When Residents Stand Up City Hall Must Listen

The above guest editorial reveals the strength of citizen participation in the goings on at city hall and throughout the neighborhoods.

The rising up of concerned citizens, concerned they are not being listened to or included in the decisions made by the city government has changed the political game played here for years and years.

The new awareness and the willingness to speak out in public despite the fear and likelihood of retaliation is a game changer in how business is done here.

For years and years, the mayor and his paid employees have given little about what the public thinks.

Like the true sneaks they are, they pretend to follow all the rules and laws in carrying out the mayor’s policies and they never speak out about racism, sexism, municipal corruption or what former Councilor Fred Capone calls, “fraud and theft.”

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The council rising up

We are witnessing right now the rising up of the City Council which finds itself suddenly empowered to act justly in confronting a great issue which the mayor has not been willing to address.

The overcrowded public school crisis, and the mayor’s desire to put affordable housing before providing for the city’s public school children has been check mated by a City Council apparently in favor to a person to use Pope John as a new public school facility.

It isn’t so much affordable housing that is the rub.

It is the mayor dragging his feet and putting a development proposal not supported by the neighborhood in front of efforts that have gathered widespread public support to put an end to the overcrowding in the city’s public schools.

The Council rising up in this instance and supporting the use of the former Pope John High School as a public school, reveals the extent to which the City Council has taken up the mantle of leadership during a crisis that the mayor has refused to acknowledge in any meaningful way.

The rising up of the City Council represents a new chapter in the evolving political history of the city.

Councilor Stephanie Smith’s passion and her stridency demanding change is notable.

Councilor Mike Marchese’s demands for action resonate.

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A powerful ZBA moment

Three proposed projects for multiple units in different neighborhoods were rejected by the Zoning Board of Appeals last week.

One of the projects especially attracted attention as it is a property on Linden Street owned by a close friend and supporter of the mayor.

It is a former rooming house recently bought and the developer had hoped to build a 12 unit structure in its place.

We don’t believe parking is an issue, which makes the ZBA decision to deny the proposed development in a crowded neighborhood of the city all the more extraordinary.

What is surprising, and what is amazing, when we boil down the politics of the ZBA, is that the ZBA appears to have stood up for itself and made a decision that was not dominated by the mayor’s belief that every property in the city can be developed as more units in neighborhoods that are already congested and without adequate parking for all its residents.

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The Patriots, again

The Patriots lost convincingly.

What to make of it?

First, we would remind Pats fans and our readers that the NFL season is a long run. Nothing is settled for sure after three games. What is certain is this – the Pats don’t presently have their act together.

Too many mistakes. Too many interceptions and turnovers and penalties.

And now Mc Jones is a question mark after hopping off the field like a rabbit with a sprained ankle.

If you listen to talk radio, there was a great discussion about what was wrong with this last Pat’s game.

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A tectonic shift

Three or four years ago, the debate about using the former Pope John High School as a school facility to reduce overcrowding would have been what the lawyer’s call, a moot point.

In other words, the mayor’s absolute, incontestable control of the city’s power structure and of its elites made opposition al- most an impossibility when push came to shove.

The recent uprising about the future of the former Pope John High School indicates the extent to which the mayor finds himself a voice alone in his desire to perpetuate the notion that affordable housing is more important than reducing the over- crowded and struggling public school system.

Sides have been drawn. Positions have solidified.

The city council is now said to be entirely in favor of using the Pope John facility as a public school to mitigate overcrowding.

At least five members of the School Committee have done the same.

That four members of the School Committee fail to see the importance of reducing schools overcrowding is incomprehensible. That the mayor is the leader of that group on the School Committee reveals how greatly the times have changed but the mayor is not changing with them.

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