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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City, State Officials Break Ground on New Soldiers’ Home Facility

City, State Officials Break Ground on New Soldiers’ Home Facility

The Chelsea Soldiers’ Home has officially embarked on a new face and mission to help care for veterans and their

Gov. Charlie Baker and Speaker Bob DeLeo lead the way in breaking ground for the new Community Living Center at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home this past Monday, Oct. 29. The new Center will eventually replace the Quigley Memorial Hospital. It is a state and federal project costing $199 million.

families, breaking ground Monday on a $199 million Community Living Center (CLC) that will provide modern accommodations and replace the old Quigley Memorial Hospital.

Gov. Charlie Baker joined Secretary of Administration and Finance Michael J. Heffernan, Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, Secretary of Veterans’ Services Francisco Ureña, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and veterans of the United States Armed Forces for the groundbreaking of the new long-term care facility at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home.

The current facility will continue to be fully operational, caring for 154 veterans, during the construction process with an anticipated project completion date in 2022.

Some 65 percent of the funding for the new facility will come from the Federal government, which approved monies for the project earlier this summer.

“The new long term care facility at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home will improve the quality of services and care provided to the Commonwealth’s men and women who have answered the call of duty and served our nation,” said Baker. “Our veterans and their families have sacrificed so much for this country, and it is our duty to care for them with honor and dignity.”

House Speaker Bob DeLeo was also on hand and has been a friend to the Home for years. Gov. Baker gave credit to DeLeo for getting funding through the Legislature so that the federal application was prepared quickly.

“Having been in the Legislature 25 years now, you, Mr. Speaker, own a big piece of that and we are all extremely grateful for this work and all the work you do for veterans in the Commonwealth,” he said. “This place will be a true testament to our investment to our veterans.”

DeLeo said the Home does have a special place in his heart, and serves veterans from his district as well.

“I am so pleased this project is underway and moving forward,” he said.

In May 2017, Governor Baker  HYPERLINK “https://www.mass.gov/news/baker-polito-administration-releases-fiscal-year-2018-capital-budget-plan” t “_blank” announced plans for a new long-term care Community Living Center, which was included in the Baker-Polito Administration’s Fiscal Year 2018 capital investment plan, and in November 2017,  HYPERLINK “https://www.mass.gov/news/governor-baker-signs-bill-to-fund-new-facility-at-chelsea-soldiers-home-and-high-speed” t “_blank” signed legislation authorizing funding needed to advance the project.

The Administration has also received funding authorization from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the project. The federal funding was awarded through the VA’s State Home Construction Grant Program which provides reimbursement of up to 65 percent of construction costs for approved projects. The Administration, with strong support from the Legislature, plans to spend approximately $70 million net of federal reimbursement on the project.

The Home has long suffered from having open wards at the Quigley, and it was a point of contention for federal authorities – as health care payments are not allowed to go to facilities with old, open wards. With funding on the line, the Home was able to secure the project funding. This will allow the Home to now have private rooms and modern facilities for the residents there.

“This facility truly is a fitting tribute to our veterans who have served our nation,” said Supt. Cheryl Poppe. “With this building construction, we honor their sacrifice…The Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea is honored to serve Massachusetts veterans, and this groundbreaking reaffirms the Commonwealth’s commitment to veterans of yesterday, today, and for generations to come.”

HYPERLINK “https://www.mass.gov/orgs/soldiers-home-in-chelsea” t “_blank” The Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea first opened its doors to Massachusetts veterans in 1882. The first residents were Civil War veterans who were wounded or unable to care for themselves, many of whom had previously resided in the Commonwealth’s “alms houses.” Today, Chelsea carries on Massachusetts’ proud tradition of helping all veterans in need of both long term care and domiciliary / supportive services. Chelsea is surveyed annually by the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”). It is also fully accredited by The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (“Joint Commission”). Chelsea has a Board of Trustees appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The trustees and DVS share responsibility for the management of the home. Chelsea Soldiers’ Home currently has capacity for 136 beds for long-term care.

