The Position Pages
check this space frequently for additions
Services Provided by City Councilor
My approach to constituent service to Lynn citizens is simple: Allow me to represent each and every one of
them who cannot represent him or her self. My presence sitting in the council chambers, committee meetings,
and neighborhood events is as a proxy for the residents. In order to carry out that end I propose the
--I will appoint a liaison for each of the Precincts to advise me on a regular basis just what the 'pulse' is of
their neighborhood. Each Precinct Liaison will be an additional 'eye and ear' for me in my communication
within the city. I will consult with this liaison team prior to any major vote in the city council chambers.
--I will conduct public access meetings routinely in each Precinct wherein I would be available personally for
access by all citizens.
--As a strong supporter of the stipend designated to each City Councilor, I feel it is valuable to the grassroots
quality of the neighborhoods. I will distribute those funds in a fair and equitable manner . . . with a total
accounting record available for viewing. This goes, as well, for the July 4 'block party' funds.
--Part of the stipend would go to provide a regular communiqué from me to the citizens of Lynn. This
communication tool would go a long way to keep the residents informed of vital city issues.
--I will make myself available virtually "24/7" through my personal phone number. And NO ONE has a greater
record of returning calls and issuing followup actions . . . COUNT ON THAT!
--While it is important to attend lots of meetings and functions, it is merely the basic minimum expected of a
councilor . . . after all, he or she works for the citizens! My vision of Councilor transcends that to include
being "in the trenches," actually doing hands-on, proactive work alongside the citizens. I challenge anyone to
be more involved in meaningful and successful endeavors than this candidate. I go to meetings . . . and I am
out in the real world, too.
Vision for Lynn
From the moment I moved to the Sagamore Hill neighborhood, I was impressed with the physical beauty of
Lynn, from the shore to the Highlands, High Rock Park and Tower, to the Woods. I am the guy you
frequently see jaunting all over the city on my bicycle although I own road vehicles. This is the way I view the
city ... slow, up-close, intimate. It is the way I see the precious gems and diamonds-in-the-rough that comprise
this city neighborhood. It is the way I am inspired to do what I can to help string the pearls of Lynn together.
Lynn is a city in flux as we bridge the cultural mixes between the last century and the present one. Lynn's
turn-of-the-(last) century, ladies' shoe capitol of the world and shopping destination heritage is giving way to a
truly diverse international living and shopping experience. The faces and languages and lifestyles are forever
evolving. we must work together . . . as a true community . . . to embrace the cultural mosaic that is our city.
In the New England tradition, we must welcome newcomers, learn from them, teach them about us, sincerely
wish to reach out to each other, and share in the truly international spirit that is known as . . . community. My
vision of Lynn is to evolve together as a city and neighborhood to reaffirm a genuine community pride. Let's
work together, play together, experience highs and lows together, groom the streets and yards together, shovel
snow together, look out for our youth, elderly and infirm together ...
Now, more than ever, we all need each other. As a Councilor, I will work tirelessly to promote that vision. An
example set by elected officials breaking down the 'us and them' barrier between citizens and government goes
a long way to achieve harmony.
Union Street Corridor
We are living in an exciting time in Lynn's history. Can you sense it? The metamorphosis in the downtown area
is like looking at a fresh bite from an apple . . . the sepia tones eke in, entering one's consciousness so gradually
that you do not notice the change. Suddenly, it seems, the color has appeared.
From the newly-vibrant nucleus of Central Square radiates the Union Street shopping corridor. This
once-and-future commercial and culinary center is poised on the brink of reinventing itself.
A consistent, unified, concerted effort by business and property owners to clean and maintain their own and
adjacent public spaces is essential. A model which comes to mind is the former "Keep Melrose Clean & Green"
program. Attractive floral and graphic elements in addition to washing, painting, and grooming business
frontages goes a long way to increasing shopper foot traffic. Coordinated themes utilizing banners and slogans
and stressing customer service and product mix work wonders to boost interest. The artery is a symbiotic
partner with the exploding arts-in-residence movement down the street.
