It is difficult to understate the impact upon the future of our country of the Republican tax bill proposals that have been passed by the House and Senate and await a reconciliation between the two versions for a final vote by both.
The most complex piece of tax legislation to be enacted in more than 30 years was devised and voted upon with little or no debate and in the middle of the night (after midnight, actually) in the Senate, with cross-outs and extended, hand-written notes in the margins such that no Senator really knows what he or she voted upon.
However, what is clear is that the tax bill will raise taxes on the middle class — some substantially so (especially here in Massachusetts) — and all but destroy the Affordable Care Act, while giving huge benefits to the ultra-rich in countless ways.
One of the most outrageous giveaways to the ultra-rich is that they can deduct the cost of maintenance of their private jets. Wouldn’t we all like to do that for our cars, the preferred mode of transportation for the rest of us?
In addition, this tax giveaway by the supposedly deficit-hawk, fiscally-conservative Republicans will be increasing the deficit by at least $1 trillion over the next 10 years, and most likely more than that.
All in all, this represents America’s move toward a real-life Hunger Games, in which most Americans barely will be able to scrape by with little or no prospect for economic mobility.
The American Century has been turned on its head — and we never will be the same again.
Members of GreenRoots and the community enjoyed kayaking on the Chelsea Creek for the first time in decades this past summer – another partnership between the City, private donors and the non-profit community.
State officials made their first presentation of the proposed Community Living Center at the Soldiers’ Home, a project that will replace the Quigley Hospital and require the removal of the iconic Soldiers’ Home water tower.
The $199 million project, some 66 percent of which could be federally funded, has the makings of improving the living conditions of those in the long-term care portion of the Home – taking them from open wards that are no longer permissible to private rooms with social areas arranged in “houses.” However, to date, and through a large part of the meeting Thursday night, Aug. 3, the overall project has been overshadowed by the potential loss of the water tower.
Some residents have voiced approval for the project, but want those building it to see if they can save the tower or come up with a similar iconic structure. Other residents have started a very popular online petition to ‘Save the Chelsea Water Tower,’ and it has caught on.
On Thursday night, many of the voices of the veterans, who have yet to be heard, resonated.
“I guarantee you a few years after it’s gone…we’ll barely remember it,” said Daniel Heagan. “You’ll say, ‘I know there was a water tower there, but I don’t even remember what color it is.’ Please accept this change. It’s for the best of the veterans. Please go along with it. This is a positive change for the men and women who represented you in combat. You won’t know it’s gone in a few years.”
Tom Miller, who has lived at the Home for 11 years and is a member of the Honor Guard, said the priority is now the veterans.
“The water tower provided some great memories,” he said. “Right now the priority is to build a new Quigley Hospital. That needs to be the focus. We can always have those memories. The Historical Society will have wonderful photographs. We can have a party when it comes down to celebrate what it meant. But it has to come down.”
However, many long-time Chelsea residents said they hoped there could be a compromise.
“When I come over the Tobin Bridge and have people in the car I point to the tower and tell people that is where I live,” said School Committeeman Rich Maronski. “You can see the tower from East Boston. That’s where I live. The residents really wish if you could preserve it or move it, that would be great. The veterans health care comes first, but we wonder if there is a chance to do something.”
Councillor Matt Frank said he loves the Soldiers’ Home and all that it represents. He said he believes its time to support the veterans to get the new home, but he also said he hopes there can be some accommodation for the tower.
“Sometimes emotions do matter and I think it’s for the best of the veterans community to be visible to everyone around like they are with the tower,” he said. “You see it every day. If you lose something that’s such a visual reminder, people would drive by without knowing what this place is…My biggest fear is the Solders’ Home could be lost in the shuffle. I think we need to take (resident) emotions into account.”
Some in the audience suggested replacing it with a “ginormous” flag that could be seen from downtown Boston, as the tower is.
Francisco Urena, secretary of Veterans Affairs, led the meeting and said that they are listening to the public and the residents. Both he and Supt. Cheryl Poppe said the status quo with open wards must be replaced, as they get marked deficient frequently and could lose crucial funding.
