Chelsea Delegation Announce Landmark Criminal Justice Reform Law

Chelsea Delegation Announce Landmark Criminal Justice Reform Law

Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett) recently announced that the landmark criminal justice reform package crafted by the Massachusetts Legislature has been signed into law. The Senator had previously joined his legislative colleagues in overwhelmingly voting to pass this sweeping piece of legislation, and last week the Governor signed the bill into law. An Act relative to criminal justice reform will lead to a more equitable system by supporting our youngest and most vulnerable residents, reducing recidivism, increasing judicial discretion, and enhancing public safety.

The legislation contains provisions to provide better care for vulnerable populations in the criminal justice system, and implements policies to strengthen protections for public safety and witness protection. The Legislature also passed the accompanying Act implementing the joint recommendations of the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Review (H.4012), which is designed to complement the comprehensive criminal justice reform legislation. The CSG bill allows individuals to earn early release by participating in recidivism-reduction programs.

For the first time in the history of Massachusetts, this legislation establishes a process for expunging criminal records. Courts will now be able to expunge certain juvenile and young adult (18-21) records, and records in cases of fraud or where an offense is no longer a crime.

The Legislature has a longstanding legacy of supporting the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable children, particularly those facing trauma and adversity. Accordingly, this bill raises the minimum age of criminal responsibility from seven to twelve and decriminalizes a first offense misdemeanor if the punishment is a fine or imprisonment for not more than six months. The legislation establishes a Juvenile Justice Policy and Data Commission, which will make the state eligible for additional federal funding, and a Childhood Trauma Task Force to study and recommend gender responsive and trauma-informed approaches to treatment of youths in the juvenile justice system. The bill also extends Good Samaritan protections to alcohol incapacitation for individuals under 21.

This legislation reflects a balanced, modern approach to sentencing. It eliminates mandatory and statutory minimum sentences for many low-level, non-violent drug offenses. Additionally, it creates the nation’s strongest law for Carfentanil trafficking and strengthens the existing Fentanyl trafficking law, bolstering the Legislature’s multi-tiered approach to the opioid epidemic. The legislation also strengthens penalties for repeat offenders convicted of operating under the influence (OUI).

 The new law requires district attorneys to create pre-arraignment diversion programs for military personnel, veterans, and individuals with addiction or mental health issues in order to combat the opioid epidemic and provide healthcare parity. It also expands diversion programs to the Juvenile Court and removes the existing age restriction on diversion in the District Court.

 Following reforms in 2010 and 2012, this legislation again updates the Commonwealth’s criminal offender record information (CORI) system to help individuals secure gainful employment and housing, enacting the following policies:

  • Reduces the wait time to seal a conviction from ten years to seven years for a felony, and from five years to three years for a misdemeanor.
  • Allows a conviction for resisting arrest to be sealed.
  • Expands the ability of an applicant with a sealed record to be able to answer “no record” on housing and professional license applications.
  • Establishes protections for businesses and landlords who shall be presumed to have no notice or ability to know about criminal records that have been sealed or expunged.

 This legislation updates the Commonwealth’s bail system and enhances judicial discretion by requiring a judge to take a person’s financial resources into account when determining bail. It also raises the threshold for larceny to qualify as a felony from $250 to $1,000. It also creates the crime of solicitation that is tied to the severity of the underlying crime.

Additional policy changes include: reduction of fees imposed on defendants; decriminalization of minor offenses; enhanced limits on solitary confinement; improvement of prison conditions; and release of prisoners who are permanently incapacitated and pose no safety risk.

Read More

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.

Read More

Chelsea Included in Baker-Polito Administration Opportunity Zone

Chelsea Included in Baker-Polito Administration Opportunity Zone

Gov. Charlie Baker submitted the state’s Opportunity Zone designations to the U.S. Treasury Department today to encourage long-term investment in eligible Massachusetts communities. Created as part of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the Opportunity Zone program presents an opportunity for private, tax-free investment into areas of economic need, benefiting both residents living in the zones and private investors.

