My notes from the Councilor at-large Debate from Monday, October 24th, 2011. Candidate Buzzy Barton was not present.
One week ago, Candidates were given a number of questions that would be asked and will have 1 minute to give an answer.
Please remember these are my NOTES, not meant to be their words, but simply what I heard. I can't stand some of these folks, but try to be fair and honest about what was said. But as I always say, don't take my word for it. Go listen for yourself at lynnhappens.com
Commentary on the election as well as endorsements from downtownlynn.com will be available this weekend right here on this blog. I'm not going to tell you who not to vote for, but I will tell you who to vote for. If you only like 1 or 2 candidates, only check one or two boxes. Period.
Please stay tuned.
Tim Phelan - Lifelong Lynn resident, family has been in Lynn since the early 1800s, son daughter, wife, attorney - have been a member of the Lynn School Committee, wife and sister are teachers in Lynn. Dedicated to City of Lynn. Not afraid to stand up and take a position that he believes in. Not afraid to say something that will offend somebody. He'll never sit on the bench, you will always know where he stand
Robert Clay Wlash - running because he believes the city is in need of someone new. Born in Lynn, MA. After work in the dot com industry, he decided to work for Walsh's Oil Company. Through delivering oil got to know many of the residents of Lynn and their issues. Worked on the waterfront as a youth. With the cities focus on the waterfront plan, it is important we have a councilor who is familiar with the waterfront and has opinions and experience.
Steve Duffy - He says he is the candidate that has the most in common with all of us watching. He has a small electrical business for 4 generations. He hopes he can come across as just, the only difference between anyone out in the audience and Steve Duffy is that he puts his name on a bumper sticker.
Miguel Funez - From honduras, came to Lynn in 1993. Moved here with wife and two kids, kids are now in college. He sees the city changing and becoming more diverse.
Hong Net - Born in Cambodia and came over to the United States. Went to high school and graduated from UMass with a degree in Political Science. After college he worked with a non-profit back in Cambodia working to build back their government in areas such as education, job creation, and tourism. Has taught immmigration and citizenship classes. Has worked with the Health Center to help young children stay away from drugs.
Paul Crowley - He served three terms on the Lynn City Council. Accounting degree from Northeastern. Exec. Director of Greater Lynn Senior Services. Born on Green Street. His first girlfriend grew up just a few blocks from here. He brings to the table a deep committment to this city and a strong background in finance, accounting, and management.
Dan Cahill - Great to be hear in the Highlands. He remembers playing basketball here as a kid. Important to have these forums. Been a pleasure to debate amongst these candidates all of which has worked tirelessly. Live in Lynn, went to public school. Is an attorney. Just had first child several weeks ago so he's vested in the City of Lynn.
Question 1 - What do you believe to be the top issue facing the highlands and how do you propose to address the issue?
Phelan - The single most important issue is crime, public safety. We need to put more police oficers on the street. Need to increase the commmunity policiing. We need to increase the commercial tax base to increase tax revenue so we'll have the funding to do that.
Walsh - The top issue for Ward 4 is the pride and perception of Ward 4. Important as we move forward in the future to highlight the wonderful things about Ward 4. High Rock Tower, Lynn Shore Drive, Red Rock Park. Light up High Rock Tower like the Zakim Bridge. Get private funding for this. Wonderful that we have a community school, a garden, and the Highlands Coalition. All of this needs to be highlighted to help with the perception and pride of Ward 4.
Duffy - Walking around Ward 4 the last few weeks, the most concerning thing he's heard is the lack of ability to communicate with City Hall and politicians. When you go to City Hall there is nobody there that can understand what your needs are or how to go about helping you.
Funez - Unemployment and Foreclosures - No one is stepping forward to help the residents. He has experience working with the banks. Train those who are losing their jobs. We need to work on these two issues.
Net - It appears that public safety is the issue for Ward 4. We have so many abandoned homes in Ward 4 that are breeding grounds for crime. However, Highlands are becoming a model. Salem was here recently for advice on how to get community involvement going in their city. Information sharing throughout the city on what's working in the Highlands is needed.
Crowley - public safety is a concern. Like to point out what he's done in the past for Ward 4. In foreclosure area, Crowley met with housing authority and departments in the city of lynn. Made it a a requirement to register the foreclosed property and pay $350 per year and tell us who is managing the property and allows us to use those funds to manage those properties
Cahill - Seems there are common threads across the city - public safety, good jobs, good education - need to start looking at the city as a whole. For Ward 4, we need to get voting back to the higlands. Want to see more accesibility to voting to all areas of the city by making some investments to make this happen.
Question 2 (Yes or No) Would you vote to hire youth in Summer Job Programs through a lottery system?
