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Laskey responds to Bucci's statements on Boston.com

Posted by Travis Andersen  July 23, 2009 11:15 AM

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The following is a press release from George Laskey, who has announced plans to challenge Ward 8 Councilor Judith Bucci for her seat in November.

Get the Facts

To quote the current Ward 8 Councilor Bucci said, “That while she never held a ward meeting on the trash fee she discussed the plan with many constituents.”

When I’m elected in the fall, I will have regular Ward meetings to discuss issues that affect the residents. When programs such as the Pay as You Throw or any other one that affects the people’s wallets of my ward needs to have a discussion it will be open to all and not a select few.

I also want to state it’s a tax, not a fee, as it balances the general fund budget. She also states for the article that she’s a member of the city’s Finance Committee and while it’s admirable to stand by her vote which she states in the article is a fair solution to last year’s budget revenue shortfall. I would assume she knows that the trash tax bag lost one million dollars this past year? So, how did that help the budget? And services and people were not cut.

Councilor Bucci’s statement: “that the residents were able to watch the budget deliberations –which included the trash fee proposal-in June of 2008.”

While I agree with her statement, however, other than this year when there was a taxpayers group that attends all of the meetings. The attendance over the years by the voters has been sparse and we can’t watch the meetings she describes on public access television as they are subcommittee and not recorded for us to watch.

Bucci questions, “If it wasn’t pay-as-you-throw, then what was it going to be?”

I stand by my earlier statement that the ward must have some form of notification and a meeting to discuss a situation as important as this one has become. If there was proper research into the PAYT then we would follow State guidelines to eliminate the perception of a tax. Which, in my opinion we didn’t do. We also took a lot of money from resources that support the elderly, disabled and low income residents of the ward. Could that money go to other causes that affect these groups?

What was it going to be?

Maybe the Councilor should speak with our neighbors in Everett and ask them how they like an alternative program to PAYT which is Recycle Bank. I have more suggestions, but, I’d like to go out to the ward and discuss them with the resident’s of Ward 8 before I make them public.

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11 comments so far...
  1. I feel the need to correct a misunderstanding you stated. PAYT is a fee, not a tax. You can't opt out of taxes, but you can opt out of fees. Last I checked, we weren't required by law to use town service for our trash. If you don't like PAYT, you're free to use a private service, haul your own trash, etc. If you don't like paying you're taxes, you aren't able to opt out and not use town roads/police/fire/etc.

    Your argument is also missing the intrinsic value of PAYT. In this day and age the citizens of Malden care about equity and environment in addition to saving money. Since the inception of PAYT our town has reduced the trash we dispose of by over 30% and increased recycling by over 25%. Every pound of trash diverted is money back in the town coffers that can be used for teachers, police, parks, etc.

    It is really disappointing for me as a resident to see candidates rail so hard against such a great, fair, environmentally and fiscally responsible program. Find another issue to take Bucci to task over, the people of Malden support saving the environment and money.

    Posted by Dan Weisman July 23, 09 02:39 PM
  1. George: Nice article! Let's get the involvement of the people in the community when it affects the people, not after the fact. There's even Single Stream which gives people a 30 gallon trash receptacle "FREE". Haverhill has this method of waste program. There are so many trash programs and why the residents didn't have a say in the matter only proves we will not be holding to something being thrown down our throats and told "to do this or else". This is a democracy not socialism! This is a tax, not a fee!

    Posted by KaysieMae July 23, 09 02:57 PM
  1. Dan Weisman, I feel that you skip a number of facts about the PAYT that are very important ones and want to spread scare tactics throughout the community:

    Get the facts

    •At any given time the City Council can change, amend, modify, place a timeline and or eliminate any Ordinance in the City’s Charter.

    •It is a lot easier to come up with a solution that is best for the State and City Hall. Did they ever mention what was best for the people?

    •Future revenue increasing programs like PAYT that will encourage additional taxes through pay go systems.

    •Why didn’t our City Government offer to show us the PAYT program last spring? They had it implemented with the Commercial entities in our city since the year 2000. Why did they hide it from us until its last minute passage last June? The media to the best of our knowledge never mention before it's passage.

    What the Council and Administration conveniently forget to tell you about the PAYT.


    •They never engage the community and under State guidelines this would have eliminated the perception of a tax.

    •To balance a budget- this isn’t the intent of the PAYT. It’s to promote the recycle efforts of the community, which the MTFA supports. It still lost a million dollars!

    •Provide financial relief for the elderly, disabled and other protected classes of people in the City. A former Mayor believes like we do that it was done after the fact.

    We've never waiver from our original positions, which are:

    To have our voices be heard.

    To support the recycle efforts of the community.

    To advocate that the blue trash bag is an override of Proposition 2 1/2.

    Dan, you can't have it both ways-balance a budget and then opt out if you don't want to participate in it.

    Note- we can't support either candidate, but when there needs to be facts given on this topic we will give them to the voters. We'll see everyone at the polls on November 3, 2009.


    MTFA
    781-480-3320

    Posted by Bob Miller July 23, 09 07:02 PM
  1. Dan Weisman-----I have to also ask you how losing a million dollars on the PAYT is fiscally responsible? Also, there's an opinion on the Council it's going to lose another half a million dollars. I know what you're getting at-if we weren't here the tax bags would have gone up a dollar or two TO MAKE IT what you write about.