To weigh in, the state has established an e-mail to submit comments. It is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Consultants for the City unveiled two main concepts on Thursday night, July 13, for the Re-Imagining Broadway planning effort – concepts that consultants from Nelson Nygaard said were informed on several public listening sessions that have taken place since last fall.
The two plans focus on the area on Broadway from City Hall to Chelsea Square, and consultants have tried to formulate a plan the tried to untangle the circular and inefficient traffic motions that exist along Broadway.
Those include having to go all the way around the downtown and City Hall to simply get to Fifth Street, and also the unsignalized intersections along Broadway that causes drivers crossing the street to have to edge out and do a lot of guess work to get over.
Ralph DeNisco of Nelson Nygaard described such changes as allowing drivers to move from Hawthorne Street to Fifth Street through a signal without having to circle City Hall.
He talked about a large bump out plaza jutting out from the Dunkin’ Donuts and City Hall to allow for more public space and a shrinking of the large street there.
He talked about making City Hall Avenue a two-way street, doing road calming measures for shared streets in front of the Central Fire Station, in front of the Apollinaire Theatre on Winnisimmet Street, in front of the Police Station on Park Street, and also along Cherry Street. Shared streets have a variety of meanings, but in this case they would be marked in a way to slow traffic, and also promote pedestrian usage.
On one plan, the Broadway spine remains mostly the same configuration, but on the other plan the lanes are reduced in width to create a separated bike path along the street.
Another part of one of the plans reverses the direction of Sixth Street near City Hall from eastbound to westbound, which proved a bit unpopular amongst the crowd.
One major change would be to add signals along Broadway for cross traffic, including at Fourth Street, Third Street, Everett Avenue and Hawthorne/Fifth Street. The existing signal at City Hall in Bellingham Square would continue to exist.
DeNisco said the plan is to upgrade the function of the intersections, many of which are failing at the moment.
“We believe we can improve your traffic flow on Broadway significantly by making these improvements to the intersections,” he said.
The plan includes a major bus hub across from City Hall in front of the memorial. Another bus hub would exist next to the Dunkin’ Donuts on Washington Avenue. That would indicate a move of the bus hub from in front of the old Bunker Hill Community College on Hawthornee Street – something many have been asking for a long time.
One thing not addressed, but discussed in depth, was whether to return the Broadway spine to a two-way street. Currently it is one way going southbound, but many are considering it a good idea to look at two-way traffic – especially for the purpose of reducing the circular and inefficient traffic patterns. However, the street has been one-way for generations, and many don’t think the busy corridor could handle the change.
That piece of the puzzle has been left for discussion and contemplation before a final report is made.
Much of the meeting, however, was devoted to the parking inventory and study.
That was less heartening, with the consultants indicating that parking inventories are stressed, particularly in the morning and evening hours – often spilling into the neighborhoods.
“What we usually see is that parking gets easier the further you get away from the center of the business district,” he said. “We didn’t see that here. That isn’t happening in Chelsea. That’s very unique and different about this area. We don’t usually see that in our studies.”
Figuring out the parking puzzle, they said, might require more access to private parking facilities, and also more clearly labeling existing parking lots and their rules. Many lots, they said, were underutilized because people didn’t know about them.
Some relieve could also be found by utilizing space under the Mystic/Tobin Bridge only a few blocks from the center – perhaps for resident parking and thereby alleviating the residential parking on Broadway and its immediate streets.
The plan is currently available to residents for review, and DeNisco said one very unique thing is that this is plan that will happen. There is money behind the drawings, and the political will to make big changes.
“This is real,” he said. “It’s not a simple planning exercise. The City Manager and City Council have put money behind this effort and want it to change. The improvements we’re going to talk about are actually going to happen. That’s a different challenge for us, because these plans have to be able to be implemented.”
The City Council approved a $90,000 expenditure to buy the triangle piece of land on the Spencer Avenue Extension that has served for parking over the years, but actually was never owned by the City.