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Baker Visits CHS

Baker Visits CHS

Supt. Mary Bourque explaining CHS’s five-year vision during a panel discussion and visit from Gov. Charlie Baker and his administration last Weds., Sept. 5. Baker came to CHS to review and hear about Chelsea’s innovative college credit program in association with Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC).

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Charlie Baker Represents All of Us

Charlie Baker Represents All of Us

A recent news article in The Boston Globe quoted a number of reportedly important RepubIican party members who asserted that they have been disappointed in the performance of Gov. Charlie Baker because he has been “too liberal.”

They are upset with his support both for social causes they deem “liberal” and for his assent to the recently-enacted, so-called “grand bargain” that will raise the minimum wage, among other items.

However, what they really seem to be upset about is that Charlie Baker rates as the most popular governor in the country among his own constituents. They would prefer a governor who is combative, negative, and insulting — in other words, they crave a Donald Trump at the governor’s desk, who is intent only on sowing seeds of hatred and discontent.

When you think about the disaster in Washington, as well as the bitterness that exists in many states among governors and their rivals, thank goodness we have Charlie Baker at the helm of our ship of state.

Massachusetts stands out among the the states in many measurable ways (such as our public schools’ performance), but chiefly we stand out because of the respect that our state’s leaders have for each other and the manner in which they work together.

They conduct our state’s business by the twin maxims that it is possible to disagree without being disagreeable and that politics is the art of compromise.

What these so-called Republicans are ignoring about Charlie Baker are four things:

First and foremost, he is as honest and straightforward as any governor who has served us;

Second, he campaigned in support of the issues he has signed into law. In short, he has kept his promises to the people who elected him — what a novel concept for a politician!;

Third, he is a Republican in Massachusetts — a True Blue state with veto-proof majorities in the Democratic-controlled legislature. Yet, Gov. Baker and the legislature  have achieved as much for the people of our state in the past four years as ever have been accomplished by previous administrations — including Democratic ones; and

Finally, Charlie Baker has appointed people in his administration who actually know what they are doing and who are dedicated to public service, such as Jay Ash, the secretary of housing and economic development.

The bottom line is that the vast majority of the people in Massachusetts believe that our state is headed in the right direction and they attribute that to our governor,  Charlie Baker.

Apparently, there are some who don’t agree and that certainly is their right to do so.

However, we are glad that Charlie Baker has failed to heed their calls for rancor and divisiveness. Massachusetts is moving forward — and the administration of Gov. Charlie Baker undeniably has played a large role in our success in the past four years.

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Soldiers’ Home Secures Federal Funding for Center

Soldiers’ Home Secures Federal Funding for Center

Gov. Charlie Baker announced last Friday that the state has secured approximately $70 million in federal funding for the new 154-bed Community Living Center at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home – federal funding that pretty much gives the green light to proceed on the project.

State leaders have made a priority of designing and funding the $199 million project, but getting the federal funding was always a crucial piece of the puzzle that had to come through.

On Friday, the Veteran’s Administration State Home Construction Grant Program announced it would provide a 65 percent reimbursement of approved construction projects, including the Soldiers’ Home.

“Our veterans have sacrificed greatly to protect our freedoms and we are proud to see this project move forward as we continue to provide them with great care and dignity,” said Baker. “We are grateful to the VA for their support of Massachusetts’ veterans and this funding allows us to construct a state of the art facility that will be a model for future veteran homes across the country.”

The Community Living Center at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home will provide 154 “home-like” rooms for veterans in accordance with VA standards of design, which promotes greater accessibility, mobility, and enhanced quality of life. Services will include physical and occupational therapy, recreational activities and greater access to the outdoors. The current facility, the Quigley Memorial Long Term Care Center, will continue to be fully operational during the construction process with an anticipated project completion date in 2021.

