JANUARY 2015 UPDATE:
On November 5, 2013, the residents of Ward 2 elected me to be their Councillor. Since that time, I have been working diligently to repay you for the trust you put in me.
First and foremost I have worked with the appropriate city agency to help remediate problems that have been reported to me. A few of them include working with the Engineering Department to clean out the storm drains on Lexington Street that were a contributing factor in the flooding by Lake Street. I worked with the Water Deparrtment to replace several fire hydrants in the Pine Hill Circle neighborhood. Working with the Health department, we have had several problem properties cleaned up.
As a past member of the Recreation Department, I was part of the planning process to renovate the Pond End playground. As a Councillor, I was able to vote for the funding. As a resident, I have seen the completed project and the positive impact it has on our neighborhood.
I was part of the historic vote to purchase the Fernald property, and look forward to helping in the planning of its future use. I was on the losing end of a vote that increased the density of a residential property on Grove Street. I will always vote to protect all of our neighborhoods from overdevelopment.
Having retired from being a firefighter several years ago, I have had the time to be able to meet with you and help with issues that affected you. I have written a monthly column in the News Tribune to help you understand some of the issues that affect us all. As winter turns to spring and spring turns to summer, I hope that November 2015 you will give me the opportunity to represent you for two more years.
UPDATE: JULY 2014
As of July 2014, I have served on the City Council for 6 months, and I have a much better understanding of the frustrations that so many of you have expressed to me when dealing with our city government. When talking to city officials about how to get something accomplished, many people have said they have been told, “there is nothing we can do” or “you can’t do that”.
Because of our over burdensome ordinances, the city council spends way too much time negotiating and deciding how to build a development in the city. The fact that the council only meets twice a month drags these negotiations on for months. This is especially detrimental to small businesses. This puts potential changes that could speed up the process on the back burner.
The fact that no-one on the Council committee that is doing these negotiations has a background in planning, architecture or engineering, only makes the problem worse. Most of this work should be done by a qualified full time city employee with the background and experience to get the job done quickly and professionally.
In January, I proposed an ordinance change on Fuel Storage Permits. My change would put most all of these permit requests in the hands of the professionals in the Fire Service, as every community that I am aware of does. It hasn’t been acted upon because the Ordinance and Rules Committee has not had time to act on it, because they have been tied up making design and infrastructure decisions on several large developments.
Our zoning regulations are a relic from a different time and are an anchor around the neck of our financial future. The inconsistencies in the implementation of the Inflow & Infiltration policy make it less and less likely that business will want to locate here. Hopefully, the recently approved citizen input committees on these issues will come back with its recommendations quickly and the council will take action on them. I hope my fellow councillors will work to streamline the process that will allow Waltham to compete with our surrounding communities in the future.