Chelsea Ward 4 Elects Delegates To Democratic State Convention

Registered Democrats in Chelsea Ward 4 recently elected the following

Delegates to the 2019 Democratic State Convention:

Attorney Olivia Anne Walsh

91 Crest Avenue

David A. Armstrong

91 Crest Avenue

Thomas J. Miller

91 Crest Avenue

This year’s State Convention will be held on September 14. 2019 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Ma. where thousands of Democrats from across the State will come together to discuss Party business and celebrate our successes as we prepare for upcoming elections. Those interested in getting involved with the Ward 4 Democratic Committee should contact the Ward 4 Chair, Attorney Olivia Anne Walsh or Ward 4 Secretary Thomas J. Miller at 617-306-5501.

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Rollins Speaks at Chamber of Commerce Luncheon

Suffolk County District Attorney announces community meeting in Chelsea on June 19

Rachael Rollins, the dynamic district attorney who became the first female elected to the esteemed Suffolk County position last November, was the guest speaker at the Chamber of Commerce Luncheon Wednesday at the Holiday Inn/Boston Logan Airport Chelsea.

Rollins proved to be as dynamic a speaker as she is a public official.

“The people that are most impacted negatively by the criminal justice system – it has nothing to do with race and almost everything to do with poverty,” Rollins told the luncheon audience. “If you can’t afford somebody who can navigate fluently through the criminal justice system – you are at a significant disadvantage.

“I don’t care what hue your skin is – if you have no money, the system does not work well for you, period, end of story,” said Rollins.

In well-received remarks, Rollins spoke about the DA’s mission as the chief law enforcement office of Suffolk County. She addressed serious issues such as the opioid crisis. She talked about the marijuana industry and law enforcement’s efforts in the field since recreational marijuana became legal in the state.

Chamber President Joseph Mahoney noted Rollins’ achievements as a Division 1 college athlete at UMass/Amherst. While at UMass, she challenged school leaders to increase the number of athletic scholarships given to female students.

Rollins also used the forum to make a major announcement: she will hold a community meeting on June 19 at 6 p.m. at the Chelsea Senior Center.

It is the second such quarterly meeting in the county following the inaugural session in Roxbury. It will be in the style of a state of the union/state of the city, followed by a question-and-answer session.

Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson and Chelsea Police Community Engagement Specialist Dan Cortez praised Rollins’ initiative to host a community meeting in the city.

“A community meeting on a regular basis is a great idea,” said Robinson, an early supporter of Rollins in her campaign for office. “It follows through on her pledge to be accessible and accountable to our residents. I expect to see a tremendous turnout of people welcoming her to Chelsea on June 19 and learning about the important role the DA’s Office has in our lives.”

Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes was a guest at the luncheon while Roca Assistant Director Jason Owens, who provided an overview of Roca’s efforts during brief remarks, led a delegation from the agency.

Rollins called on Kyes to elaborate on the challenges facing police officers in regard to the new marijuana laws.

“We have individuals in the state, police officers in the state who are known as drug recognition experts (DREs),” said Kyes. “There are only about 200 DREs out of 17,000 police officers, including the State Police. At the end of the day, when an officer sees somebody and they’re unsteady on their feet, bloodshot eyes – they could potentially get probable cause to make an arrest, but then without that DRE to do an added evaluation, when it goes to court, these individuals aren’t getting convicted.

“Right now, some judges will allow the testimony pf a DRE and some will not,” concluded Kyes.

Rollins’ remarks were videotaped by Chelsea Community Cable Television. Executive Director Robert Bradley said the luncheon will begin airing on the cable television station.

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Chelsea Ward 4 to Elect Delegates to Democratic Convention May 25

Registered Democrats in Chelsea Ward 4 will hold a Caucus on Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 9:30am at the Chelsea Public Library, 569 Broadway, Chelsea, MA to elect Delegates and Alternates to the 2019 Massachusetts State Convention.

This year’s State Convention will be held of September 14, 2019 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, MA, where thousands of Democrats from across the State will come together to discuss Party business and celebrate our successes as we prepare for upcoming elections.

The Caucus is open to all registered and pre-registered Democrats in Ward 4. Pre-registered Democrats who will be 16 by May 11, 2019 will be allowed to participate and run as a delegate or alternate.