 Eligible communities include municipalities with state-designated-opportunity zone tracts submitted for federal approval:

Boston

Chelsea

Lynn

Revere

Winthrop

“The opportunity zone program helps leverage private investment in Massachusetts cities and towns and can be a catalyst for job creation and economic activity,” said Gov. Baker. “I look forward to working with our congressional delegation and local officials to support these new economic development opportunities across the Commonwealth.”

The Opportunity Zone program provides a federal tax incentive for taxpayers who reinvest unrealized capital gains into ‘Opportunity Funds,’ which are specialized vehicles dedicated to investing in low-income areas called ‘Opportunity Zones.’ The zones themselves are to be comprised of low-income community census tracts and designated by governors in every state.

Of Massachusetts’ 1,478 census tracts, 581 tracts were determined by the U.S. Department of Treasury to be eligible to be considered for Opportunity Zone designation. Gov. Baker recommended 138 Opportunity Zones, the maximum number for Massachusetts.

The administration engaged municipal leaders and other key stakeholders in the communities with eligible tracts in the development of the state designation process, opening the application process on March 9th.

“As part of a collaborative process with communities, our administration empowered local leaders to nominate eligible tracts they believed would benefit most from this program, resulting in a diverse set of designations across Massachusetts,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “These communities range from small rural towns to Gateway Cities and large urban centers, representing a wealth of opportunities for new investment in the Commonwealth.”

Of the 138 designated tracts submitted for federal approval, 32 tracts are located in the 10 communities with the lowest median family income (MFI) in the state. 48% of the tracts are from “Gateway Cities,” which are municipalities with a population between 35,000 and 250,000, with median household income and rate of educational attainment of bachelor’s degree or greater below the state average. Rural communities were encouraged to participate as well, and they make up 18% of the communities with designated tracts.

Applicant municipalities explained why their nominated tracts offer attractive investment opportunities, what level of planning they had already completed, and key demographic data such as median family income, unemployment, and poverty rates – both in the nominated tract and in the wider community.

“We are committed to helping our cities and towns prepare for and attract investment, and we are enthusiastic about the possibilities represented by the Opportunity Zone program,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “Here in Massachusetts, our communities have proven that planning, site readiness, and community engagement are major factors in successful development. The tracts identified by the nominating communities reflect these characteristics and are worthy of consideration by the federal government.”

The U.S. Treasury has committed to responding to state submissions within 30 days.

Read More

New Early Morning MBTA Bus Routes Started this Week

New Early Morning MBTA Bus Routes Started this Week

New, early morning bus routes on several area MBTA lines began on Sunday, April 1, for a one-year early morning pilot program on the routes.

The pilot will be on the MBTA’s busiest key bus routes serving neighborhoods within the immediate Boston core traveling to downtown Boston, the Seaport, and key stops in between beginning as early as 3:20 a.m. Serving residents who start their work day before many people’s alarms ring, the new routes are part of the MBTA’s continued commitment to expanding offerings for those riders who need them most.

There are nine routes on the pilot, and four of them serve the areas of Everett, Chelsea, Revere, East Boston and downtown Boston. Those routes in this area include:

  • Route 104 – Lynn Street Revere via Broadway Everett to Sullivan Square.
  • Route 109 – serving Broadway Everett.
  • Route 117 – serving Wonderland Revere to East Boston, via Revere, Chelsea and Eastie.
  • Route 455 – Salem to Wonderland Revere.

“The T’s expansion into early morning bus service will provide an important opportunity for the changing needs of Massachusetts’ workforce,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Throughout this one-year pilot, the MBTA will be able to gather important information about changes in bus ridership and analyze that data to better inform future transportation plans around the Greater Boston area.”

“The launch of early morning service demonstrates that the MBTA is acting on its top priority to put the needs of its customers first,” said Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack. “This new transit option will serve workers who must start their day earlier than most. Other commuters and city residents depend upon these essential workers and the MBTA’s ability to get them to their work places safely and on time.”

The changes also include additional service on existing routes during pre-dawn hours. Some routes will extend beyond their normal end points during the early morning to provide direct service to downtown Boston and Logan Airport, allowing customers to reach those destinations even before trains start running. Early morning service is already a part of the MBTA’s bus service on several routes, but these added services represent earlier and/or extended routes on several bus lines. This expansion is the result of a year-long ridership study and planning initiative at the T, which resulted in the identification of key routes where early morning demand is heaviest.

