Chelsea Supporters Showed Resolve for Pressley from Day One

Chelsea Supporters Showed Resolve for Pressley from Day One

Boston City Councillor Ayanna Pressley enjoyed tremendous support in Chelsea from a wide array of residents and City officials in the Seventh Congressional District race.

Chelsea’s Saritin Rizzuto is shown on Sept. 4 at Ayanna Pressley’s
campaign watch party shortly after it was announced that Pressley won.

Pressley recorded one of the biggest upsets in Massachusetts political history when she defeated Congressman Mike Capuano in the Democratic Primary on Sept. 3, and nowhere did she find a warmer welcome than from supports in Chelsea. Here supporters here, in fact, were some of the earliest to join her campaign this year.

One of Pressley’s most visible supporters in Chelsea throughout the campaign was Saritin Rizzuto, a well-known community organizer.

Rizzuto organized the largest local fundraiser of the campaign when more than 180 supporters came to the Tu Casa Restaurant on Broadway for a meet-and-greet with the candidate.

Pressley, who was introduced by Rizzuto at the event, did not disappoint her supporters, delivering a rousing, inspirational address that had the crowd on its feet cheering.

Rizzuto and Pressley have been friends for 15 years. They have worked together on various issues through the years. Rizzuto served as a board member at Casa Myrna and Pressley was very supportive of the organization that seeks solutions to end domestic and dating violence.

“Because I knew her background, I had seen her in action, and I had seen her be a fierce advocate for people, I wanted to be involved in her campaign for Congress,” said Rizzuto. “Ayanna asked for my help and I said, ‘I’m with you, 100 percent.’’’

Council President Damali Vidot was one of the first elected officials to endorse Pressley many months ago, and campaigned vigorously for her in Chelsea and beyond.

“I stood proudly with Ayanna as gatekeepers questioned her viability and intentions, from the beginning,” said Vidot. “It wasn’t just her impassioned speeches about real issues affecting us locally that drew me to her. It was the depth of understanding in which she spoke about Immigration, transit justice, and other inequities in the district. It didn’t take much convincing for people to join the A-Team. Our local grassroots efforts proved to be successful in drawing out more people than the last similar Congressional race in 2014, despite going up against establishment politicians  and organizations.”

Marisol Santiago was also a major force for Pressley in Chelsea, having worked on many campaigns in the past. She said Pressley gave everyone a choice, and also caused her to think about her community.

“Ayanna Pressley gave us a choice,” she said “This campaign was an opportunity to look closely at our shared values and ask ourselves what we could accomplish if we were to push ourselves further. Being complacent has never been an option, nor being a good vote was ever enough. Ayanna spoke to these truths and her campaign for Congress brought to the surface the deep differences between what people were used to and the push for more. Her voice amplified our resolve. Our organizing required us to ask these questions of ourselves and our communities.”

Rizzuto said Pressley’s experience as a councillor-at-large in Boston, coupled with the personal challenges she has confronted in her life, set a strong foundation for her run for the congressional seat.

“Ayanna can relate to the situation of people who have struggled, who have been homeless, who have victims of sexual assault,” said Rizzuto.

Rizzuto said the campaign event at Tu Casa in Chelsea drew a substantial crowd even though there was a last-minute change in venue. “There was an issue with a local venue that wasn’t unionized, so we moved the event to another location,” said Rizzuto. “We pulled it together with her team on 24-hour notice.”

Pressley’s speech that night rallied the troops and kept the campaign momentum going in Chelsea.

“With Ayanna, when you hear her speak, that’s when you know you’re going to vote for her,” said Rizzuto. “I knew she was powerful in communicating with the voters. The voters understood that Ayanna was someone who would fight for her constituents every day. I’m confident that she will be a great congresswoman.”

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Feeling the Pain:After 11 Weeks of Lock-Out, National Grid Gas Ready to Continue the Fight

Feeling the Pain:After 11 Weeks of Lock-Out, National Grid Gas Ready to Continue the Fight

Down in the Back Bay’s Park Plaza, hundreds of National Grid gas workers – now locked out of work for 11 weeks – took center stage on what many said was the truest example of what Labor Day should actually mean.