Now is the time for city and business leaders to commit to a cohesive and focused effort to reestablish Union
Street as the spoke linking the hub of Central Square with the residential neighborhoods. Half-hearted and failed
attempts in years past have sapped some of the creative energies of those responsible for the lifeblood of this
corridor. It is time to get the pragmatic and artistic juices flowing again. It is time for making Union Street, a
geo-cultural center and 'backbone' of Lynn a top priority. The current street work and tree planting of the utilities
project are a perfect opportunity to coordinate a post-construction plan. The citizens of Lynn deserve nothing
Youth Issues in Lynn
The challenges of being young in Lynn are those typical of a moderate-sized city which has faced the loss of
major labor opportunities, the waning of a bustling civic/commercial city central, and the immigration of scores
of cultures and dialects during the past decades. Culture shock is not the least of the factors. As familiar faces
and lifestyles give way to more and more diversity, youth and their parents feel a fragmentation of their
comfortable norms. Long-term and newer residents alike feel less secure and the concept of 'community' gives
way to isolation. Cliques, cults, and gangs form as a way to feel connected and familial.
As the public and private business and economic standards change, so do the demands and opportunities of
seeking after-school and summer activities. Jobs and after-school programs have long been vital for youth to be
constructive and responsible. In bleak economic times, some of this stability is the first to go. Then starts the
slide down the slippery slope of idle time, questionable role models, and lack of resources for enhancement of
life and self-worth.
This is the time for all city, school, commercial, and social agencies and private groups and individuals to unite
behind our youth . . . our most precious resource. During the lean times, all sectors must earmark, in some
creative manner, resources for youth. Employment and mentoring opportunities, space and activities to provide
positive outlets for physical and mental energies, imaginative programs to promote diversity and to break down
the cultural barriers are all needed. This does not mean spending more of the money that is not available anyway
. . . that's where the creative part comes in! Numerous, small donations do a lot. Spaces and programs already
exist. We must push volunteerism as a social norm and utilize older youth to teach and oversee younger ones,
and so on . . .
Good solid organizations such as Girls, Inc., YMCA, Boys' and Girls' Clubs, RawArts, LynnArts, Boy Scouts,
Girl Scouts and various church- and fraternal group-sponsored clubs need to be maintained and expanded. The
overall themes of inclusion, diversity, strong ideals, civic contribution, anti-bullying and social values are crucial
to the effort of preparing our youth to inherit our world. A commitment by city leaders to never compromise
this obligation is our responsibility to the Lynn of now and tomorrow. It DOES take a village to raise a child.
Assorted Briefs . . .
Some radically common-sense approaches to responsible and creative revenues,
spending, and services
During the boom years of the 1990's,
when revenues were up and spending
could spiral, where was the voice of
reason in Lynn city government
advocating creating various "rainy day
funds" to tide the city over during the
upcoming and inevitable downturn and
stabilization? Only the most naive of
minds could think that the bubble would
continue to grow ad infinitum without
bursting or deflating.
A voice of reason at this city's municipal
level would have taken the realistic and
pragmatic approach which every citizen
and business owner does as a matter of
course . . . live within one's means. What
a concept! When times are good, hold
back x% at all hiring and spending levels.
Then it will be less severe when a
downward ripple occurs. The myth that if
you have it, you should spend it, must be
shattered! If not, the 'financial bulimia'
approach to city spending will continue,
out of synch. Every time a financial trend
bends one way or another (and curves
always do), there will be the binge and
purge of school expansions and closings,
personnel hiring and firing, and uneven
services, at best.
A basic requirement for any orderly and
balanced process is interdepartmental
consistency and cooperation. Loose
cannons and miscommunications lead to
prodigal ends. Examples abound of
wasted opportunities to save resources in
many city departments. It is time to
rethink some procedures that exist merely
"because we've always done it that way!"
It is a "no-brainer" that city policy should mandate the
department-by-department, every x-year periodic
review of all fees for city services. Several years ago,
when the city needed to find more sources for
money, department heads found fee structures had
gone unchanged for decades. A periodic,
keeping-up-with-inflation adjustment would prevent
the sudden, seemingly-exorbitant fee hikes that are
shifting the financial balance of many Lynn citizens.
(Again, with the binge and purge effect!) Lynn
citizens deserve true "management," not city officials
who react from crisis to crisis.
Funds to help the able-bodied homeless with
resources and jobs are down. --Countless storefronts
and windows downtown are in need of washing and
painting. --Why not coordinate the right balance of
public and private sector programs to create one
where everyone benefits? . . . . job-seekers perform
services tidying up merchants' facades which
improves business which stimulates the economy to . .
