The first day since mid-March that Mel-Wake has no COVID-19 patients - we’ll see how long that lasts….:
Elections are near and the city is looking to temporarily consolidate polling locations due to COVID related challenges. But many councilors are hesitant about the change in location.
On June 29, the Melrose City Council discussed the request to temporarily consolidate the polling location to the Melrose Middle School gymnasium for the state primary election on Sept. 1 and presidential election on Nov. 3. The request was made to better social distancing for voters and poll workers; to have an all-purpose area that can easily be sanitized and to have control across wards and precincts to increase procedural consistency.
For several weeks, the Elections Office and the Board of Registrars has been discussing ways to “preserve both election integrity and the health and safety of all Melrosians.”
This year, Melrosians can vote three ways: early voting, absentee voting or on Election Day.
“Two would involve casting a ballot after having checked in and have gone to the early voting location or going to the polling location on Election Day,” said City Clerk Amy Kamosa. “And then the state would send all registered voters an absentee ballot application. The resident would need to fill that out, drop it in the mail, the office will receive it, and then we mail back a ballot to that person’s home and they can cast their ballot that way. They can fill it out and mail it back to us or we will have a secure drop box so people can drop off the ballots at City Hall any time, day or night before the election.”
The state is at the final stages of passing no excuse absentee voting, approval of polling locations, and requirements for the number of poll workers per precinct
Existing polling locations
There are currently eight existing polling locations in all-purpose rooms or cafeterias across the city: Hover School, Lincoln School, Horace Mann School, Roosevelt School, Beebe School (which is currently leased by SEEM collaborative), City Hall Council Chamber and Melrose Housing Authority’s Steele House common room (home to seniors and disabled residents).
Kamosa submitted a proposal to the City Council detailing the current challenges of existing locations:
• The Steele House and the Beebe School pose a risk to the building population.
• City Hall and the Horace Mann School would be hard to meet social distancing guidelines.
• The all-purpose locations in the elementary schools have several materials and supplies that would need to be sanitized for the following day.
• Voting booths don’t have “6-foot buffers.”
• Elementary schools have limited cell phone service. This makes communication difficult for procedural changes.
During the meeting, Kamosa said the average age of poll workers is 75 years old and 50% of poll workers have said they aren’t comfortable working in September.
“Most critically, that’s 10 wardens, managers of each precinct, so 10 out of 14 wardens have opted not to work,” said Kamosa.
During a typical election, more than 90 poll workers work full or part time and last about 15 hours. Poll workers are paid $150 per day.
“This results in challenges filling these slots — challenges are exacerbated by the distributed locations,” Kamosa’s proposal reads. “Poll workers can not easily be ‘pulled’ from another polling location to fill a gap. The Elections Office must plan for a larger number of poll workers opting out of working at the last minute or being forced out by illness, depending on possible spikes in local infection rates. With several sets of spouses working in the same precinct, there is a possibility that quarantining requirements could eliminate a number of workers all at once.”
Poll staff and police detail are a requirement to manage crowds and lines.
Why the gymnasium?
The Middle School gymnasium is the proposed consolidated location not just to protect voters, but also allowing better communication between the poll workers and efficiently tabulating ballots.
Kamosa said based on the data so far, 30% of voters go to the polls on Election Day.
“The purpose of consolidating the poll locations isn’t necessarily just to protect the voters because I think given the low numbers and the incredibly large space of the gymnasium, it’s 17,000 square feet, we are still separating everyone by ward and also by precinct,” said Kamosa. “So every precinct will have its own social distancing line. I’m thinking best case from a maximum voter turnout perspective, I was assuming 18,000 voters participating in the November election out of a registered voter total, which is just over 20,000. We are still only talking about 5,000 voters over the course of 13 hours. There will never be 10,000 people in one space at one time.”
Right now, it’s proposed to have two full weeks of early voting, including weekends for the November election. And, the September election will have one full week, including a Saturday, of early voting.