The politics of the matter shone through clearly on Monday morning during the rally in the street with the state’s political elite, but another piece of the puzzle is the day-to-day reality of having lost health insurance, paychecks and having to stage labor’s most ardent fight of the past decade.

For Everett’s Rocky Leo, who appeared with about a dozen locked-out Chelsea workers recently at a Chelsea City Council meeting, the lockout has a human angle – and standing tall in the Back Bay on Monday, he said that is exactly what the company is trying to exploit.

“They’re banking on us not getting by – we workers going under and losing our health care and defaulting on our mortgages so we have to get in,” he said. “It’s a struggle. It’s been 11 weeks since we were locked out. It’s really hard on many of us and that’s their strategy. They figure we’ll give in.

“Five days in they took our health care away,” he continued. “We had a guy who had just had his leg amputated, and people with diabetes who needed care and children who are being treated for cancer. That’s what we have here.”

The lock out started earlier this summer during contract negotiations with two unions in the National Grid gas operations division. The unions are represented by the United Steelworkers and talks have been ongoing, but nothing has been fruitful and labor leaders seemingly – on Labor Day – had seen enough.

“This is unacceptable on Labor Day and any day,” said state AFL-CIO President Steve Tolman. “The fight you’ve been waging the last three months is the most important fight you’ll ever have. Brothers and sisters, you are standing up to a corporate environment that has been scraping away for the last 20 years at our health care and pensions. Where are the elected officials asking National Grid to step up to the table and negotiate and get an agreement? Public safety should be first.”

Joe Buonopane, a president of one of the locked out unions, said on Monday that he wanted Governor Baker to stand up for the workers.

“Gov. Baker hasn’t said a word about National Grid workers being locked out for 11 weeks,” he said. “National Grid is a foreign company, based in the United Kingdom. We are Massachusetts workers locked out of our jobs and Gov. Baker hasn’t said (anything) about it. That shouldn’t happen in Massachusetts.”

On Sept. 4, National Grid and the two unions were to come back to the bargaining table. The results of those meetings were not reported by press time, but National Grid said they wanted to resolve the lock out.

“To end the lockout, which is a goal we share with our union employees, we need to have serious, productive conversations about reaching an agreement,” read a statement by National Grid sent to the Independent on Tuesday, Sept. 4. “Since June 25, National Grid has communicated to the unions that we remain willing to meet seven days a week to reach an agreement on all outstanding issues. Through a federal mediator, they have so far provided eight dates for meetings that have occurred and we are meeting with them again today, September 4.”

National Grid said they wanted to have a fair contract, but that also meant being responsible to the ratepayers. They said what the union characterize as a drive for company profits at employee expense is actually an effort to preserve reasonable rates for customers in Chelsea and beyond.

National Grid said the major sticking point is the company’s proposed benefit package that includes a new defined contribution 401(k) retirement plan. That new plan would apply only to new employees hired on or after June 25, 2018.

National Grid said they had negotiated away from pension plans to 401(k) plans with at least 16 other unions representing 84 percent of the company’s employees. National Grid also said the package is consistent with proposals that the Steelworkers have accepted in Massachusetts with all other public utilities.

National Grid said it doesn’t believe customers should have to pay for outdated benefits when most of those customers don’t enjoy such benefits themselves.

Leo said the idea is to preserve what they have and have had for years. He stressed that the workers only want the same thing they’ve always had.

“It’s frustrating because we’re not asking for everything and anything,” he said. “We just want what we have. We have completed more work than we have been asked to do and they’re profits are up. We exceeded 20 to 50 percent of our work in all categories. We’re doing more than what we are asked and they are profiting, so it’s hard to see why we have to make concessions. There’s no bargaining or discussion. It’s concession or nothing. It’s like talking to a 4-year-old and when they ask why, you only get ‘because.’”

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Karas Marino, Robinson Begin Plans for Chick Corea Concert

Karas Marino, Robinson Begin Plans for Chick Corea Concert

Minna Karas Marino helped coordinate the Chelsea High School Class of 1959’s terrific 59th reunion in May at the Homewood Suites Hotel. The well-known Chelsea resident received much praise from her appreciative classmates, including Class President Robert Tiro.

Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson has been a community organizer and leader of Chelsea events that have helped both adults and youths, most recently the Latimer Society’s Science Carnival last month at Port Park.

