A huge crowd is expected to be on hand when
Chelsea honors one of its most prominent and philanthropic individuals on July
27 at the Saul Nechtem Gymnasium.
And what they will be celebrating is not
only Herbie Kupersmith’s milestone birthday but all the good deeds that Herbie
has done in a life well lived.
Herbie’s proud family, his wife, Cookie,
daughters, Karyn, Stacey, and Marci and grandchildren, Michael, Jackie, and
Colin head the list of guests that will travel far and wide to be at the party.
Guidance From his Mother and Four Valuable Mentors
Herbie Kupersmith moved from Brooklyn to
Chelsea with his mother, Sally, when he was two-and-half years old.
“We lived on 13 Michael’s Place, which was
off Williams Street,” said Herbie, an only child. “We were 35 feet away from
the Chelsea Dump.”
Four highly respected Chelsea men would
become Herbie’s “mentors.”
“Hugh J. McLaughlin, the former mayor,
Julius Zeff, teacher and basketball coach, Paul “Choc” Glazer, community leader
and head of the YMHA, and Harry Coltun, legal counsel for the Mass. House of
Representatives – those four people, along with my mother – made it possible
for me to be the person I am today,” said Herbie.
Herbie began attending the Walnut Street
Synagogue as a young boy and was bar mitzvahed there in 1952. It was the
beginning of his lifelong connection and support of the shul. Through the years
Herbie has been instrumental in fundraising and helping the historic shul
remain in operation.
What Herbie remembers most about his bar
mitzvah was the advice he received from his mother in the form of three letters
she had handwritten to him.
“Never drink the cup dry – leave some for
other people,” recalled Herbie. “No. 2 was, if you’re going to do something, do
it because you want to do it, not because you want to get accolades. And No. 3,
my mother wrote, ‘I want you to be a giver, not a taker.’”
Herbie developed a love of sports at a young
age. He was the starting guard for the Williams Junior High School basketball
team that won 27 games in a row. He later played basketball at Chelsea High
School for Coach Saul Nechtem.
Success in the Business World
After high school Herbie took a job at Nunn
Bush selling shoes at Kennedy’s and Filene’s.
He had other jobs in sales before taking a
position at Bobbie Brooks, a junior sportswear company.
With his magnetic personality, charisma,
style, street smarts, common sense, honesty and integrity, Herbie set sales
records and took over the entire Boston territory. He remained at Bobbie Brooks
for 25 years.
All About Family
He met his future wife, Cookie, on a blind
date and they were married in May, 1965.
They began their life together in Malden and
moved to Marblehead in December, 1965. They have lived in the town ever since.
The Kupersmiths have three children, Karyn,
Stacey, and Marci, all of whom are college graduates. Two of the Kupersmith
grandchildren, Michael Walsh and Jackie Walsh, are graduates of Brown
University. A third grandchild, Colin Walsh, is a student at Elon College in
A Party for Herbie That is Also a Testimonial
The upcoming birthday party will be a
testimonial in many ways, with so many people wanting to thank Herbie for the
help and support he has given them in so many ways.
The student-athletes like former Marblehead
and Stonehill College basketball standout David Siggers, the coaches like John
DiBiaso, the members of the congregation at Walnut Street Synagogue, the
business associates, the friends like lifelong buddy Lennie Nelson, the
co-chairs of planning committees like the great Minna Karas-Marino, and the
city officials like Leo Robinson – they’ll all be there to say “Thank you,
Herbie,” for being such a positive, uplifting presence in my life.
Rita’s will cater the gala affair. Comedian
Brad Mastrangelo will perform and DJ George Athas will provide the musical
entertainment. Former City Manager Jay Ash will be one of the speakers during
“It should be a nice evening,” said Herbie
True to Herbie’s
giving nature, all donations from the birthday party will go toward a scholarship
fund for Chelsea students.
On June 18 at 4:39 a.m., officers were
dispatched to 411 Broadway for a report of a disturbance. The calling party who
resides at that address stated they heard a loud bang and an alarm going off.
