not enough.
The city is in the position it is today because it chose not to save for many years, she said. While $4.5 million has been saved to the stabilization account over the past five years, the city actually needs to save that amount every year to fund its liabilities, Wong said, meaning it is saving at about 20 percent of the pace it needs to catch up.
She intends to put before the council the creation of an irrevocable trust to help pay down the city's retirement liability. Due to increased recurring tax revenue that is anticipated to come from Great Wolf Lodge -- an expansion and renovation of the Holiday Inn, Coco Key Water Resort and Central Massachusetts Exposition Center -- Wong anticipates being able to save $500,000 each year.
"The bad news is we've been disciplined, but we actually need to ramp it up," she said. "But it doesn't all have to be pain to save money. Because we have money in the bank, we can actually make investments that yield returns."
Savings have already been realized by purchasing the streetlights, Wong said, and the majority have been turned back on. In the next year she hopes to convert all streetlights to energy-efficient LED lights, which she said will allow the city to turn on its remaining streetlights and continue to produce savings.
"It's a win-win," Wong said. "But a lot of win-wins require work and upfront capital. Those are two things (in which) the city did not do well for many years. I think any private business knows you need to innovate and invest to grow. We're positioning ourselves to be able to do that."
#4 Sep 15, 2013
Nice to see people are talking about my proposals. This is why it is worth running. They have done this before though and then proceeded with no action.
What they all say, "sounds good" but what they have done says different.
You need someone like me to stand there no matter who's cousin or relative is affected and to cast their vote for what is right for ALL Fitchburg citizens.
Now I have to ask; What have they done for road repair in the past six years? What have they done for public safety in the last6 years? What have they done for the elderly in the past decade or more?
The answer? NOTHING!
#5 Sep 15, 2013
Obviously the clear choice is to elect a violent ex-con who was involved in an altercation with an off duty cop and on duty EMS workers. Oh, and this person hasn't held a job in years and is currently on disability. Obviously they have their finger on the pulse of the city.
#6 Sep 15, 2013
Ex-con is a label and that is it. My only involvement with a off duty officer and an EMT in Fitchburg is when I was attacked and falsly charged a month after I pulled papers. They said on here that they would attack me at that establishment and others would lie about the attack. Imagine they stated that on this site?
Mr. Hay has been on there long enough. The Ward 5 seat was manipulated. I like Mr. Hay but he hasn't made the tough decisions neither.
Every election time time they come out with these claims and needs. Now they are turning it on the citizens ,LMAO, how crafty!
It is obvious that you have voted for the same 5 for decades. Sewn up for failure with the same ole same ole.
Their rubber stamps are worn out! They do not pay attention to Fitchburg.
#7 Sep 15, 2013
Yeah, I cannot believe they would post anything on an anonymous site and with a name anyone can use! I sure feel good that you somehow you knew it was them and not someone posing as them !
I am sure that you have done much more than Mr.Hay has huh?
#8 Sep 15, 2013
Uh? What proposals?
#9 Sep 15, 2013
Ex Con is not only a label when it is a fact. Much like someone who has committed the following crimes being called an arsonist, pedophile, or murderer isn't so much a lable when it is fact. If they've been convicted of that crime, that's what they are. We, as people, are defined by our actions. You can't escape that. Mother Theresa wasn't labeled a nice or caring person. Her actions defined her as that.
See dum dum, that's how life works.
Mr. Hay may be a lot of things but he is not an ex-con.
#10 Sep 15, 2013
I am considering voting for you and would like to know a bit more about you and your accomplishments.
1. From what accredited high school were you graduated from?
2. Have you ever described your multi-year period of incarceration for homicide as being on a "full ride?"
3. What, if any, education did you obtain at any of the various state institutions of incarceration?
4. When that Fitchburg cop decked you is it true that your first thought, after regaining consciousness, was "Anyone here have a 5 iron?"
5. Did you favor or oppose Thibault-Munoz' chicken ordinance?
#11 Sep 15, 2013
A label is something that is taken off once it has been proved it is not true. You will retain your label for the rest of your life. It is not taken away after you served your sentence !
A label is society's way of punishment for a hideous crime that our justice system is limited to in handing out a more severe sentencing. When you lose the trust of society for a high end level of crime you EARNED that label FOREVER !
That label warns people and keeps people safe. It is there for a reason !
Before you look at other people you have to take a serious deep look at yourself. Do you even realize the image that you have?
If you ever showed up at my doorstep campaigning I would call the police based on your LABEL alone!
Sorry but that is the truth and what 82% of the voter population that do not live in your neighborhood and downtown also believe.
So you keep talking to and referring to your consensus of the 18% of the people in your neighborhood and I will keep talking to the 82% of the population that makes up the rest of the city.