The two long-time friends are now planning for an unprecedented event in the city’s history: a major outdoor concert by a Chelsea native, Grammy-winning jazz pianist and composer Chick Corea.

The concert would be held at Chelsea Memorial Stadium in the summer of 2019.

Marino, a classmate of the legendary entertainer, and Robinson, a long-time friend, have reached out to Corea and he is reportedly on board with performing at a concert in his old hometown. They plan to meet with Corea at his upcoming shows at Sculler’s Jazz Club this month.

Robinson said the goal is use the proceeds from the Chelsea concert and establish a scholarship in Chick Corea’s name.

The concert plans are already in motion, according to Karas Marino and Robinson.

“We’ve inquired about the staging, sound system, field covering, and a tent, just in case it rains,” said Robinson.

Chelsea native Lenny Nelson, who was the Corea band’s original drummer, will join Corea on stage for a few songs at the stadium concert.

Karas Marino said Corea has always been kind and hospitable to his friends from Chelsea. “I was at his concert at the Wilbur and it was my birthday,” recalled Karas Marino. “Chick had everyone in the audience, about 1,000 people, sing “Happy Birthday” to me. He’s the most gracious person. I once brought 14 people backstage to see him and he was so nice to everyone.”

Corea, who real name is Armando Anthony Corea, has enjoyed a phenomenal music career. He has won more than 20 Grammy Awards and been nominated more than 60 times. He has been married to jazz musician Gayle Moran since 1972.

Karas Marino and Corea go back to their days as classmates at the Williams School. She said Corea would often entertain classmates and friends with his playing of the piano, trumpet, and drums. Corea was a member of the choral club under the direction of the late Alvin Toltz.

“Chick was always a fabulous musician,” recalled Karas Marino. “You could see his tremendous talent. Everyone knew he was headed for greatness. His father [Armando] and his band performed at some socials when we were ninth graders at the Williams School.”

“His father was a great musician, too,” said Robinson.

Corea, whose real name is Armando Anthony Corea, has enjoyed a phenomenal music career. He has received 22 Grammy Awards and been nominated more than 60 times.

The two concert coordinators are expecting thousands of fans to attend the event and welcome Corea home. There may be a pre-concert dinner or barbecue held at one of the local hotels.

“This will be a coming-home celebration for one of the greatest jazz artists in music history,” said Robinson. “We know that everyone in Chelsea will want to be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime event.”

(There will be a special Chick Corea Trio event for Chelsea residents at the 9 p.m. show on Sunday, Sept. 23 at Sculler’s Jazz Club. Residents interested in attending the event should mention the Robinson/Karas Marino table when ordering tickets).

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Looking at the Election:After Months of Campaigning, Congressional and DA Races Move to the Voters Sept 4

Looking at the Election:After Months of Campaigning, Congressional and DA Races Move to the Voters Sept 4

In presidential campaigns, the swing state is always Ohio.

In this year’s Democratic Primary on Sept. 4, Chelsea is Ohio.

The battleground for so many races that will be decided on Tuesday, Sept. 4, has been in Chelsea this summer. Whether it’s the congressional race, the DA’s race, or even the Secretary of State – Chelsea has figured big in the plans of many candidates as they try to stake out their territories.

There have been numerous debates, several rallies, and endless discussions about the Primary Election – particularly on the Democratic side – but this coming Tuesday, Sept. 4, the talk ends and the voting begins.

Perhaps the most prominent and far-reaching race on the Democratic ballot is between the five district attorney candidates. For the first time in more than a decade, after the retirement of DA Dan Conley, the DA’s seat is open, and the entirety of Suffolk County will be choosing the winning candidate in the Primary.

Evandro Carvalho, Linda Champion, Greg Henning, Shannon McAuliffe and Rachael Rollins are all newcomers to Suffolk County politics and have had to forge paths in areas outside their typical spheres of influence. Most have had management experience and some have worked in the prosecutor’s office. Carvalho is a sitting state representative from Dorchester.

He has received the endorsement of Chelsea State Rep. Dan Ryan.