“We appreciate the Department of Veterans Affairs’ approval to replace the existing long-term care facility at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home Campus,” said Secretary of Veterans’ Services Francisco A. Ureña. “In addition to approving our replacement project, the VA granted the Commonwealth $129 million in matching funds.”

In May 2017, the Baker-Polito Administration announced state funding for the new long-term care facility as part of the Fiscal Year 2018 capital budget plan, and in November, Governor Baker  signed legislation to fund the project.

“I am thrilled that the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home will be receiving federal funding for its new Community Living Center,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “The House has been a longtime supporter of this project and, as a neighbor of the Soldiers’ Home, I have been proud to support the residents and their needs throughout my tenure in the House. This financing will allow the Soldiers’ Home to further improve and enhance the vital care that they provide our veterans.”

Governor Baker was joined at his 2018 State of the Commonwealth Address by U.S. Navy Veteran Tom Miller, who lives at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home, Director of Nursing Debbie Antonelli and Superintendent Cheryl Poppe to celebrate the Administration’s commitment to this necessary funding.

“This funding will allow us to provide our veterans with a long-awaited updated home that will enhance their quality of life with increased privacy and greater access to services,” said Chelsea Soldiers’ Home Superintendent Cheryl Lussier Poppe. “Our veterans deserve the very best, and this home will complement the quality care our veterans receive here at the Soldiers’ Home. We are grateful for the support of the Baker-Polito Administration for this opportunity.”

The Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea first opened its doors to Massachusetts veterans in 1882. The first residents were Civil War veterans who were wounded or unable to care for themselves, many of whom had previously resided in the Commonwealth’s “alms houses.” Today, Chelsea carries on Massachusetts’ proud tradition of helping all veterans in need of both long term care and domiciliary / supportive services. Chelsea is surveyed annually by the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”). It is also fully accredited by The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (“Joint Commission”). Chelsea has a Board of Trustees appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The trustees and DVS share responsibility for the management of the home.

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Gov Baker Stands Tall — Again

Gov Baker Stands Tall — Again

The swift and unequivocal announcement last Friday by Gov. Charlie Baker that Massachusetts will join in an initiative with other states to encourage alternative forms of energy in order to reduce carbon emissions is yet another example of the sort of straightforward decision-making that has become a hallmark of the Baker administration.

Gov. Baker’s  announcement came on the heels of the pronouncement the day before by Pres. Donald Trump that he will withdraw the United States from the Paris climate change agreement.  Unlike President Trump, Gov. Baker realizes that we must stay ahead of the curve in areas that are critical to our economy and also assert our moral leadership when necessary.

Gov. Baker’s policy recognizes first and foremost that global-warming is real and that man-made greenhouse gases are contributing to it — and therefore we need to do something about it.

Furthermore, it recognizes that protecting our environment is necessary not only from the moral imperative of saving the planet, but also because it makes sense from an economic point-of-view.

Solar, wind, and other passive forms of energy production clearly are the wave of the future, both in our country and globally. The governor understands that we must make a choice: We either can get with the program, so to speak, as every other nation is doing, or we will find ourselves stuck with a mid-20th century energy model for a 21st century economy.

This is not a political issue — Democrat vs. Republican or progressive vs. conservative — but rather, it is a matter that should unite all of us toward a common goal.

As Gov. Baker succinctly put it in his official statement, “Our administration looks forward to continued, bipartisan collaboration with other states to protect the environment, grow the economy, and deliver a brighter future to the next generation.”

We are proud to stand with Gov. Baker on this important initiative. We have no doubt that as Massachusetts becomes a leader in the realm of developing and implementing alternative forms of energy, the benefits to our economy — and our planet — will be enormous.

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Gov Baker Signs Higher Residential Exemption for Chelsea Homeowners

By Seth Daniel

Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law a home rule petition forwarded by City Manager Tom Ambrosino and the City Council that allows owner-occupied homeowners a 35 percent reduction on their property taxes.