Youth, minorities, people with disabilities and LGBTQ individuals who are NOT elected as a delegate or alternate may apply to be add-on delegates at the Caucus or at www.massdems.org.

Those interested in getting involved with the Ward 4 Democratic Committee should contact the Ward 4 Chair, Attorney Olivia Anne Walsh or Ward Secretary Thomas J. Miller at 617-306-5501.

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10 Weeks: Bumping and Grinding Not Part of Latino Culture, Commissioners Say

The City’s Licensing Commission might want to consider making its public hearings adults’ only affairs.

At its Thursday, May 2, meeting, the commission handed down a 10-week liquor license suspension to Latinos Falcons at 185 Broadway after police showed a video from the bar featuring an assortment of groping, grabbing, grinding and all-around Dirty Dancing among waitresses, staff, and patrons.

The Falcon was called before the commission for a public hearing after a patron was placed into protective custody for public intoxication after drinking at the bar.

Before video from the bar was screened, the attorney representing Latinos Falcons, asked that the commission members keep in mind that some of the displays of affection captured on screen were merely representative of the restaurant’s predominantly “Latino culture.” The attorney also noted that there has recently been training at the bar for staff to help prevent future incidents.

As the video, featuring a fair share of bumping and grinding, came to an end with a shot of a security guard at Latinos Falcons sniffing a waitresses hair, commission member Gladys Vega was having none of the attorney’s justification.

“This has nothing to do with Latino culture,” said Vega, visibly incensed and angered despite battling laryngitis. “You should be ashamed. That is so disrespectful to say what you do about my culture.”

While the video evidence was from only one night at Latinos Falcons, and City Solicitor Cheryl Watson Fisher stated that the bar has not been formally cited before, City Councillor-At-Large Roy Avellaneda said the behavior shown was nothing new.

“I’ve been told about these allegations for a while now, and in 2014 and 2015 I witnessed them myself, this is nothing new,” said Avellaneda. “Unfortunately, this (behavior) is prevalent in a few bars in Chelsea and we’ve heard complaints from former waitresses, especially at this place.”

The councillor urged the Licensing Commission to send a message to Latinos Falcons and other establishments that exhibit similar behavior in the city with a heavy punishment.

“This was only one night, you can imagine what else happens,” said Avellaneda. He noted that patrons, waitresses, and owners were all engaging in unseemly behavior at Latinos Falcons.

City Council President Damali Vidot said she initially showed up at last week’s public hearing to support local business.

“But if this is the way you do business, I have a huge problem with the way you treat women and them being objectified in this video,” said Vidot. “This video is very disturbing.”

Kimberly Martinez, who said she is a Salem State University student who has worked at Latinos Falcons for six months, countered that she has never been encouraged to act in any sexual manner or to flirt with customers as a way to increase the bill. She said many of the problems at the bar are caused by certain clientele.

“We are trying to filter that as best we can,” she said. “I feel like we are moving forward and things are changing.”

But for the commission members, it wasn’t enough to sway them.

Commission member James Guido noted that on top of everything else, the waitresses were seen drinking with customers and called for harsh punishment.

“For me, this is so disturbing and troubling,” said Commission Chair Mark Rossi. “How anyone could allow that in their establishment, with the owner taking part, is so out of line … How can that environment be conducive to reporting sexual harassment?”

Rossi, who sometimes acts to tamp down harsher penalties proposed by other commission members, wasn’t averse to going all the way to the most extreme punishment for Latinos Falcons.

“I will shut you down right now, this is so repugnant,” he said.

Guido initially proposed a 30-day license suspension for the bar, but it failed to pass. The lengthier 10-week suspension passed unanimously, along with a rollback of the bar’s hours from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. to 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

•In other business, the commission continued a public hearing on a change in manager for Los Agaves at 950 Broadway. There are currently legal proceedings in probate court over the ownership of the restaurant.

Licensing Commissioners are asking that all the current owners work together to find a new manager acceptable to all sides in the fight as the legal case makes its way through the court system.

•The commission also adopted revised licensing rules and regulations. The revised regulations place stricter requirements on security staff at bars and restaurants, requiring that security wear clearly marked red shirts, have city-issued identification, and not carry anything that could be used as a weapon.

