Council Looking to Limit Resident Parking for New Developments

It’s a general consensus among City officials that parking and traffic are among the greatest challenges facing Chelsea.

But the best way to help ease clogged streets and ensure residents aren’t endlessly circling their block to find an open parking spot are open to debate.

The latest proposal is an ordinance introduced by City Council President DamaliVidot and District 1 Councillor Robert Bishop seeking a change in the City’s off-street parking requirements.

Under the proposal, the residents of any development or housing that is granted relief by the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) from the City’s parking requirements won’t be eligible to participate in the residential permit parking sticker program. Already, in Everett, City officials at their ZBA have been requiring new developments or expanded housing units in triple deckers to not participate in their parking sticker program. That tool has proven quite successful over past several months.

The Chelsea proposal will head to the Planning Board for a recommendation before coming back for a public hearing before the City Council.

“This will require any developer that comes into the city to put their money where their mouth is by asking tenants not to participate in the City parking program,” said Vidot.

Bishop said it is unfair that larger developments come into the city and ask for and are granted well below the 1.5 parking spaces per unit required by the City.

“There are too many units and not enough parking,” said Bishop. “Where do you think all those cars go? They go all over the streets, that’s where they go.

“There is very little parking even in areas where there was once parking. This is something we should have done years ago.”

District 6 Councillor Giovanni Recupero said that while developers promote the use of Ubers, Lyfts, and public transportation, the fact is that more development brings more cars into the city.

“There are more cars being registered in our city, our streets can’t support all the cars,” Recupero said.

If developers want to build in Chelsea, Recupero said they should do like they do in Boston and provide parking underneath the units.

Several councillors said there are still some questions about the proposal made by Vidot and Bishop.

Councillor-At-Large Roy Avellaneda asked what would happen with condominiums, where there are owners as opposed to tenants. He also questioned what would happen if developers did provide required parking.

“If they meet the conditions and there are 15 spots for 10 units, would we still allow the parking sticker?” he asked.

Avellaneda said he is supportive of working out more details for a parking plan, and also noted that many of the biggest parking issues come not from the larger developments, but from smaller conversions where parking relief is granted for buildings increasing from one to two or two to three families.

District 3 Councillor Joe Perlatonda said there needs to be a closer look at the overall parking program for the city.

He said the current program, which limits resident sticker parking to 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. is unfair to residents.

“Unless we change the parking program to 24/7, these people are still going to be parking in our streets, and I’m sick of it,” said Perlatonda.

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Councilor Luis Tejada Joins Latino Policymakers In Los Angeles for Naleo Discussions

Councilor Luis Tejada joined the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund and 50 community college trustees, municipal level officials, and state legislators from throughout the country for the NALEO National Policy Institute on Workforce Development in Los Angeles from March 29-30, 2019.

Councilor Luis Tejada.

The convening provided Luis Tejada and Latino policymakers from across the nation with the opportunity to deepen their knowledge around current workforce issues and discuss various approaches to strengthen their jurisdictions’ workforce development. Over two-days, Luis Tejada addressed ways to strengthen innovative and successful workforce development policies and best practices that drive economic success in the labor market for their constituents, communities, and regions.

Tejada, Chelsea District 2 City Councilor, said, “My need to be here was to learn how we can help ALL of our constituents have a more fruitful life and provide for our families in spite of the forces, like technology and other created future challenges, that are threatening to hold us back.”

During the Institute, Tejada networked with other Latino leaders, strengthened their governance skills, and exchanged policies and ideas around effective ways to address pressing workforce development issues. Topics addressed during the convening included:

• Preparing Latinos for the Workforce of Tomorrow: National Workforce Landscape and Projections;

• The Engine of Change and Economic Growth: Embracing Transformative Technology;

• Supporting the Current and Future Latino Workforce: Turning Skills into Careers; and

• Industry Sector Strategies: Healthcare, Advanced Manufacturing and Service.

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Gov. Baker Re-files Bill to Protect: Communities From Dangerous Individuals

Gov. Baker Re-files Bill to Protect: Communities From Dangerous Individuals

Chelsea Chief Brian Kyes introduced Gov. Charlie Baker to a room of police chiefs from around the state during Tuesday’s meeting of the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs of Police Association. The meeting took place in Everett, and Gov. Baker made a major public safety policy announcement at the gathering in regard to criminal background checks. See Page 5 for more photos.

Standing alongside Chief Brian Kyes, Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday re-filed legislation to provide law enforcement and the courts with additional tools to ensure dangerous criminals are held in custody pending trial.

