City Manager Thomas Ambrosino got a new
five-year contract and a healthy serving of praise from the City Council Monday
The council approved the contract with a
10-0 vote. Councilor-at-Large Roy Avellaneda was not present at Monday night’s
Ambrosino gets a three percent raise with
the new deal, from $184,913 annually to $189,945.
Council President Damali Vidot said a
sub-committee made up of Councilors Luis Tejada, Giovanni Recupero and Yamir
Rodriguez had been evaluating Ambrosino for several months, and agreed that he
has done a good job and should be invited back.
“He’s done a great job and he wanted to go
five years instead of four years so he would be closer to retirement age at the
end of this contract,” she said. “I think he deserved it. I felt he earned five
years. He got a really good evaluation and people are very pleased with his
Vidot said the evaluation showed councilors
and the public felt he was a little too hands-off on his management of
departments, and wanted to see him be a little more hands-on with them. For
Vidot, she said one of his strengths has been treating the City Council with
“He has really given the City Council the
respect it deserves,” she said. “I didn’t see that in the previous
administration. Chelsea seems to really be coming together. There seems to be
so much more interest in social and civic issues and more unity overall.”
On Monday night, the praises continued at
the Council meeting before they voted to extend the contract five more years.
“The city manager has done a great job,”
said District 8 Councilor Calvin T. Brown. “He’s committed, a creative thinker,
and a very approachable city manager.”
Several councilors commented on Ambrosino’s
responsiveness to residents’ concerns.
“Whenever I have had a problem in my
district and brought it to his attention, the city manager has been very
responsive,” said District 1 Councilor Robert Bishop.
District 5 Councilor Judith Garcia said
Ambrosino has been an incredible asset and resource for the community.
“He has invested a lot in the community, and
I hear it from my constituents a lot,” said Garcia.
In addition to the three percent pay raise,
Ambrosino will get an additional $500 per year for travel, and the former
Revere mayor’s new contract will be for five years, compared to his current
“I’m very pleased and very grateful to the
city council for giving me a vote of confidence,” Ambrosino said following
Monday night’s meeting. “I will do everything I can to continue to make them
proud of my work.”
Ambrosino has said since last fall he would
like to be asked to return to Chelsea for another contract term. He said he
feels like he has more work to do in the city, particularly with his downtown
•In other Council news:
A resolution passed by the City Council
Monday night recognized February as Black History Month and thanked the Lewis
H. Latimer Society, Bunker Hill Community College, and the Chelsea Black
Community “Remembering Black Migration, WWI, and the Chelsea Fire” for the
contributions to the city.
The Council also recognized Feb. 21 as Dr.
Maya Angelou Day in Chelsea.
•The council requested a meeting with
Emergency Management Director Keith Vetreno to discuss 911 services.
•Councilor-at-Large Leo Robinson requested
that City Manager Tom Ambrosino update the council on all planned development
in the city.
•District 6 Councilor Giovanni Recupero
requested a brighter streetlight on Charles Street, as well as a study for
traffic on the Meridian Street Bridge. The brightness of the new LED
streetlights has been a problem point for several years, as most of them are on
the lowest setting to save money on power. Recupero has routinely asked the
City to increase the brightness on the new LED lights.
On January 14, officers responded to a
matter being investigated by the School Resource Officers alleging an assault
by means of a dangerous weapon, a knife. Officers spoke to a juvenile male who
reported being assaulted by another juvenile male while heading home from the
Browne Middle School. As the result of this investigation, an identification
was made of a 14-year-old juvenile male suspect that was taken into custody a
short time later. No injuries reported, and no weapon was recovered. Officers
are continuing to work with the schools for ongoing safety concerns.
A 14-year-old juvenile was charged with
assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (knife) and assault and battery.
SCREAMING AT BUSES
On Jan. 15, around 11:33 p.m., officers were
called to assist an MBTA bus driver for unruly female shouting at passing cars.
Officers arrived and encountered said female shouting obscenities at
officers. Despite efforts to calm her down, she continued her tirade and
was placed into custody for disorderly person without further incident.
Krysten Kulch, 32, of 58 Garfield Ave., was
charged with disorderly conduct.
HEROIN DEALER FROM
GARFIELD AVE BUSTED
On Thursday, Jan. 17, detectives were
conducting an ongoing drug investigation in the Prattville area after
complaints were received. Detectives arranged to contact a potential source of
narcotics and subsequently arranged a purchase to be made. After the suspect
agreed to meet the officers to sell narcotics at a prearranged spot, the
officers observed him to arrive. He met the undercover officer to exchange an
amount of US currency for what appeared to be Heroin. The suspect was taken
into custody without further incident.