Read More

Gov Baker Signs Bill to Fund New Quigley Hospital at Chelsea Soldiers’ Home

Gov Baker Signs Bill to Fund New Quigley Hospital at Chelsea Soldiers’ Home

Gov. Charlie Baker signed a capital bond bill on Tuesday that increases bond authorization by $244 million to support initiatives across the Commonwealth, including construction of a new long-term care facility at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home.

“This bill funds critical projects across the Commonwealth, including the Last Mile broadband project and money for the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home renovation project,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We thank the Legislature for bringing us one step closer to updating the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home for our veterans.”

The bond legislation signed Tuesday includes $199 million to replace the long-term care facility at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home, which is expected to be partially reimbursed by the federal government pending final approval from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The bill also directs the administration to study the long-term needs of the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke.

“The Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea provides comprehensive, quality health care and residential services with honor, dignity and respect to the Commonwealth’s veterans,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “The upgrades to the Soldiers’ Home  ensure that the physical plant meets modern health care requirements commensurate with the needs of our veterans.”

On May 31, Gov. Baker filed egislation to address immediate capital needs statewide, including $950 million for higher education projects, $880 million for construction, renovations, and accessibility improvements at state office buildings, $700 million for health and human services facilities, $550 million for public safety facilities and $375 million for court facilities. While the legislation signed Tuesday includes authorization for the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home, several items from this bill remain pending.

“We are pleased to see authorization for the replacement of the Quigley Hospital at Chelsea Soldiers’ Home passed, which was proposed in our capital budget plan,” said Administration and Finance Secretary Michael J. Heffernan. “By leveraging the use of significant federal resources to build the new facility, we optimize the value of the Commonwealth’s capital investment in this project.”

Read More

Robinson Topping Ticket, Rodriguez and Garcia Win District Contests:Brown, Bishop and Perlatonda Return to Council

Robinson Topping Ticket, Rodriguez and Garcia Win District Contests:Brown, Bishop and Perlatonda Return to Council

By Seth Daniel

Governor’s Councilor Terence Kennedy stopped by the polls to greet those campaigning, including here Candidate Henry Wilson, Councillor Enio Lopez, and Councillor Yamir Rodriguez.

Governor’s Councilor Terence Kennedy stopped by the polls to greet those campaigning, including here Candidate Henry Wilson, Councillor Enio Lopez, and Councillor Yamir Rodriguez.

Incumbents prevailed in several contested district Council contests on Tuesday, Nov. 7, while Council President Leo Robinson showed that experience equals strength in topping the at-large ticket with more than 1,000 votes.

Aside from School Committeeman at-Large candidate Frank DePatto, Robinson was the only candidate to top the 1,000 vote plateau.

In the at-large race, Robinson had 1,023 votes, Roy Avellaneda 986 and Damali Vidot 827. None of the three at-large seats were contested, but there was a spirited race to see who would top the ticket – a victory that carries implications for Council President.

“Now it’s time to stay focused and keep moving the City ahead,” Robinson said. “I want to thank the voters and all my supporters for hard work and dedication in making this victory happen.”

Meanwhile, in District 1, an empty seat saw Bob Bishop – the former councillor and city clerk – emerge as the victor over Planning Board member Todd Taylor, 267-213.

Bishop did win the Preliminary Election, but it came in spite of an endorsement of Taylor by outgoing Councillor Paul Murphy and Gov. Charlie Baker.

One contest that was very high-profile was that between Councillor Yamir Rodriguez and challenger Mark Rossi, of the License Commission. The two ran organized campaigns, with Rodriguez winning 129-98.

Another such contest came in District 5, where a rematch between Councillor Judith Garcia and Planning Board member Henry Wilson also showed lots of action.

Garcia won fairly easily in the end, 148-83.

On Admiral’s Hill in District 8, an empty seat saw former Councillor Calvin Brown cruise to victory over Jermaine Williams, 303-79.

In District 6, Councillor Giovanni Recupero prevailed 101-17 over Kristofer Haight, who had withdrawn from the race in September.

