Meet the Candidates: Ward 1 Alderman

On September 5, 2013, in Latest News, by The News Staff

 

The candidates for the primary election on September 24 for Alderman for Ward 1 were each asked four questions and invited to describe themselves and their vision for how best to serve their ward as Board of Alderman members. Their responses are presented here in alphabetical order, based on their last names.

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Maureen Bastardi

Question #1 – What do you see as the role of the Alderman representing their ward?

As Alderman I am a representative of the people. I feel it is my job to communicate and inform, encourage participation and involvement.  An Alderman must represent their constituents and find the best solutions. It is not my opinion but the opinions of the people I represent that matters.

Question #2 – What is your opinion on all the new construction developments across the city?

Each construction project is unique and comes with its own set of circumstances. The city and Ward 1 have many construction projects each of which deserves smart planning, community input, participation and transparency. I believe these components are key to reducing undesirable impact and enhancing neighborhood vitality.

Question #3 – What is the most pressing issue now facing your ward?

Rodent & Trash issues. I supported additional resources for the Inspectional Services Division in the recent budget, dedicated to trash and rodent issues.  I recently placed a Board order asking for an all-inclusive plan to be presented to the BOA on how this program will be rolled-out.

Question#4 – What is your opinion of the present administration and how it responds to residents’ concerns?

They do a great job. The city’s innovative customer service system allows residents to dial one number for any concern. Professional and courteous employees log service requests into a state-of-the-art system sending requests to the appropriate department for resolution. This is a national model for best practices in city government.

Bio:

I am a lifelong Somerville resident and have been an active Ward 1 community member for almost 25 years. A single mother of two daughters who were raised here, I went to school here and still live here. In the past I have been actively involved with the PTAs, both on a local and city level, and a past Edgerly School Council member. I have been part of various advisory boards and the Ward 1 Enhancement Committee. Partaking in numerous city sponsored events such as the Annual Spring Clean-up & Family Fun Day, I currently volunteer at the Somerville Boxing Club. I have been elected by the people of Ward 1 five times to serve them as their School Community Representative for 9 years prior to becoming Alderman in December of 2012.

Though I have no formal website  I do blog on a regular basis and make use of social media sites which I have provided the links: http://wardoneonline.blogspot.com/, https://www.facebook.com/MaureenBastardi, https://twitter.com/MaureenBastardi.For almost 25 years I have been dedicated to Ward 1 and the people of Ward 1, either as a concerned parent, involved community member, elected School Committee Representative and now Alderman.

As Alderman I have worked hard and will continue to work hard in opening lines of communication, increasing community involvement, breaking down language barriers, addressing all resident concerns, increasing responsiveness and promoting a transparent and accessible government.

Having had a record number of neighborhood meetings, holding the Holiday Inn accountable for inappropriate customer behavior, riding in plows to assure our streets are cleared and addressing constituent complaints in a timely manner.

I have the background, involvement and proven experience necessary to continue to represent the residents of Ward 1 as their Alderman.

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Elio LoRusso

Question #1 – What do you see as the role of the Alderman representing their ward?

The role of the Ward Alderman is to both represent and inform the residents of his or her ward about what is happening in City Hall and in the neighborhoods. It’s also to provide checks and balances to the Administration. Ward Alderman should never be rubber stamps for the Mayor.

Question #2 – What is your opinion on all the new construction developments across the city?

There is too much residential development happening across the city. We need more commercial development that will increase our tax base. There needs to be real neighborhood involvement in proposed developments. Any development needs to fit the neighborhood in which it’s proposed.

Question #3 – What is the most pressing issue now facing your ward?

The rodent crisis in Ward 1. I’ve spent the last 4 months knocking on doors in and I hear it from 90% of my neighbors. They are everywhere – in our yards, on our sidewalks, even in our kid’s playgrounds. This is a public health issue that needs to be addressed.

Question#4 – What is your opinion of the present administration and how it responds to residents’ concerns?

Mixed. I think the administration has developed the right tools for communication – 311, ResiStat etc. But neighbors often feel left out of the decision-making process, especially concerning development.

Bio:

Elio’s story is shared by so many who call Somerville home. The son of immigrants, Elio was born in East Somerville and has lived in Ward 1 all his life. From his parents, he learned the values of hard work and community. He attended Little Flower School and Malden Catholic High School. After graduating from Suffolk University, Elio went to work for the Somerville small business his father founded – Somerville Ornamental Iron Work. Learning the trade from his father, Elio eventually took the business over, and in the 16 years he has worked there, it has grown into a leader in the industry and now has eight full-time employees.

He lives on George St. with his wife Juscelia and 4-year old daughter, Maria Gabriella. To learn more about Elio and his campaign, visit http://www.eliolorusso.com/

Elio is running to be Ward 1 Alderman because he has the experience, independence and relationships to deliver solid leadership for our neighborhoods. These are important times for our city and ward. There are many exciting things are happening in East Somerville – from the Assembly Square development to the re-vamping of East Broadway – and East Somerville needs a strong voice who will stand up for residents during these times.

Elio knows it’s the people who live in our city that make Somerville special – not the politicians. As your Alderman, Elio will never be a rubber stamp for any administration. He will represent the residents of Ward 1.

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Matthew McLaughlin

Question #1 – What do you see as the role of the Alderman representing their ward?

A ward alderman must be attentive to the needs of the community for everyday services like trash disposal, snow plowing and being a conduit to government services.  Another important aspect is that of community representative. I believe I best represent East Somerville and its diverse array of constituents.

Question #2 – What is your opinion on all the new construction developments across the city?

Development in East Somerville represents a tremendous potential for growth, but may also take away the things we love about Somerville.  I support developments in Assembly Square and Inner Belt Road and strongly support local hire citywide.  I also fight to maintain parking and ensure developments fit the community.

Question #3 – What is the most pressing issue now facing your ward?

The two issues I hear regularly are rats and parking.  Both may potentially force people out of the community, which is something I have fought against for years.  We need to combat the rat problem with all available resources and ensure that overdevelopment doesn’t make parking impossible.

Question#4 – What is your opinion of the present administration and how it responds to residents’ concerns?

The current administration made tremendous strides in improving Somerville.  On the road to progress, however, many people may be left behind. East Somerville is full of working people, longtime residents and recent immigrants, young and elderly people. I will be a voice for these people as I have always been.

Bio:

Matthew McLaughlin was born and raised in Somerville, graduating from Somerville High in 2000. He has been involved in the community since he was a teenager and has a long track record as a servant to the people.  He enlisted in the Army in 2003, serving two tours in Iraq and attaining the rank of Sergeant.  While still in the Army, he co-founded Save Our Somerville, a community group promoting youth services, local jobs, open space development, affordable housing and empowerment of working people. Matt graduated from Tufts University this spring with a degree in political science. Matt will represent the diverse array of interests in East Somerville and will bring the passion, energy and proven leadership he has provided Somerville for years.

I am seeking to represent East Somerville because I can best represent the ward. If elected, I would be the only veteran serving on the board of alderman. East Somerville is also one of the last remnants of old Somerville as well as immigrant Somerville and also has a bright new future ahead of it. I want to strike a balance between the two, something that has not happened everywhere in Somerville.  I believe my track record proves my level of commitment to Somerville and the people in it.  A good imagination is not required to envision how I would be as alderman. I encourage everyone to learn more about me.  You will find I am the candidate most committed to helping people in Somerville.

 

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