The proposal lists many positive attributes of the middle school gym.
• Previously identified as a general contingency location during emergency preparedness planning. [It’s large size, a central location, has a generator and meets ADA requirement].
• Separate entrance off Melrose Street.
• Can be closed off from the rest of MVMMS.
• Nearly 17,000 square feet of space.
• Overflow potential in the adjacent Marcoux Gym.
• Multiple exits and entrances for flexible traffic flow to ensure social distancing.
• Open, clear space allows for efficient and effective disinfection before school resumes the following day.
• Single location allows for increased procedural consistency and control across all wards and precincts. Allows elections staff and Board of Registrars to be on-site to address questions and concerns, and to effectively communicate to poll workers in real-time — this is particularly important due to expectation that we will have many first-time poll workers and an overall decreased number of workers.
• Decision-making included consultation with School Committee, health director, Mayor’s Office and school superintendent.
• Back parking lot provides a turn-around (Council on Aging bus) and voter drop-off zone.
During the meeting, several councilors raised concerns about the city consolidating to one polling location. Concerns are, but are not limited to: wait time, costs, transportation, communication to residents and poll worker recruitment.
Councilor Robb Stewart said his initial reaction was hesitation, although the proposal is very well thought out. Stewart’s ward consists of Fuller House and Levi Gould. He said there are well over 100 members that vote on a consistent basis within those two communities.
“The Beebe School is a very convenient location for them, it’s a very short walk for them and it’s a social opportunity,” said Stewart. “My base reservation to the whole plan was how to give these folks an opportunity to effectively vote. What I would encourage is two things. One is to get clarity on what the state rules about mail-in voting is going to be. I believe they are going to have a call on that tomorrow at state level. The second is to your point about the absentee balloting since there is no excuse absentee balloting. If we could have some way to communicate that to the folks as well as, Cefalo, I’m sure there are other facilities in and around the city that would also take advantage of that.”
Councilor Shawn MacMaster discussed the diversity in Ward 5. There are 24 languages spoken in homes of students who attend the Lincoln School. Some immigrant groups are proficient in English while others aren’t. MacMaster said voting locations can inadvertently suppress voting rights.
“We really need to address any demographic barriers to voting, and considering the time limitations we face, I think we need to call upon the community and other stakeholders to help,” said MacMaster. “Bi-partisan community organizing is a way to safeguard access to the polls. This can be done through a voter education drive and with Election Day assistance.”
MacMaster said if this proposal ends up being approved, there will need to be a robust effort to notify citizens whose English skills may be less proficient in an effort to prevent voter disenfranchisement.
Kamosa said the urgency of this request is to communicate with Melrosians to make them aware of the temporary voting location change.
Councilor Cory Thomas asked Kamosa if the election cost was accounted for in the recently approved fiscal year 2021 budget. Kamosa said for the FY21 budget, a standard election was budgeted because during preparation for the budget, none of the legislation was clear and it would be hard to predict.
“Some of the extra costs we can use COVID-19 funding to cover some of the cost and then typically we cover the rest through the free cash allocation if there is a balance left,” said Kamosa. “We want to make sure the election, regardless of cost, is handled freely and fairly and everyone has the ability to vote as they choose. But obviously we keep an eye out on the budget.”
The request is being held in committee based on a 6 to 5 vote with Councilors Christopher Cinella, Leila Migliorelli, Jeff McNaught, Jack Eccles and City Council President Jen Grigoraitis against.
In April, the coronavirus was tearing through the Northeast and Midwest, overwhelming hospitals and filling morgues. The situation was bleak.
But the rules, at least, were clear.
Businesses were shuttered. Flights were canceled. Nearly everyone had been ordered to stay home. And that’s what nearly everyone did, reducing overall mobility by as much as 30 percent and reducing the number of new daily COVID-19 cases by roughly the same amount.