The measure has been discussed for several years by Councillor Giovanni Recupero with little success, but the idea hit a wave earlier this year when Ambrosino signaled he would support such a measure and Councillor Roy Avellaneda codified it in a Council order – an order that increased the savings from 30 percent to 35 percent.

“I have always advocated for this and now we have it,” said Recupero. “I’m glad the homeowner in Chelsea is getting a bigger break. I’ve been asking for that every since I got up here. They told me we could never do this and now we did it. What changed? I’m happy to see it.”

Councillor Avellaneda said he is happy that homeowners will get an even further break.

“I’m thrilled Governor Baker signed the home rule petition I sponsored that increases the tax exemption for Chelsea homeowners,” he said. “I want to thank my colleagues for supporting the measure, the City Manager for helping advocate for it on Beacon Hill and our state delegation, Senator Sal DiDiminico and Rep. Dan Ryan for pushing it through. I’m sure the homeowners of Chelsea will enjoy the reduction on their tax bill.”

The residential tax exemption works by shifting the tax burden to non-owner occupants and to some higher valued owner-occupied properties. The idea is to reward residents living in lower valued homes and give those residents a break on their property taxes. One consequence, though, is that if there aren’t enough non-owner occupants, then some owner occupants in high-value homes can be hurt by the measure.

In this case, Ambrosino said that cut off was the $625,000 number and only four homes fall into that category.

For a $300,000 home, a City analysis showed, a 30 percent exemption this year would have yielded $292 in savings on the tax bill this year. For a similar home, the 35 percent exemption would have yielded $451 in savings on the tax bill.

Right now, 13 communities in the state have a residential exemption, with the majority of those being at 20 percent. Chelsea’s exemption was also 20 percent until last week.

The measure passed last Thursday and is retroactive to July 1, 2016.

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All’s Well at S & L:Steven Powers Jr takes Over Ownership of Popular Mill Hill Sandwich Shop

By Cary Shuman

The name Powers has distinguished itself in so many aspects of Chelsea life over the past 50 years: in the Aldermanic Chambers at City Hall where Steven Powers Sr. served as a city official; on the baseball fields where he served as league president; and at the old Merritt Park where the Powers family’s Fourth of July party and races were second to none.

There is also another well-known venue in which the Powers family name has carried on a longtime and proud tradition in this city: the S & L Cold Cut Center on Eastern Avenue where a new era has begun.

Steven Powers Jr. has taken over the ownership of the popular sandwich shop in Mill Hill from his mother, Judy, and his aunt, Diane, who had been directing operations since 1996. Steven’s father, Steven Powers Sr., and grandfather, Larry Cesareo, first opened the shop in 1973.

“That what the ‘S’ and ‘L’ stand for: Steve and Larry,” related Powers. “I’m so proud of my father. He was a city leader with much integrity who loves Chelsea.”

Powers Jr. has put his own stamp on the business, overseeing a renovation project of the restaurant that has drawn raves reviews from old and new customers.

“I’m very excited about the new look and the changes we have made to the interior,” said Powers.

The menu, that has delighted regulars from Chelsea and area communities for years, remains mostly the same.

Large sandwiches are the S & L signature plate. “The most popular sandwich is the Italian how ever you’d like it – with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, and the hot stuff,” said Powers. “Our steak and cheese sandwich is also a favorite among our customers.”

Daily specials, such as Friday’s fried haddock dinner, also bring in the masses while barbecued steak tips are the newest addition to the dinner menu.

“Not that I think I can compete with the other two big boys in Chelsea – New Bridge and Floramo’s, but ours are really good, too,” said Powers.

A Chelsea High School Class of 1987 graduate, Steven Powers Jr. is now running the show at S & L in the neighborhood where he grew up and right down the street from the rink where played in the Chelsea Youth Hockey program. He also played in the Chelsea Little League and the Chelsea Youth Baseball League.