#12 Sep 15, 2013
Well, first I sniffed cocaine with Boston police and COs at a private club in which a brother of a well known Boston Bruin asked me to do an armed robbery with him. All "accomplished men" with no records. I then hung around political bar rooms where politicians picked up hookers and snorted cocaine. Hell it was the 80s right?
Imagine and NONE of them had a record and NONE were "ex-cons", can you imagine? Does any of this similar?
"Accomplished"? The same ones that the good ole boys kept his record clean all these years? Have you ever had a fistfight your entire life?
Well, I went to Catholic Memorial high school and then onto Cathedral Highschool. I was an adult boy for many years.
Incarceration described as full-ride? More like a Full Boat. While Incarcerated I implemented many programs to address violence and drug issues. When addressed correctly they all worked.
And would you think that I wrote to the Commissioner and other State heads requesting that they implement programs which the legislature gave them money for? Then the good ole parole board; now they were true business men but not necessarily working for the society/citizens. They released ALL the trouble making guys who they knew would be back at $40,000 a year for their cause. And they denied those that were rehabilitated because they showed that they wouldn't be back so the parole board thought, hey, lets deny and get the $40,000 a year off these guys now.
Education in prison? For the first couple years yes and then the Nazis burnt the books and there has been no education since.
Now #4 is very revealing, finally a half truth, you must have been there. "4. When that Fitchburg cop decked you is it true that your first thought, after regaining consciousness, was "Anyone here have a 5 iron?"
First he did sucker punch me as I was talking to his sister who was stating "We know you didn't assault him but we are going to LIE and state that you did, you are all done as we are going to bury you now!" Then the sucker punch which definitely did not knock me out and the next 35 punches or so did not either! His hands are way too small. Then the 2-3 punches he took at me while your "EMS" worker had me wrapped around my arms!!
So sorry no knock out. I think I did pretty good for accepting ALL the punches thrown. Honesty and Integrity took the night off that night. But I thank you for finally stating that I was decked and I wasn't the attacker! And no,no thought of a golf club as I NEVER held a weapon in my entire life.
Now to be honest, I applaud Mr.s Munez pursuit of education and I wish her the best of luck. But I am happy to see her give up her seat because all she accomplished I feel is she was a spokesperson for Mayor Wong. I feel we need more open minded individuals that will stand on their own for the citizens of Fitchburg.
#13 Sep 15, 2013
*your* proposals? omg. the only thing I'm concerned about with this election is all the incumbents are going to get re-elected at the expense of some that should get in, like Nick Carbone. he's way better than Rosemary, but people will still vote for her because they know her name, even though she hasn't got a clue. and Marcus, that blowhard, makes all this noise and then votes with the rest anyway.
#14 Sep 15, 2013
I NEVER held a weapon in my entire life.
ARE YOU JOKING WHAT A LIE!!!
What do you think the golf club was when you killed that man in South Boston and went to jail for MANSLAUGHTER??
PLEASE explain that!!!!!
#15 Sep 15, 2013
I had to defend myself. It was self-defense.
#16 Sep 15, 2013
woof woof i was there my daddy got a beat down from the pig woof woof da cop beat my daddys ass but good, woof woof daddy cried all the way home then mommie rubbed his head and held daddy why he cried woof woof next time i bite da cop woof woof i save my daddy next time woof woof
#17 Sep 15, 2013
I for one support Lynch and his proposals.
1. Brand new roads.
2. More jobs.
3. No more taxes.
4. No more utility bills.
5. No more police.
6. No more college kids.
His ideas are brilliant!
How does the city pay for everything?
Let me float a couple ideas by you.
1. We build the worlds biggest ferris wheel in downtown Fitchburg.
2. We cut the tail off of a skunk and sew it to a cat. Then we release a video on youtube claiming to be the only city with a skuncat.
These things would bring more people to the city.
#18 Sep 15, 2013
Hey, Goofball, you've been peddling this lie for years now. If your crazy version of events were true, the court would have disamissed all charges and not put you on probation for 2 1/2 years. The court didn't, not only because it was obvious that you were lying, but because you also had an extensive record of attacking cops in Boston. And don't attempt to say you weren't on probation. Pre-trial probation, unsupervised probation, regular reporting probation, they are still probation. The only attack was committed by you. And stop attempting to blame this on the mayor. Everyone over the age of 9 knows that this is pure nonsense.
And, hey, what's your excuse for 1992? Did they attempt to frame you for that as well? You spent 8 years in jail for your part in kiling someone. Which the court would have known. So don't keep trying to lie to everyone by saying that all of this was put together by the good ole boy network to keep you from becoming mayor. LMAO!
#19 Sep 15, 2013
what the hell is she talking about she's almost as dumb as my daddy
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