Live Blog: The Council Vacancy
We're going to update this post throughout the interviews and deliberation as the City Council chooses a new at-large member to replace Steve DiNatale. You'll probably have to hit the "refresh" button to see updates.
Rosemary Reynolds leads off. Painful introduction as she acknowledges each councilor. Hits on experience as being able to get going quickly. Shockingly, finances are the first big issue... Says we have to work together. "No one councilor or a few of us independent from the others" can solve the problems.... Points to health care costs as a major issue. Has a grasp of the numbers and the lingo, but her word-for-word reading has almost no fire or zip. Zoning laws need changing... Wants to tax telecommunications for "property" in city. Like poles and stuff... Cut off, asks for vote, says she has specifics... Overall, nothing surprising, outstanding or energizing.
Here comes McLaughlin. Stands, doesn't sit. Hard to hear... "I decided to not sit back and complain about the problems..." Hits on ZBA membership and credentials... Has relationships with councilors and thinks he's on the same page with many of them... Citizen looking to get super-involved... Solid, but not spectacular.
Michael DiPietro: Live-long resident, seen the good and the bad. Dad was a school teacher, grandfather long-time caretaker at Crocker Field. Wants to give back to the community... Wants to erase negativity and move Fitchburg forward. Nice... Financial issues: Conservative spending, encourage biz and residential development. Mentions city image again... Says one of the reasons people move here is the school system. Uh, that image adjustment can't come all at once, Michael... Says Fitchburg can be better than ever, and the "pre-eminent community in the Montachusett" area. Not too shabby.
Now batting, Murray: His commitment is the key. "I have a sense of duty." Says he's passionate about his work, but he seems more nervous than passionate right now. Laundry list of issues, but says he doesn't have the answers. Has some ideas. As a unit, the council can support the city's goals. Need a concensus and prioritize... A step back from DiPietro and McLaughlin.
When, oh when, is somebody going to blow the doors off the joint?
Judge: Homeowner and business owner in town. Derek scratches him off his list... If you haven't heard, he's on the License Commission... Tips the cap to city employees. He should probably be talking about himself, no?... We need to think outside the box. We can't accept the phrase this is the way we always did it... Budget process needs to be looked at. Year after year it's a struggle... Pretty good. At least talking creative stuff.
Jay Cruz: Right off, democratic process. He's the man of the people. "The will of the people should be taken into account when possible." "I've heard there's no second place in politics." Intends to run again this fall... Voice would reflect the changing dynamics of the city -- coy way to play the minority card?... That's it. No issues. Let's see if sixth place is good enough tonight.
Kevin Maynard: Crazy experience. Started quarterly billings for property taxes (and we thank you for that). List of petitions he's filed that have worked for the city... Experience, experience, experience... Laundry list of votes that he had a part in, including downtown revitalization, 5th Street Bridge, and the new high school... Pats councilors on the back for holding line on free cash, going after tax deliquents, and new landlord regulations... "It more likely brings a healthy discussion and better outcomes." Might be the best of the night. Seems to have deep experience, throws in some political analysis/bouquets to the council. Wants to restore respect to hard-working Fitchburg men and women.
Fontaine: Cold weather reference. Says he'll be brief. Hey, by the way, used to be a councilor... Budget experience as chair of Finance Committee. Understands inner workings of city government. Former chair of Planning Board and redevelopment authority. Knows nuts and bolts of government. "I'll be a quick study."
Seney: Admits to not being 100 percent up to speed on issues. Uh-oh. Grabs mantle of new, young Fitchburg.
It's a tie. Four for Murray, four for Cruz.
Here we go again:
Here we go again:
It's Jay Cruz.