The Chelsea Cultural Council has announced
the awarding of grants totalling $20,809 to 18 local artists, schools and
The grants were awarded from a pool of funds
distributed to Chelsea by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency
that supports public programs and educational activities in the arts, sciences,
“We are very grateful to Governor Baker and
the Legislature for their continued support of the Massachusetts Cultural
Council and the funding that directly benefits cultural activities here in
Chelsea, said Marlene Jennings Chair. Our city has its own unique identity and
in these sponsored events we get to really experience the spirit of
Awardees for this year are:
•Browne Middle School: Speaker – Lost
Boy of Sudan, $250
•Chelsea Black Community: Black
History Month, $1,800
•Chelsea Community Connections:
Chelsea Fun Bus, $1,000
•Chelsea Public Library: A Universe of
•Veronica Robles: Serenara a Chelsea
by Veronica Robles Female Mariachi, $1,500
•Walnut Street Synagogue: A Photo
Documentary of Chelsea Life in the 1970’s, $1,800
The Chelsea Cultural Council (CCC) has also
set aside an additional $3,121 to complete a public mural project in
collaboration with Chelsea Public School Art Department that began in the fall
of 2018. The CCC is one of 329 local councils that serve every city and town in
the state. The state legislature provides an annual appropriation to the
Massachusetts Cultural Council, which then allocates funds to each local
council. Decisions, about which activities to support, are made at the
community level by the council.
The members of the Chelsea Cultural Council
are: Marlene Jennings, Chair; Dakeya Christmas, Co-Chair; Devra Sari Zabot,
Recorder; Juliana Borgiani, Treasurer; Sharlene McLean, Angelina McCoy, and
Carolina Anzola. The CCC will seek applications again this fall. CCC
Guidelines will be available online as well as the 2020 application beginning
Sept. 1, 2019 at
Gov. Charlie Baker
brought a short smile to the face of many when he unveiled an increase in
education funding in his State Budget proposal two weeks ago, but this week
Supt. Mary Bourque said the proposal needs to go further for cities like
“Although a step in the
right direction for public education and in particular gateway cities, the
Governor’s FY20 budget does not go nearly far enough,” she wrote in a letter on
Bourque said the Chelsea
Public Schools are facing another year where they will likely – as it stands
now – have to cut another $2 million from their budget. That falls upon
multiple years of cuts that have weighed cumulatively on the schools and taken
away core services from students.
One of the problems is
that salaries, health insurance and special education costs are rising so
quickly. This year, she said, they are looking at increases in those areas of
Gov. Baker’s budget
proposal steers an increase of $3.2 million to Chelsea over last year, but in
the face of rising costs, that still leaves the schools in the red.
It’s yet another year of
advocacy for the schools to fix the Foundation Formula – an exercise that has
seemingly played out without any success for at least five years.
“Once again we are facing
another year of painful budget cuts because the foundation formula used to
calculate aid to our schools is broken,” she wrote. “The formula from 1993 has
not kept up with inflation, changing demographics or increased student
needs. I am however, encouraged this year that all leaders at the State
level have acknowledged that the formula is broken, including for the first
time the Governor.”
Bourque also spelled out
the complex nature of the Chelsea Schools, including numerous factors that are
contributing to the reduction in funding.
One of the most startling
situations is that there are fewer kids, and with education funding based on
numbers of kids, that translates to even less money for the schools.
Bourque said this year
they have begun to identify a downward trend in enrollment for the first time
in years. She said fewer kids are coming in from outside the U.S. and families
are leaving Chelsea for areas with lower rents and costs of living.
“In addition to the
foundation formula undercounting critical costs, a significant portion of this
year’s $2 million dollar gap is due to student demographic shifts taking place
in our schools,” she wrote. “We are seeing a downward trend in student
enrollment…This year we have noted fewer students entering our schools from
outside the United States as well as a number of students and families moving
from Chelsea due to the high cost of living in the Boston area.”
The Chelsea Public Schools
under the City Charter have until April 1 to submit their balanced budget.
Bourque said they plan to lobby members of the House of Representatives and the
Senate in the meantime to fix the funding gaps that now exist.
The Chelsea 500
movement has received a $65,000 grant from the state to help them secure jobs
with the Encore Boston Harbor casino for 500 or more Chelsea residents.
The Chelsea 500 formed
from several existing community groups last fall, and began holding open houses
and informational meetings for residents to try to get into the pipeline for
the 5,000 or more jobs that are to be filled at the casino by June.