Upon arrival, Officers heard an alarm sounding from The Chelsea Walk Pub
located at 416 Broadway. Officers observed the front door glass had been
shattered. The door was open and Officers entered the building and located a
brick on the ground. Officers searched the building, but did not locate anyone
inside. Officers reviewed the city cameras and that information led them to
place the female suspect under arrest. The female also had outstanding warrants
out of the state of Florida.
Guillermina Montanez, 49, of 439 Broadway,
was charged with breaking and entering a building in the night, possession of
burglarious tools, being a fugitive from justice and one warrant.
Assaulted at the Basket
On June 25, at 6:02 p.m., CPD officers
responded to the Market Basket on a report of a shoplifter who assaulted an employee.
Officers were told that a manager attempted to stop a female accused of
shoplifting $43 worth of items when he was attacked. The manager stated he was
struck in the face with a set of keys from the shoplifter. A description was
broadcast to officers in the area and the female subject was taken into
Rosa Lawson, 42, of 827 Broadway, was
charged with armed robbery, assault and battery, threatening to commit a crime
and two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
On June 25, at 11:40 p.m., CPD officers
observed a Red Ford Focus traveling in the wrong direction on Broadway. Upon
speaking with the operator, it was determined he did not have a license to
operate a motor vehicle. And he was arrested.
Ever Gutierrez Vargas, 23, of Cambridge, was
charged with unlicensed operation and one way violation.
On July 2, at 10:10 a.m., officers were
dispatched to 73 Pearl St. for a report of a male party checking the door
handles to motor vehicles who was now sitting inside a grey motor vehicle. Upon
officers’ arrival, an unknown male party was observed in the rear seat of a
grey motor vehicle. The motor vehicle was parked on private property with no
license plates attached. A vehicle VIN number was located and given to Chelsea
Control for owner information. It was determined by the owner that the person
inside was known to him. He was placed under arrest.
Melvy Amaya, 21, of 106 Williams St., was
charged with breaking and entering a vehicle in the day for a felony.
Stole Items From Car
On July 6, at 10;10 a.m., a CPD officer was
dispatched to 793 Broadway for a report of malicious damage to a motor vehicle.
The officer observed a Honda CR-V with the back passenger side window
smashed. The owner of the vehicle stated that she discovered the vehicle
damaged around 10 a.m. Officers were able to review security footage and
identify a male subject smash window and remove items from the car. A short
time later officers observed a male matching the description on Shawmut Street.
He was placed under arrest on scene.
Albin Hernandez, 37, of 466 Broadway, was
charged with breaking and entering a vehicle in the day for a felony and
possession of burglarious tools.
Few places in the food supply chain for
Greater Boston and beyond are more vulnerable than the New England Produce
That huge food resource for the region, along
with other industries, are very close to sea level and, as discovered a few
years ago, very prone to flooding and sea level surges.
Now, the City of Chelsea is poised to begin
a major project at the Island End River that will help to protect the industrial
areas along Beacham Street and enhance the environment around the improving
Island End River.
“That area is about six or seven feet above
sea level now, and experts expect sea level and storm surges at 14 feet above
sea level by the end of the century,” said Alex Train, of the Chelsea Planning
Department. “This project is in concert with Everett and it’s gathered a lot of
momentum. It’s a priority of the City Manager and our department because we
understand how much is at risk. It’s a gamble otherwise and we don’t like to
gamble in the planning industry.”
Such a gamble was clearly seen two winters
ago when huge coastal surge storms lifted the water levels into the industrial
areas along the Island End, nearly causing major disruptions and opening a lot
of eyes to the vulnerability of the situation.
The project has been supported by a grant
from the Coastal Zone Management Office, as well as the Chelsea and Everett
The project includes gray infrastructure,
such as flood walls and berms by the Island End River. It also includes green
infrastructure with the restoration of the salt marshes abutting the Island
End. At the same time, they will also be able to add some amenities for the
public like a Boardwalk to connect to the Admiral’s Hill Marina area.
“It’s going to be a sizeable project, but in
the context of the surrounding industrial businesses and the produce center,
it’s easily a worthwhile initiative on our end,” said Train.
Right now, in Chelsea, they are at 60
percent engineering design on the project. Everett is a little bit further
behind as they are in the Designated Port Area (DPA) and require many more
steps. Everett is currently in a schematic design phase.
