City Manager Tom Ambrosino said this week he
is preparing new City regulations that would govern the short-term rental
market (known as AirBNB) in Chelsea.
That comes after Gov. Charlie Baker and the
State Legislature worked out a sudden compromise at the end of the year to a
bill that had been stalled since the summer. That bill was signed into law and
went into effect statewide on Jan. 1. While it governs the practice, it also
leaves a lot of room for cities to come up with their own regulations and to
tax such entities.
Ambrosino said he hoped to have something to
the Council in March.
“I’m working on them now,” he said. “I hope
to have a proposal up to the Council with new regulations and requirements
about the local options taxes that we want to collect. I’ve been working on
some drafts and we’ll circulate those internally. We’ll have a proposal to
submit in early March.”
Both houses of the state legislature and
Gov. Charlie Baker found a sudden compromise at the end of December in their
two-year session to push through the stalled short-term rental bill – which
Gov. Baker signed into law on Friday, Dec. 28.
The bill has been a long time in the making
and has been shepherded through the legislature for years by State Rep. Aaron
Michlewitz of the North End, who was happy to see the compromise reached.
Short-term rentals are not a major issue at
the moment in Chelsea, but there are more than a few out there. More are
expected due to the proximity of the city to the airport and the Encore Boston
One of the keys of the state law is that it
will be obvious who operates them and where, something that is kind of a
The new law requires a statewide registry of
operators, something the governor had opposed for some time until late in the
It also levies a 5.7 percent state tax on
all short-term rental units, and allows cities and towns to levy their own
local taxes as well. In Boston, it is proposed to put an additional 6 percent
on each short-term rental unit.
The trade-off with the registry for the
governor seems to be a provision that allows for anyone renting out a unit for
14 days or less to avoid the taxation portion of the law. It was uncertain, but
it initially did appear that those units would have to participate in the
Ambrosino said they would undoubtedly push
to go for the maximum 6 percent local option taxes.
go for the maximum option,” he said. “We’ll look at the Boston ordinance as a
model. It was well-crafted. We’ll make sure rentals are adequately inspected
and safety is addressed.”
When one considers that it has been almost
51 years since Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated, it is easy to
understand why so many of our fellow Americans today have so little
understanding of who he was and what he accomplished.
Every school child for the past generation
knows well the story of Martin Luther King. But an elementary school textbook
cannot truly convey the extent to which he brought about real change in our
country. To anyone under the age of 50, Martin Luther King is just
another historical figure. But for those of us who can recall the 1960s, a time
when racial segregation prevailed throughout half of our country and overt
racism throughout the other half, Martin Luther King stands out as one of the
great leaders in American history, a man whose stirring words and perseverance
in his cause changed forever the historical trajectory of race relations in
America, a subject that some historians refer to as the Original Sin of the
However, as much as things have changed for
the better in the past 50 years in terms of racial equality in our society, it
also is clear that we still have a long way to go before can say that all
Americans are judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of
their character, as Dr. King famously put it in his speech at the Lincoln
Memorial in 1963.
It is clear that there is a movement in our
country that seeks to take away many of the hard-fought gains of the past 50
years. The shootings and deaths of African-Americans while in police custody
that have shocked all of us in the past few years are just the tip of the
iceberg. Much more significant have been the judicial decisions that have
stripped away key provisions of the voting rights act, the disproportionate
treatment and incarceration of minorities for drug-related offenses, and the
voter ID laws and gerrymandering in many states that, in the words of a federal
court in North Carolina, attain with surgical precision the goal of preventing
people of color from being fairly represented in government at all levels.
“What would Dr. Martin Luther King
do?” we often ask ourselves. We can’t say for sure, but we do know that he
that as much as King accomplished in his lifetime, he would be the first to
understand that his work for which he gave his life still is far from done —
and we can only hope that his spirit and courage can continue to inspire this
and future generations to bring about a world in which all persons are treated
with dignity and respect.
Chelsea School Superintendent Mary Bourque and Chelsea City Manager Thomas Ambrosino were two panelists Tuesday night at Malden High School discussing school budget funding.
Chelsea School Superintendent Mary Bourque
and Chelsea City Manager Thomas Ambrosino were two panelists Tuesday night at
Malden High School during a forum calling on legislators to overhaul the
state’s current educational funding model to ensure equity for all students,
especially those in low-income areas.
During the state’s last legislative session
a bill by State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Jamaica Plain) would have recalculated
the cost to educate each student in public school districts known as the ‘foundation
budget’ and poured millions of dollars into school over the next several years.