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State Police, Transit Police Investigating Pedestrian Fatality at Onramp

An East Boston woman was killed on April 18 at the Everett Avenue onramp when an MBTA bus hit and killed her.

On April 18 at approximately 5:31 a.m., an MBTA bus struck a two pedestrians, causing fatal injuries to one of them, on Everett Avenue in Chelsea just prior to the onramp to Route 1 southbound/Tobin Bridge.

An East Boston woman was hit and killed at the Everett Avenue onramp by an MBTA bus on April 18. Police are investigating and the woman was in the crosswalk.

Police said the investigation indicates the deceased pedestrian, Mary Ellen Pettiglio, 60, of East Boston, and a female relative with whom she was walking, where in the crosswalk at the time they were struck. The surviving pedestrian was transported to Boston Medical Center for non-life threatening injuries.

The crash remains under investigation by State Police detectives, Transit Police, and the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office. The State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section and the State Police Crime Services Section are assisting in the investigation.

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Chelsea Walk Pub Hit With Long Suspension

After viewing multiple surveillance videos of patrons falling off stools, being overserved, urinating in public, getting groped, and laid out on the sidewalk by the front door after closing time, the Licensing Commission last week suspended the Chelsea Walk Pub’s liquor license for 10 weeks.

The attorney for the Pub argued that the Broadway bar has avoided violations in the past. But for Commission members, the multiple incidents brought before it at its April 3 meeting were serious enough to warrant the harsh judgment.

The Licensing Commission found the Chelsea Walk Pub violated City ordinances by overserving patrons, selling liquor to an intoxicated person, creating a noise or disorderly disturbance, and failing to provide video surveillance. The majority of the violations resulted from incidents responded to by the Police Department late last November.

In a letter to the Licensing Commission, City Manager Thomas Ambrosino urged the commission not to take the reported violations lightly.

“A liquor license is a privilege and not a right,” the City Manager stated.

The majority of the April 3 hearing revolved around the showing of video surveillance footage from a number of the incidents.

Police highlighted one patron at the end of the bar who had three drinks in front of him before stashing an unopened beer in his jacket while the bartender wasn’t looking.

Meanwhile, police pointed out that at the other end of the bar, a woman sat with two pitchers of beer in front of her with no one else drinking from the mugs. In addition, the video showed the woman encouraging another patron to put his hand down her shirt and grope her breast.

Police Captain Keith Houghton said both incidents violated the city alcohol serving ordinances.

Attorney Jeffrey Rosario Turco, representing the Pub, put up a defense to the evidence, noting several times that the patrons who were alleged to have been overserved seemed steady on their feet and not intoxicated.

“With all due respect, that woman allowed a man to go down her shirt with two pitchers of beer in front of her,” said City Solicitor Cheryl Watson Fisher. “There are implications all over the place.”

Additional video and evidence showed a patron leaving the bar and urinating outside on the sidewalk and a patron weaving into the street before being spotted by a police officer.

Licensing Commission member Roseann Bongiovanni was unmoved by Turco’s “not swaying” defense when it came to video of one patron who left the bar then went back in after being allegedly overserved.

“He’s leaning up against the way, that’s why he’s not swaying,” said Bongiovanni. “That’s some good evidence you have there.”

Most damning was an incident that showed several patrons and a bartender struggling for nearly 10 minutes to carry an alleged intoxicated patron out the door after closing time. Once the man was laid on the sidewalk, the bartender went back inside and locked the front door of the bar.

“The bartender quickly closed the door and leaves him out flat, leaving him pretty much to us,” said Houghton.

Turco did not dispute the evidence in that incident, but said that the bartender in the video had been fired.

Chelsea Walk Pub owner Angela Palmieri said the main problem has been that her staff has not stepped up.

“They don’t listen to what I tell them to do,” she said.

While the Pub hasn’t come before the Licensing Commission in recent memory for violation, Bongiovanni said it has largely been because there weren’t City resources to police the establishment before. She said the Chelsea Walk Pub has a long history of shenanigans.

“There have been so many instances at the Chelsea Walk Pub,” she said. “These are just the ones you got caught for; it is a disgrace to the city.”

