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City Council agrees on in-person board reappointments; seeks AC funding for Glendale Towers

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By Neil Zolot


Some parliamentary gymnastics were used to deal with appointments to city committees at the City Council meeting on Monday, January 22. A reappointment of Phillip Colameta as Commissioner on the Everett Housing Authority (EHA) was made, reconsidered and made again before approval.

The initial appointment of Colameta to the EHA, a five-year term, was made in tandem with the reappointment of Rebecca Edmondson Korom to the Zoning Board of Appeals for three years, the reappointment of Derek Shooster as an Associate Member to the Zoning Board of Appeals for three years and the reappointment of James Booker to the Disability Commission for three years, but the question of where Colameta lives came up. Every committee requires residency in Everett or ownership of property, except the Housing and Redevelopment Authorities, which require residency. “There’s a lot of speculation you don’t live in Everett,” Ward 6 Councillor Peter Pierantonio told him.

After a motion for the reappointments was made by Ward 3 Councillor Anthony DiPierro, Councilor-at-Large Guerline Alcy Jabouin asked if the potential re-appointees should be required to prove their residency. Council President Robert Van Campen told her that the question motioned and seconded was on the reappointments only, not other considerations, but joined her in dissenting against the appointments. “We should get in the habit of having people come before us if we’re going to appoint them,” he feels. “For the ZBA, I want to understand their views on development.”

DiPierro then expressed a willingness to withdraw the motion through reconsideration, which was unanimously approved. At that point, someone noticed that Colameta was in the chambers and he was called to testify as to his residency. Having moved around in Everett, he said, “I understand the confusion on that, but I’m on Windsor Street and intend to stay there.”

Colameta was reappointed, but the other councillors hope to meet going forward with individuals who are up for appointments and reappointments by the Subcommittee on Legislative Affairs.

With respect to housing, the Council approved an item submitted by Jabouin for “a formal communication to be sent to the director of the EHA, their Board of Directors and the Mayor for consideration of creating a program to subsidize air conditioners for Glendale Towers and other EHA properties.” “I support this,” Ward 1 Councillor Wayne Matewsky said. “The building has become hot. When it first opened up, fans did the trick, but now apartments can reach 100 degrees. In a couple of apartments I went into, it was a sad situation. The Administration and the EHA should take appropriate steps to improve the quality of life there.”

Councilor-at-Large Katy Rogers, who was named a cosponsor, added that only the first floor of the building has air conditioning – and the apartments do not. In the summer, the lobby is filled with residents who cool off to avoid the sweltering heat in their individual units.

In other matters, the members agreed with a proposal by Rogers to install signage in Ward 3 and other affected areas about the presence of coyotes. “Coyotes are typically shy, avoid people and tend to be more afraid of us than we are of them,” she said. “They are crucial in controlling the rat population, but when they have access to human food and trash they adapt to urban neighborhoods.”

She suggested people not feed coyotes, keep their trash and compost in inaccessible bins, landscape their property to eliminate possible habitats and use hazing techniques, such as making noise, to scare them away. She’s also identified areas where coyotes are most often found, mainly in Ward 3 near the hospital and cemeteries, but also in Ward 6. As a result, DiPierro was named a cosponsor of the measure, as was Councillor-at-Large Stephanie Martins.

The Council also forwarded an item introduced by DiPierro and Matewsky to the administration calling for repaving Thorndike Street because members of the Sikh Sangat Gurdwara temple community on Thorndike have requested repairs numerous times. Temple director Balwinder Gill mentioned the issue in Public Participation.

Van Campen was pleased with how things went in his first business meeting as president. “It went well,” he said. “I want to congratulate my fellow freshmen on their first regular meeting and look forward to working with them and our returning members to continue moving the city forward.”

The January 8 meeting had only one agenda item: election of a president.

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