The small piece of land abuts Webster Avenue and is used by residents for parking and also for parents picking up kids from the Burke Elementary Complex. It was formerly owned by the French Club, but was purchased by The Neighborhood Developers (TND) when it began pursuing the affordable housing project on that site.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino requested that the Council purchase the land so that it could be used for parking and open space rather than be used for private purposes.
Councillor Matt Frank said the land has been used publicly, but was never owned by the City. He said it is a critical piece of land for neighbors in the area and for those picking up school children.
“If we don’t own the land, someone else will control the land and we can’t tell a private owner to let people park there,” he said. “Voting for this is getting control of that land. That land was never owned by the City. It will now lawfully be owned by the City and we can do with it what the neighborhood would like.”
The money was appropriated from the Urban Renewal Fund, and was approved 10-0.
When introduced a few weeks ago, some councillors grumbled at the steep price for such a small piece of land. However, those concerns were mitigated by Monday night.
Chelsea officials joined Governor Charlie Baker and Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash for the announcement of the plan for the modernization and new construction of new housing units at the corner of Central Avenue and Willow Street. Front row, from left, are City Councillors Matthew Frank, Enio Lopez, Leo Robinson, Damali Vidot, Dan Cortell, Roy Avellaneda, Judith Garcia, and Giovanni Recupero. Back row, from left, are Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes, State Undersecretary Chrystal Kornegay, Secretary Jay Ash, Gov. Charlie Baker, State Rep. Roselee Vincent, and City Manager Thomas Ambrosino.
While Jay Ash was city manager and leading the community to national All-America City award recognition, he initiated an idea for a new housing partnership to modernize the Innes Apartments on the corner of Central Avenue and Willow Street.
When he became the secretary of housing and economic development in the Gov. Charlie Baker administration, Ash brought his exciting concept to the Governor.
Yesterday, the two men, the 6-feet-6-inch Governor of the Commonwealth and the 6-feet-7-inch Cabinet Secretary stood side by side and joined Undersecretary of Housing and Community Development Chrystal Kornegay in announcing the new partnership to support modernization and new construction of housing units at the corner of Central Avenue and Willow Street, a block from the Jordan Boys and Girls Club.
The area, known warmly here as the “Central Avenue Projects” – where Chelsea kids like Elliot Katzman and Richard Band lived before going on to college and becoming successful in their careers – will in the next few years welcome a brand new development consisting of 320 new units of housing, 96 of which will serve a low-income demographic. Joseph Corcoran of Joseph J. Corcoran Company in Boston will lead the development team.
“This is actually a brainchild of Secretary Ash’s,” Korengay told the assemblage of city officials and other guests. “One of the first things he said was that he was trying to do this for years in Chelsea. So this is his baby.”
Baker, who enjoyed a warm reception from Chelsea officials, credited Ash for his vision of the project.
“One of the reasons it was important to us to find people who work in our administration who could bring feet-on-the-ground, local community knowledge to their jobs and responsibilities associated with state government is because they’re [local government and state government] not far apart,” said Baker.
Baker said he wanted people in his administration who could “build on some of the thoughts and ideas they had when they served in local government,” such as Ash who transformed the city and guided its resurgence during his universally hailed 17-year tenure as city manager.
According to Baker, the state’s goal with the new development in Chelsea is “to try to take advantage of both creative opportunities on the development side and an interest in our part in continuing to develop housing and work with Housing Authorities to help them renovate, upgrade, and replace some of their existing housing.”
Baker introduced Ash as “the guy who came up with this idea.”
“I may have had the idea but the idea wouldn’t be possible without the great leadership we have with the Governor, who takes great ideas and makes them happen,” said Ash.
The Clark University scholar-athlete said he was pleased to be working again on a local project with the Chelsea City Council and his successor, City Manager Thomas Ambrosino.
Ash said the new project is another positive step for the Chelsea Housing Authority. “We’re in a place now where the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is pleased to stand in front of everybody that wants to listen and say, ‘we have faith and confidence in what’s happening in the Chelsea Housing Authority.’’’ “We’re so pleased with the leadership that [CHA Executive Director] Al Ewing continues to provide and the board continues to offer.”