America may never return to that kind of economically devastating national lockdown. Yet with more tests coming back positive now than ever before — and with infections currently rising in 39 states, many of them in the South and West — lockdowns in some form may be the only way to regain control over a virus that has ruthlessly exploited Americans’ eagerness to return to normal life.
The question is whether individualistic Americans who already endured one big — and only partially successful — lockdown will tolerate another.
With all due respect to American exceptionalism, Americans share with the rest of the world a desire not to die. The experience of other countries may suggest a path forward — if the nation will listen.
On Monday, two of America’s top infectious disease experts — Dr. Anthony Fauci and his boss, Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health — convened online to discuss the pandemic running out of control in much of the U.S.
The conversation was telling. At the outset, Fauci warned that America was still “knee-deep in the first wave” of the contagion, describing the country’s new normal of more than 50,000 cases per day as “a serious situation that we have to address immediately.”
But how? asked Collins. “What should people do, who are listening to this, who want to do what they can do to try to deal with this surge and not have it get any worse? What’s the recommendation?”
Americans, Fauci said, need to adjust their personal behavior.
“Regardless of where you are, the fundamental concepts [apply],” Fauci explained. “Physical distancing. Wear a mask at all times when you’re outside [the home]. Wash your hands often. Avoid crowds. ... Outdoors [is] always better than indoors. If you’re going to have a social function, maybe a single couple or two. Do it outside if you’re going to do it.”
Then Collins and Fauci started talking about vaccines.
The message couldn’t have been more quintessentially American: Emphasize personal responsibility — at least until whiz-bang innovation can save the day.
Yet whether out of pessimism or discretion — it was hard to say — Fauci and Collins skipped over the most important step, illustrating the challenge now confronting America and the dysfunction that has made the situation so much worse.
Sure, everyone should wash their hands and mask up. But while personal precautions are necessary, they’re not sufficient. The truth is, individual action isn’t the only thing — or even the main thing — that flattened the initial curve of projected cases back in April and May. And given that most people who are spreading COVID-19 may not even know they’re infected — and many are getting infected while performing the kinds of frontline, blue-collar jobs they can’t do from home — it’s unlikely to arrest the deadly virus’s alarming summertime resurgence, let alone reduce its spread to the point where the U.S. can control and contain it.
Only systemic action by the entire society can do that. And judging by other countries’ experiences — not to mention America’s own efforts this past spring — that almost certainly means more targeted stay-at-home orders.
For proof, look no further than Europe, where most countries made sure the virus had been suppressed to a level low enough that containment was theoretically possible once business as usual resumed — and where governments are now closely monitoring new case clusters and quickly reinstating localized lockdowns when infections spike. Today, the European Union (population: 446 million) is averaging about 4,000 new cases per day. The U.S. (population: 328 million) is averaging 12 times that number.
On Monday, Fauci himself contrasted the European model with the United States’. America’s “baseline” number of cases “really never got down to where we wanted to go,” he explained. “If you look at the graphs from Europe ... it went up and then came down to baseline. Now they’re having little blips as you might expect as they try to reopen. We went up, never came down to baseline and now we’re surging back up.”
In Germany, hundreds of cases of COVID-19 linked to a meatpacking facility triggered the lockdown of Gütersloh in North Rhine-Westphalia. In the United Kingdom, much of the country reopened last week, but the city of Leicester reimposed lockdown after a similar local surge.
Spain, however, may be the most revealing example. As with the U.S., the country’s response to the coronavirus has hardly been flawless. Spain has recorded about a quarter of a million cases so far, and nearly 30,000 people have died from COVID-19 there, the worst per capita death rate in the world after Belgium and the U.K. Yet 49 days of near-total lockdown — the kind where residents were barely allowed to leave home — suppressed the disease to fewer than 400 new daily cases.
And after reopening, the country’s response to those 400 cases has been very different from America’s response to its 50,000 daily cases.
