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City Council takes issue with wording of Diversity Resolution

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  In an effort to alleviate the racial tension gripping the city, Ward 2 Councillor Stephanie Martins and Ward 5 Councillor Vivian Nguyen cosponsored a Resolution intended to condemn racism and promote diversity. However, Councillor-at-Large Michael Marchese took offense after seeing his name in the Resolution. That section read: “Several recent social media posts by Councilor Marchese have surfaced reflecting racist, misogynist, transphobic messages, some of which include a historically dehumanizing portrayal of Vice President Kamala Harris and undocumented immigrants.”

  Marchese responded vigorously to Martins. “To throw this cheap crap at me, you should be ashamed of yourself,” he said during the March 28 meeting. “Pat yourself on the back; you became part of nothing.”

  Marchese also said the original Resolution was “totally different” than the Resolution that was presented during the meeting. “It’s a real cheap shot,” he said. “If you had an issue with this, you could’ve come talk to me, but you didn’t; you circumvented it. This doesn’t solve anything about division in the city.”

  Marchese also accused Martins of creating friction with former Councillor-at-Large Gerly Adrien, who is of Haitian descent, and most recently with Ward 4 Councillor Jimmy Tri Le, who is of Asian descent.

  However, Martins maintained that she was proud to co-sponsor the Resolution. “The most disgraceful thing we have in this city is the fact that people are unable to listen to the people of color who are speaking,” she said.

  Nguyen defended the Resolution, which also identified Ward 3 Councillor Anthony DiPierro by name. “For years, people of color have been speaking on racism and it hasn’t been taken seriously,” she said.

  In addition, Nguyen said DiPierro and Marchese both needed to be identified in the Resolution. “I don’t consider Councillor Marchese’s posts as a diversion from Councillor DiPierro’s messages at all,” she said. “It just highlights how we ignore racism until it’s relevant.”

  Ward 1 Councillor Wayne Matewsky took issue with the section that read: “We commit to completing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training as recommended by the Human Resources Department, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and the Diversity, Equity, and Equal Opportunity Employment Commission within the next 6 months, and to learn and adopt restorative justice practices in policy.”

  In his response, Matewsky said diversity training is not necessary. “I don’t need any charm school to learn how to be a nice person,” he said. “That’s what this is saying.”

  Matewsky also said that 90 percent of Everett’s Haitian population voted for him when he ran for state representative. “We need to be mature about the whole affair; this is getting a little out of hand,” he said.

  Councillor-at-Large Richard Dell Isola said a diversity course certainly has merit. “It’s never too late to train. I take a course every year at work,” he said.

Preliminary Capital Improvement Plan

  In other news, Chief Financial Officer Eric Demas presented the City of Everett’s preliminary Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for fiscal year 2023. The current total for this year’s CIP is $25.2 million; however, other line items are still being discussed. “We’re still pulling together a lot of information,” said Demas. “The CIP is an integral part of the complete budget process.”

  Some of the proposed capital equipment purchases are new vehicles and equipment for the Fire and Police Departments, replacing City Services vehicles, replacing the city’s IT systems and replacing Inspectional Services vehicles. This year, $405,000 is being requested for vehicle and equipment purchases. Last year’s allocation totaled $1.3 million.

  The funding request to renovate parks and open space has increased by $400,000, bringing that line item to $4 million. Although no allocation was reported for last year, $10.8 million is being requested this year for public buildings and facilities. There is also a $10 million request to fund road and sidewalk repairs, representing a $1.5 million increase. The city is expecting $650,000 from the state in Chapter 90 funding.

  The CIP also identified 10 capital projects. Some of them are the design and construction of a new police station, renovating the Connolly Center, replacing elevators at Everett High School and improvements to the Commercial Triangle.

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