On the Chelsea side, Train said they will
culminate design this summer, and then look for further grants this winter.
Then they will engage in the final engineering, permitting and construction
The project will also be tied into the large
Beacham Street roadway, sidewalk and bike path improvements that are also
A report in 2015 by the Metropolitan Area
Planning Council (MAPC) showed that the Produce Center generates $2.3 billion
of economic activity per year, and the entire industrial district generates $7
billion per year. There are 5,000 direct jobs there and 10,000 supportive jobs
“Many of that activity and those jobs
benefit Chelsea and Everett residents and they are solid middle-class jobs and
we’re committed to protecting them for our residents,” said Train.
Other Development Activity
•The City has received a PARC grant for
rehabilitation of the O’Neil Playground on the hill up from Williams Street.
The new design will encourage water features and tree canopies. The restoration
will look to prevent heat islands and provide a cool place during the summer.
The project is currently under construction and should be substantially
completed by the fall. It came in at a cost of $884,000.
•The Eden Street playground is currently in
design. The new design will also feature a robust tree canopy and more permeable
surfaces. The project will be bid out in September, with a fall start.
Construction will start up again in the spring for a substantial completion by
summer 2020. That project was supported by a $400,000 PARC grant.
•Voke Park is another area that will soon
receive more attention. The Bocce Court and fields were done over two years
ago, but now it’s time for some attention to be paid to the playground.
Already, they have had one public meeting to get input on the park, and they
are working on conceptual designs now.
“We’ll apply for a grant in July to secure
funding,” said Train.
Design will be done in June 2020 and
construction on that is likely to be 2021.
•The City is
preparing to modernize the traffic signals and intersections at Williams/Chestnut
and Williams/Broadway this summer. That upgrade will include new Smart Traffic
Signals that are able to read the traffic flow and adjust signal timing on the
fly. One of those lights has already been installed on Broadway and Webster earlier
this year. Sidewalks will also be touched up as well.
Money the city is set to receive from Encore
Boston Harbor could be going toward job training for Chelsea residents.
Monday night, the City Council voted 8-3 to
allow City Manager Thomas Ambrosino to renegotiate the city’s Surrounding
Community Agreement (SCA) with Encore to set aside $100,000 of the $225,000
earmarked for roadway repairs in the agreement for workforce development.
“I still believe that workforce development
is an important and unmet need in the City,” Ambrosino stated in a letter to
the council. “This casino mitigation agreement provides an opportunity to set
aside a modest annual amount for that purpose. The source would be a portion of
the funds set aside in the existing Agreement for roadway improvements, a
program which the City already adequately supports through other available
Although the council approved Ambrosino’s
renegotiation with Encore, several councillors opposed moving funds away from
road improvements to workforce development.
“Why take the money from where it was
intended to go and put it somewhere else?” District 6 Councillor Giovanni
Councillor-At-Large Roy Avellaneda countered
that there are numerous mechanisms in the budget for roadway improvements, but
revenue streams for workforce development are nonexistent.
“This is a good use, in my view, of that
$100,000,” he said, adding the training would benefit Chelsea residents.
But District 1 Councillor Robert Bishop said
the workforce development money would be used mainly for casino and other
“That is something the casino should be
spending money on, not us,” said Bishop. “Why should we pay to train people at
District 3 Councillor Joe Perlatonda cast
the third vote against the measure, agreeing with Bishop that the wording of
the proposal focused too heavily on training for jobs in the casino industry.
•In other business, the Council approved the
Community Preservation Act Budget for Fiscal Year 2020, and approved Community
Preservation Act funds for six projects, including renovating the Civil War
Monument, the Marlborough Street Community Garden, Bellingham-Cary House
building repairs, the Garden Cemetery project, Congregation Agudath Sholom
repairs, and money for an affordable housing trust fund specialist.
•District 4 Councillor Enio Lopez also asked
Ambrosino to look into the city installing removable speed bumps at Marlborough
and Shawmut streets for the summer.
Lopez also asked
the City Manager to provide the Council with a list of all City cars being
taken home by City employees, and to provide the Council with a list of
overtime hours worked by the Inspectional Services Department.
Everett might be all-in
on the 4 a.m. extending liquor license for Encore Boston Harbor, but
surrounding cities like Chelsea aren’t so excited.