State Reps. Roselee Vincent and Dan Ryan thanked the team of Baker, Ash, and Kornegay for the state’s continued commitment to providing housing opportunities for gateway cities such as Chelsea.
Ambrosino told the assemblage that Chelsea “is really very excited” about the potential development.
“Talking with Al Ewing, we both feel that this could be a signature model for public/private partnerships between Housing Authorities and the private sector,” said Ambrosino. “This is going to bring 224 market-rate units which will not only substantially enhance this area but help to alleviate the housing crunch in this region.”
Corcoran said his company will be partnering with SunCal of Irvine, California in the development of the housing units. Corcoran said the current Innes Apartments will be torn down and an entirely new development will rise on the site.
“All the current residents have a right to come back to it,” said Corcoran, adding that there is a planning grant to study the plan’s logistics with the Chelsea Housing Authority.
“I expect in a month we’ll have a rough timetable of what we have to do to think it through and communicate with the residents,” said Corcoran. “We will communicate a lot with the residents and then out to the greater community. A good goal would be to start construction in 18 months.”
John R. Magazzu, a lifelong resident of Chelsea, passed away Monday morning, July 18 at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He was 80 years old.
Born in Chelsea, the son of the late Domenick and Loretta (DeFloria) Magazzu, throughout his working career John owned several dry cleaning stores within the local Chelsea and Everett area. He retired in the early 1990’s following his son’s illness. John enjoyed his retirement by socializing and visiting with friends for coffee and good company. He was a car enthusiast, helping his friends and relatives with registry paperwork, purchasing vehicles and car maintenance and detailing. He will be sadly missed by all who loved him.
John was the husband of the late Lorraine M. (Savignano) Magazzu, father of the late John D. Magazzu and dear friend of Lisa Santarpio and her daughter, Alycia Santarpio, both of Chelsea. He is also lovingly survived by many cousins and friends.
Funeral services will be conducted in the Carafa Family Funeral Home 389 Washington Ave. Chelsea on Friday, July 22 at 11 a.m. Visiting hours will precede the service from 9 to 11 a.m. Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend. Entombment will follow the service in the Sheffield Mausoleum Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett.
In lieu of flowers, donations in John’s memory may be made to: American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22478
Oklahoma City, OK 73123 or on-line at: www.cancer.org
Former Blinstrub’s waitress and coach of St. Rose Girls Basketball Team in the 50’s
Marie E. (Fay) O’Regan passed away Thursday afternoon, July 14, while receiving supportive care at the Lighthouse Nursing Care Center in Revere after a recent decline in health resulting from a mild stroke she suffered several weeks earlier. She was 91 years old.
Born in Cambridge, the daughter of the late John A. and Mildred L. (Hayes) Fay, she was raised in Chelsea and attended St. Rose parochial and high schools. She was married to Harold J. O’Regan and together they made their home in Everett where Marie has resided for the past 55 years.
Marie worked as a waitress for many years at Blinstrub’s serving some of Boston’s famous and infamous citizens. In the mid 1950’s Marie returned to her alma mater coaching the St Rose Girls Basketball team. She was widowed in 1973 with the passing of her beloved husband. Marie retired and remained at home caring for her mother and raising her young son. A strong and nurturing soul, she is remembered as always being there, caring for family and friends alike.
In addition to her parents and husband, Marie was also preceded in death by three brothers: the late John E. Fay, William F. Fay and Robert C. Fay. She is survived by her devoted son and daughter in law, John F. Browning and his wife, Michelle of Everett. She was the cherished grandmother of Gianna Browning; dear sister of Nancy J. Glennon of Amherst NH, Albert J. Fay of Peabody, Donna J. Girard of Wareham and is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews.
Funeral arrangements were by the Frank A. Welsh & Sons Funeral Home, Chelsea. Interment was at Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett.
John Francis Morton
Retired Chelsea City Yard Foreman, third longest active member of
Chelsea City Square Association
John Francis Morton passed away Tuesday, July 12 at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston after a short decline in health and advanced age. He was 91 years old.