First filed on September 6, 2018, the proposal would expand the list of offenses that can provide grounds for a dangerousness hearing and close certain loopholes at the start and end of the criminal process that currently limit or prevent effective action to address legitimate safety concerns. Governor Baker made the announcement in Everett at the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs of Police Association Meeting, an Association Chief Kyes is the leader of.

“Public safety is a fundamental responsibility of government and in order to fulfill that duty, we must allow local police and district attorneys to effectively deal with people who repeatedly break the law,” said Governor Baker. “Last session we enacted several provisions to ensure that a small lapse in judgment doesn’t ruin a life, and we must now give law enforcement, prosecutors and the courts the tools they need to keep our communities safe. We look forward to working with the Legislature to pass this important bill.”

The proposal will strengthen the ability of judges to enforce the conditions of pre-trial release by empowering police to detain people who they observe violating court-ordered release conditions; current law does not allow this, and instead requires a court to first issue a warrant.

“Loopholes in the current system limit or prevent effective action to address legitimate safety concerns,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “This bill will empower law enforcement with the flexibility and tools they need to protect their communities from dangerous defendants.”

Under this proposal, judges will be empowered to revoke a person’s release when the offender has violated a court-ordered condition, such as an order to stay away from a victim, or from a public playground. Current law requires an additional finding of dangerousness before release may be revoked.

“A defendant’s past criminal history should absolutely be considered as a factor at any such dangerousness hearing rather than just the alleged crime that is currently before the court,” said Kyes, Chelsea Police Chief and President of the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs. “It is essential that in conducting a proper risk analysis in order to determine whether the defendant is to be considered a potential danger to any victim, witness or to the public in general, that their past criminal history – especially as it pertains to previous convictions for violent crimes – is considered and weighed based on its relevancy pertaining to a demonstrated propensity to commit violence. This bill will rectify the existing gap that currently occurs during a dangerousness hearing.”

The legislation also expands the list of offenses which can provide grounds for a dangerousness hearing including crimes of sexual abuse and crimes of threatened or potential violence. It also follows the long-standing federal model in including a defendant’s history of serious criminal convictions as grounds that may warrant a dangerousness hearing. Current law requires courts to focus only on the crime charged and ignore a defendant’s criminal history when determining whether the defendant may be the subject of this sort of hearing.

Additional provisions of this legislation:

•Improves the system for notifying victims of crimes of abuse and other dangerous crimes when a defendant is going to be released by creating clear lines of responsibility among police, prosecutors and corrections personnel to notify victims about an offender’s imminent release from custody, and create a six-hour window for authorities to inform a victim before an offender is allowed to be released.

•Creates a new felony offense for cutting off a court-ordered GPS device.

•Requires that the courts develop a text message service to remind defendants of upcoming court dates, reducing the chance they will forget and have a warrant issued for their arrest.

•Allows dangerousness hearings at any point during a criminal proceeding, rather than requiring a prosecutor to either seek a hearing immediately or forfeit that ability entirely, even if circumstances later arise indicating that the defendant poses a serious risk to the community.

•Requires that the probation department, bail commissioners and bail magistrates notify authorities who can take remedial action when a person who is on pre-trial release commits a new offense anywhere in the Commonwealth or elsewhere.

•Creates a level playing field for appeals of district court release decisions to the superior court by allowing appeals by prosecutors, in addition to defendants, and giving more deference to determinations made in the first instance by our district court judges.

•Creates a task force to recommend adding information to criminal records so that prosecutors and judges can make more informed recommendations and decisions about conditions of release and possible detention on grounds of dangerousness.

The legislation also closes loopholes at the start and end of the criminal process that currently limit or prevent effective action to address legitimate safety concerns. It extends the requirement that police take the fingerprints of people arrested for felonies to all people arrested, regardless of the charge, to ensure that decisions about release can be made with knowledge of a person’s true identity and full criminal history. It also allows, for the first time, bail commissioners and bail magistrates to consider dangerousness in deciding whether to release an arrestee from a police station when court is out of session.

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City of Chelsea News and Notes

City of Chelsea News and Notes

Senior Tax Work-Off Program

The City of Chelsea is happy to announce that the Senior Tax Work-Off Program is being offered once again.  We offer clerical tasks and various office duties.

The Senior Tax Work-Off Program is a special program offered by the City of Chelsea to help financially eligible seniors receive a reduction off of their annual real estate taxes.  If a senior qualifies for this program, they then work for the City’s departments, earning $12.00 per hour for up to 125 hours for a maximum of $1,500.00 per year.

Deadline for all applications is January 31, 2019

There is a limit of 25 participants per year, in the event the city receives more than 25 participants a lottery will be held to determine the current year’s participants.