. that's right . . . create new jobs! This does not have
to be an FDR era program or a 'make work' project to
shovel money at. Similar programs exist elsewhere.
They can be replicated. Why reinvent the wheel? This
is just one example of combining needs and solutions
for the betterment of all. A pervasive atmosphere
encouraging this creative and pragmatic approach is
long overdue in City Hall. Some voice has to set the
While I am "thinking outside the box," let's muse
about . . . the BIG box. Currently, the City of
Somerville is creating a new neighborhood for
shopping including so-called "big box" retailers and
an array of smaller, specialty stores in the upcoming
Assembly Square renovation. The much-touted
homewares chain IKEA is the prime 'anchor' store
vying for space. Opponents and proponents in
Somerville have engaged in contentious debate for
years, and the process stalled, but is now coming to
Enter Lynn, with the need and desire for the type of
drawing power and revenues an IKEA-type store
would bring. (There's even a large and
conspicuously-empty building just off the Lynnway
from when that snack food firm quietly left town one
night.) And I envision a region of major-brand outlet
stores or the like in the Central Square, Munroe,
Union, and Market Street area interspersed with cafes
and art galleries and specialty shops. Our city would
become the true center of a teeming NoBo (NOrth of
BOston) region instead of a place to drive through on
the way to Salem and Marblehead.
IKEA's corporate types have a strict formula for
selecting sites for their stores: near major highways,
and so forth. Lynn Office of Economic and
Community Development informed me of a study a
few years ago concluding that Lynn lacked a few
criteria for an outlet store district. What is there to lose
by looking at it all again with the new elements of the
Big Dig, the impending Blue Line extension, and the
improved transportation center on Union Street?
Throw into the mix any tax breaks (with enforced
stipulations!) and deals the EDIC can use to help
incubate new enterprises and a well-presented pitch to
the players just might fly.
It's worth a try. Picture the once and future Lynn:
shoppers from all over strolling throughout the
downtown area arriving by mass transit and parking
cars at the ample parking facilities. Bistros,
restaurants, art galleries, theaters, shops and stores,
will draw and entice. The mainstream public will
rediscover the magnificent Lynn shore and beaches.
Hotels and inns will be built. Lynn will once again be a
There is already a good start. Droves of inner-Boston
customers already take trains and cars here to
patronize legendary retailers such as Zimman's fabrics.
They tell me, "Yeh, I know Zimman's . . . it's across
from that ugly shopping center!" (I'm just the
messenger here!) . . . We can do better, coordinate
and update our commerce to grow our retail and
tourist trade. It will take imagination and vision and
tenacity but it can be done. The now clichéd idea from
that movie does, indeed fit: let us build it . . . they will
The City of Lynn is in dire need of an overseer of
aesthetics in some form. There is no excuse for
properties-in-transition and awaiting development to
be an eyesore. The excitement surrounding adjacent
renovations is tempered which one glances not far
away to see weed-infested, litter-strewn, lots
surrounded by ugly chain link fences in disrepair.
Consistent and enforced standards must be the
norm for these properties. Property owners, banks,
and developers must be held responsible for the
curb appeal of their parcels. The rules and
regulations are on the books . . . or they should be
written. Fines must be levied and collected in order
to put teeth in the regulations. The city does not
have to be "hard-nosed" about it if every case is
treated equally. The city is in renaissance . . . there
will be constant building and re-building for the
foreseeable future. The citizens of Lynn are prime
for having colorful signage on maintained lots
announcing such things as: "COMING SOON:
SOMETHING WONDERFUL!" followed by a list
of the sponsoring investors and government
agencies. It would be informative, stimulating for the
citizens, and would show careful and planned
In a similar vein, notorious owners of chronically
grotesque, unkempt businesses or properties
deemed health and public nuisances should be dealt
with swiftly and consistently. The city multi-task
forces must make this priority one. No time should
be wasted in entering the property, cleaning it up,
and having the expenses of those actions levied
against the landlords. If they do not pay the taxes
and liens, the property should be seized permanently
and sold quickly. The time has come. And surely,
this goes for all back taxes, as well. There is no
excuse for the incredible amount of delinquent taxes
in Lynn. Lynn, can, in general, take cues from the
team overseeing Chelsea during the period that city
was in receivership: A large portion of getting the
city solvent again lay in common-sense measures . .