However that bill failed and educators like
Bourque are calling this mechanism the state uses to provide students with
equitable access to educational opportunities ‘obsolete’ and must be revised to
meet the expectations of today’s economy.
Because the state has not updated its
education funding formula since 1993 to reflect districts’ real health
insurance and special education costs, the amount of aid being provided to
cover those costs is too small.
To compensate, many districts like Chelsea
end up using money that would otherwise have supported core education
programs—including Regular Ed. Teachers, Materials & Technology, and
Professional Development. This also results in dramatic cuts in other areas of
“The time is now because we have no more
time left,” said Bourque at Tuesday night’s meeting. “There will be more cuts
because we don’t know where the money will come from. We cut all of our after
school programs…elementary (afterschool) programs two years ago and middle
school after school programs last year. It’s time to make changes to the
formula and we need to make the formula work for us. It is time to save the
futures of our students and open those doors to the future. We can not afford
to have our students go through another year of cuts in their school system.”
The problem for low income school districts
like Chelsea is there is a growing equity gap between schools in Chelsea and
schools in more affluent areas of the state. When faced with such shortfalls,
high-wealth districts can often draw on additional, local revenue. Lower-wealth
districts like Chelsea, however, are generally unable to do so and the
consequence is that they spend less on resources that are critically important
to the quality of education students receive.
“I do think there a lot of school systems in
a financial crisis my expectation is that if this is not addressed in this
legislative session we are going to have a lot of tough decisions to make like
Brockton did where they had to lay off a significant amount of teachers,” said
Ambrosino. “We are living in good economic times. State revenues have been
running above estimates for quite some time so it’s time for the legislature to
use this good fortune and make education a priority once again and invest in
education. This is not easy and requires a lot of money so I don’t envy any
legislators that have to work on this but budgets are all about priorities. A
budget, simply put, is a policy statement on your (the legislation’s)
priorities and the legislature once again has to make education a priority. If
it doesn’t there will be too many ‘have nots’ in the Commonwealth once again.”
Estimates by lawmakers to fix the budget
formula could be as high as $1 billion with Gov. Charlie Baker vowing to put forth his own proposal to
fix the broken system after the House and Senate couldn’t agree on a solution
However, Bourque said something has to be
done and done soon because Chelsea is running a $7.4 million school budget gap
between what the state covers for education and what the Chelsea School
District is actually spending to educate students.
obligated to meet our students needs and provide for them so they can be successful
and have futures,” said Bourque. “Sometimes, as a superintendent, I feel like
we’ve been living on a ‘fixed budget’ since 1993 and that fixed income is not
working. The result is that we are stretched too thin.”
The Chelsea High School choir group, led by Co-Directors Peter Pappavasselio and Cole Lundquist, is pictured with CHS Principal Lex Mathews and State Rep. Brad Jones before their performance at the inauguration ceremony for Gov. Charlie Baker.
When Gov. Charlie Baker heard the Chelsea
High advanced choir group Cantare perform at the Chelsea Soldiers Home Veterans
Day program, he was very impressed.
Soon after Baker’s office contacted
Performing Arts Lead teacher and Cantare Co-Director Peter Pappavasselio and
invited the group to perform at his inauguration at the State House.
Pappavasselio accepted the invitation and on
Jan. 3, 24 CHS students had the high honor of performing at the inauguration.
The students, attired in their black and
white formal costume attire, performed the song, “On Winter Mountain,” in front
of Gov. Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, and all of the constitutional officers,
state senators, state representatives, judges, and other distinguished guests
“The song denotes winter imagery, but it
ends with this feeling of peace and contentment,” said Pappavasselio, who
co-directs the group with Cole Lundquist.
A former outstanding high school and college
vocalist with a rich history in music production, Pappavasselio fully
understands the personal and historical significance of being able to perform
at the gubernatorial inauguration which is a quadrennial happening.
“It’s a once-in-a-career, if you’re lucky,
performance,” said Pappavasselio.
co-director said the group has received several accolades for its superb
performance that was captured live by television cameras from the Boston
Supt. of Schools Dr. Mary Bourque and
Principal Lex Mathews were able to attend the inauguration and enjoy the
students’ performance in person. Both administrators were understandably quite
proud of the students.
“A lot of people saw it on television and
it’s being shown on YouTube,” said Pappavasselio.
Next up for
Cantare is the district concert on March 20 at the Williams School.
The City Council got back to business Monday
night with a special organizational meeting and then quickly taking care of the
new year’s first agenda items.
As expected, the Council approved a second
term for Damali Vidot as council president. District 2 Councillor Luis Tejada
was voted in as vice president, and Yamir Rodriguez as the Council’s delegate
to the School Committee.