Jose Gonzalez, 48, 105 Garfield Ave., was
charged with distribution of a Class A drug (heroin) and unlicensed operation
of a motor vehicle.
DRUG DEAL WITNESSED
Officers received a call from dispatch
regarding a drug transaction that was witnessed by a civilian in Bellingham
Square. Based on the phone call and independent observations corroborating this
tip, Officers encountered two individuals at the McDonalds in Bellingham
Square. Officers then conducted an independent investigation and developed
probable cause to arrest one subject for the Distribution of a Class C
Substance as well as an outstanding warrant from the Roxbury District Court.
The second subject was identified and criminal charges are being sought for the
Possession of Class C.
William Falasca, 34, of Medford, was charged
with distribution of a Class C drug and one warrant.
When Governor Charlie Baker was elected to
his first term of office four years ago, his first major announcement was the
appointment of Jay Ash to the post of Secretary of Housing and Economic
The announcement by Gov. Baker, a
Republican, came as a surprise to many political insiders because Ash was a
lifelong Democrat and at the time was serving as the City Manager for the City
of Chelsea, a post he had held for almost 15 years. Moreover, the Secretary of
Housing and Economic Development is among the most important members of a
governor’s cabinet, and typically goes to a person who is among those most
trusted by the governor to implement his broad policy objectives.
However, Ash’s appointment by Gov.-elect
Baker signaled two things about the incoming administration: First, that Baker
was going to “reach across the aisle” to Democrats and second, that he was
seeking the most-qualified persons he could find to serve in his
During the past four years, Charlie Baker’s
appointment of Jay Ash, who officially stepped down from his cabinet post in
December to become the new president of a nonprofit business group known as the
Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, has proven to be a win-win for Gov.
Baker — and the people of Massachusetts — on both scores.
Ash, who had served for many years as the
chief of staff to former House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Voke,
not only knew the ins-and-outs of the legislative process, but also was on a
first-name basis with many legislators, most notably House Speaker Bob DeLeo,
who played a key role in working with Jay in implementing the many initiatives
put forth by the Baker administration.
In addition, Jay Ash brought to the table
his experience as the City Manager of Chelsea, a small city that is the
prototype for both the potential and pitfalls of economic development of urban
areas throughout the state.
During his tenure, Jay Ash brought to
fruition many projects that will bring economic benefits for future generations
of our state’s residents. Among Ash’s signature accomplishments, he played a
key role in bringing the Pawtucket Red Sox to Worcester, which included the
redevelopment of the city’s Canal District with $35 million in infrastructure
and affordable housing funds; he brought $12.5 million in state funds to the
Berkshire Innovation Center, which will focus on life sciences in Pittsfield;
he played an integral role in persuading General Electric to locate its world
headquarters in Boston’s Seaport District; and he was instrumental in bringing
about a significant reduction in the number of homeless families living in
All in all, Jay Ash’s tenure as Secretary of
Housing and Economic Development has been among the most successful and
remarkable of any Cabinet member of any administration in the state’s history.
We know we speak not only for the residents
of his native Chelsea, but also for citizens throughout the state, in thanking
Jay Ash for his years of public service and wishing him well in his future
Rotary District 7930 will hold its 9th
Annual Polar Plunge on Saturday, February 9th, at Long Beach in Gloucester. The
event is part of Rotary International’s ongoing campaign to eradicate polio in
our lifetime. More than 300 people are expected to plunge into the cold waters
off Cape Ann this year including the Rotary Club of Chelsea. Last year, over
250 people braved the icy waters, raising more than $100,000 and welcoming
Rotarians, friends, and family members from 45 Rotary Clubs.
Since 1985, Polio has become the signature
cause for Rotary International as it has teamed up with partners including The
Global Poverty Project, The Global Eradication Initiative, The World Health
Organization, and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Since that time,
more than a billion dollars have been raised among Rotary clubs worldwide and
the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. When Rotary International took on the
battle against this disease, more than 350,000 people spanning 125 countries
were impacted. Today there are three countries left where it has not been
eradicated – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. However, due to combined
targeted efforts and donations,
Nigeria reported no new cases of polio in
2018 and the number of total cases last year fell to just 29 worldwide!