However, Rollins – who made a good showing at a debate here earlier this summer – has made great gains in Chelsea, nabbing the support of many City Councillors here, including Councilor Leo Robinson (At-Large), Councilor Roy Avellaneda (At-Large), Councilor Joe Perlatonda (District 3), and Councilor Giovanni A. Recupero (District 6).

Rollins has also received support of the Ward 4 Democratic Committee here.

  • A race that has been liveliest in Chelsea is that of Congressman Michael Capuano against Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley – both of whom are running for Congress on the Democratic ticket.

Both have visited Chelsea with some frequency.

Earlier this summer, Pressley and Capuano both rolled out major visits in the span of two days to liven up the base in Chelsea.

Capuano boasts the support of elected officials like State Rep. Dan Ryan, State Sen. Sal DiDomenico and Councillor Robinson, but more than a few have been swayed by the arguments of Pressley, who has been polished and professional throughout the race.

This week, Pressley made a major score in landing the support of a dozen or more Chelsea elected officials and community leaders. Some include Council President Damali Vidot and Chelsea City Councillors Enio Lopez and Yamir Rodriguez. Also, Chelsea School Committee Chair Jeannette Velez, Vice-Chair Kelly Garcia, School Committeeman Julio Hernandez and School Committeewoman Lucia Henriquez. Former School Committee Members Robert Pereira, Melinda Vega and Diana Maldonado are also supporting Pressley.

Chelsea has been a key battleground, but it’s a big district that stretches all the way down through Boston and to Randolph on the South Shore. How that works out is anyone’s guess.

  • A less heralded race in Chelsea, but one that will be on the ballot and has been contentious, is the contest between Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim and long-time Secretary of State Bill Galvin.

Galvin has been a stalwart in the State House for many years, and has been very critical of Zakim.

Zakim has returned the favor.

A debate two weeks ago between the two had some very big fireworks shot off from both candidates.

Zakim has had some strong endorsements statewide, which has turned some heads, but Galvin also has the experience of years in the seat.

It will be one to watch Tuesday night.

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Zoning Board to Hear Major Plan for Forbes Site in Mill Hill

Zoning Board to Hear Major Plan for Forbes Site in Mill Hill

The Chinese company that was sent packing in 2015 for a far-reaching plan for the Forbes site that included skyscrapers more than 20 stories tall, is now back before the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) next month with a more modest – but still large – plan for the site.

YIHE will present a plan for the 18-acre Forbes site on Sept. 11 to the ZBA that includes 630 residential units (approximately 700,000 sq. ft.), and 44,230 sq. ft. of non-residential space to include resident amenities, retail and dining and a co-working space. Some 60 percent of the units will be home ownership opportunities and 40 percent will be rentals. There will be 80 studios, 330 one-bedrooms, and 220 two-bedrooms in the residential scheme.

Known as Summer Court, the project will also include much improved public open space and public access to Chelsea Creek.

“The development will step down in height towards the waterfront, with the tallest buildings proposed along the eastern portion of the site to mitigate impact on the adjacent neighborhood and shorter, smaller buildings closer to the entrance,” read the report. “Parking will be provided in a single-story parking garage located beneath the plaza and a parking garage adjacent to the railroad tracks.”

The project will retain three existing buildings on the site, but others will not be able to be saved. There are 949 spaces contemplated in the garages, and the zoning requires 1,268 spaces.

Summer Court will have a large plaza in the middle parcel with ready access to retail and restaurant spaces. The portion of the project abutting Chelsea Creek is perhaps the most intriguing. Using a stepped board wark that will also serve as flood retention, the area will include a plaza with green space and water access.

“The waterfront plaza will offer opportunities for the public to enjoy the site’s magnificent views of the Boston skyline when using walking and jogging paths or resting on benches,” read the filing.

One major sticking point will likely be the one means of accessing the site over the MBTA railroad bridge. The only way to get to the large development will be to travel by a large school complex and through a low-density residential neighborhood on Crescent Avenue.

“The project includes the relocation of the western bridge to just east of the eastern bridge,” read the filing. “Both bridges will be placed into service in order to provide redundant access in the event of an emergency. The entrance road will ramp down from the elevated road over the tracks toward the waterfront plaza.”

YIHE purchased the site in 2014 with the intention of redeveloping the site.