Up on the Soldiers’ Home in District 2, Councillor Luis Tejada beat challenger Olivia Walsh 124-94.

Former Councillor Joe Perlatonda will make his way back to the Council after winning an unopposed election for an open seat in Mill Hill (District 3).

Finally, District 4 Councillor Enio Lopez won an unopposed contest with 109 votes.

The results will mean that there will be three new faces on the Council in 2018.

For School Committee, two of the seats (District 4 and 5) had no candidate on the ballot. However, Lucia Henriquez put together a write-in campaign for one of the seats, and is believed to have won there.

Other winners included DePatto (at-Large), District 1 Rosemarie Carlisle, District 2 Jeannette Velez, District 3 Rich Maronski, District 4 no candidate, District 5 no candidate, District 6 Ana Hernandez, District 7 Kelly Garcia, and District 8 Yessenia Alfaro-Alvarez.

Read More

Get Out and Vote:City Election Looms Nov 7 as Candidates Get Out their Message

Get Out and Vote:City Election Looms Nov 7 as Candidates Get Out their Message

By Seth Daniel

The City Election is fast approaching and several races are heating up in the City.

In the district City Council races, at least five seats are contested.

The most active race at the moment is in Prattville, where the District 1 seat has been vacated by Paul Murphy. There, former City Clerk Bob Bishop and Planning Board member Todd Taylor have been out and active since the summer in reaching the voters.

Bishop showed great strength in winning the Preliminary Election with 45 percent of the vote in September, but Taylor has balanced that with several key endorsements this week.

Councillor Murphy has made a recommendation, and that came in the form of an endorsement of Taylor.

Likewise, Taylor has also received an endorsement from popular Governor Charlie Baker.

It will be a battle of great wills on Election Night in Prattville.

Another race to highlight comes in District 7, where Councillor Yamir Rodriguez faces a tough challenge in License Commissioner Mark Rossi.

Both are very qualified and both are very popular.

Rodriguez has great report with the youth in the district and has made a focal point of his tenure in reaching out to young people, organizing youth events and helping residents with quality of life         issues like parking.

Meanwhile, Rossi is an attorney who, like Rodriguez, is also bi-lingual and has focused his campaign on immigration issues and streamlining City government. In recent days, though not official, Rossi has seemed to get help from some incumbents and organizational leaders in Chelsea.

Rodriguez, however, seems to have a great command of what is needed in the district, being a key part of some of the newest resident-led initiatives like the Chelsea Hills Community Group.

In District 6, first-term Councillor Judith Garcia faces a re-match with challenger Henry Wilson. There was no preliminary, but the two had a close race two years ago when Garcia won.

Garcia has been hitting the streets throughout the summer, knocking on doors and attending most all community events. She has shown initiative in her first term as well, filing orders to lower the speed limit to 25 mph and also looking for solutions to the parking situation.

Wilson, for his part, has shown much better organization this time around, getting support of several incumbent councillors and community leaders.

In District 8, former Councillor Calvin Brown looks to be gaining momentum over challenger Jermaine Williams. Brown easily carried the Preliminary over Williams with 73 percent of the vote, and Williams has seemingly been nowhere in the last month.

Incumbent Councillor Dan Cortell is leaving the seat, and has not endorsed anyone.

In District 2, Councillor Luis Tejada is facing Attorney Olivia Walsh. Both are very popular in the District and around the City.

Councillor Giovanni Recupero is basically running unopposed, as challenger Kris Haight suspended his campaign a month ago. However, his name will still appear on the ballot next week – even though he is no longer running.

Councillor Enio Lopez is unopposed, and Councillor Matt Frank is not running in District 3. Former Councillor Joe Perlatonda is the lone candidate running for that seat.

In the at-large race, there are three incumbents on the ballot and no challengers.

Council President Leo Robinson and Councillors Roy Avellaneda and Damali Vidot are running for re-election. Though all are assured a seat, there is a fair amount of jockeying for position to see just who tops the ticket.

That likely has less to do with the City Election, and more to do with who will be the next Council President. Robinson is already the president, but would love to make a good  showing at the top of the ticket.

Meanwhile, Vidot and Avellaneda are both likely candidates for the presidency come December. A strong finish would give one the edge over the other.