In comments this week,
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and Chelsea City Manager Tom Ambrosino said they
weren’t in favor of Encore’s request for a limited 4 a.m. liquor license from
the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC). The request is currently under
review and in a public comment period. It would only apply to those actively
engaged in gaming, and the last call would be 3:30 a.m. Most other liquor
licenses have a 2 a.m. cutoff.
Chelsea City Manager Tom
Ambrosino said he doesn’t support the idea, seeing no advantage to Chelsea in
having a luxury casino open late just a few hundred yards from the Chelsea city
“That would have no
positive benefit to the City of Chelsea, so it would not be something I would
favor,” he said.
Mayor Martin Walsh agreed
with those sentiments as well.
“When the Legislature
wrote the bill to have casino gaming, it was a 2 a.m. liquor license, which I
voted on,” said Mayor Walsh. “I think that at this point in time, we should get
the casino open, and see how the 2 a.m. license works. If there is a need, if
there is a desire, or if there is a concern that it hampers the business, then
I think we should explore the opportunity of maybe going until 3 a.m. or 4 a.m.
But right now, at opening, closing at 2 a.m. – let’s see what it looks like.
You can’t say there are concerns there until it’s open. I would request we wait
and then have a full vetting. Right now it needs to be opened and see how it
all works with a 2 a.m. closing.”
Meanwhile, Everett Mayor
Carlo DeMaria said the later closing hour is critical to the casino being an
international destination, as no such 2 a.m. rules apply in other locales where
Wynn Resorts operates.
“The City of Everett is
committed to supporting the success of the Encore Boston Harbor Resort,” he said.
“In order for it to be a destination for an international clientele, the resort
needs to be able to offer these clients a cocktail during the time they
play. At 2 a.m., all the bars and restaurants will be closed, and drinks
will only be served to those on the casino floor by a trained and certified
server. Over-serving and irresponsible behavior will not be tolerated.”
He added that State
Police, Everett Police and Encore security would be on site during the late
hours and transportation services would be available for guests.
Walsh said he realizes
that the Springfield casino already has a 4 a.m. license, but he also added
that the circumstances are different in Everett. He said there are a lot of
other cities and towns in the immediate area without such licenses. He said
there has to be a dialog with everyone after the first six months.
“I’m not going to assume
they’ll do 4 a.m.,” he said. “I’ll ask the Gaming Commission to be respectful
of the surrounding cities and towns and see how the process works and see how
the casino does in its first six months. Then we’ll revisit it and have a
conversation and dialog at this point.
“We filed legislation (in
Boston) a few years ago to open some of the bars and clubs later,” he
continued. “So, that’s why I think you need a six-month vetting. Let’s assume
for a moment the Gaming Commission grants the 4 a.m. license, that puts a lot
of businesses in surrounding cities and town, including Boston, at a serious
disadvantage. I think let’s wait and see what the 2 a.m. does…It’s not simply
opening the casino until 4 a.m. It’s about having a conversation about other
cities and towns and their licenses and what would happen in their
The MGC is expected to talk more about the 4 a.m. license application at
its next meeting on May 22.
City Manager Thomas Ambrosino presented a
city budget just short of $181,500,000 for Fiscal Year 2020 to the City Council
The proposed budget funds city expenditures
at $86,095,981 and the schools at $95,391,784 for a total budget of
$181,487,765. This budget is about $6.5 million more than the FY19 budget, an
increase of 3.71 percent.
“The FY20 budget continues support for many
programs we have implemented over the past few years,” Ambrosino stated in a
letter to the City Council.
The City Manager is proposing full funding
for social services programs in the downtown, including the Navigators and
Youth Navigator program. The Health and Human Services budget also includes a
new social services contract to support the ISD housing program.
The budget does include new positions in
three city departments — E-911, DPW, and Elder Services — and an increase
from a part-time to a full-time position in the Licensing Department. The E-911
increase, a total of three new full-time positions, follows a personnel review
by the department’s new director.
Increases in the DPW include personnel for a
new 311 system as well as a group of new hires required for the city to operate
its own Water and Sewer Department.