In addition to the 10-week liquor license suspension, the Licensing Commission also voted to reduce the bar’s operating hours from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. to noon to 10 p.m.

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Accountability and Closure in Fatal Shooting of Pablo Villeda

Accountability and Closure in Fatal Shooting of Pablo Villeda

A Lynn teen, who was originally from Chelsea, pleaded guilty March 7 as his trial was set to begin on charges that he opened fire during a party three years ago, killing 19-year-old Pablo Villeda and injuring six others.

Emanuel Marrero, 19, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in connection with Pablo Villeda’s March 6, 2016, shooting death, as well as six counts of armed assault with intent to murder and related charges for injuries suffered by six other young people.

Pablo Villeda was killed in an early morning teen party on March 6, 2016 held at a vacant apartment on Washington Avenue. On Thursday, March 7, Emanuel Marrero pleaded guilty in court to his murder.

Judge Linda Giles imposed the mandatory sentence of life in prison, ordering that he be eligible for parole after 15 years and that his sentences on the non-fatal shootings be served concurrently. Had he chosen to go to trial, the defendant – who was 16 at the time of the homicide – would have faced a first-degree murder charge.

“We accepted this plea because it delivers a significant measure of accountability for the defendant’s actions, which took Pablo’s life just as it was ready to begin,” District Attorney Rachael Rollins said. “It also considers all the potential outcomes at trial and on appeal, as well as the defendant’s age at the time of the homicide. Nothing we do can bring Pablo Villeda back to his loving family, but I hope this final result can at least provide them with closure to this tragic event.”

Chief Brian Kyes said he hopes the prison sentence will bring closure to the family on what was a tragic night in Chelsea three years ago.

“This was certainly a tragic night for everyone involved and one that none of us will soon forget,” said Kyes. “We truly hope that the imposition of this prison sentence by the Suffolk County Superior Court will bring some sense of solace to the family of Pablo Villeda that they absolutely deserve. Senseless acts of violence like this have no place in our neighborhoods and we will continue to work with our community partners to prevent tragedies like this from ever occurring again.”

Chelsea Police responded to 120 Washington Ave. in the early morning hours of March 6, 2016, for multiple calls reporting a disturbance at a party held inside a vacant apartment. They arrived to find seven people, ranging in age from 15 to 22, suffering gunshot wounds. Pablo was rushed to the hospital but succumbed to his injuries; the surviving victims were treated at Whidden Memorial Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Assistant District Attorney Julie Higgins of the DA’s Homicide Unit was prepared to introduce evidence and testimony showing that the defendant brought a .40 caliber handgun to the party, flaunting it to several other attendees. At some point, the evidence would have shown, the defendant confronted the victim and opened fire. Pablo was mortally wounded and six other people were struck, and fortunately survived their injuries. The defendant fled the scene but was identified in the course of an exhaustive investigation by Chelsea Police detectives and the Suffolk County State Police Detective Unit. The defendant was represented by attorney Richard Chambers

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Chelsea Man Arrested after Leaving Two in Serious Condition

Chelsea Man Arrested after Leaving Two in Serious Condition

Police have arrested a 24-year-old Chelsea man in connection to a shooting and stabbing at 16 Pleasant St. early Saturday morning.

Hector Emilio Hernandez, was arrested on charges of attempted murder and unlawful possession of a firearm following the alleged attack, according to Jake Wark, spokesman for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.

Revere police and emergency medical personnel responded to 16 Pleasant St. at about 1:45 a.m. Saturday to find a 27-year-old man from Chelsea apparently shot and a 23-year old man from Chelsea apparently stabbed. Both were hospitalized. State Police detectives were notified and the Suffolk County State Police Detective Unit responded.

Hernandez is expected to be arraigned Monday in Chelsea District Court.

“The relationship between the parties involved remains under investigation, as do the circumstances surrounding the violent encounter,” Wark said in a statement.

Wark added that based on an investigation that continued through Saturday morning and into Saturday afternoon, troopers and officers developed information that the suspect may be in the area of Calumet Street in Revere.
Troopers and officers set up surveillance and observed a man matching the suspect’s description enter a residence on that street.