Born and raised in Chelsea, he was one of five children born to the late John W. Morton and Anastasia E. (Dunn) Morton. John began his schooling at the Shurtleff School in Chelsea and later graduated from Chelsea High School. He enlisted in the US Navy during World War II, was honorably discharged in 1946 and returned to Chelsea. He was employed for many years with the City of Chelsea D.P.W. where he held the position of City Yard Foreman. He retired many years ago. He was a lifelong parishioner and communicant at St. Rose Church in Chelsea where he volunteered for many years as a weekly church usher. John was a member of the Cary Square Assoc. in Chelsea where he was the third longest active member and the oldest non-charter member of the club. John also frequently worked as club bartender. In addition to his beloved parents, John was also preceded in death by his siblings; Joseph W., Edward E. and Lawrence G. Morton and Gladys M. Cappiello. He is survived by several nieces and nephews and by many more grand and great-grand nieces and nephews.
In keeping with John’s wishes and desires, funeral services were strictly private. Friends are encouraged to remember John in their own private ways. Arrangements were entrusted to the Frank A. Welsh & Sons Funeral Home, Chelsea.
When Americans celebrated the Fourth of July at the turn of the 20th century, they did so in such rowdy fashion that vandalism and destruction of both public and private property were commonplace.
This rampant hooliganism was suppressed only when public officials and the public-at-large decided that the holiday should be observed in a “safe and sane” fashion.
Although our Fourth of July celebrations today are much more restrained than in those days, there still are many who go a bit overboard in their holiday observances, and that will be especially true this long holiday weekend.
America is in the midst of an opioid epidemic that is killing people left and right, but overindulging in alcohol by far still is our number one public health problem. Drunk driving, drunk boating, drunk swimming, and using fireworks (which are illegal in the first place) while under the influence will result in thousands of deaths and injuries across our nation this weekend — all because too many among us will drink way too much.
So we urge our readers to make sure that they and their loved ones do not become one of those sad statistics. It is up to each of us to be responsible not only for ourselves, but also for those we care about. If someone among us is drinking too much, take their keys and make sure they are safe — none of us wants to think the day after, “If only I’d stopped him (or her) from getting behind the wheel…”
We wish all of our readers a happy, safe, and sane Fourth of July.
The Chelsea Police Department is recommending the highest honors for Officer Dave Delaney after he selflessly dashed into a burning building on Cottage Street last Friday and helped to get two boys – both unaware of the fire – to safety.
“I kept pounding on the door and it was a very heavy door, so I didn’t think I could break it down,” Delaney told the Record. “After about 30 seconds of pounding, they finally opened up. They were in their underwear and had been playing video games in a back room. I felt bad for them because they were in their underwear and the news was outside, so I quickly grabbed these giant furry blankets and wrapped them up. They said, ‘Where are we going?’ I told them there’s a huge fire and we had to get out of there quickly. They had no idea.”
Delaney, 27, has been on the force about four years, and his father, a lieutenant, is also on the force. He also has two cousins on the Fire Department as well.
Around 5:30 p.m. on Friday, he was working a utility detail when a pedestrian came up and alerted him to a fire. Another person ran up and told him where the fire was at, and Delaney ran to the scene.
Once on the scene, he encountered a civilian who was in the process of busting down the front door to get inside, as there were residents in there.
On the back porch, a huge blaze had ignited and was being fanned by the wind – moving fast into the third and second floor apartments.
The civilian alerted the people on the third floor and helped them to get out, but no one was opening the second floor apartment and Delaney had a feeling someone was in there.
The feeling was correct. The two young boys, 8 and 13, had not immediately heard him knocking. However, they did finally answer the door and it likely saved their lives.
His persistence came from a lesson taught by St. Bevere during a major fire on Arlington Street a few years ago that consumed several homes. In that fire, Bevere said to go to all the houses and knock on the door until someone answers because someone could be in there and not immediately hear the banging.
That, he said, was in the back of his mind as he continued pounding on the door Friday and the fire continued to come closer.
In all, Delaney said he doesn’t feel he did anything out of the ordinary.