The FY20 budget includes funds in salary
reserve to cover the anticipated costs of ongoing union negotiations with City
Hall employees. With the exception of the police and fire union contracts, all
municipal union contracts expire on June 30 of this year.
•In other business, the Council approved an
order proposed by councillors Giovanni Recupero, Enio Lopez, Luis Tejada, and
Damali Vidot requiring that all street cleanings should be limited to the same
amount of time in every street. Lopez and Recupero both noted that residents
who live in areas where they have to move their cars for five hours for street
cleaning face greater hardship than those where street cleaning is limited to
•The council also held a public hearing on
zoning amendments that will allow for outdoor dining and improved signage and
facades in the city.
business owners and city officials spoke in support of the zoning amendments,
noting it would improve the look of the downtown and make for a livelier, safer
Current and former
municipal employees crowded into Monday night’s City Council meeting as the
council took up a vote to allow City Manager Thomas Ambrosino to negotiate
changes to the city’s group health insurance policies.
Most of those employees
did not leave happily or quietly as the council voted 8-2 to grant Ambrosino
that authority to negotiate the changes. Councillors Roy Avellaneda and Yamir
Rodriguez voted against the order, while Councillor Calvin T. Brown was not
present at the meeting.
The city’s current group
health plan is governed by a three-year agreement with the Public Employee
Committee (PEC) that expires on June 30 of this year.
“During the months of
November through March, I did attempt to negotiate with the PEC a new
multi-year agreement that would provide some cost savings to the group health
plan,” Ambrosino stated in a letter to the council. “Unfortunately, I have not
been able to reach agreement with the unions.”
General Laws, Ambrosino stated, in the absence of a new agreement, the old PEC
agreement will remain in effect indefinitely. Without City Council action,
Ambrosino said he cannot put any health care cost savings in place.
The action approved by the
City Council allows the city to take advantage of recent state legislation that
allows municipalities to implement cost saving plan design changes on its own
if no agreement can be reached with the PEC as long as the city agrees to share
a percentage of its first year cost savings with the unions.
With the newly granted
authority by the council, the City Manager said he will negotiate reasonable
design changes to the city’s group health policies, likely by imposing
deductibles in line with deductibles paid for health insurance by state
Ambrosino said even with
any changes, Chelsea will always have health insurance at least as good as that
provided to Massachusetts public employees.
However, a letter to the
City Council submitted by the Chelsea Public Employees Committee outlined over
two dozen reasons why members believe the adoption of the changes to the group
health insurance should not be adopted.
“The PEC strongly believes
that the adoption of Sections 21-23 is inappropriate and premature for multiple
reasons: the Self-Insurance Trust Fund is running about a $2 million surplus;
the PEC has agreed to apply any surplus to reduce future health insurance
costs; City Manager Thomas Ambrosino wants the sickest families among City
employees and retirees to pay $1 million more on an annual basis currently paid
by the City; the PEC and City Manager Thomas Ambrosino agree that no changes to
employee/retiree health insurance are needed until FY2022; Ambrosino has failed
to bargain in good faith for a successor PEC agreement; a grievance, including
an alleged unfair labor practice, are pending at this time; and Sections 21-23
will effectively disable bargaining on health insurance,” the letter summarizes.
City Council President
Damali Vidot noted that her husband works for the Department of Public Works
and that any changes in health insurance would directly affect her. However,
she said the changes are necessary to allow Ambrosino to negotiate with city
“We hire the Town Manager
to negotiate with the unions, and I’m not comfortable when he does not have all
the tools needed for the negotiations,” said Vidot.
Vidot she said she hopes
Ambrosino can go back to the unions with the new negotiating tools and find
common ground with the unions. In addition to wanting the best for city
employees, Vidot said the council has a fiscal responsibility for the entire
The council president also
said that there has been some miscommunication on the issue, especially when it
comes to retirees. Vidot said changes to group health insurance plans would
only affect a very few retirees who do not qualify for Medicare.
District 1 Councillor
Robert Bishop said he agreed that the City Manager should have all the tools
available as he negotiates with the city’s union.