Again, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged a 2:1 match for every dollar Rotarians raise toward eradication efforts. For as little as $0.60, a donation can make the difference in changing a person’s life. Please support your local Rotarians as they brave the icy waters off Gloucester to help eradicate polio in our lifetime. The Chelsea Club has set a goal at $1000 to aid in the district’s goal of raising $250,000. The district is utilizing an electronic fundraising process. Supporters are encouraged to log on to Chelsea Rotary’s team page and make a donation to help Rotarians lead the way to eradicate this dreaded disease. https://app.mobilecause.com/vf/polio/team/Chelsea
information on how the Rotary Club of Chelsea serves the local and global
community, visit chelsearotary.org or contact the club at firstname.lastname@example.org
On Dec. 31, at 10 p.m., officers were
dispatched to 144 Bloomingdale St. for a report of a past armed
robbery. Upon arrival, Officers spoke to the victim who stated while
driving his car he was cut off by a vehicle on Bloomingdale St. He told
officers that the two males exited the sedan and approached him saying that he
had just struck their car.
The passengers of the suspect’s car then
proceeded to rob him of his wallet and its contents. A short time later, the
officers received information on the whereabouts of the suspect vehicle and
stopped it. The victim was able to identify the two males in the car as the
persons that robbed him. Both were taken into custody.
Rigoberto Ruiz-Cadiz, 22, of 146
Bloomingdale St.; and Efrain Alicea, 22, of 64 Addison St., were both charged with
NEW YEAR’S (WINDOW)
On Jan. 1, at 11:30 a.m., CPD officers
responded to 140 Shawmut St. for a report of an intoxicated male party that had
destroyed a window to a residence. Upon arrival, a witness pointed out the male
individual who caused the damage. He was placed under arrest for malicious
destruction of property.
Ernesto Bonilla, 18, of East Boston, was
charged with malicious destruction of property under $1,200.
TRIED TO USE A STOLEN
On Jan. 3, at 6:50 p.m., CPD officers
responded to the Homewood Suites Inn for a report of a male party attempting to
use a stolen credit card. At the hotel, the officers spoke with a hotel
employee, who stated that the suspect just fled the hotel after he tried to pay
for a room with a stolen credit card. A short time later, the same male was
attempting to secure a room at the Residence Inn with another stolen credit
card. He was placed under arrest.
Andy Joseph, 34, of 1 Webster Ave., was
charged with unlicensed operation, possession of an open container in a motor
vehicle, larceny of a credit card, and two counts of uttering/forging a credit
On Jan. 5, at 10:55 a.m., a CPD officer on
foot was patrolling Luther Place. The officer observed a male party in the
area behind 466 Broadway drinking out of a bottle of liquor. The male was
placed under arrest drinking in public.
Jose Martinez, 56, of East Boston, was
charged with violating the public drinking ordinance.
DA ROLLINS CHOOSES
CHIEF OF STAFF
Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael
Rollins announced last week that Jennifer Grace Miller will be her Chief of
Staff, citing Miller’s broad experience in senior government positions,
including stints at two statewide law enforcement agencies.
Miller’s first day will be Feb. 1, 2019.
Miller has most recently served as Counsel
to the Massachusetts Senate, where she was the chief legal counsel to 40
senators and approximately 200 staff members. Prior to joining the Senate,
Miller was Chief of the Government Bureau in the Massachusetts Attorney
General’s office. As Chief, Miller supervised roughly 100 lawyers and staff in
three divisions. She previously served as the Bureau’s Deputy Chief and as an
assistant attorney general in the Administrative Law Division, focusing
primarily on civil appellate work. Among other high-profile litigation, Miller
argued the Massachusetts buffer zone case,McCullen v. Coakley, at the United
States Supreme Court.
Miller began her public service career as
Senior Staff Counsel at the Supreme Judicial Court. She then served as
Assistant Solicitor General in the New York Attorney General’s office.
“Jennifer Grace Miller is a smart, dedicated
public servant with deep experience managing complex government institutions
and sophisticated litigation,” District Attorney Rollins said. “She has worked
in all three branches of government and will bring a trusted set of skills and
perspective to the District Attorney’s office.”
She also serves
as a Commissioner on the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission.
Dilcia Menjivar, 31, 39 Lawton Ave., Lynn,
was arrested for intimidation.
Rigoberto Ruiz-Cadiz, 22, 146 Bloomingdale
St., Chelsea, was arrested for armed robbery.
Efrain Alicea, 22, 64 Addison St., Chelsea, was
arrested for armed robbery.
Ernesto Bonilla, 18, 155 Lexington St., East
Boston, was arrested for malicious destruction of property.
Julio Portillo, 52, Pine Street Inn, Boston,
was arrested for resisting arrest and on a warrant.
Yancarlos Mejia-Gonzalez, 31, 72 Upham St.,
Malden, was arrested for operating motor vehicle with suspended license,
failing to stop for police, red light violation and immigration detainer.
Darnell Booth, 37, 560 Beach St., Revere,
was arrested for probation warrant.
Carlos Ramos, 51, 27 Watts St., Chelsea, was
arrested for operating motor vehicle unlicensed.
