Alderman & City Politics
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He's At It Again!

How's this for logic - "We want to do a $20,000,000.00 library makeover because we might be able to get 40% of it as a grant." Then he wants to roll that into a debt exclusion question to also pay for a Public Safety Building, or so he'd have you believe.

What's the end game here? He lumps it all into a single debt exclusion so that if/when it fails, he avoids having to address building the public safety building, which he absolutely does not want to do.

I guess we really really needed that override, huh? This is the kind of subterfuge this guy is so often guilty of. He's a professional bull$hit artist.

Re: He's At It Again!

The Library doesn't need a makeover. Where did you hear or read this nonsense?

Re: He's At It Again!

See link at top of post.

Re: He's At It Again!

You only need to visit other local community libraries to understand that that Melrose needs a new library! It's about time. Also, I wish that I could trust our Mayor when he says that he intends to also build a new place for police & fire Depts. - these new facilities are greatly needed.

Re: He's At It Again!

Pay attention, Melrose Resident. This is all just a ploy to bully the public into giving Robbie (Mr. 26%) his slush fund boost, the one that was denied to him by the voters when he lied with all his misrepresentations for that bogus override. He didn't get his way, so now he is using his MEF mommies (easily manipulated to think that our libraries (school & public) are in peril). The library thing is a perfect foil for his real agenda, which is getting more pots of cash to use and abuse at his pleasure. He thinks nothing of fleecing the taxpayers, any which way. This isn't about the library, and the Public Safety building (that desperately needs to be built) is not a serious concern of his, no matter what he or his minions claim. Denise and Martha and Patrick will look under every rock for some sort of granting authority (though not competently so) to bolster these hatchet-job building projects, and come up with a quickie scheme (always requiring a vote on the spot and never with a real public process), and the Melrose public is dumb enough to sit by and let most fly, while the real needs continue to be grossly neglected.

Re: He's At It Again!

I certainly can understand your lack in faith in the Mayor - many of us out here think likewise. However, if he makes a commitment and it is written into a Plan - that both the library upgrade and a new public safety building will be built - then we will all hold his feet to the fire! We need both of these priorities implemented - despite who the Mayor is!

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I'm not "anti library", but in this 'electronic age' is it the time to be spending $20 mil on a library makeover?

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We absolutely do need a new public safety building. Both the police station and the main fire house are falling apart, do not comply with any sort of current codes, including handicap access, and cost a lot of money in maintenance and utilities. Having them both in the same up to code building would save a lot of money.

The problem is that he's rolled them all into the same proposal to garner favor for the project he really wants, the library. He did exactly the same thing with the override - adding a couple cops into it - remember? This is the same tactic taken to a different level. He's been promising since the day he took office to build or "acquire" a new police station, but every time another project comes up that he thinks can get him more votes - anything school-related - the police station goes back to the bottom of the list again.

You have to understand how he feels about the police. Over the last few years, they have made him look really dumb on more than one occasion, usually on some half-witted set of skewed inaccurate figures provided to him by his minion PDR. He hates the police, and he holds a grudge.

Wait and see - eventually the public safety portion of his so-called proposal will not make the cut, due to some "unforseen" budget circumstance, and all we'll get is a renovated library. I saw today that interest rates have begun to rise, so that by the time this project gets off the ground, rising interest costs will give him the excuse he needs to eliminate the public safety building from the proposal. "Cost prohibitive" is the phrase that comes immediately to mind.

I would also remind you that the plan as proposed would involve tearing down the 1963 addition, leaving the original 1904 building intact, and then building another, bigger addition. I fail to see the sense in that.

Free Press - Dolan said the library renovation is part of his administration's larger plan to rebuild municipal infrastructure in the city over the next decade. In addition to the library renovation, city officials and residents are working on plans to renovate Memorial Hall and build a public safety facility to house Melrose police and fire departments, Dolan said.

Completing those projects concurrently while interest rates are low and the city's bond rating is high will require Melrosians to vote in favor of a debt exclusion, he said.

"We are going to be having a very serious discussion in this community over the next year regarding police and fire, library and Memorial Hall," Dolan said. "That discussion will probably end with proposals for all three and a debt exclusion before the citizens of Melrose to pay for this project - the same thing this community did in 2003 to pay for the Veterans Memorial Middle School."