. actually collecting the fines and fees and taxes!
Arts After Hours co-founder and Central Square
activist Corey Jackson says Lynn needs a master plan
. . . period. --- I concur.
We must finally settle issue of the contaminated GE
land. This could be a perfect site for commercial,
auto repair, shopping, despite the ban on serving
"food" on the site. I envision "Shoe City Studios"
going there as "Hollywood East." A commissary
could be across the street.
It is time to face the reality that sooner, not later, a Commonwealth-wide or even nationwide ban on smoking in public
will be the law of the land. What must occur, in order to maintain civil harmony, is a consistent and all-inclusive
policy . . . . planned now, not later.
Smokers have rights. So do non-smokers. The legislation will declare public air and space as, essentially, neutral
territory which may not be contaminated with secondhand smoke. The key lies in not just banning the smoke but by
accommodating the smokers, as well. Leading-edge firms and establishments are taking the initiative to calmly and
coolly introduce albeit small but segregated and comfortable outdoor areas for smokers. New constructions in the
future will undoubtedly include such plans from the outset. Society will evolve and adapt; we will go with the flow.
This creative approach is welcomed by both sides as an alternative to doing the 'smokers' loiter' outside on the
sidewalk, dropping butts on the ground, and blowing smoke in the public's face!
As the no-public-smoking trend is continuing through health codes, fire regulations, and legislation through the USA,
the hyperbole and conjecture have been replaced by precedents and track records: A few establishments may claim a
significant loss in business, but a vast majority are now embracing this smoke-ban concept, as long as it is enforced
universally, to create a level playing field. And the often-predicted "X-factor" seems to be a reality . . . patrons who
once shunned smoky businesses have re-emerged into the fold. A good many testimonials admit business is better
So there it is. The Earth did not shift on its axis. Smoking bans are coming to a world near all of us. It is time to take
the high road. As an occasional smoker of antique pipes, I will personally miss being able to relax while watching the
fragrant Captain Black blend curl from my late father's old briarwood pipe as I am sipping a glass of Pinot in a
lounge. But I know that if one chooses to live in a society, then the social whole must be considered. It is the example
I wish to set for the next generation.
I am heartened that the Lynn Health Department has begun a public-hearing process on this issue; I urge the debate to
tack toward falling in line with the inevitable future of accommodating those who choose to smoke.
Responses to Candidate Questionnaire from NEIGHBOR TO NEIGHBOR - LYNN
1) What is the number one need in the community that made you decide to run for City
As a civic activist, I have had occasion to contact my representatives and officials in City Hall for guidance
and action on several items. The follow-up rate was abysmal and lacking in vision. My neighbors throughout
the city echoed my feelings. So, I decided to run for Councilor in order to eliminate the weak link between the
citizens and the city. All residents deserve a consistent, equitable, and accountable voice for community
dialogue in government as we meet the challenges of this millennium.
2) What are you top three priorities for the City of Lynn?
a) Human services/quality of life issues, i.e., jobs, affordable housing, life-preparatory education.
b) Accessibility of governmental processes by those in "the trenches" . . . the citizens. Activism should be
encouraged, not stifled.
c) A city-wide outreach to all citizens to break down prejudice and embrace the cultural mosaic.
3) How do you plan to address the affordable housing crisis in Lynn?
I will push tirelessly for Lynn's optimum shore of federal funds for LHAND-type projects. We also must be
creative as we appeal to public and private sector landlords to earmark significant portions of present and
future housing for low and moderate income households. A close look at maintaining and incorporating
proper, safe "inlaw" dwellings and rooming houses into the mix is called for. A large number of abandoned
buildings of all kinds are potential housing opportunities which should be explored. I support the 'infill"
concept in housing renewal while keeping an eye out for the concerns of density. Above all, landlords must
be convinced to not gouge our populace by inflating so-called 'market values.'
In the wake of Question 2 (the ballot initiative that eliminated bilingual education), what is your plan for training
teachers to work with English Language Learners who are placed in mainstream classrooms?
I have no plan at this time. I will work closely with education and social-agency officials in order to
collectively deal with the mandated initiative. Above all, the students and their futures are top priority.