Moderator comments - There are some teens in Lynn who have received summer job opportunities multiple times while others have received none.
Phelan - Yes
Walsh - Yes
Duffy - Yes
Funez - Yes
Net - Yes
Crowley - Yes
Cahill - Yes
Question 3 (Yes or No) Would you sign a pledge to restore voting at the Ford School?
Moderator comments - After voting stopped at the Ford School, voter turnout significantly dropped off in Ward 4.
Phelan - If the School's Compliant with the America's Disability Act
Walsh - Yes
Duffy - Yes
Funez - Yes
Net - Yes
Crowley - Maybe
Question 4 (to incumbents only) - Cite an example of a measure that you introduced to better our city. What challenges did this proposal face?
Crowley - (continuing from his last question) Force the banks to keep properties up and develop a fund using those fees to diminish the potential impact of blight on the neighborhoods. Move through the foreclosure process without decreasing property value.
Cahill - Trying to reduce people's alarms - businesses, car, home alarms - police having to go to these places over and over again. Dangerous when so many false alarms are taking away our fire and police from real emergencies as they must respond to every alarm to ensure it's not real this time. He put together a small measure that is having great success.
Phelan - This past year the head of the Lynn Restaurant Association started making incquiries into where he could put a strip club in the City of Lynn. Put together an ordinance that prohibits strip clubs coming into the city of Lynn. Caught a lot of heat for it from people in the Restaurant Assocaitions. Wrong message to send that show the morals of our city. Someone wants to go to a strip club, they can go to another city and not to the city of lynn.
Duffy - Buildings issue. Worked with Inspectional Services over the last few weeks in order to change the way we do business with the exterminator. Proposing to put on two full time exterminators, put on through the year and get a handle on this problem many neighborhoods in Lynn are facing.
Question 5 (to challengers only ) What is your top issue as a new candidate?
Walsh - Encourage new businesses to come to Lynn so we can provide jobs and create tax revenue. Solutions suggested is to create simplified guides to those who come to city hall. We need to expand the features of our website to do more online. Suggested forming a cabinet between department heads and local business leaders. Freeze the commercial tax rate.
Funez - One problem we have in Lynn that is concerning is the youth population. What are we doing to educate our youth? Create jobs for them and keep them occupied. Reduce the crime as when they reach 17, 18 years old they will be in the workforce and not on the streets.
Net - Unify Lynn - Want to work to empower residents to clean up our neighborhoods, share information, and participate in our government and our city. Would bring neighborhood crime watches and involve local police. Want to promote trust in our community. Vast experience doing this in Cambodia.
CAHILL - The residents make the city. That is the focus. With him, his decision making process, is after having conversations with people. We have a city that has some great infrastucutre. Sometimes we focus too much on the negative, our own worst enemy. We need to work together and make this city a great place. Make sure the young people do want to raise their families here.
CROWLEY - Thank you to Dr. Crane and the Higlands Coalition and to all the candidates here tonight. In closing, Would like to say that he deeply cares about this city. It shows on a daily basis. Very capable in respect to finance and accounting and works to help make decisions that help this community.
NET - From listening to people I have seen Lynn pride in action. Lots of sub-cultures, talents in this city. I believe we can make huge strides if we find ways to promote community engagement with the government. He will continue to listen and learn from everyone to make Lynn a better place
FUNEZ - The city is a growing city of deiverse people. We need to elect officials that will work with the Mayor. People who will listen to you and bring those issues back to city hall. He says he is that person. His job is to listen.
DUFFY - Thank you. One of the things that has always... ten years on the school committee... remember Dr. Crane came up with a proposal ( missed the name of it ) where she didn't give up, didn't reverse. Duffy enjoys working with people like that. With the willpower of the people in this room, you guys will make the difference, it won't be him. He promises to do the best in the best interest of everyone and he will not side with one group and he will be open minded.
WALSH - Everyone who knows him knows that he comes from a blue collar family. Growing up nothing came easy. Sympothizes with the struggles of the people of Lynn. However, believes Lynn is on the verge of a changing tide. If you have seen him working at K of C, Friend of Lynn Woods, or even on his own campaign you know how hard he works. Vision is to encourage new business, develop the waterfront. We can bring back business to lynn, create jobs, and increase tax revenue
PHELAN - He could talk about what the city council has accomplished, but he is not about what happened yesterday. Stop patting ourselves on the back and move forward. I don't want you to vote for me because you know me or know someone in my family. I don't want you to vote for me because you like my posters or my bumper stickers. I want you to vote for me because you think I'm qualified and you think I'm fair. If you don't, you shouldn't vote for me.