Dolan told the Free Press the city will likely propose the debt exclusion within the next five years.

"It is in our interest to move forward quickly," Dolan said. "Nothing is cheaper than it is today. The question ultimately is whether this generation of Melrose wants to invest in these buildings and solve these problems."

Now it might seem like the priorities are a little backwards here - the public safety building ought to be the #1 priority, but Dolan's priority - as it ALWAYS is - is to make the project that makes him look good wins him the most votes #1. That's all that matter - not whether it's the right thing to do.

Am I being cynical? I sure am, and with really good reason. Haven't we had just about enough of this duplicitous crap?

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Yes, this has all the elements of an incoherent grab-bag that minimizes transparent oversight and maximizes the opportunities for obfuscation. I would recommend four basic principles to promote in reaction to this:

1. No debt exclusion should be effective until the current bond for the middle school is paid off and the associated debt exclusion expires. Talking to many new neighbors - the kind Dolan may think are easily conned into voting for new taxes - one reason they moved here is because Melrose DIDN'T vote for the override or try to ape its wealthier competitors in the Middlesex League - they DON'T want this to become a Winchester manqué. People with new mortgages for houses more expensive than they'd like (which is what happens when you buy at the top of a real estate bubble) have a low appetite for property tax increases. For new Melrosians, I will warn you about debt exclusions: the projections made before the bond is issue are typically lowballed, so if you are inclined to support one, be aware you will probably end up paying noticeably more over time than you expected at the time of the vote. (Someone in the city's Assessor's office patiently explained this to me a decade ago when I tried to do the math on my bill as the economy tanked compared to what we were told when we voted in that debt exclusion - which I supported and still support EXCEPT for the less than honest process of selling it. That was the beginning of my education about how Melrose city government really works. I had harder lessons a couple of years later as I watched city hall dutifully hush up a local scandal concerning a house that burned down, a story a number of "insiders" were well aware of but never saw the light of day. You've been warned.)

2. No override or debt exclusion should be for other than capital spending. The city has to manage non-capital items on its current revenue base.

3. Each capital project - library, police or other building - should be voted on separately by the BOA and then Melrosians - and not proposed in the same year.

4. Given the repeated instances of poor supervision in Melrose city government, there should be neither any override nor any debt exclusion until the current mayor and his leadership team retires and there's been sufficient turnover on the Board of Aldermen to bring a fresh look to capital expenditure planning for the city. If the mayor interprets that as a vote of no confidence, that's his privilege, but it's really about the fact that maladministration and non-transparency increase in proportion to the entrenchment of any municipal power clique. It happened here under the GOP, and Dolan *owes* his initial election to that very issue (I along with many people voted for him because of that). He needs to own up to reality that he's become what he defeated in that sense: entrenched and unresponsive to unwelcome voices, and instead spending too much energy surrounding himself with approving voices and trying to mute those who are not on his side. Its a common problem in municipal government, and as a student of political science, Dolan should stop seeing himself as an agonistic hero in a drama and face cold reality that it's time for his drama (and that of his clique) to retire. It could be graceful or messy; his own choice will determine that (I recommend graceful). I used to think he was the kind of person who would own up in that way, but his behavior in the past 2 years has made me much more skeptical than I was for a long time.

Re: He's At It Again!

I agree almost completely with both of the prior posters.

Look, this ought to be really simple, decided by answering one question. Which is the most critical need? You could paraphrase by asking which facility is the in the most egregiously poor condition.

I concur that each capital project - library, police or other building - should be voted on separately no matter what the funding method, whether it be capital outlay or debt exclusion - and not proposed in the same year.

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I say the library should be regionalized and make a 20 million dollar public safety building. We don't need thousands of dollars of heating electricity and staffing bills for a library when we can partner up with other towns to make one great library and share the costs. The mayor owes the citizens public safety. Look around. Wyoming Ave pleasant street and lower half of Lebanon and grove is a drug haven. Do you think most of those people are going to need a library or a cop or firefighter to give them narcan ?

Re: He's At It Again!

To MAll take a look around you Drugs are all over the city. So take your Head out of the sand up there on the east side and inhale it's now legal !