Do you support two-way bilingual immersion programs? Will you ask for a two-way program in Lynn?
Due to the unique cultural mix in Lynn, I would support a home-rule drive to allow our city some
latitude to implement a two-way bilingual immersion program.
What is your position on all-day Kindergarten?
I support the concept of all-day K. I will explore ways to fund such programs.
5) What will you do to address the gang problem in general? In particular, what is your
position on the Anti-Gang Ordinance?
After-school programs, in-school role models, community-wide attention to the trend toward alienated youth
coalescing into gangs is crucial. Positive outlets can allow a "youth gang" to be a "youth group." The only
difference is their mission and attitude. I support the re-instatement of the Community Policing unit as soon as
financially feasible and appreciate the work of the current Anti-Gang Unit. Both programs contribute
markedly to helping at-risk youths find gang alternatives while keeping the hard-cores at bay.
A so-called 'Anti-Gang Ordinance' does not exist in Lynn. Several nearby cities have implemented such
programs and their results bear study. There is no need to 'reinvent the wheel.' Let us see what works and
what does not and formulate from there. Lynn has recently taken a look at upping enforcement of existing
gang-related ordinances in order to address the problem. Those consist primarily of enforcing curfews, noise,
and vandalism regulations for everyone. As City Councilor, I will make it a priority to place fair and effective
laws on the books to discourage gang activities' negative elements. We, as a society, must tread carefully as we
wend our way through the mire of civil liberties. There is a fine line between keeping order for the
commonweal and crossing into harassment and profiling. The balance must be maintained to assure order
AND civil liberties. (Please refer to my position page on 'Youth Issues.')
6) What plans do you have to support elderly residents of Lynn? What can the city do
to address the affordable health care crisis for Seniors?
My voting record as a member of the Citizens' Advisory Board of the Office of Economic and Community
Development indicates my support for Lynn's programs. I consider the Lynn Health Task Force, the Lynn
Community Health Center, and Union Hospital to be models of what is needed. Free/subsidized care of the
most vulnerable is essential and our moral obligation. A community approach to taking care of each other is the
only way. I am encouraged by the recent resurgence of interest in national health care by the medical
profession. It is about time. I will lobby and support fast-tracking such a plan. I advocate creative housing
solutions such as matching senior "roommates" for mutual financial and social benefit and daily phone call or
visit reassurance drives. Perhaps the US Postal Service could become involved as the letter carriers visit
7) How would you promote business in Lynn's Hispanic, Cambodian, and other minority
I feel that the Union Street corridor has a good start as a multicultural shopping, service, and cuisine
experience. A cohesive and coordinated approach to reach out and build bridges between all ethnic groups is
key to successfully melding commerce and diversity. (Please refer to my position papers regarding Union Street,
assorted economic briefs, and my vision for Lynn.
8) What will you do to protect Lynn's most vulnerable residents from massive State budget
cuts to essential services?
As councilor I will encourage the State and Federal legislative delegations to maximize revenues to assure a
'safety net' for the most needy. This, combined with enlisting more residents to be involved with the political
process and work with local service groups will go a long way to protect our citizens.
9) In the face of drastic cuts to local aid, what are your priorities for funding in the City
It is important to maintain at least level funding in the categories of vital human services. Maximizing
revenues, conservative spending, and establishment of 'rainy day funds' will help get through the lean times.
10) Will you support the Stop the Cuts campaign to restore the State income tax rate to
5.9% and close corporate tax loopholes?
Sounds good to me.
11) Will you attend the Public Forum on the State Budget Crisis at Lynn Classical High
School, Monday, September 8, at 6 p. m.?
Yes. It is on my calendar and I am recruiting others to attend.
12) How will you reach out to the Hispanic, Cambodian, and other minority communities?
As City Councilor, I will reach out to every faction of the populace through a regular communiqué, monthly
"town meeting" forums in each precinct. I will create a citizens' liaison team comprised of representatives from
each ward; and will include representatives from all cultures on these task forces. I already have advisors to my
campaign representing diverse genders, nationalities, and orientation of affection. We are all multi-hued
threads in life's tapestry. We must ensure our community does not unravel.
[Note: While written in 2003, before the Commonwealth's smoking ban, the gist is still sound.]