Melrose Mayoral Forum: What We Learned About Candidates

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MELROSE, MA — The city's four Democratic candidates for mayor made their opening pitch to voters during a forum Wednesday night hosted by the Democratic City Committee. Aldermen-at-large Manisha Bewtra and Mike Zwirko, Director of Community Services and City Operations Jackie Lavender Bird and State Rep. Paul Brodeur sat in front of some 100 attendees at the Melrose Unitarian Universalist Church, answering a dozen questions about the present and future of Melrose.

The forum was the first and only scheduled opportunity for mayoral candidates to set themselves apart in such a manner through the preliminary election Sept. 17. The first open seat mayoral election for Melrose in 18 years will Nov. 5.

The four candidates who attended engaged in some friendly banter in an overall light atmosphere, but got serious when it came time for questions. The questions, which came from committee members and the public, ranged from addressing traffic (Brodeur had to take off his coat before tackling that one.) to what needs fixing at City Hall ("I won't listen!" Mayor Gail Infurna shouted to the candidates from the audience.) to affordable housing, overcrowded schools, crumbling public safety infrastructure, and more.

https://youtu.be/czqo4G4-VSo

How could City Hall be more transparent?

Brodeur said the city needs to be progressive about the budget being accessible and outward-facing to the public.

How would you address traffic issues and make streets safer?

Brodeur said Melrose needs to bring data and expertise to the specifics of the issue, and touted his relationships with state organizations such as the DCR which could help.



Melrose Mayoral Candidates Comment On Brazil Street Situation

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The core function of government is to help people. This isn't about inconvenience, it is a public health and a public safety issue. City Hall needs to do better.

City hall should be focused on ensuring safety, and communicating clearly and effectively to residents. Unfortunately, this hasn't occurred so far. As mayor, the buck stops here. I would make sure that our residents were safe, they knew what was happening as it was happening, and they would know that they could contact me at any time and get results.

I would work with the residents, their private insurance companies, city insurance providers and others to ensure that every possible resource was made available to secure the safety and comfort of these families.

A quick inspection to check off the boxes of basic human habitability is not enough. Families should not be in unsafe homes. I would not have them return until I would be comfortable with my own family living there.

Beyond working with the families, I would proactively work with the DPW in assessing and addressing any other potential issues throughout the city, to stop another episode before it happens.

Rep. Paul Brodeur To Run For Mayor Of Melrose

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MELROSE, MA — Democratic State Rep. Paul Brodeur has decided to run for mayor. "I'm running, and I'm excited about it," Brodeur told the the State House News Service on Wednesday. Brodeur, who hinted he may run for mayor at the end of 2018, is the second person to officially announce their candidacy. Alderman Manisha Bewtra last week announced she is running for mayor.

Brodeur, who was was reelected for his fifth term in November, waited until after the $5.18 million override passed Tuesday to announce his intentions. He said the override result was not going to impact his decision to run.

"It didn't depend on the result of the override," he told the New Service. "That's a great result for the city regardless of who takes office when Mayor [Gail] Infurna leaves, but I'm excited to do it. I love this job but there's something that's very alluring about the ability to go home and really focus on your community and try to help out and make some positive change in Melrose."

The field is expected to grow as no incumbent will be on the ballot. Infurna, who took over for Rob Dolan when he left to become Lynnfield's town administrator last year, said she will not run for reelection.

Brodeur represents Melrose and parts of Malden and Wakefield. He told the News Service he will continue to focus on the duties of his office.