Chelsea 500, which
engages the city, businesses, and non-profits to create a workforce pipeline so
that 500 or more residents can gain the skills necessary to apply for positions
at Encore Boston Harbor, with a goal of at least 200 of them gaining
employment. Although initial efforts are focused on the casino, the long term
goal is to sustain workforce development that will extend to other businesses.
Lieutenant Governor Karyn
Polito announced $500,000 to nine projects, including the Chelsea 500, through
the Urban Agenda Grant Program last week. The program emphasizes
community-driven responses to local obstacles, and promotes economic development
through partnership-building, problem solving, and shared accountability in
Launched by the
Baker-Polito Administration in 2016, the Urban Agenda Grant Program offers
competitive awards offer flexible funding for local efforts that bring together
community stakeholders to pursue economic development initiatives. The awards
announced today will fund projects supporting workforce development, small
businesses, and entrepreneurship initiatives across eight communities:
Barnstable, Boston, Chelsea, Fitchburg, Lawrence, Lowell, Springfield, and
“When we empower local
leaders and projects that thoughtfully address the unique issues facing our
urban centers, we have an outsized impact on the lives of residents,” said
Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “The Urban Agenda Grant Program relies on the
strong partnerships between local government, non-profits and the business
community that are critical to fostering economic success and building stronger
neighborhoods in every region in Massachusetts.”
The Urban Agenda Grant Program provides grants to communities working to
provide residents with economic opportunities and workforce training. The
program prioritizes projects that are based on collaborative work models that
feature a strong partnership between community organizations and
municipalities. Awards prioritize collaboration, shared accountability and
building leadership capacity at the local level.
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
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
“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
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
•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.
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
City Manager Tom Ambrosino said this week he
is preparing new City regulations that would govern the short-term rental
market (known as AirBNB) in Chelsea.
That comes after Gov. Charlie Baker and the
State Legislature worked out a sudden compromise at the end of the year to a
bill that had been stalled since the summer. That bill was signed into law and
went into effect statewide on Jan. 1. While it governs the practice, it also
leaves a lot of room for cities to come up with their own regulations and to
tax such entities.
Ambrosino said he hoped to have something to
the Council in March.
“I’m working on them now,” he said. “I hope
to have a proposal up to the Council with new regulations and requirements
about the local options taxes that we want to collect. I’ve been working on
some drafts and we’ll circulate those internally. We’ll have a proposal to
submit in early March.”
Both houses of the state legislature and
Gov. Charlie Baker found a sudden compromise at the end of December in their
two-year session to push through the stalled short-term rental bill – which
Gov. Baker signed into law on Friday, Dec. 28.
The bill has been a long time in the making
and has been shepherded through the legislature for years by State Rep. Aaron
Michlewitz of the North End, who was happy to see the compromise reached.
Short-term rentals are not a major issue at
the moment in Chelsea, but there are more than a few out there. More are
expected due to the proximity of the city to the airport and the Encore Boston
One of the keys of the state law is that it
will be obvious who operates them and where, something that is kind of a
The new law requires a statewide registry of
operators, something the governor had opposed for some time until late in the
It also levies a 5.7 percent state tax on
all short-term rental units, and allows cities and towns to levy their own
local taxes as well. In Boston, it is proposed to put an additional 6 percent
on each short-term rental unit.
The trade-off with the registry for the
governor seems to be a provision that allows for anyone renting out a unit for
14 days or less to avoid the taxation portion of the law. It was uncertain, but
it initially did appear that those units would have to participate in the
Ambrosino said they would undoubtedly push
to go for the maximum 6 percent local option taxes.
go for the maximum option,” he said. “We’ll look at the Boston ordinance as a
model. It was well-crafted. We’ll make sure rentals are adequately inspected
and safety is addressed.”
Chelsea’s State Rep. Dan
Ryan has been inaugurated for another term in the legislature this week, and he
said he is ready to tackle issues from transportation to opiate recovery
research in the new term.
On Wednesday, with the
new class of the state legislature, Rep. Ryan took the oath of office along
with Gov. Charlie Baker and the rest of the Commonwealth. It will be his third
full term in office, and he said it will be an interesting term with new faces
and a Republican governor in his second round.
