Bits and Pieces of the Everett Puzzle
By Josh Resnek
The coming revitalization of Everett Square, now in its formative stages with plans being drawn up and a few hearings already held, is about vision and boldness.
The idea is to remake Everett Square, to build it up and out, and have become a pedestrian friendly, residential square bustling with commercial and residential activity in the heart of the city.
That’s all good.
What needs to happen, however, is that this rehab of the square and the coming spate of eminent domain takings to clear it out before it can be rebuilt, is all about following the laws, staying away from favors done, and making certain all the laws and ethics concerning eminent domain takings are considered strongly.
We have our eyes on several properties that are already in the eminent domain territory and now being gobbled up or held to assure the owners of a fat payday when the eminent domain taking by the city takes place because the owners either know the mayor, are related to him or are his family friend, as is the case with one of the major buildings in the square that has sat vacant for years when it is finally taken by eminent domain when it happens.
Right now, two major pieces of property fit this description.
There will be others as the money making party for this new redevelopment begins and millions upon millions are poured into old properties being bought to be torn down and newer properties are built to house more stores and people.
There will be many rich contracts for millions of dollars handed out by the mayor’s office, or at least directed to be handed out by the mayor’s office.
Bottom line, we are sure the mayor would be the first among us to say publicly that everyone must be very careful to follow the law, to not play favorites with other local developers of city officials jumping on the bandwagon to get rich.
Mind you, there is nothing wrong with getting rich.
Getting rich off the back of the city treasury when you work for the city or have a special relationship with the mayor is illegal, unfair, unethical and it is wrong.
In some cases where city official officials are involved in growing their portfolios locally in the square, the mayor will need by necessity to recuse himself, and so too will many city councilors, to maintain the eminent domain and contract awarding process as an honest exercise.
Everything in this city at the official level appears to be about quid pro quo.
You do for me and I’ll return the favor doing for you.
This can’t be the way Everett Square is developed – and the mayor knows this.
The US Attorney in Boston knows this. Our city solicitors know this.
Mixed use on Broadway
Last week, developer Greg Antonelli finally got the right to develop an 18 unit residential apartment house with a café or bakery or either or on the first floor.
Thus ended two years of haggling about parking and mixed use property on Broadway.
The project will be a great success as Antonelli knows what he is doing and whatever he touches is done right.
I was driving by Antonelli’s property when I noticed on the other side of Broadway, surveyors marking off the doctors’ property inside the property lines of the sprawling parking lot.
So I asked a few questions.
I listened politely to a few answers.
If what I was told is correct, and the information from several sources frankly seemed to be correct, the Zoning Board of Appeals will shortly be holding a hearing with a former high ranking Encore official, who was very popular in local political circles, about a 40-80 unit property he wants to build on the site.
Let’s see what happens.
One man’s Applause is Another man’s Headache
Last week at the city council there was a lovely but ironic moment inside the council chamber.
Former mayor, and now assistant City Clerk David Ragucci was deeply praised and congratulated for aiding a group many years ago when he was mayor, who reach out and who provide support to those families and individuals who have suffered the loss of a loved one through homicide.
Among a number of recipients who were also honored, Ragucci received a plaque and praise, and when all was said an done, he got a standing ovation, and quite a noticeable mighty one at that.
Ragucci, looking fit and strong, rose from his chair where he was seated next to the mayor.
He waved his hand at the crowd and he smiled.
The irony is that he received a bigger ovation than the mayor, who had to suffer through the experience of someone other than himself being praised and applauded in front of such a large crowd packing the hall.
The Shrinking Public Man
The mayor appears to be shedding himself of some weight in recent weeks. His recent haircut accents the weight loss.
The mayor quite often makes public remarks about his weight when speaking as he did some months back when the school department was debating whether or not school food vendors should be changed to achieve a more healthy diet for our school kids.
“I can be up 100 or down a 100,” he said more or less at the time while speaking in the public forum.
Right now he is not heading upward in the weight category.
He is heading in the other direction.
For those of us who are vain, and the mayor is vain, as I am vain, losing weight can often produce the following comments: “Oh, you look so skinny. Are you OK?” Or “Are you sick?” Or “You look better with more weight than less weight.”
If you are a public man like the mayor, his weight is the object of discussion by many residents.
What he eats, how he diets, or what medical inducements he accepts to take off the weight becomes part of the public interest…when in reality…it is no one’s business but his own.
We have noticed that when the pressure is on him, he tends to gain weight.
When the pressure recedes, he takes some off.
He is somewhere between those two places right now.
My son Stayed at Encore and Other Stories
My oldest son likes five star hotels. Friday night, he stayed at Encore with his longtime girlfriend. It was her birthday. He had a room on the 23rd floor (backside).
“The nicest room I’ve ever stayed in at a hotel anywhere in the world,” he said to me the next morning when I asked him for a rundown.
He didn’t gamble. They didn’t do the spa. They didn’t eat at one of the many fine restaurants.
They just checked out the room (which a friend treated them to) and its comfort level – and they enjoyed.
“It was absolutely quiet. The décor is unbelievable. The bed was super. Everything about it was first class,” he told me.
On Monday, I spoke with five guys who ate at the Frank Sinatra Restaurant.
The tab came to $2,200!
Obviously, I won’t soon be eating there.
When I told my son about this, he reflected for a moment and said: “I felt like a candy bar late Friday night so I went downstairs and searched one out.
“It was $16.” Can you imagine, a $16 candy bar in Everett?