Case in point: Segrià county, an agricultural zone some 100 miles west of Barcelona. Last week, 524 new cases were diagnosed there, a doubling from the week before. (For comparison, Florida added 60,000 new coronavirus cases last week.) Of the 14 outbreaks in Segrià, a region thick with hundreds of thousands of fruit trees, 10 are associated with companies that employ migrant workers, who live and labor in close quarters during the harvest.
In response, the regional government sealed off all 210,000 inhabitants of Segrià, setting up 24 police checkpoints at the border and blocking all nonessential traffic in and out.
Same goes for A Mariña, an area in Spain’s northwest region, Galicia. There, bars are believed to have seeded 119 cases. Now all 70,000 residents are back in lockdown.
“Some might consider [this] maybe too drastic,” Sara Canals, a journalist in the region, told the BBC. “But there’s a willingness here to find a right balance between reopening the economy but also to ensure safety.”
In other parts of Spain, including Murcia, individual buildings have been completely quarantined.
To be clear: This isn’t a national lockdown. The Spanish government lifted the nation’s state of emergency on June 21, handing control back to Spain’s 17 regional governments. Those regional governments are now the ones responding to flare-ups.
Theoretically, U.S. states, ardent defenders of federalism, could do the same. Again, Spain is not some Platonic ideal of coordination and transparency. Recently, Madrid and Barcelona stopped reporting case counts, to the chagrin of the national health department. The Spanish government isn’t announcing new outbreaks, defined as three or more active cases. Observers are questioning whether Segrià hid its rising case count until the situation was out of control. And just like Americans, not all Spaniards wear masks, even though face coverings are required wherever and whenever social distancing isn’t possible.
Meanwhile, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is imploring Spaniards to go out and revitalize the economy. The land of the conquistadors, Sánchez recently declared, has “successfully defeated the pandemic.”
Yet because of systemic action — an initial lockdown that flattened the curve to a manageable level followed by targeted lockdowns meant to nip any new outbreaks in the bud — Spain no longer must rely solely on individual behavior to keep the virus at bay.
That’s good, because there’s no indication that such behavior alone can contain 400 cases per day — let alone 50,000.
By Fauci’s own, optimistic estimation, a COVID-19 vaccine won’t be ready for public use until early 2021, and it won’t be widely available until months later. That means mass inoculation is at least a year away.
Does anyone really think the U.S. will be able to muddle through until then by telling Americans to wear masks and hoping they’ll listen? We’ve been doing that for weeks, yet our accelerating outbreak shows no sign of slowing down. So far this month, 14 states have recorded new single-day highs.
Meanwhile, residents in metropolitan Melbourne, Australia, will no longer be allowed to leave their homes unless it’s for grocery shopping, caregiving, exercise or work. The measures are expected to remain in place for six weeks.
The reason? The state of Victoria (in which Melbourne is located) saw a record rise in daily coronavirus cases Tuesday — to 191 new infections.
Over the same time period, more than 2,000 new cases were reported in the Miami area alone.
To be fair, there has been some progress in the U.S. Republican governors who long resisted mask mandates are starting to relent; states are reclosing bars and pausing restaurant reopenings. And mobility in hard-hit states such as Florida, Texas, Arizona and California is beginning to tick downward after peaking in late June, according to data collected by Cuebiq — a likely sign that residents are at least trying to rein in their behavior.
Yet even the mobility trend lines show the limits of relying on individuals to restrain the coronavirus. In Florida, mobility peaked around June 15 at a level about 0.8 percent lower than last year at the same time. Today, it’s fallen back down to about 1.5 percent lower than last year.
In early April, during lockdown, mobility was nearly 28 percent lower than it was the previous April.
Unfortunately, the kind of clarity we had back then — stay home or else! — is gone forever, replaced by a cacophony of conflicting, politicized messages on everything from masks to fatalities to vaccination. Experts who study the psychology of decision making say this is precisely the sort of environment where individual judgment will fail us — and where, in the absence of a broader systemic response, the coronavirus will continue to thrive.