In the School Committee, there is little intrigue aside from the at-large seat. Incumbent Shawn O’Regan ran in the Preliminary for the District 1 Council seat, which opened up the at-large seat on School Committee.

Former Chelsea High Athletic Director Frank DePatto put his papers in and got his name on the ballot unopposed.

However, in recent weeks, O’Regan – who lost in the Preliminary Council election – has announced he is running a write-in sticker campaign to try to reclaim his seat on the School Committee.

Read More

Economic Independence:Chelsea Among Four Housing Authorities to Receive $389,000 in Planning Grants

Economic Independence:Chelsea Among Four Housing Authorities to Receive $389,000 in Planning Grants

Lieutenant Gov. Karyn Polito announced a total of $389,000 in planning and predevelopment grants for Housing Authorities in Chelsea, Gloucester, New Bedford and Taunton to pursue implementation of Worcester Housing Authority-pioneered ‘A Better Life’ programming.

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and State Housing Undersecretary Chrystal Kornegay present a grant to City Manager Thomas Ambrosino and CHA Executive Director Al Ewing and Assistant Director Diane Cohen to help bring the ‘A Better Life’ program to Chelsea.

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and State Housing Undersecretary Chrystal Kornegay present a grant to City Manager Thomas Ambrosino and CHA Executive Director Al Ewing and Assistant Director Diane Cohen to help bring the ‘A Better Life’ program to Chelsea.

The program catalyzes economic independence and self-sufficiency by providing families and residents access to support services, educational opportunity and employment, while encouraging debt reduction and home ownership.

“Our administration is committed to pursuing community programming that works, and allowing others to learn from and build on its success,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Worcester’s ‘A Better Life’ program is providing families guidance and access to the services and employment or educational opportunities that allow them to move towards long-term economic independence. We look forward to seeing others implement the program for their families and communities.”

A Better Life (ABL) at the Worcester Housing Authority pairs participating families and residents with a Family Life Coach to conduct a comprehensive assessment of residents’ needs and helps to create a collaborative “family development plan.” This plan helps families map out short and long-term goals in focus areas of employment, financial literacy and education. Participants continue to receive support to discuss progress and accomplishments, and are given access to services through partner providers. Additionally, Worcester Housing Authority employs a full-time employment manager, who works with regional employers to help match participants to job opportunities.

Lt. Governor Polito joined Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Chrystal Kornegay, Worcester Housing Authority Executive Director Alex Corrales and local officials in Worcester for the announcement.

“I am thrilled to announce the expansion of A Better Life, and I want to congratulate the Worcester Housing Authority on creating a program that profoundly benefits the lives of residents and families,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “These awards will give more housing authorities the resources to create their own programming that will support families on the road to economic self-sufficiency and improve access to educational, financial and employment opportunities.”

“Our public housing authorities provide critical housing in the Commonwealth, and affect the lives of thousands of families and residents,” said Chrystal Kornegay, Housing and Community Development Undersecretary. “A Better Life leverages those existing touch points, and provides profoundly effective services to residents, and we are proud to partner with housing authorities to test its effectiveness at other sites.”

Since the program was implemented in 2015, more than 200 residents have taken part in ABL. A Better Life has supported families and residents in pursuing significant accomplishments in employment, education and financial success. Employment among participants has increased by 62 percent, and they have seen an overall increase of gross annual income by 76 percent. Worcester’s participants have completed a collective 106 educational programs: 57 certifications, 12 associate degrees and five bachelor degrees. Additionally, ABL participants have reduced their overall debt by 30 percent, and those who have graduated the program have seen an even more significant reduction, at 75 percent.

These grants will give the Chelsea Housing Authority resources to design, plan, and prepare to implement the ABL program. CHA will create strategies to capture program performance, an implementation timeline and recruit service provider partners to offer critical support services to residents.

Read More

City Councilor-at-Large Roy Avellaneda Announces Re-Election Bid

City Councilor-at-Large Roy Avellaneda Announces Re-Election Bid

Current Chelsea City Councilor at Large Roy Avellaneda has announced he will seek re-election to the City Council in the November 7th election.