For further information visit https://www.chelseama.gov/ or contact Denia Romero at 617-466-4170 / dromero@chelseama.gov

Veterans Tax Work-Off Abatement Program

The City of Chelsea is happy to announce that once again we are offering the Veterans Property Tax Work-Off Abatement Program.

The program provides qualified Veterans and spouses of qualified Veterans who work up to 125 hours for the City an abatement of up to $1,500 against their real estate taxes.

We offer clerical tasks and various other office duties.  If a Veteran qualifies for this program he/she would then work for the City’s departments, earning $12.00 per hour for up to 125 hours for a maximum of $1,500 per year.

Deadline for all applications is January 31, 2019

There is a limit of 25 participants per year, in the event the city receives more than 25 applicants a lottery will be held to determine the current year’s participants.

For further information visit https://www.chelseama.gov/ or contact Denia Romero at 617-466-4170 / dromero@chelseama.gov

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The More Women, The Better

The More Women, The Better

Say what you will about the state of politics in our country these days, one thing that is undeniable is that Americans have become more engaged in the political process than at any time in our recent history.

The recent election of scores of women, of diverse backgrounds, to public office has signified that men no longer will be running the show.

This is a good thing, not only for women, but also for men — and by extension, for our entire nation and the world — because when those who control our democratic institutions reflect the make-up of those whom they are serving, the end result will be policies that benefit all Americans, in all our diversity, rather than just the few.

It took the current political environment to wake us up from our complacency .

We look forward to our new Congress and trust that the talented and energetic women who will be serving as our senators and representatives will bring a positive attitude and some meaningful changes to the status quo.

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Trash Talk:City Manager Calls for Consideration of Universal Trash Fee as Rates Rise for Water, Sewer and Trash

Trash Talk:City Manager Calls for Consideration of Universal Trash Fee as Rates Rise for Water, Sewer and Trash

City Manager Tom Ambrosino told the City Council he believes it might be time to start a discussion about charging everyone a trash fee in the coming years as costs continue to rise for rubbish collection and recycling.

This came at the same time that he announced water and sewer rates would increase by 7.95 percent this year and the existing trash fee would climb 10 percent over last year.

Currently, trash fees are only charged to properties that are not owner-occupied. However, Ambrosino said it might be time to change all that.

“This new trash fee represents an increase of 10 percent,” he said. “Residential owners will pay an additional $32.88 annually as a result of this increase. I recognize that annual increases of 10 percent are painful, but even with this increase we will not cover the cost of our trash system with our fees. I have mentioned for some time that the City should consider changes to our current rate structure for Solid Waste Disposal. Specifically, I suggest we start the discussion of at least some nominal fee for owner occupied units. Otherwise, 10-plus percent increases will be the norm for the foreseeable future.”

The trash rate will increase to $30.09 monthly for residential property and $141.96 monthly for commercial units in mixed buildings.

Meanwhile, for water and sewer rates – which affect every homeowner – the combined rate increase will be 7.95 percent over last year. The average water user can assume a bill of $1,776 annual for water and sewer charges.

The water rate alone will go up 6 percent, and the sewer rate alone will go up 9 percent. Together, they arrive at the combined rate increase of 7.95 percent for residential users.

For Tier 1 users, the combined rate is $14.80 per hundred cubic feet.

The rates went into effect on July 1, but a Monday’s Council meeting Councillor Bob Bishop was quick to criticize.

“The water and sewer rates in Chelsea are too high,” he said. “I think we should be doing everything we can to hold the line or decrease these rates every year. Other cities and towns aren’t charging the rates we charge…It seems to be a feeding trough at the water and sewer department. I don’t like it.”

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Clark Ave’s Siriani Named Rotary Teacher of the Year

Clark Ave’s Siriani Named Rotary Teacher of the Year

It came as quite a surprise, but was much deserved, as Supt. Mary Bourque and Clark Avenue Middle School Principal Michael Talbot informed Clark Ave teacher Sally Siriani on May 31 that she was the Chelsea Rotary

Supt. Mary Bourque, Teacher of the Year Sally Siriani, and Clark Ave Principal Michael Talbot.

Teacher of the Year.

Siriani has spent 20 years in the district, all at the Clark Avenue Middle teaching math and science in grades 5 and 6.

“I love the kids,” she said. “I as born to do this. I put magnets on the refrigerator when I was little and pretended to grade homework papers. I played school all day. My friend Holly Correia, who now teaches in Revere, would always play school. We would take stuffed animals and put them in seats and play school all day long. I’m flattered and honored and shocked. It’s great to be recognized.”