“Americans’ disgust should be aimed at governments and institutions, not at one another,” Tess Wilkinson-Ryan, a professor of law and psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, recently wrote in the Atlantic. “During a disease outbreak, vague guidance and ambivalent behavioral norms will lead to thoroughly flawed thinking. If a business is open but you would be foolish to visit it, that is a failure of leadership.”
Ultimately, Americans will probably never accept another national lockdown. But all the evidence from the rest of the world suggests they’re unlikely to stop the spread simply by fending for themselves. In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom pressured Imperial County to reimpose its stay-at-home order last week after the area’s positivity rate soared to more than 20 percent. Other governors might soon have to follow suit.
Donald G. McNeil Jr., the lead coronavirus reporter for the New York Times, put it succinctly Monday.
“We are doing the dance in, dance out of various forms of lockdown,” McNeil explained on the podcast “The Daily.” “But we need to get to the point where we’re all basically dancing to the same music — where all governors accept the notion that when they have a problem that is getting out of control in their state, they react quickly. And if they do that they will save lives of their own citizens.
“We need to arrive at [a] common understanding,” he concluded. “We don’t all have to move in lockstep as a nation. But at the crucial moments we need to take similar steps to save lives.”
It's not fair use to copy and paste entire articles written and owned by another publication into another public forum; it's a form of theft. If you want people to read the article, just include a link to it instead.
Here is a "new normal" buzz word,Pandering Fool .
Nobody:s forcing to read this string.Maybe time for you to go to bed to get a good night sleep.
In times of rage, we often paint groups with a broad brush. But at some point you have to go back and fill in lines between good and bad because, in that subtlety, lies our humanity.
People to start to look at everybody as Americans and not, 'He's White, he's Black, he's Asian.' We're people - and when we start realizing that, things should get better.
Mr. Mayor, do you think with the current social climate, any concessions will be made for the seniors come election day? For forty two years I have felt betrayed by the city I love. It's times like these that make me yearn for forced euthenasia if this is how it's going to be. That trickle down tax plan you touted in your campaign, what about that? Are we supposed to sit idly by why you and the fat cats at City Hall take the breaks and leave the crumbs to the elderly? Well I for one won't stand for it. I hope you respond because I am anxious to hear what you've got to say for yourself. No more blame game! Remember Mr Mayor, you point one finger at me, three fingers point back at you!
MELROSE, MA - Drive-thru testing for COVID-19 will continue Saturday after hours-long wait times Friday. The testing will be in the same location from 1-6 p.m. If you do come, wear a mask and do not bring any pets. Results are expected within 48 hours.A medical worker will ask a couple questions and retrieve a nasal sample.
Is the previous poster, under the handle "Mayor Brodeur" a poseur trying to attribute a completely tone-deaf comment to the actual mayor? Because the actual mayor has previously posted as "Paul Brodeur".
No Vote!? Whadaya talking about? It's the tax bill you so bravely stood behind then pretended it didn't exist when the votes were counted and they carried you on their shoulders down West Wyoming Street! I can't believe the ability of you political fat cats to turn such a blind eye on the elderly. Back when the Chinese ran this town you wouldn't see the dustpanning you see at City Hall nowadays. SO I ask again! What and where are the concessions for the elderly!????
Nobody:s forcing to read this string.Maybe time for you to go to bed to get a good night sleep.
Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito have said that the summer sports guidelines will be reviewed ahead of the fall sports guidelines, which are expected to be released in the next two weeks.
Baker and Polito - TWO CROOKS!
Exactly what 'crimes' (with supporting evidence, of course) prompts you to call them crooks?
After testing positive for the coronavirus just a couple months ago, Desmon Silva seemingly made a full recovery.
But on July 16, he stopped breathing.
Doctors rushed to put Silva on a ventilator and by Saturday night, he was flown to Massachusetts General Hospital from Tampa, Florida on a private intensive care jet with hopes of treating a rare infection that has left him paralyzed from the neck down, Boston25 News reported.