Said Avellaneda, “It would be my privilege to continue to represent the people of Chelsea as Councilor at Large. I’ve never stopped fighting for Chelsea residents and stakeholders. But after a brief hiatus, two years ago, I decided to run again, and you gave me the honor of putting me back on the City Council.”

Roy is a lifelong Chelsea resident. His family moved here from Argentina in the 1970s and opened Tito’s Bakery on Broadway. He attended St Rose, Dom Savio High School, and Babson College.

“I was brought up in Chelsea, and I’ve lived here all of my life.  So I not only understand its history, but also keenly aware of its challenges, and most pressing needs,” he said.

He has served Chelsea as a member of the Planning Board, and on the City Council for a total of 12 years, the first time beginning in 1998.  He returned to the Council 2 years ago, and served on the Licensing Board in between.

Along the way, Roy has also worked as Legislative Assistant to State Senator Jarrett Barrios, and worked in the MA Department of Transportation during the administration of former Governor Deval Patrick.

“Twenty years in both local and state government, have given me a unique, and valuable experience. I know how the wheels of government turn, often slowly and painfully. So you have to get in there, roll up your sleeves, and keep pushing it along. You have to have patience, but always maintain a sense of urgency.”

Roy is also a successful real estate broker, and the top producing agent with Weichert, Realtors-Metropolitan Boston Real Estate.  Roy also currently also owns and operates his own cafe, Pan y Cafe in Cary Square, which he opened about a year ago.

“From a very early age,” he said, “my parents taught me the importance of public service — of being involved in one’s community.  But their story and their example also includes the business they founded.  I’ve always been involved in this community, but at the same time, whether it’s the bakery, a cafe, being a real estate broker, I’ve also been in my own business here in different ways for a long time now.  So I have the perspective, not only of someone who has worked in government, but also of a small business person. And in that sense, I’m doubling down on Chelsea because I believe in our bright future, and I always have. I’m doing everything I can to help bring it about and to make the lives of everyone in this community better. But I’ve also made my life here, and I think it’s important to be personally invested in your community, and have a stake in that future.”

Since re-joining the City Council in 2016, Roy has focused on a number issues confronting Chelsea residents and business owners, including tax relief, jobs and economic development, affordable housing, and environmental protection.

“Two years ago,” he said, “I made a commitment to do everything I could to make sure our homeowners and local businesses were not overburdened, to address the affordable housing crisis, to lobby for smart development that reduced negative impacts while increasing green space and support our youth. Today, I can point to achievements that improved those issues facing Chelsea.”

Specifically Roy sponsored, and along with with City Manager Tom Ambrosino, successfully lobbied for state legislative passage of the Home Rule Petition to Increase the Homeowner Residential Exemption from 20% to 35%, saving homeowners hundreds of dollars per year.

He also worked hard to get legislation passed to help small businesses with equipment or inventory of less than $10,000 in value pay less in taxes, resulting in an increase in investment and jobs by local Chelsea merchants.

Roy co-sponsored the Community Preservation Act ballot initiative and campaigned for its approval by voters. Chelsea approved it overwhelmingly (70%) creating a funding mechanism for affordable housing, green space and historic preservation.

Roy also supported and lobbied for the adoption of two key affordable housing measures.  The first, The Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance, now requires 15% of housing built by developers to be affordable.  The second, The Condo Conversion Ordinance, limits multi-family owners from evicting tenants without just cause pursuant to condominium conversion.

Roy introduced and successfully lobbied for the passage Anti-Wage Theft Ordinance which now protects workers in Chelsea from unscrupulous employers who attempt to withhold rightfully earned wages and overtime.

Roy’s advocacy was also instrumental in obtaining more funding for Chelsea’s Summer Jobs Employment program, which provides summer jobs and the opportunity for for Chelsea teens to gain work experience and life skills.

“I am particularly proud to have the endorsements of the Greater Boston Labor Council, SEIU 888, SEIU 32BJ, Ironworkers Local 7 and New England Region of Carpenters,” he said, “because I have worked and fought hard for working people of all ages in Chelsea.”