  • Also at the ZBA, but on Thursday, Sept. 13, will be a proposal at 208 Spencer Street to redevelop a one-family home into a nine-unit, four-story residential building.

The proposal comes from South Boston’s OPC Development, and will include nine parking spaces (four of which are compact) on the first floor of the development.

The units will all be two-bedroom units with a private balcony and/or roof decks. They will average 1,134 sq. ft. with all units on floors two through four.

The meeting on Sept. 13 will also have on the agenda the four-story, 42 unit building proposed by Traggorth and The Neighborhood Developers (TND) on what is now a vacant lot (formerly Midas) at 1001 Broadway.

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New Clark Avenue School Opens with Buzz of Excitement on Wednesday

New Clark Avenue School Opens with Buzz of Excitement on Wednesday

It was a new year at the Clark Avenue Middle School Wednesday morning, Aug. 29.

But it wasn’t just any new year.

It was the year that students poured through a brand new front door to the clean, sparkling hallways of a brand new $54 million school building with all of the most modern amenities that their old school – the former 110-year-old Chelsea High School – couldn’t provide.

“I really want to see the new gym; I can’t wait,” said William Bay, a 7th grader, as he waited outside his new school Wednesday morning. “I guess I just want to see all of the school. I’m excited about the whole thing. I think it will help me do better in school. I’m going to learn more here.”

For parents, the excitement was just as frenzied.

“I’m so excited,” said Bernice Reyes, who brought her two sixth graders for their first day. “I have a college graduate who went to the old Clark Ave. I remember that school. It couldn’t give these kids what this one will.”

Said Sara El-Mahil, a returning student, “It’s better than the old one for sure. The classroom are larger and all the water fountains will work now. I really like the space in the front where kids can hang out before school. Everything is going to be more organized.”

The Clark Ave began several years ago, with Phase 1 concluding in December 2016 and kids being welcomed into the new classroom portion along Tudor Street. This year, however, the entire school was opened to students – revealing a new gym, new music rooms, the library and numerous other amenities that completed the project.

“It’s a fantastic building,” said Principal Michael Talbot. “The kids are going to love it. The teachers are going to love the new options that this building gives them to teach the kids. Everyone’s excited.”

Supt. Mary Bourque and other district officials, including Gerry McCue – who shepherded the project through before retiring this year, were on hand to welcome students and parents.

“I am so proud of what the City has done here with this facility,” she said. “This was the right thing to do for the kids and the community.”

One of the most appreciated things on Wednesday morning for the students, parents and staff was the new, sprawling courtyard and outdoor amphitheatre at the corner of Tudor  Street and Clark Avenue. The new space is still under construction, but was finished to the extent that it offered a great place to gather before school.

Previously, the school hugged the sidewalk, and there was little to no space for gathering.

The new outdoors space will support learning at the school, and will also be available for the community to use for things such as outdoor plays or movies.

Williams School sewer problems

The Williams School – home of the Browne Middle and Wright Middle Schools – experienced a heart-attack moment on Monday afternoon when a major sewer blockage threatened opening day.

Around 3 p.m. on Monday, the sewer backed up and caused a major problem in the school. All of the teachers getting prepared for the school year in the building were sent home.

Joe Cooney and his team at the Buildings and Grounds Department went to work on the problem and soon found that there was a huge cluster of baby wipes clogging the sewer pipe and drains.

“Joe’s team worked throughout the night washing and sanitizing everything and we were ready to be back in business Tuesday morning,” said Supt. Mary Bourque. “I am truly the luckiest and most grateful Superintendent for our dedicated and hard-working Buildings and Grounds department.”

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Bet on U:First ‘Dealer School’ for Encore Casino Begins Classes Next Month

Bet on U:First ‘Dealer School’ for Encore Casino Begins Classes Next Month

Now that the Encore casino tower has come into full view of Everett, it’s time to learn how to deal a good hand.

Encore Boston Harbor, Cambridge College in Charlestown and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) announced this week that they will begin the first session of ‘Dealer School’ at Cambridge College in early September, focusing on teaching dealer basics, Blackjack games and Poker games. In coming years, they will also offer training on other games such as roulette and craps.