When police went to the house they observed the suspect exit a back door and try to climb a fence. He was caught and apprehended and transported to the State Police Barracks in Revere where he was booked on charges of attempted murder and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the Revere Police Criminal Investigation Division at 781-286-8340 or the Suffolk County State Police Detective Unit at 617-727-8817.

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‘Outright Fraud’? Highland Park Turf Field One of Many with Defective Materials, Could Get Replacement Settlement

‘Outright Fraud’? Highland Park Turf Field One of Many with Defective Materials, Could Get Replacement Settlement

The turf field at Highland Park has been used nearly with pause since it was installed in 2011, but this hub of soccer activity in Chelsea has been defective from the get-go, and City officials are now looking at situations in other parts of the country where cities have won settlements to replace these defective fields.

An aerial view of the Highland Park soccer field in 2017 shows tremendous wear and bunching even though it is only six years old at the time. A problem with the materials in the field might be grounds for replacement for the City.

The turf field has been the source of great discussion for several months as the wear and tear on the field has been worrisome to many that use the field. The field has shown extreme wear in the center area, particularly when it comes to “bunching up.”

If experiences with field replacement by the installer, FieldTurf, in other areas are any indication, there might not be such a long and costly wait for relief at Highland Park.

A source outside of Chelsea, but intimately connected to the situation in Chelsea, contacted the Record last week with details about the defective materials used in the field when it was installed in 2011. That defective material is known as Duraspine and it is the fibers used to imitate grass. An outside supplier made the product for FieldTurf, and it was learned to be defective around 2009 or 2010. Now FieldTurf makes its own fiber.

In other locales, fields with the same problem have been replaced at no cost or at a discount, particularly when the warranty was still in place. In Chelsea, the eight-year warranty is still in effect until 2019.

“Area schools, towns and public agencies have spent millions of dollars installing synthetic turf fields in recent years,” said the source, who requested anonymity. “A number of important national class-action lawsuits have just been launched against the main supplier of synthetic turf fields in Massachusetts… Chelsea High School had a non-defective, proper FieldTurf field installed in September 2003. It performed admirably for almost 15 years until it was replaced this summer. The defective Highland Park field is still protected under full warranty until February 2019 at least. All FieldTurf fields had a non-prorated eight-year warranty as a minimum. Many FieldTurf fields have a 10-year warranty. The company’s key strategy is to sit back and ‘run out the clock’ on the warranty and hope that customers, most often taxpayers, don’t notice and get stuck with the replacement costs.”

The heart of the problem is that the outside supplier provided the FieldTurf company with Duraspine materials. At some point around 2009 or 2010, and that date is disputed, the company learned their supplier had used the defective Duraspine materials. That led to a settlement between the supplier and FieldTurf, and FieldTurf has replaced several defective fields across the country because of it.

“Do the responsible public officials even realize they have been completely defrauded; do they know they are possibly plaintiffs in one of the many class-action lawsuits filed against the company?” said the source.

City officials this week said they did not know about the defective materials, and they have forwarded the information to the City Legal Department to look at what can potentially be done for Highland Park.

“This is the first I’m hearing about this issue,” said City Manager Tom Ambrosino. “We are having our City Solicitor investigate the information provided to us.”

All of the above considered, FieldTurf told the Record that the highly-publicized problems in other locales are likely exaggerated.

“We are committed to honoring our warranties and working with our customers to address any issues if they arise,” read a statement from FieldTurf. “It’s important to note that…the Highland Park field in Chelsea was installed in 2011 and is almost near the end of its warranty term. Since we first became aware of the issue with Duraspine, we have been responsive to our customers experiencing issues with their fields. The Duraspine issue has not impacted safety – only how a field looks as it wears – and has been limited to high-UV environments. Worldwide, less than 2 percent of Duraspine fields have been replaced under warranty because of issues with the Duraspine fiber. FieldTurf discontinued the sale of Duraspine in 2010 and transitioned fully to its own self-produced fibers in 2011 – and we have introduced many successful fibers since then.”

Some are asking how it is that Chelsea seemed to get the defective product at Highland Park even after FieldTurf knew of the problems and was transitioning to its own in-house process.

“(I think) FieldTurf knowingly installed defective material at Highland Park,” said the source. “This is outright fraud.”