“I feel like anyone in that situation would do the same thing,” he said. “The civilian with me did the same thing. I really don’t feel it’s heroic or anything.”
As soon as Delaney got out of the house, Chelsea Fire arrived and the building was closed off for evacuations. Fire crews began fighting the fire at that point. The boys’ father arrived on scene about 20 minutes after they had been evacuated.
Sgt. Thomas McLain indicated he would submit Delaney for the Lifesaving Medal due to his actions.
“I would like to recommend Officer David Delaney for the lifesaving medal based off his actions and the Department criteria for the medal highlighted above,” he wrote. “Officer Delaney’s action not only reflects well on himself but on the Department as a whole. It also highlights the dedication to saving lives at the cost of their own safety the members of the CPD display on a daily basis whether it be working a patrol assignment, investigating a crime or working a private detail as in this case.”
Police Officer Dave Delaney is being recommended for the Department Lifesaving Award for helping to get two boys out of a burning building on Cottage Street last Friday.
A few thousand individuals from around the state – with a strong contingent from Chelsea – gathered on Beacon Hill at the State house this past Friday, April 15, to take part in in a protest to fight for a $15 minimum wage across the state.
The protesters then marched to McCormick & Schmick’s and McDonalds, two of the places they consider to be the worst “purveyors of poverty wages and poor working conditions” according to their press release.
Gladys Vega and member and staff of the Chelsea Collaborative brought a bus of activists to the rally, which started at the State House and marched to Downtown Crossing. Several state and local officials came together, as well as thousands of workers calling for the raise in minimum wage.
“What do we want?” yelled Vega into a bullhorn.
“$15,” yelled the crowd of thousands.
“When do we want it?” she continued.
“Now,” they yelled.
The minimum wage in Massachusetts is currently $10, having gone up on Jan. 1. It is on track by state law to continue raising, going to $11 on Jan. 1, 2017.
However, the State of California just recently passed a $15 minimum wage law, and New York state is expected to follow very soon. That has caused pressure to mount in Massachusetts for an accelerated increase to follow California and New York among the ‘Fight for $15’ movement that has been very active in the state for several years.
Joining workers from McDonald’s were workers from McCormick and Schmicks, including one Chelsea woman who said she was harassed at work. As a minimum wage worker, she said she was fired from the job when she complained about the harassment.
In addition, several airport workers testified in front of the State House, saying they were contractors from a private company that contracted with airlines.
They said they were the front lines for passengers arriving and departing from the airport and deserved a higher wage.
Saritin Rizzuto, a Chelsea business leader and candidate for the state representative in Lynn and Saugus, said she supported the effort.
“I’m happy to be here and support in any way I can,” she said. “I’m not a typical politician. I don’t consider myself a politician. I think I am a person of the people and for the people, which explains why I am here supporting this cause and supporting the people for their fare wage. I worked many minimum wage jobs and my children actually work minimum wage jobs now. They are 23 and 25. So I am here for them and all these people.”
State Sen. Dan Wolf, who owns Cape Air, said his company has included $15 as its minimum wage and he called on all airport related businesses to do the same.
“We are the richest country in the history of the world,” he said. “People who are able to work full time should be able to support a family with dignity. In my other life, I am the CEO of an airline. So when I stand down there and hear the liars up there, thats me, that the greedy CEO’s of the airlines, and thats me, I think I have some serious stuff to get done. My airline has pledged to get to $15 an hour.”
Lynn City Councillor Brian LaPierre met up with the protesters at the state house and both marched and chanted with them as they fought for $15 an hour.
“We have a full bus from Lynn, there’s about 50, but they are coming from across the state,” he said. “There are over 20 busses, probably a couple thousand folks in total. The goal of this event and rally is for 3,000 individuals to be here fighting for $15 an hour.”
In Lynn, he said it’s basically the fast food industry, and that’s an issue across the state.
“It is like your Dunkin Donuts, your Burger Kings, McDonald’s, Wendy’s variety,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of the big box in effect because we don’t have big chains like Home Depot and Target and such, but the fast food area is really where Lynn could use a boost in its wages.”