“I want to thank all my colleague’s for
entrusting me with one more year as president,” said Vidot. She is the first
female councillor to serve two back-to-back terms as council president.
Vidot said she is looking forward to a year
of unity and respect on the council.
In other business, the Council unanimously
approved funding for new contracts for the City’s two police unions.
The contracts include a retroactive salary
increase of 2.5 percent for FY17 and 3 percent for FY18 and FY19. There is also
a 3 percent increase slated for FY20 and an additional 1 percent increase that
goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
The contract also implements residency
requirements for all new hires for the Police Department.
Later in the meeting, the Council also
approved an amended residency ordinance for all police, fire, and civil service
The ordinance requires that all personnel
who live in Chelsea at the time of the hire must maintain residency for five
years from the date of hire. Personnel who do not live in the city at the time
of hire have six months to relocate to Chelsea.
Councillor-At-Large Leo Robinson cast the
lone vote against the amended ordinance, using the example of a child who might
have to look after sick parents as a possible reason an employee may not be
able to relocate.
•During the public speaking portion of the
meeting, some familiar guests dropped in to say thank you to the Council.
Several members of the Chelsea High senior
class thanked the council for its recent vote to fund a turf field cover to the
tune of $170,000 for the new high school field.
With the field cover, the senior class and
subsequent classes will be able to hold outdoor graduations.
“We’ve put so much hard work into this, and
everything that has happened has been amazing,” said Senior Class President
Poste and several
other seniors presented the Council with a signed letter in appreciation for
their efforts. They also asked the council for their signatures on a
proclamation documenting the students’ and the Council’s efforts to work
together to make the turf field cover a reality.
The School Committee elected Richard
Maronski as its new chair during its first meeting of 2019 at City Hall.
Maronski, who has been a member of the committee for three-and-half years, succeeds Jeanette
Velez, who held the position for the past three years.
“I’m honored to be selected by my colleagues
to lead the School Committee in the coming year,” said Maronski. “I want to
thank Jeannette for her leadership and the commitment he has shown to the
students in Chelsea.”
The son of Ann Maronski and the late Charles
Maronski, Richard is well known in the community. He was the Chelsea High star
quarterback who led coach Bob Fee’s Red Devils to an amazing come-from-behind
34-26 victory over Everett in the 1980 Thanksgiving game. Maronski threw
touchdown passes to Paul Driscoll to spark Chelsea’s rally from a 20-0 deficit.
Some fans call it the greatest game in the long history of the Chelsea-Everett
series that ended in 1989.
Several members of Richard’s family
graduated from Chelsea High School, including several uncles and aunts,
brothers and sisters, in a time period that ranged from the 1930s to 1990s. His
popular sister, Patricia Maronski Yee, was a CHS cheerleader and graduated in
1990. Richard graduated in 1982.
“I’m very proud of my family’s long history
of attending Chelsea schools,” said Maronski. ‘Everyone received a good, solid
all-around education and each has fond memories of their positive experiences
in the Chelsea schools. In particular, my father loved Chelsea. He was there
the day we beat Everett on Thanksgiving.”
Maronski also served as president of the
Chelsea Youth Basketball League and coached two teams in the league. He was
also the CHS freshman boys basketball coach.
A former Chelsea city councillor, Maronski
has established his priorities for the new year.
“My first priority is to form a committee of
Chelsea residents to help select a new school superintendent (Supt. of Schools
Dr. Mary Bourque has announced that she will be retiring from the position),”
said Maronski. “We are working with the Collins Center at UMass in the
Maronski would also like to address the
issue of Chelsea teachers leaving the school system for positions in other
“We have a high turnover in teachers in the
Chelsea schools,” said Maronski. “I’d like to see more stability in our
Maronski said the School Committee meets the
first Thursday (7 p.m.) of every month. He welcomes parents to attend the
meetings and speak during the public portion.
Committee elected Julio Hernandez as vice chair of the board.
The School Committee voted last Thursday at
its meeting to employ the Collins Center from the University of Massachusetts-Boston
to assist in the search for a new superintendent of schools.
At the same time, the Committee put an
aggressive timeline on the search, looking to have a candidate chosen by July
New Committee Chair Rich Maronski said they
felt the Collins Center did a good job with the City Manager search a few years
ago. He said they plan to have a retreat meeting with the Center this week to
understand the search parameters and to get things started.
