By Dan Rizzo
In all campaigns for public office, voters make comparisons between candidates and evaluate the political strengths and weaknesses of the candidates before they make their final decision as to which candidate they will cast their vote for.
When I served as Mayor of the City of Revere, in addition to the many improvements that we made across our city, which included a new Hill Elementary School, a new Harry Della Russo Stadium Complex, and investments in storefronts and infrastructure on Broadway, I also proposed an Apartment Building Moratorium, which would have prevented massive apartment overdevelopment in the City of Revere. Unfortunately, the City Council did not vote to approve it, and the result is what we see today. Growth is good – but only if it is “controlled” measured growth.
When a new Mayor of Revere was elected eight years ago, Patrick Keefe became a new member of the City Council. Together, Councilor Keefe and the administration embarked upon a massive citywide apartment development program, approving and permitting 40 new apartment buildings, totaling 3,000 new units.
In addition, Patrick Keefe voted to approve the Suffolk Downs Overlay District making way for the huge 4,000 apartment unit mixed use project presently under construction. He voted on this without imposing any significant development conditions or restrictions on the developer. I was proud to be the sole “no” vote due to the city’s lack of mitigation and planning. Had we done so, we could have controlled the conditions of the proposed Bio-Lab, addressed affordable housing and job training, and limited the number of vehicles by limiting the number of units projected to travel in and out of the site, now said to be 32,000 at full build out. There is no doubt in my mind that we will experience catastrophic traffic congestion problems unless we enter into serious discussions – NOW.
With regards to mitigation, if you compare what was agreed to with regards to Revere and East Boston, it’s not even close. The City of Boston imposed major conditions and will be receiving substantial mitigation from the developer for their portion of the project.
And, as if that’s not enough, another 296 apartment units are now nearing completion in the Point of Pines, and last month, ground was broken for nearly 400 new apartment units along Revere Beach Boulevard!
As the Ward 4 Councilor, Patrick Keefe supported and voted for knocking down a three-family home to construct a new three-story mixed-use development consisting of twenty-two residential micro-units and four commercial units – built lot line to lot line! If he can support something like this in his neighborhood, what will this mean to your neighborhood should he be elected?
Unless we choose a different direction, there is little doubt that what we see today will continue into the future.
The key question that all voters must ask themselves now is whether they want to elect an experienced leader whose accomplishments have benefited the residents of Revere, and whose focus will be on how to make our schools better, our neighborhoods safer, and our taxes more affordable; or, whether to elect a candidate like Patrick Keefe, who continues to demonstrate that he puts the interests of the wealthy apartment developers ahead of the interest of all of the residents of Revere. We’ve said this from the beginning of our campaign – it’s YOUR vote; it’s OUR future.
(Dan Rizzo is a current councillor-at-large and candidate for mayor.)