“My first 17 years of my life were in the four-decker which is 1 Carroll St,” said Powers. “We then moved to 17 Lewis St. which is a block away.”

It’s clear that Steven Powers Jr. has inherited his family’s love of Chelsea and that his customers are happy to see him back in the city.

“Just from growing up here, I get to see so many people I haven’t seen in years,” said Powers. “But none of this would have been possible for me without the people who came before me: my mother, my aunt, my grandfather, and my father. They laid the groundwork to step in to something that has a 40-year heritage.”

Steven Powers Jr. and his longtime companion, Fran Turco, live in Revere with five children, Anthony, Marguerita, Austin, Paul and Abby. Steven Jr. is also close to his sister, former CHS cheerleader Annie Powers Baker, and her husband, Chris Baker – arguably Chelsea High’s greatest ice hockey ever – sister, Kelly Powers, and brothers, Matthew Powers and Dennis Powers.

“We were all raised by great, positive role models,” said Powers. “They just showed me how to do everything.”

(S & L Cold Cut Center is open six days a week, Monday through Friday until 7 p.m., and Saturday until 3 p.m.)

Steve Powers Jr. and his son, Austin Powers, outside the newly renovated S and L Cold Cut Center at 462 Eastern Ave., Chelsea.

Steve Powers Jr. and his son, Austin Powers, outside the newly renovated S and L Cold Cut Center at 462 Eastern Ave., Chelsea.

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Together in Song

CHEL_20160310_A1

Governor Charlie Baker, Senator Sal DiDomenico, and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh joined together in song to entertain the crowd during the annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration hosted by Sen. DiDomenico in Charlestown. The popular event brought many from Chelsea and several state officials as well.

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Lt.Governor Karyn Polito Signs Community Compact with City

City Manager Tom Ambrosino shows Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito on a map and from his office window in City Hall where the new FBI Building will be located.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino shows Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito on a map and from his office window in City Hall where the new FBI Building will be located.

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito signed a Community Compact agreement with Chelsea City Manager Thomas Ambrosino on Thursday afternoon.

“We are excited to announce our new partnership with the City of Chelsea,” said Polito. “The Commonwealth is looking forward to working with local officials to implement their chosen best practices in business continuity and job creation.”

Community Compacts are one tool the administration is utilizing to strengthen the partnership between cities and towns and the Commonwealth. By entering a Community Compact, a community agrees to implement self-selected best practices. As part of this partnership, the Commonwealth agrees to fulfill a set of commitments and works to provide assistance for a community based on their chosen best practice.

Chelsea was the 53rd community to sign onto the Compact with the Baker Administration. There have been 130 applications made and 112 have been approved. The round of funding opened up in May.

Through this Compact, the City of Chelsea pledges to adopt a best practice in business continuity by developing a disaster recovery plan for critical systems as well as a plan to electronically back up and securely store municipal data.

“The continuation of government operations plan will give us the opportunity to have a solid plan in effect should something happen that prohibits us from getting to City Hall,” said Allan Alpert, director of emergency management. “It will help us have a plan for paying bills, doing the payroll and making sure City government continues in the event of some emergency. If all our systems fail, things are done electronically now. Nothing is done on paper. We’ll be able to create a plan if we can’t get to our systems in City Hall or if our systems fail.”

In addition, city officials pledge to promote job creation and retention through an economic development plan which leverages Chelsea’s local strengths and regional assets while promoting entrepreneurship and collaboration with educational institutions.

The Community Compact is a voluntary, mutual agreement entered into between the Baker-Polito Administration and individual cities and towns of the Commonwealth. In a Community Compact, a community will agree to implement a best practice they select from across a variety of areas. The Compact also articulates the commitments the Commonwealth will make on behalf of all communities, including helping the community attain their chosen best practice.

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