It probably seemed like it should have been a slam dunk of a motion when Ward 5 Councillor Al Fiore sought to honor the first two women elected as ward councillors and the first female at-large councillor with their portraits in City Hall’s City Council Chambers. But a flurry of substitute motions and amendments detailing just how many and which councillors should get their portraits raised forced City Council President Gerry Visconti to send the motion to subcommittee for further discussion.
Fiore’s original motion requested the installation of portraits of Ward 1 Councillor Rita Singer and Ward 3 Councillor Elvira “Vera” Curcio – both elected in 1975 – and Councillor-at-Large Linda Santos Rosa, the first woman councillor elected citywide in 1987. “I was first elected here 31 years ago, and I looked at all my colleagues on the wall – Mayor Colella, Mayor Reinstein, Councillor DelGrosso – I served with them all and I’m wondering where all the women are,” said Fiore. “I didn’t know Vera Curcio, but she was quite a trailblazer. When I first came into the Chamber, I didn’t realize I was serving with trailblazers like Linda Rosa and Rita Singer.”
Fiore said he believes the photos of the women City Council trailblazers should be raised in recognition of Women’s History Month.
Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky noted that there have been women elected to the council in other wards, but Fiore said he was trying to honor those who were elected first on the ward and at-large levels. Councillor-at-Large Marc Silvestri offered a substitute motion to honor the youngest female elected to the council, current State Representative Jessica Ann Giannino. Councillor-at-Large Steven Morabito said the motion should be amended to include the first female councillor from any ward in the city, in addition to the names put forward by Fiore and Silvestri.
Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna pointed out that her colleagues might be stretching the honor a little too thin. “I think you should put Joanne McKenna as the oldest woman councillor and the only woman councillor. How about that?” she said. “No, I really think that we should just keep with the motion; I think it is a great motion and we’re just going to water it down.”
Fiore said the intent of his motion is to recognize trailblazers and the first people elected to the City Council. “I don’t want to vote against my own motion,” he said. “Everyone is well intended, but I’m in a tough spot now.”
Novoselsky also noted that Cathy Penn was the first female City Council President.
After several more attempts at substitute and amended motions, Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe stated that if councillors want to introduce a substitute motion, they can easily review the City Council packets and submit them prior to the meetings on Monday or speak to the maker of the original motion. “The decorum of the council – it’s only March – I request that we all take a look at ourselves, and me included, and really respect the council decorum and how we project ourselves to the public of Revere, to our constituents,” said Keefe. “We’re really acting unprofessionally. I’m just asking that we have these conversations in advance so that – political banter is one thing – but we are just jumping on top of one another; this is nuts.”
After Visconti called for a vote on Fiore’s original motion, Fiore requested that his motion be sent to committee. “Why don’t we decide who we want to recognize, because it was well intended,” said Fiore.
Visconti agreed that the motion was well intended and agreed to move it to the Legislative Affairs Subcommittee.