Siriani grew up in Winthrop and attended Catholic Schools there, graduating from Winthrop High School in 1990. She attended Fitchburg State and then worked at the now-closed Assumption School in Chelsea. When it closed down, she was hired to be one of the first teachers in 1998 to come into the new Clark Avenue Middle School.

Previously, the building was used as Chelsea High School.

Current Supt. Mary Bourque was the assistant principal at the time and said that Siriani was the backbone of the school.

“Personally, I know Ms. Siriani from our early days at the Clark Avenue School and her deep devotion to providing the highest quality education for all students,” said Bourque. “I also remember the days when a new school was but a conversation for us all. Ms. Siriani has lived through another Clark Avenue Middle School milestone – construction – and is now teaching  a new generation of students in the new building that we used to only dream about in 1998.”

Principal Talbot said her strength is building relationships with her students.

“She collaborates with the other Math teacher at her grade level in order to best meet the needs of all of her students,” he said. “She regularly uses pre-assessments to see where the gaps are and flexibly groups her students in differentiated activities in order to help them with the mastery of the skills that are required. She also asks students to self-assess themselves, set realistic and challenging goals, and then plans thoughtful learning activities for all of her students.  She works incredibly hard on behalf of her students and she is able to build strong relationships with her students, as evidenced by so many coming back to see her each year.”

Siriani was to be honored at the Rotary Lunch on Tuesday, June 5.

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Suffolk County District Attorney Candidates Forum Sparks Debate Among Contenders

Suffolk County District Attorney Candidates Forum Sparks Debate Among Contenders

A heated discussion between the candidates for Suffolk County District Attorney took place in a packed room at Suffolk University Law School on Thursday, May 3.

The event was moderated by Meghan Irons, the social justice reporter at The Boston Globe, and was hosted by Boston Wards 3, 4, and 5 Democratic committees, Suffolk Law School, Boston NAACP, MassVOTE, and the Mass. Dems Latino Caucus.

Candidates Evandro Carvalho, Massachusetts state representative from Dorchester, Attorney Linda Champion, Greg Henning assistant district attorney, Shannon McAuliffe director at Roca, an organization that disrupts the cycle of poverty, and Rachel Rollins, Chief Legal Counsel to the Massachusetts Port Authority, were ready to answer questions during the forum.

“About 77 percent of DA races go un-contested across the U.S.,” said Rahsaan Hall, Director of the Racial Justice Program and “What a Difference a DA Makes” campaign for the ACLU of MA, to a crowded room. “There is a lack of opportunities for communities to engage but, this is what democracy looks like.”

Hall said that many folks don’t even know what goes on in a DA’s Office and most don’t even know that it is an elected position.

“We are working to make sure the country and residents of Suffolk County are engaged and active,” said Hall.

Candidates were allowed 90 seconds to answer questions and 30 seconds for rebuttal. Questions ranged from are you too much of an insider or outsider to change things, to how to stop cycle of repeat offenders to how will the candidates make the office more diverse?

Champion said she has three areas she will focus on as District Attorney beside safety: education, housing and jobs.

“When you have all of these things you can have an environment that everyone can feel safe,” she said. “I’m in this race to focus on what is the problem and that’s the lives of our residents.”

Henning said his goal as DA would to make sure that everyone is protected, and to re-connect the community with law enforcement.

“I will not only ensure community policing to keep the streets safe but to help people to not to engage and re-engage with the justice system.”

Rollins said that to make a real difference more people of color and women need to work in the justice system.

“To get fairness, equity and justice you need more diversity in the people that serves those decisions,” said Rollins.

McAuliffe distanced herself from the pack by focusing on her current work at Roca, a non-profit that takes young adults who have a high chance of repeat offense and steers them in a different path by providing job training and other opportunities.

“I’m the only one here that hasn’t worked for a job opening,” said McAuliffe who took on the current DA during the last election. “Reform needs a reformer, and that’s who I am.”

Carvalho said that in order to seek justice you need to look at who is making the decisions. He pointed out that the people making the decisions are largely white and those going in and out of the DA’s office are largely people of color.

“I live in Dorchester and my constituents deal with it every day,” he said. “They are trapped without help every day, and that has to change. As DA I will be sure to change things.”

Current DA Dan Conley announced earlier this year that he will not be seeking re-election. Conley has held the office since February 2002.

This will be the second open candidate forum of the year. The primary for the Suffolk Country District Attorney race will be on Tuesday, Sept. 4. The general election will be Tuesday, Nov. 6.