Supt. Mary Bourque announced in late
December that she planned on retiring in one year’s time, putting a date of
December 2019 as her final month. She has pledged to stay on to help with the
search and to acclimate any new candidate to the job through next fall.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino said he was sad
to see Bourque go, but is encouraged by the Committee’s quick action on the
“Selfishly, I’m sad because Superintendent
Bourque has done a tremendous job as leader of the Chelsea School System, and
her and I had a very productive partnership,” he said. “However, she is
certainly deserving of her well-earned retirement. As for the search, I
was pleased to hear that the School Committee has agreed both to hire the UMass
Collins Center to help with the search for a successor, and to hire a Superintendent
for July 1 so that the person will be able to work together with Mary for the
first six months to establish a smooth transition.”
on the start of the search and the process is expected by next week, Maronski
A Winchester developer has filed with the
Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) to build a five-story, 33-unit residential
apartment building on the site of the closed 7-11 and its parking lot in Cary
Anthony Quiles has filed the project with
the City and had an initial hearing on Tuesday night, Jan. 8, with the ZBA, and
will proceed to the Planning Board for a meeting later this month.
The project will be sited at 176-178
Washington Ave. and will contain 44 parking spaces (50 are required) for the 33
units. There will be a roof deck and other amenities. The project includes no
open space and requires seven pieces of relief, including height variances and
The unit breakdown would be nine studios, 15
one-bedrooms, and six two-bedrooms.
The Chelsea Fire Department has already
voiced its concerns with the project as they do not believe they can access the
building due to the size of the building on the lot.
“I am not in favor of a development of this
size…which encompasses the entire lot with no setbacks on both sides and the
rear,” wrote Deputy Richard Perisie. “The Fire Department should have access to
at least one side for apparatus placement.”
Councillor Leo Robinson said he has called
for the development to go down to at least 25 units and to add a retail venture
on the first floor, preferably a grocery store/convenience store.
He said he was very disturbed that the
purchase and sales agreement by 7-11 with Quiles details that no such retail
operations can go there. He said he wants to see about changing that.
“My concern and
what bothers me is that 7-11 put in the agreement not to allow a grocery store
to go there,” he said. “That is detrimental to that part of the city. It is
heavily used by the elderly at 14 Bloomingdale and the people from the
neighborhood too. The fact of the matter is I’ve talked with the City Solicitor
and the City Manager and I think there is a tool in our tool bag we need to
use. I don’t think 7-11 should punish us for their failure not to run a good
business. There has always been a grocery store there since I can remember.”
On Dec. 11 at 6 p.m., a CPD Detective
observed a blue Subaru Impreza make an unsafe lane change coming from Broadway
onto City Hall Avenue. The vehicle was a reported stolen motor vehicle out of
Revere. The detective continued to follow the car down Chestnut Street. With
the assistance from other marked CPD units a car stop was initiated and the
operator placed under arrest for being in possession of a stolen motor vehicle.
Katherine Guzman, 36, of 18 Watts St., was
charged with being in possession of a stolen motor vehicle.
PULLED KNIFE ON HOTEL
On Dec. 21, at 7:11 a.m., units were
dispatched to the Hilton Homeward Suites for an individual threatening the
employees with a knife.
A description was given out of the suspect
as being a short male wearing a black jacket and a scally cap. Officers
knew about a previous issue from the day before at the hotel with the same
described male. The officers observed the suspect walking on Everett Avenue and
placed him under arrest for two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon.
Alberto Garcia, 51, of 303 Carter St., was
charged with two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon.
On Dec. 19, at 6:23 p.m., officers
observed a motor vehicle that failed to stop for a pedestrian in the crosswalk
in front of 589 Broadway.
The car was then pulled over.
It was determined that the operator of the
vehicle was not legally able to operate the car and he was placed under arrest.
A search of the person and vehicle also recovered knives.
Manuel Alvarez Mejia, 29, of 759 Broadway,
was charged with crosswalk violation, operating a motor vehicle with a
suspended license, and two counts of carrying a dangerous weapon.
ALMOST HIT A CRUISER,
On Dec. 23, at 7:25 p.m., a CPD officer
stated his cruiser was almost hit by a black motor vehicle in Fay Square. He
reported the vehicle fled onto Heard Street when the officer activated his blue
lights. Other Chelsea Units were able to stop the car. The driver had no
license to operate a motor vehicle and was placed under arrest.
Mark Cassidy, 28,
of Quincy, was charged with marked lanes violation, reckless operation of a
motor vehicle, failing to stop for police, unlicensed operation of a motor
vehicle, stop sign violation, red light violation and speeding.
Charles Chafin, 55, 32 Tudor St., Chelsea,
was arrested for shoplifting.
53, 12 Bates St., Revere, was arrested on warrants and operating motor vehicle
with suspended license.