Several media reports, as well as the source that contacted the Record, have indicated that there are class-action lawsuits in the works. However, FieldTurf said those reports are misleading and should be taken with careful measure.

“There continue to be media reports of a ‘class action’ lawsuit against FieldTurf, but this is misleading, as the Courts have not yet approved any class action against FieldTurf, and they have not yet even decided whether most of the claims are valid,” read the statement. “Importantly, the New Jersey Attorney General’s office and the Federal Trade Commission have both closed investigations into FieldTurf without finding any wrongdoing.”

That suit was filed in March 2017.

FieldTurf, in its statement, did not address why it installed the defective product at Highland Park even after it knew about the problems with Duraspine.

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Election Results:Gov Charlie Baker Re-Elected Statewide, but Chelsea Goes for Gonzalez

Election Results:Gov Charlie Baker Re-Elected Statewide, but Chelsea Goes for Gonzalez

While Gov. Charlie Baker cruised to re-election statewide with 67 percent of the vote, he barely made any traction in Chelsea this time around.

Though former City Manager Jay Ash is a key member of his cabinet once again, the Republican Baker didn’t seem to get much support in Chelsea over Democratic candidate Jay Gonzalez.

In Chelsea, 3,350 people voted for Gonzalez, while 3,115 voted for Baker – a sharp contrast to the statewide results.

During his victory party at the Hynes Convention Center in the Back Bay, he said his administration will continue to build bi-partisan relationships to tackle the tough issues.

“The people of Massachusetts elected us four years ago to bring fiscal discipline, a reform minded approach to governing, and a commitment to bipartisanship to state government,” he said. “We have done just that. Every single day. And today, the voters have spoken. They like what we are doing and they appreciate the way we work. So here’s the good news. That collaborative, purposeful and humble approach to governing is exactly what you are going to get from us and from our team for the next four years. Non-stop. Let’s rock.”

  • While governor made the headlines, the most active voting took place on the ballot questions, particularly Question 1 that focused on mandated nurse staffing ratios. The question was defeated easily statewide, and in Chelsea it was also defeated with 67 percent of the vote.

Question 2 won with 70 percent of the vote, and Question 3 to uphold the transgender rights bill passed locally with 68 percent of the vote.

  • For District Attorney, Rachael Rollins won big citywide and in Chelsea over Mike Maloney. Rollins, who has held great popularity in Chelsea, had been a controversial candidate in submitting a “list” of crimes she would decline to prosecute during the campaign last summer. That “list” had gotten a lot of attention after the September primary victory, and she has spent most of the last month explaining the plan – which would essentially divert resources from smaller, quality-of-life crimes to investigate larger crimes like homicide, rape and aggravate assaults.

In Chelsea, Rollins got 4,812 votes to Maloney’s 1,169.

On Tuesday night, Rollins’ said her election reflects a widespread demand for change in a criminal justice system that for too long has not worked fairly for everyone. Rollins has promised to bring new solutions to the office that will break down wealth and racial disparities, keep communities safe and treat all people with dignity and respect.

“I am humbled by the trust the voters have placed in me to serve as Suffolk County’s next District Attorney,” said Rollins. “I am beyond grateful for the hard work of our volunteers and the support of our community over the last nine months since we launched this campaign. Voters sent a very clear signal today that our criminal justice system is not working for too many people and it’s time for a change. We will start by creating an office that adequately reflects the communities it serves and that is engaged with every neighborhood within the county. Then together we’ll make our criminal justice system better and work to strengthen relationships between communities and law enforcement.”

  • All three of Chelsea’s state elected officials, State Rep. Dan Ryan, State Rep. RoseLee Vincent and Sen. Sal DiDomenico were unopposed, but prevailed with a good vote Tuesday.

Ryan got 3,637 votes in his unopposed race (Chelsea only), and DiDomenico (for Chelsea only) got 5,409 votes. DiDomenico also represents parts of Cambridge, Allston and all of Everett and Chelsea. Vincent, who also represents Revere, got 1,495 votes in Chelsea.

  • As a side note, City Clerk Jeannette Cintron White said that early voting was a success in Chelsea once again. She said there were 731 early ballots cast this election cycle.

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