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After Long Process, DiDomenico Affirms ‘Strong Relationship’ with Sen President-Elect Spilka

After Long Process, DiDomenico Affirms ‘Strong Relationship’ with Sen President-Elect Spilka

After a long process, Sen. Sal DiDomenico allegedly fell a few votes short of gaining the Senate Presidency, a process that completed last week when State Sen. Karen Spilka corralled the 21 votes needed to secure the presidency.

It was announced publicly in a press conference on Thursday, March 22.

While no one was keeping score on the outside, and few on the inside were talking, it was believed by those watching closely that DiDomenico had as many as 19 votes just within the last month.

Sen. DiDomenico would not comment on the process within the Senate this week where he had tried to make a run for Senate President.

However, he did say publicly that he will still be the assistant majority leader in the Senate – a post he was recently promoted to and will keep under the new leadership.

He also said there is no bad blood between himself and Sen. President-elect Spilka after the long process.

“Before this process Speaker-elect Karen Spilka and I were close friends as we will continue to be,” he said. “We have worked well for some time as a result of me being the vice chair on her Ways and Means Committee. There is no bad blood or animosity between us. There comes a point in time when you have to bring the body together and move forward. I thought this was the right time to do that.

“Now that this process is over and we have a new senate president elect, I support Karen 100 percent and will do everything I can to support her as senate president,” he continued. “Our relationship is as strong as it always has been.”

Sen. DiDomenico did not want to comment any further on his role in the new leadership team, but affirmed the strong relationship between himself and Sen. Spilka.

“I look forward to serving under Senate President-elect Spilka and being an integral part of her team,” he said.

Observers had been worried that, as typically happens, the senator that comes out on the short end of the bargain gets relegated to the back of the room. Many thought that if Sen. DiDomenico lost, he might also lose all of the power and responsibilities he has worked towards since being elected and coming into leadership roles under former Sen. President Stan Rosenberg.

However, with DiDomenico affirming his positive relationship with Spilka this week, many believe that he will come out unharmed after the process finishes out.

As for the ascension, there is currently no consensus between Sen. President Harriet Chandler and Sen. President-elect Spilka about when she might take office.

Some postulated it could come on July 1 after the end of the current fiscal year.

Others thought it could come at the end of December.

During a press conference last week, Spilka indicated they had not yet ironed that out.

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The Estates on Admiral’s Hill to Hold Holiday Open House Tuesday, Dec 5 at 201 Captains Row in Chelsea

The Estates on Admiral’s Hill to Hold Holiday Open House Tuesday, Dec 5 at 201 Captains Row in Chelsea

The Estates on Admiral’s Hill (www.admiralshill.org) will hold a holiday open house for its two assisted living residences on Tuesday, December 5 from 3pm to 5pm. Amidst holiday treats, lively piano music and hot chocolate by the fireplace, attendees will meet Executive Director Yari Velez and her talented team. One-on-one discussions and personalized tours will be provided as well as the opportunity to meet the current residents.

Located on Admiral’s Hill at 201 Captains Row in Chelsea, The Estates is comprised of two separate residences: Cohen Florence Levine Estates, a traditional assisted living and Florence & Chafetz Home for Specialized Care, a residence for those in need of additional support services.  Amenities include fresh healthy meals, a 24-hour café with home-made baked goods, hair and nail salon, library, living room, great room for concerts and shows, dining room and outdoor courtyard area for seasonal activities.

“This open house is a chance for area residents to personally meet our amazing staff and residents and find out, first hand, what assisted living is all about,” explains Executive Director Yari Velez.  “In addition to personalized tours, we can answer questions about the affordability of assisted living as well as the tax credit program.” She added, “Finding the right place to live for seniors can be a complicated process; our goal is to make the process as easy as possible.”

The open house will be held from 3pm to 5pm on Tuesday, December 5 at 201 Captains Row in Chelsea. To RSVP to the open house and/or schedule a private tour, please call Terry Halliday at 98-854-1825 or email thalliday@chesleajewish.org. thalliday@chelseajewish.org

Chelsea Jewish Lifecare, a highly respected leader in senior living, employs over 1200 people and provides care to over 800 individuals daily, with campuses in Chelsea and Peabody, MA. Offering a full continuum of services, Chelsea Jewish Lifecare (www.chelseajewish.org) is redefining senior care and re-envisioning what life should be like for those living with disabling conditions. The eldercare community includes a wide array of skilled and short-term rehab residences, ALS and MS specialized care residences, traditional and specialized assisted living options, memory care, independent living, adult day health, geriatric care management, home care, personal care and hospice agencies that deliver customized and compassionate care.

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