As the vote took place, many in the audience shouted and voiced their
displeasure, with several people stating the council should be ashamed of their
vote. The meeting came to a brief halt as the crowd noisily filed out of the
council meeting, with several audience members individually appealing to
The MBTA’s Fiscal and Management
Control Board approved a $32.3 million contract that will result in the
relocation and construction of a new, fully-accessible Chelsea Commuter Rail
When complete, the new Chelsea Station will
be an intermodal facility that connects the Newburyport/Rockport Commuter Rail
Lines to the Silver Line 3-Chelsea service, which began operating in
“This is a key investment in our Commuter
Rail infrastructure that will allow for faster boarding and improved
accessibility for people of all abilities,” said MBTA General Manager Steve
Poftak. “Once complete, the new station will serve as a multimodal connection
that will give our customers the choice of traveling to North Station on the
Commuter Rail or South Station on SL3 from a single point.”
Featuring high-level platforms, canopies,
benches, and windscreens, the brand new station will also include new
sidewalks, landscaping, stairways, lighting, communications systems, and
structures for maintenance and bus operations personnel. The project also
includes the demolition of the existing Chelsea Station, upgrades to railroad
signal systems, and new traffic signal system installations at local
The project to construct and relocate
Chelsea Station aims to relieve traffic congestion and overcrowding on existing
area bus routes in Chelsea while also providing better transit options to
environmental justice populations through improved accessibility to employment
opportunities in downtown Boston and the Seaport district.
The project also includes the installation
of transit signal priority improvements for the SL3-Chelsea along with improved
operational efficiency and the incorporation of green operations elements at
the new Chelsea Station. Greenhouse gas emissions will also be reduced by
increasing the transit mode share and decreasing the idle time of commuter rail
and BRT vehicles.
The Chelsea Commuter Rail Station Project
was advertised in February 2019 with bids open in April 2019. After six bids
were received, the Chelsea Commuter Rail Station contract was awarded to A.A.
Will Corporation for $32,367,200.
could start as early as this summer, with project completion estimated for late
After viewing multiple surveillance videos
of patrons falling off stools, being overserved, urinating in public, getting
groped, and laid out on the sidewalk by the front door after closing time, the
Licensing Commission last week suspended the Chelsea Walk Pub’s liquor license
for 10 weeks.
The attorney for the Pub argued that the
Broadway bar has avoided violations in the past. But for Commission members,
the multiple incidents brought before it at its April 3 meeting were serious
enough to warrant the harsh judgment.
The Licensing Commission found the Chelsea
Walk Pub violated City ordinances by overserving patrons, selling liquor to an
intoxicated person, creating a noise or disorderly disturbance, and failing to
provide video surveillance. The majority of the violations resulted from
incidents responded to by the Police Department late last November.
In a letter to the Licensing Commission,
City Manager Thomas Ambrosino urged the commission not to take the reported
“A liquor license is a privilege and not a
right,” the City Manager stated.
The majority of the April 3 hearing revolved
around the showing of video surveillance footage from a number of the
Police highlighted one patron at the end of
the bar who had three drinks in front of him before stashing an unopened beer
in his jacket while the bartender wasn’t looking.
Meanwhile, police pointed out that at the
other end of the bar, a woman sat with two pitchers of beer in front of her
with no one else drinking from the mugs. In addition, the video showed the
woman encouraging another patron to put his hand down her shirt and grope her
Police Captain Keith Houghton said both
incidents violated the city alcohol serving ordinances.
Attorney Jeffrey Rosario Turco, representing
the Pub, put up a defense to the evidence, noting several times that the
patrons who were alleged to have been overserved seemed steady on their feet
and not intoxicated.
“With all due respect, that woman allowed a
man to go down her shirt with two pitchers of beer in front of her,” said City
Solicitor Cheryl Watson Fisher. “There are implications all over the place.”
Additional video and evidence showed a
patron leaving the bar and urinating outside on the sidewalk and a patron
weaving into the street before being spotted by a police officer.
Licensing Commission member Roseann
Bongiovanni was unmoved by Turco’s “not swaying” defense when it came to video
of one patron who left the bar then went back in after being allegedly
“He’s leaning up against the way, that’s why
he’s not swaying,” said Bongiovanni. “That’s some good evidence you have
Most damning was an incident that showed
several patrons and a bartender struggling for nearly 10 minutes to carry an
alleged intoxicated patron out the door after closing time. Once the man was
laid on the sidewalk, the bartender went back inside and locked the front door
of the bar.