“I think the voters of
Chelsea and Charlestown first and foremost for giving me two more years,” he
said. “It will be my third full term and Gov. Baker’s second term. We’ll have
some big changes in the House and it will be very interesting to see what those
changes look like. It will be interesting to see what happens with Gov. Baker’s
second term. He was easy to work with in the first term with very moderate
Republican stances. Second terms are different so we’ll see what that dynamic
Ryan also praised House
Speaker Bob DeLeo for his leadership in 2018, and his new term in 2019 – having
also been sworn in as the House Speaker again on Wednesday.
“I’ll be supporting the
Speaker in this next term,” he said. “He’s had a strong hand in this
legislative session with everything going on in the Senate, the House needed to
be the grown up in the room and the Speaker was very pragmatic in moving things
Ryan is now the vice
chair of the Substance Abuse/Mental Health Committee, and also serves on the
Transportation, Post Audit and Veterans Affairs Committees. He said he has also
been appointed to Task Forces charged with looking at the Commuter Rail and
looking into issues related to the Opiate Bill passed last year.
“There’s going to be a
lot of movement in the chairmanships, but I think I’m going to be on the same
committees,” he said. “I’ll be spending a lot of time doing transportation
work. That’s not always the issue that gets a lot of attention, but it’s very
Ryan said the last
session was very progressive, including legislation on criminal justice reform,
the opiate bill, pay equity, the transgender accommodation bill and banning
bump stock firing devices for firearms.
“We got a lot of progressive legislation though in the last two years,” he
said. “Even though some didn’t think we were progressive enough, I think it was
one of the most forward looking sessions in a long time.”
The Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association has named Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes as its Chief of the Year
Police Chief Brian Kyes has been selected as the first-ever Chief of the Year by the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association. The announcement came this week, and added to two other recent accolades for Kyes
the first-ever such award handed out by the organization.
This week, the executive board of the organization announced that Kyes was the recipient of the award, particularly for his advocacy in getting the municipal police training fund passed last summer.
“The Executive Board of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association is pleased to announce that the first recipient of the ‘Chief of the Year’ Award is Chief Brian A. Kyes of the Chelsea Police Department,” read the announcement. “Chief Kyes serves as the Chair of the Mass. Chief’s Legislative Committee, as well as being the President of the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs Association, a member of the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission and a member of the Municipal Police Training Committee. Chief Kyes was instrumental in advancing our legislative efforts towards a dedicated funding source for the training of municipal police officers in Massachusetts, which culminated with Governor Charlie Baker signing into law House Bill 4516…”
The award carries a $500 donation from the association to the charity of the recipient’s choice. In this case, Kyes has chosen The Jimmy Fund as the charity.
“I was notified last week that I also have received the first annual Police Chief of the Year Award from the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association,” said Kyes. “I am incredibly humbled by this recognition and am honored to recently have received three awards, which all mean a great to deal to me and my family. The last month or so has been pretty good for me and the Chelsea Police Department in terms of some nice totally unexpected recognitions.”
On Oct. 29, Kyes received the Gregory A. Madera Public Service Award from the Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys at the Law Offices on Mintz & Associates. On Nov. 30, Kyes also received the Law Enforcement Person of the Year Award from the North East Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council Foundation (NEMLEC) at the Four Oaks Country in Dracut.
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.
Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito today announced $3 million in technology grants to 44 cities and towns across the Commonwealth through the Community Compact Information Technology (IT) Grant Program. This week’s announcement will benefit more than 49 municipal entities and brings the total number of municipal IT grants issued over the past four years to 188, assisting 250 communities with $9 million in grant funding to modernize their technology systems and deliver service to their residents more efficiently.
Chelsea received $50,000 for implementation of a comprehensive communication and project management package that will improve service, documentation and knowledge sharing.
Lt. Governor Polito made the announcement.
“Community Compact IT grants are a valuable way for the Community Compact program to provide access to resources for major technological projects that might otherwise be unaffordable,” said Lt. Governor Polito, Chair of the Community Compact Cabinet. “A great example is Cohasset’s plan to upgrade its Student Information System for greater productivity and the sophisticated tools that a school district requires to help meet its administrative obligations and its students’ educational needs.”
Cities and towns have used the IT grant funding to upgrade their websites, implement new systems that allow residents to apply for permits and licenses online, improve the security and capacity of municipal IT systems, digitize records and develop other solutions to costly technological challenges.
In addition to the IT grants, the Baker-Polito Administration has awarded $7.3 million in technical assistance grants and $4 million in efficiency and regionalization grants since starting the Community Compact Program in 2015.