The collaboration is known as the Greater Boston Gaming Career Institute and is long in the making, debuting now as Encore begins ramping up for the hiring of 1,100 dealers to fill out its gaming staff. Hirings will take place next spring, and it is expected that two full sessions of the Dealer School will be completed by the Encore opening on June 24, 2019.

Classes will start on Sept. 17, and the cost is $700. However, residents of Everett, Malden, Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea and Medford will have the opportunity to win scholarships that will make it free. The deadline to submit applications for scholarships is Sept. 10.

“We have been talking with Cambridge College for a number of months about this and it has worked out well,” said John. “The space is 2,500 sq. ft. and it will hold about 80 students per classroom. They will have three sessions per day.”

The sessions will run Monday to Thursday, with sessions at 8 a.m. to noon; 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. A student is expected to stay in their time slot once they start.

The Blackjack training will last nine weeks and the poker training will last 14 weeks.

There will also be a weekend session that only offers Blackjack training all day Saturday and Sunday for nine weeks.

Doug Williams, vice president of table games, Gary Hager, director of poker operations, and John all said that the Dealer School is a great opportunity to be ready when Encore ramps up to hire gaming staff next year. If one does get hired, it can mean a starting salary of $60,000 for a full-time job, plus benefits.

“This could be transformational for certain people,” said John. “In a matter of months for a 16-hour commitment and flexible times, you can begin a new career that starts at $60,000 for full-time work. It’s a chance for you to earn good money and have a career for the rest of your life. This isn’t for someone who likes to play cards and wants to do something fun. This is for someone really looking to make a career change.”

Said Williams, “It’s also a good avenue for someone who isn’t going to college or doesn’t want to go to college now. It’s a career you can take with you for the rest of your life. There aren’t many instances in a major metropolitan area where a new industry just pops up and you can get in on it.”

Added Hager, “When these kinds of jobs open up on the strip in Las Vegas, they don’t stay open long. These are good opportunities and this is getting in on the ground floor here.”

Those enrolled in the school will practice hands-on training, being taught by five former Encore dealers who will teach them all aspects of how to deal and oversee a good game. More than that, they will teach them the basics of being a dealer. That includes how to let people enjoy themselves and how to show off a good personality that will enhance the customer experience.

Basic requirements are that one have an 8th grade level of math competency; be 18 or older; be willing to work weekends, holidays and off hours; and have a great personality.

“The personality is very important,” said Williams. “We hear all the time it’s not whether a customer wins or loses that determines whether they had a great time, but it’s the interaction they have with the dealer. They may enjoy themselves more because you are they’re preferred dealer or you become their lucky dealer. You can go a long way here with a winning personality.”

John said, however, there is no guarantee that anyone who completes the Dealer School would be hired, but they would have preferred status.

“Honestly, we don’t know if they will definitely be hired by Encore,” he said. “It’s the first time we’re doing this. Obviously though, if you get through the program, you’ll have preferential status and you’ll be the first person we look to when we’re hiring.”

The full information about scholarships and enrollment in the Dealer School can be found at www.BetOnU.com.

Once again, classes for the first session start on Sept. 17.

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Massport CEO Thomas Glynn Announces Intention to Step Down

Massport CEO Thomas Glynn Announces Intention to Step Down

After six years as head of Massport, CEO Thomas Glynn announced last week that he would step down from the post

After six years on the job, Massport CEO Thomas Glynn has resigned and will leave his post in November.

in November, a year earlier than his contract.

Glynn said his last days at Massport will be in November even though his contract will expire in 2019.

“This is a great job, but after six years and at the age of 72, I feel it is a good time to pass the baton to the next leader who will have the chance to lead a great team,” said Glynn.

Glynn took over the reins at Massport in September 2012 and was picked from a field of over 40 candidates. The Board confirmed him unanimously that year, noting his vast senior leadership experience and his commitment to public service.

Leo Robinson, longtime Chelsea city councillor-at-large, thanked Glynn for his work at Massport and his responsiveness to issues raised by the city’s residents.

“Mr. Glynn has had an outstanding tenure at Massport,” said Robinson. “He did some very good things for our city. I feel our relationship with Massport improved during his time as CEO and I hope we continue to have a continuing strong connection with his successor.”