“The bartender quickly closed the door and leaves
him out flat, leaving him pretty much to us,” said Houghton.
Turco did not dispute the evidence in that
incident, but said that the bartender in the video had been fired.
Chelsea Walk Pub owner Angela Palmieri said
the main problem has been that her staff has not stepped up.
“They don’t listen to what I tell them to
do,” she said.
While the Pub hasn’t come before the
Licensing Commission in recent memory for violation, Bongiovanni said it has
largely been because there weren’t City resources to police the establishment
before. She said the Chelsea Walk Pub has a long history of shenanigans.
“There have been so many instances at the
Chelsea Walk Pub,” she said. “These are just the ones you got caught for; it is
a disgrace to the city.”
In addition to the
10-week liquor license suspension, the Licensing Commission also voted to
reduce the bar’s operating hours from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. to noon to 10 p.m.
The School Committee passed a $95.4 million
School Budget last week, but it was passed with less than a majority of the
total number of nine committee seats.
The budget, which passed with a $1.9 million
funding gap that led to the elimination of 10 teaching positions, was approved
by a 4-2 vote.
School Committee members Rosemarie Carlisle
and Frank DePatto voted against the budget, while board member Jeanette Velez
and Chair Richard Maronski recused themselves from the vote, citing relatives
who work for the School Department. Last week, Julio Hernandez resigned from
the Committee and his seat has yet to be filled.
School Committee members and administrators
said it has been a long struggle to present a budget that attempts to meet the
needs of the Chelsea schools.
Supt. Mary Bourque and City Manager Thomas
Ambrosino were among those who noted that falling enrollments in the Chelsea
schools, as well as an antiquated state funding formula that underfunds urban
communities such as Chelsea, were the main culprits in the budget cuts.
“I’ve spent a lot of the time with the
superintendent trying to provide city support for the budget,” said Ambrosino.
“The City is really trying to do its fair share.”
That included the City providing an
additional $1.5 million to the schools to address budget shortfalls.
“Every new tax dollar I can raise in Fiscal
Year 2020 is going to the School Department,” said the city manager.
Regardless of how the School Committee ended
up voting on the budget, Ambrosino said the $95.5 million figure is the figure
he would present to the City Council as the school share of the overall City
“The budget (Bourque) presented is fair and
reasonable,” said Ambrosino.
Once the budget is approved, Ambrosino said
attention should be turned towards advocating for change to the Chapter 70
state education funding formula on Beacon Hill.
Bourque said she agreed that the time is now
to fix the state funding formula, noting that Chelsea schools will be
underfunded $17 million by the state.
The other factor leading to cuts in the budget
is falling enrollment, Bourque said. Between January of 2018 and January of
this year, she said Chelsea schools have lost 217 students. That is part of a
larger trend of falling enrollment over nearly a decade, according to the
Carlisle voted against the proposed budget,
but said the problem with the $95.4 million figure laid not with the City, but
with the state.
“The problem is with the state,” said
Carlisle. “They are not doing the right thing, and we have to send them a
School Committee member Ana Hernandez backed
the budget, but said it wasn’t a decision made lightly.
“The votes we make are very hard,” she said.
“This budget is what we dread every year. We have to make a decision for the
best of the entire school system.”
But for DePatto, further cuts to teaching
positions was a bridge too far to support the FY ‘20 budget. He said the
schools laid off seven teachers in 2017, 20 in 2018, 10 in 2019, and have
projected another 10 for 2020.
“Forty seven teachers and 25 paraprofessionals,”
he said. “When is it going to stop? I can’t vote for this budget (when) I don’t
support these cuts.”
School Committee member Yessenia
Alfaro-Alvarez voted in support of the budget, stating that it was in the best
interest of the City’s students to pass the budget, and also noting that
Chelsea is hamstrung by declining enrollments and inequities in the state
•In other business, the Committee voted to
forgo School Choice for the 2019-20 school year.
Committee also approved a field trip to New York City for high school and
middle school REACH students to participate in the Andover Bread Loaf Writing
Conference in May.