“Two years ago, he said, “I asked Chelsea voters then to give me the opportunity to be their voice and to work for them.  They did, and for that, I’m very grateful. We’ve accomplished a lot since.  But, we have so much more work to do in Chelsea. We need improved access to affordable transportation.  We need a permanent bike sharing program. We need to keep pressure on MassPort to mitigate Logan Airport’s impact on our community. We need more balanced and smart new development that doesn’t negatively impact our quality of life. We need to focus on and properly mitigate the impact of the Wynn Casino. We have to increase economic opportunities for working families so they can afford to take care of themselves and their children and not be priced out of Chelsea.  There’s so much to do. So I am once again asking for your vote on Nov 7th to continue to be your Councilor At Large. Please support me on Tuesday, November 7th. Thank you and God bless.”

Read More

The Finest on the Fourth:Artie Ells Hosts 40th Annual Independence Day Party

The Finest on the Fourth:Artie Ells Hosts 40th Annual Independence Day Party

By Cary Shuman

Party organizer Artie Ells, attired in his traditional red, white and blue costume, speaks to the many guests at the annual July Fourth celebration.

Party organizer Artie Ells, attired in his traditional red, white and blue costume, speaks to the many guests at the annual July Fourth celebration.

When it comes to Fourth of July parties in Chelsea, Artie Ells in a class by himself.

For the past 40 Independence Days, ever since the nation’s bicentennial celebration in 1976, Artie Ells has welcomed hundreds of friends and neighbors to his home on Palmer Street on the holiday.

This year City Manager Tom Ambrosino personally delivered a proclamation to Ells in recognition of his patriotism and lifelong contributions to Chelsea. Ambrosino joins a long list of dignitaries including U.S. Presidents Reagan, Bush (41 and 43), Clinton, and Trump who have honored Ells for his civic and patriotic endeavors with official letters of acknowledgement.

The party is officially known as “Artie’s July 4tH Celebration.” On that day (rain has only forced one postponement until July 5), Artie turns his backyard into a “Party with Artie” extravaganza, with guests young and old enjoying a barbecue of hot dogs, hamburgers, sausages, and steak to go along with musical entertainment, swimming in the Ells pool, and games for the kids.

A large, 24-by-30-foot American flag is on display to complement “God Bless America” signs and red, white, and blue bunting.

Artie, his wife, Tish, and their son, Matt, who is assistant director of athletic operations at Northeastern University, presented blue “Party With Artie” t-shirts to the many guests. Artie, who wears a red, white, and blue costume, personally led the gathering in the singing of “God Bless of America.”

What was the inspiration for launching 40 years of a special observance of America’s birthday?

Ells said he had received an American flag that was flown on July 4, 1976 at the U.S. Capitol Building. That flag has been displayed at the party each year.

“I wanted to hold a celebration to provide a nice day for people and honor our country and salute American patriotism,” said Ells. “I don’t want people to forget the great country we live in and what America stands for. It never hurts to be patriotic and believe in the country that you live in.”

The list of guests has included Major League Baseball players such as Wade Boggs, Danny Darwin, and John Henry Johnson. Former Mass. Governor Edward King attended one of the celebrations. Former state senator Francis Doris was a big supporter.

“It’s just a great event where a bunch of people can get together and have a good time and love each and show their patriotism,” said Frank Mahoney, who has known Ells since his childhood.

Artie grew up on Hancock Street and graduated from Chelsea High in 1963. He later played for the talented and colorful New Bridge Café softball team in the local fast pitch league. Ells joined softball legends Eddie McCarthy, Homer Norton, Danny Cronin, Bobby Gallo, Mike Kearney, Rollie DeSimone and others on the New Bridge team that would pack the old Carter Park on game nights.

He holds a lifelong love for the city and has a respectful knowledge of its history, noting the since demolished Pratt House on Washington Avenue where President George Washington once stayed during a visit.

Whether the “Party With Artie” tradition continues next year is a question being debated in the Ells household. The day takes considerable planning and preparation, not to mention the extensive cleanup afterwards.

But Artie Ells will always have a place of fondness in his heart for his friends, his city, and his country.

“I’ve been blessed with so many great friends and family,” said Artie. “To me, Chelsea is my home and it’s always been my home. And without a doubt we live in the greatest country in the world.”

Read More