According to state leaders Glynn’s tenure as Executive Director and CEO at Massport will be remembered for the growth of international flights at Logan Airport; revitalization of the Working Port of Boston and Worcester Regional Airport; and the Omni Hotel diversity initiative.

“Throughout his tenure leading Massport, Tom Glynn has been a tireless advocate for furthering the Commonwealth’s reputation as an international destination,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Tom’s hard work to expand service at Logan and the Commonwealth’s other transportation hubs has driven economic activity across Massachusetts, and I thank him for his years of dedication and service.”

“Tom Glynn has guided Massport through an historic era of airport expansion, continuing the unfortunate trends of previous Massport CEO’s,” said East Boston organization AirInc. in a statement, the neighborhood’s Massport environmental mitigation watchdog group. “Since 2012, when Mr. Glynn accepted the appointment to lead the Massachusetts Port Authority, airport passenger activity at Boston’s landlocked airport has increased 37 percent according to their own reports.  Along with this growth, has come additional beneficial economic activity, which the Port Authority is quick to point out.  If Mr. Glynn’s success is to be measured by the growth of airport operations, his tenure at the helm of Boston Logan has been a wild success. However, the expansions Mr. Glynn has set in place are unsustainable.  At its current rate of 5 percent annual growth, Logan will surpass 90 million passengers by 2035.  Nighttime operations, traffic, and noise will more than double.  And emissions will increase by 174 percent.”

AirInc. hopes the next CEO of Massport will make significant adjustments without pushing expansion further.

However, some like Massport Board member and Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack argued that Glynn made relationships building with the Authority’s neighborhood communities a top priority.

“Tom Glynn has done an exceptional job leading Massport, ensuring that Logan Airport is a good neighbor while at the same time growing the number of passengers and domestic and international destinations served,” said Pollack.

Massport’s CFO John Pranckevicius will serve as acting CEO beginning November 17, 2018.

Massport Board member and East Boston resident John Nucci said the Board will begin a search process that may extend beyond Glynn’s departure date.

“Tom’s departure is a major loss for Massport and for the affected communities,” said Nucci. “He knew how to listen to neighbors and put a premium on giving back to those neighborhoods that had to live with Logan’s impacts. As a board, we have a major challenge ahead of us finding someone to fill his shoes. As we search for a successor to Tom, I hope the board will be looking for someone with demonstrated public sector experience. The secret to Tom’s success was his ability to navigate the halls of government  with great skill.”

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Marijuana Store, Education Facility Looks at Possible Parkway Plaza Location

Marijuana Store, Education Facility Looks at Possible Parkway Plaza Location

The Western Front company is proposing to locate a medical marijuana dispensary and a marijuana industry training program at the Parkway Plaza off of Webster Street.

A public meeting to hear and discuss the proposal will be held at City Hall tonight, Aug. 9, at 6 p.m.

Attorney Tim Flaherty said that Western Front is led by Marvin E. Gilmore Jr., a World War II veteran who has spent most of his life helping low-income people get into profitable industries so that they could move into the middle class.

Flaherty said the state Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) has already certified Western Front as an Economic Empowerment proposal, which makes it unique compared to traditional proposals. It also puts it somewhat on the fast-track in the state process. Chelsea is designated as a community where Economic Empowerment proposals are allowed due to what is termed an inequitable enforcement of drug laws regarding marijuana in the past.

Flaherty said to be certified, a proposal has to meet three of six criteria, and Western Front met all six.

“This is a very appropriate site we think for this use and complies with zoning in Chelsea,” said Flaherty. “What we will do with the space is we will operate a dispensary on one side and we will operate the other side as a workforce training space. Our business model is to have Chelsea residents and have people previously impacted by the War on Drugs benefitting from this proposal. There are certain types of offenses that disqualify people from being hired by Western Front, but a conviction for possession of marijuana would not prohibit them.”

The proposal at the moment is for a medical marijuana dispensary to operate, but Flaherty said they would like to become a recreational facility if they can get the financing and approvals. For now, though, they will be apply for medical.

The workforce training center will exist to educate Chelsea residents about how to get involved and qualified to work in the burgeoning marijuana industry.

The proposal, Flaherty stressed, is unique in that it is meant to benefit people in Chelsea that have been disproportionately harmed by the War on Drugs in the past.