“They basically said it is COVID-related because it’s triggered by a viral infection,” Barbara Bonnet, Silva’s mother — a Massachusetts resident — told the station. “What happened is it laid dormant in my son’s system, still testing negative, still without any symptoms, but it was still there.”
Hoping to ease the financial burden of his treatments and the extensive rehab bills he may face in the future, Brooke Griffin organized a GoFundMe page for Silva.
PLEASE GO VIRAL: I'm raising money for: Help Us Help Desmon Silva. Click to Donate: https://t.co/5nnYTLk7DN via @gofundme
— Griffi9️⃣5️⃣™ (@griffin_brooke) July 21, 2020
Nearly 2,500 people from around the country had donated to the campaign as of Sunday afternoon, garnering $108,449 of its $200,000 goal.
“Desmon has always been a lover, but now also a fighter,” Griffin wrote in the fundraiser’s description. “Despite his condition, Desmon remains full of life.”
A 22-year-old nurse, Silva had been working to save lives on the front lines in Florida until he began fighting for his own.
“Desmon’s smile could light up the skyway. His giggle could make waves ripple through oceans worldwide. His zest for life could move mountains,” Griffin wrote. “He will fight the fight to come back, but he has a long road ahead.”
Bonnet told 25 News that Boston doctors have tentatively diagnosed her son with transverse myelitis — an inflammation of both sides of the spinal cord — but she’s hopeful he’ll make a full recovery soon.
“Desmon needs to return to breathing and walking on his own, so that he is able to continue helping and healing people, living the big and the small moments of his young life, catching sunsets, seeking adventure, celebrating his accomplishments, and growing old with those he loves,” Griffin wrote in her post. “Des – we all are rooting for you.”
So what, your reason for posting this here is to "Ask the Mayor" for a donation?
The mayor needs to go still no one coming to MPS to apply.
METHUEN — This community on the New Hampshire border may be smaller than 772 other American cities, but the salary of Police Chief Joseph Solomon is anything but small. His salary of $326,707 in 2019 made Solomon one of the highest-paid police chiefs in the nation, paid more than his counterparts in Boston, New York, Chicago, and many other major urban areas.
And, unlike them, Solomon doesn’t have to face a serious crime problem: Methuen had one murder last year.
Still, Solomon believes he is underpaid.
While your posts (articles about general topics) may be "true," the connection to anything relevant to Melrose is hard to grasp. Sure, other police chiefs may be extremely "well" paid, maybe even excessively paid (probably), but that surely isn't the case in Melrose, where Chief Lyle is a decent caring man and dedicated servant of the citizens (unlike, sadly, most of the elected and paid officials with whom he has to work, most of whom do not understand that they are supposed to serve the citizens, and not the other way around!). The Melrose PD is certainly not perfect (as that stupid sign incident revealed only too sharply), but our police chief is a well-meaning head of a department that is chronically underpaid and disrespected by the city governance. One look at MPD facilities illustrates that point only too bleakly.
There are a lot of things you, "Truths," could be posting about matters that deserve our attention. Melrose as a community seems to have a very short attention span for the important issues, and even smaller ability to come together in a way that demonstrates critical thinking ability. As a whole, it behaves in a very ignorant "sheeple" sort of way, herding towards the feel-good community actions and shying away (or actively bullying those who don't) from the difficult conversations and actions.
These generalized articles and zen-like postings about philosophy are not connecting with readers the way you'd probably like them to, and instead just open the door for mockery, which isn't fair or nice but is a reflection of the general Mean-Girls(Guys) approach that too many in Melrose revel in.
So if you're trying to express something useful that could get important messages across, you might re-think your choice of articles to post, for starters.
Thanks for trying! No disrespect meant towards you. Good luck!
That's A LOT more polite than the "- - - does that have to do with Melrose?", that I was going to post. Thanks!