From Monday to today, we’re featuring House candidates’ thoughts on six questions posed to them. The responses from Democrat Steve DiNatale and Republican Edward Niemczura are presented unedited. Our brief analysis follows their answers. Remember, the election is next Tuesday, Nov. 7.One of the chief complaints developers and business has about Massachusetts is its painfully slow permitting process. One of the reasons for the success of Devens is the 90-day permitting process there. A new state law would allow communities to streamline its permitting process. Should Fitchburg change its permitting process? Why or why not? Should it cover the entire city, or only certain areas?
The City of Fitchburg should certainly look very closely at this process. The Devens "Unified Permitting Process" is truly ground breaking. They refer to it as the Devens Enterprise Commission and it consists of 12 members made up of citizens of the surrounding communities. That Commission consists of representatives of Zoning, Planning, Conservation Commission, Board of Health and of course the Building Dept. Each stakeholder hears the proposed plan and they are committed to a decision within 75 days. The advantages are many. Often times at the municipal level it is confusing as to who reviews first, does the plan go to Con Com first or planning and then who, what happens if on group has a problem with a particular proposal. The entire process gets bogged down which can become not only time consuming but also costly.
I believe we should first start with certain "Enterprise Zones" in particular areas that the city feels would be appropriate for a particular endeavor. If it proves effective over several years then expand it throughout the city. This is most certainly the way to go in planning a developing our city.Niemczura:
Yes, a 90-day process would give zoning board's time to act on petitions, and assess their impact to the city. This time period also gives residents time out voice their concerns over proposed projects, and raise objections if warranted.
My reform package will reduce regulations and restore property rights. So that your children will be able to buy a home and live in the Commonwealth. Restoring property rights will not damage the environment and will stimulate the economy. The same can be done for all regulations throughout state government.
The 90 plan should be enacted to keep cities from stalling on plans as a means of squashing them. Time is money, and cities should not be allowed to drag out hearing processes ad nauseum for the benefit of real estate attorneys who are paid hourly.
It must be the standard state wide if we want the Commonwealth to grow so that your children will be able to get a job and buy a house and raise a family. There is nothing wrong will those things, and the Democrats have been attacking them all for years.Our Thoughts:
The streamlined permitting process is something the city absolutely should do, and quickly. By being one of the first, Fitchburg creates a competitive advantage over other communities. Admittedly, this is mostly a city issue at this point, but personally I think it’s a very important one. Hopefully the state rep can exert some influence on city officials to make this happen. I also agree with DiNatali’s enterprise zone idea, as long as the zones are created in areas that need help most, and can be transformed quickly.Two years from now you’re running for re-election. What is the accomplishment from your first term will run on?DiNatale:
Increase in community policing grants, advances toward realizing improved rail service between Fitchburg and Porter Square through a coordinated regional effort by all respective legislators. Actively pursue reinstatement of state funded busing dollars that have been eliminated. Waiver for the City of Fitchburg with regard to the buffer zone within the Rivers Protection Act. Also I hope to continue the ensure adequate funding for Senior Citizens Services. Begin a leading relationship with the economic engine that is Devens. Industrial Growth and with that the resulting ancillary businesses that will result will add to promoting job creation and improved quality of life.Niemczura:
1) The reform of State government to make Massachusetts more livable, competitive and secure.
2) Bring back the death penalty to Massachusetts. Does anyone besides me remember that case in which the guy from England took his father in- laws handgun and killed his wife, and his infant daughter? If that case doesn't beg the death penalty, then I don’t know what does. Where's the outrage? Only in Massachusetts do criminals have more rights than victims. I don’t want to understand a murderer. I don't care if he had an unhappy childhood. We all have our problems in life, and most of us don't do heinous things. I'm for giving criminals a choice: Firing Squad, electric chair, lethal injection, or hanging. Hanging, in particular, has its roots back to the earliest days in New England, and should be the preferred method of execution by the state.
3) Enact a reciprocity law that allows persons with a license to carry firearms from other states authorization to carry within Massachusetts. This same law would allow for Mass residents to carry in states with which we share reciprocity.
4) Dissolve quasi-public authorities such as the MWRA, MassPort, and the Turnpike Authority. These all need to be under the direct control of persons elect able by, and hence accountable to the voters.
5) Auto Insurance Reform. At present, the No Fault provisions have been gutted by trial lawyers who have wanted to preserve our God given right to sue. Also, our current system requires low risk drivers in the suburbs to pay higher rates so that higher risk drivers in the cities can have insurance that’s more affordable. This bit of social engineering has always stuck in my craw.
6) Cape Wind. In this age when our troops are fighting and dying for oil in the Middle East, can we really ignore a viable energy source in our own back yard? How indecorous that a few snobby millionaires complain that this ruins their view of the seascape! Are their children walking the streets of Baghdad, or Fallujah, or Takrit? Are their children subject to car bombs, and beheadings if captured? Are they tooling around the Sagamore Rotary is a gas powered SUV?
7) Natural gas terminal on outer Brewster Island. We need to make energy more available in the Northeast. Let's not make it less available and hence pricier for its re-sellers and consumers.
8) Tax relief. Roll back the state income to 5%
9) Reduce one party rule on Beacon Hill. Preserve the Roll Call vote. As much as people say they hate the Republican dominated Capitol Hill, has anyone but I noticed we have the same situation at our own Beacon Hill?
10) Everyone under the age of 62 that receives any type of government assistance should be subject to routine drug screening. I don't mind using tax money to help less fortunate Americans, but I don't want that money passing through their hands to a drug dealer.Our Thoughts:
Note the question asked “what accomplishment” not “what accomplishments.” We were looking for the one thing these guys really want to get done in their first term, something to be held accountable on. Instead we get the usual laundry list of answers. Take from it what you will.