He said they haven’t signed a Host Community Agreement with the City yet, but he said a standard condition is a 3 percent impact fee. Another 3 percent fee would be imposed as a local sales tax option. Other mitigation could come if the proposal is approved.

Flaherty said they will have 24/7 video and audio surveillance, with steel doors and a security guard on site.

After the community meeting, if there is not major opposition, the proposal would move to a full application with the state. If approved there, the application would come back to the Chelsea Planning Board for a Special Permit.

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Frustrated House Waited for Horse Racing/Simulcast Bill All Night

Frustrated House Waited for Horse Racing/Simulcast Bill All Night

Live horse racing and simulcasting took a topsy-turvy ride over a period of 48 hours last week, when the Sport of Kings became illegal in the Commonwealth for the first time in generations.

All of it came as a result of the State Legislature’s run up to the end of its two-year Legislative session on Tuesday and into Wednesday (July 31 and Aug. 1) night Ð and it was a frustrating end for Speaker Bob DeLeo, who said they waited all night for the Senate to send back an approved Racing Bill.

It was considered a non-controversial, annual renewal, but it was a wait that proved fruitless and frustrating for the Speaker.

When the bell sounded to end the session, racing hadn’t been done, and that technically made it illegal Ð something with dire consequences for Suffolk Downs and Plainridge Race Course, both of which had major racing events last week.

“We were waiting for it to come back from the Senate so we could vote on it,” DeLeo said this week. “It never made it back to the House for a final vote so that there would be no disruption in racingÉI have to say, it was very frustrating to be waiting all night for the legislation to come back and it never did. I know that things get lost. I appreciate that, but we’re talking about people’s livelihoods and people who rely on that paycheck. I thought it was important that got done and that’s why we moved so quickly to get it straightened out the next day on the governor’s desk to sign by mid-day.”

Indeed, by Thursday afternoon, racing had been restored, and DeLeo said that was because he and his team moved immediately all night long to make sure it passed.

It didn’t stop the talk, however, about why Senate President Karen Spilka hadn’t taken up a matter so important to Speaker DeLeo’s district in a session that ended with a bit of animosity between the two bodies Ð particularly on the failure to pass an education funding and health care bill by the end of session.

Some inside sources have said that it was retribution from Spilka to DeLeo for not passing certain things that were important to her Ð essentially, they said, making racing a pawn in a larger political spat.

DeLeo played that down, however, this week, saying only, “We were just awaiting the documents from the Senate.”

Spilka told the State House News Service last week that racing was simply one of many bills that failed to pass before the session’s end.

“Just like every single year, we don’t always get to everything,” she said to State House News.

Suffolk Downs COO Chip Tuttle said he was glad to see that the matter was quickly resolved, which meant that it didn’t disrupt Suffolk’s weekend of live racing Saturday and Sunday.

“We want to thank the House, Senate and Governor for addressing this today and we’re looking forward to two great days of racing this weekend,” he said late on Thursday.

But Suffolk, Plainridge and Raynham didn’t get there without sweating it out for a period of many hours when their product has suddenly become unauthorized.

On Wednesday morning, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) put out a letter of direction to Suffolk Downs, Plainridge Park and Raynham Taunton Greyhound Park.

The letter said that the Commonwealth’s legislation for live racing and simulcasting had expired on July 31 at midnight and no action had been taken to renew or replace it.

“As of today, there is not statutory authorization for live horse racing or simulcasting in the Commonwealth,” read the letter. “Please be advised that until further notice from the Gaming Commission, simulcasting in all forms under any license at your facilities is suspended. Further, live racing at Suffolk Downs and Plainridge Park is also suspended until further notice.”

The MGC added the item as an emergency agenda item for its meeting on Aug. 2, in Springfield, but as they got to the matter, DeLeo had straightened everything out.

Getting it fixed was the main point of the matter, DeLeo said this week.

“Suffolk did have a very big live racing weekend coming up, but for meÉwe have a number of people who live and work in my district who quite frankly live paycheck to paycheck and can’t afford even one day without that paycheck,” he said. “That’s very important and that’s why the very next day we worked to get it passed on signed by the governor.”

The Racing/Simulcast legislation doesn’t sunset again until July 31, 2019.

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