Thursday, 1 /3
John Lewis, 34, 292 Salem St., Revere, was
arrested on a warrant.
Andy Joseph, 34, 1 Webster Ave., Chelsea,
was arrested for operating motor vehicle unlicensed, possessing open container
of alcohol in motor vehicle, larceny of credit card, utter forged credit card
Jose Martinez, 56, 264 Bennington St., East
Boston, was arrested for ordinance violation of alcoholic beverage,
Faisal Yerow, 23, 120 Central Ave., Chelsea,
was arrested for probation warrant.
Quincy Parker, 42, 90 Marlborough St., Chelsea,
was arrested on a warrant.
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 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.
Ask 100 people where the Mill Hill
neighborhood separates from the Mill Creek neighborhood and one would probably
get 100 different answers.
Neighborhoods in Chelsea have been loosely
defined for decades, with some not even named at all, but now Downtown
Coordinator Mimi Graney is looking to residents of Chelsea to define the City’s
neighborhoods more precisely.
“It came up because City Planner Karl Allen
has been working on a project by the Produce Center and he kept calling it West
Chelsea,” she said. “Every time he did that, people would laugh at it. It
brought up the question as to what do you call that area. It was the same thing
for the Walnut Street Synagogue area. Then you have people talking about
Prattville. We decided to try to figure out what you call the various
neighborhoods of Chelsea.”
That started with a query of the Chel-Yea
group last month, and during that event and with online follow ups, Graney said
she got very impassioned responses.
People, she said, took it very seriously.
“Several people said everything was just
Chelsea, but others had strong opinions about Admiral’s Hill and Prattville,”
she said. “It has solicited a lot of interested conversations.”
Graney has produced a map with suggested
boundaries and names. So far, they have included Prattville, Mayor’s Row,
Chelsea High, Addison-Orange, Soldiers’ Home/Powderhorn Hill, Cary Square, Mill
Creek, Mill Hill, Spencer Avenue, Eastern Ave Industrial Area, Box District,
Bellingham Hill, Salt Piles, Waterfront, Downtown (including Chelsea Square and
Bellingham Square), Williams School, Carter Park, Mystic Mall, Produce District
and Admiral’s Hill.
It was difficult, she said, to find the real
boundaries of the Soldiers’ Home neighborhood versus Cary Square, she said, and
many said the Spencer Avenue area should be called Upper Broadway. Mill Creek,
on the other hand, has been confused in some ways with the Parkway Plaza.
She said the exercise is one that moves
beyond the fun of talking about it, and moving towards making it a place.
“The legacy of the fire in the Mystic Mall
area sort of upended most boundaries there,” she said. “People are
uncomfortable with the area beyond Carter Park and Chelsea High area. If it
doesn’t have a name, it becomes this no man’s land. Naming a place has a power
to it. I’m hoping people in these areas claim that power in that naming.”
Graney said they
will continue to take input on the neighborhood boundaries, and will likely
present something to the community in the near future.
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
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
With the rush and hub-bub of the holiday
season now over, we’ll all be settling in for another long New England winter.
Up to this point, we have been fortunate. We
have yet to feel the wrath of any truly wintry weather. A cold day here or
there — including a chilly Thanksgiving — has not been hard to take. Indeed,
the temperatures have been quite moderate since the Winter Solstice on Dec. 21,
with the New Year’s Day temperature rising into the mid-50s, making it quite a
nice day for a walk or a run outside, despite the strong breeze.
However, we know that Mother Nature
typically saves her best (or worst) for later in the season. In just the past
few years, we had winter storm Nemo in February of 2013, the Snowmageddon winter
of 2015 (in which there was no snow in December), and last year we had those
crazy storms in early January and early March that knocked out power throughout
the region and brought coastal flooding to places along our bayside areas that
never had experienced it to that extent before.
The images of Boston Harbor flooding into
the Seaport District and water pouring into the Aquarium T stop were something
we never had seen in our entire lives as residents of this area — and that
includes the Blizzard of ‘78 and the No Name Storm of 1991. The highest-ever
high tide (exceeding the Blizzard of ‘78) and the third-highest tide in Boston
Harbor were recorded in those two storms last year.
As we are writing this, the 10-day forecast
is pretty nice, especially considering that it is the first part of January.
However, the models for the long-range forecast indicate that February will be
colder, snowier, and stormier than usual in our part of the country.
But as any longtime New Englander knows, all
that we can do is to take winter one day at a time and be grateful for the nice
days when we get them. When it comes to the weather, especially in this era of
climate change, we are at the mercy of the vicissitudes of Mother Nature.
We can hope for the best, but we must expect