    I thinkk this post by Dan C sums up the PAYT, I think if you gave your side and we gave ours. People could make up their mind about the tax.....err ummh fe....TAX.

    Read on:

    You just have to remember the meetings Mayor Howard had AFTER they passed the ordinance: We asked him to explain why they put this program in place and he said, "It's to generate revenue." He NEVER said its about increased recycling, reduced waste. He just repeatedly told us that its about making money. Well, it hasn't.

    Now all he will do is threaten layoffs if we pull the plug instead of finding real solutions. That's a joke. Since the program is losing money shouldn't we save money by shutting it down? He can't balance the budget to begin with, puts a half backed PAYT program in which loses money, and says the only way to fix it is to fire people? Fire yourself mayor. We can't afford your 'solutions' anymore.

    Also, the waste numbers are down, but trash doesn't evaporate. If you do the math, the increased recycling doesn't balance the decrease in waste. The difference is hhundreds of tons of missing trash. I know where it is because I see it dumped on the sides of the roads and in the woods when I go jogging.

    There are plenty of studies available on towns and cities that have done this the right way. The #1 ingredient for success is community outreach. Malden has done it all wrong. The mayor and council have had ample opportunity to turn it around. I've made several suggestions to Councilor Nestor. Nothing has changed. They won't fix it. They won't admit its failed. The only way to fix it is to end it.

    Posted by Bob Miller July 23, 09 07:27 PM
  1. Here is what the average citizen needs to wake up and understand. If they do not come out in droves to vote PAYT down they will have given the Council the license to continue acting in the manner in which we got this. NEXT UP will be the meals tax which the state just allowed communities to add a local charge on. After that is done they will be back to raise the bag fee as it does not cover all the trash costs yet. Do not doubt this as the Councillors who voted for this will have no problem voting for more fees and taxes if the voters are complacent and stay home and quite frankly they should be. Prediction, most Malden voters will sit on there Ahse's because they do not feel as if they can do anything. For once we have a chance to actually be heard please vote and send a message.

    Posted by Muckracker July 24, 09 11:20 AM
  1. Mr Laskey....will you close the Revere fire station that Malden uses, and re open the Linden station that has sat empty for twenty years???? it is in Malden (LINDEN)...unlike the Revere quarry station....if you can, unlike others before you...you will get me and my neighbors vote!
    Mike H
    Plainfield ave

    LINDEN

    Posted by Mike July 24, 09 12:10 PM
  1. That's right! Good summary, Muckracker. Malden residents will have to turn out in record numbers at the polls this NOV. 3rd in order to get one third of the registered voters to vote against the PAYT trash bag tax. According to Bob Miller, that's about 9,000 voters and according to an ordinance dating back to the 1950's. This message has to get out to every Malden registered voter. You, as a reader here, can make this happen. Spread the word and be a messenger to tell everyone you know from Malden, who is a relative, friend or neighbor to VOTE against the PAYT trash bag tax. This is our chance to show not only Malden government, but other communities and the state DEP that residents can make change by voting. LOUD and CLEAR - VOTE on NOVEMBER 3. Make sure all registered family members go to vote, take a neighbor or a senior with you to the polls, or get someone new to this city registered to vote. The PAYT program lost money this year - they lost over one million dollars in revenue they expected to get. How can this be a good program? Find out how your Ward Councilor voted last year for the PAYT and make a better choice for a candidate. Let's face it, the City only offered a smaller bag for $1 and offered bags to low income, seniors, and disadvantaged. There could have been other amendments made through this past year of city sessions but there were none. They knew it lost money and yet they kept it in to be a ballot question. For more information on how you can help, visit www.maldentax.com and view articles and blogs about the Trash Bag TAX, just a Proposition 2 1/2 override. What will it be next?

    Posted by KaysieMae July 24, 09 10:32 PM
  1. Here is a good question? Bob Miller, why don't you just take office? You seem to always have the answers and a post for every section of the newspaper. Why not take office and put everything you have to say to some good use for the city?

    Posted by HavocLeashed July 26, 09 04:59 AM
  1. I have no problem with PAYT... why?... I am helping the environment and doing something good for future generations. No overloading the landfills... for Malden, the sidewalks are neat ... and keeping safety personnel in place. I have not seen illegal dumping as originally thought. Any incidence that I was made aware of there was IMMEDIATE RESPONSE from DPW. .. good job guys, I have faith in my city workers... Actually, I see less illegal on the streets, neighborhood and community than before.

    Posted by Marilyn July 26, 09 02:21 PM
  1. I have been a resident of Linden for 50 years and take pride in my neighborhood, and support Councillor Bucci. So George, where have you been?

    For the record I have attended multiple meetings that Councillor Bucci has held at the LInden School and the community room. Flyers were dropped throught the ward. I know this because I volunteered to drop the flyers off in your area.

    I am on her email group (here it is ward8info@yahoo.com ) and word of mouth from other residents also get the notices out. Just to state the topics were asking for resident feedback and needs, safety related to drug activities, cross walks, stop signs, sidewalks, vandelism. We have met with the Malden Police on 2 seperate meetings... and we were thankful for the bust on Revere Street recently. Did you know that this was a key topic she brought residents to talk about with the Malden Police??

    She is doing a good job in my opinion, I will continue to support her
    Jonathan

    Posted by Jonathon July 26, 09 02:48 PM
  1. Havoc---thanks for the endorsement but I made promises to many people that I didn't start the MTFA to run for any office in 2009. That would make me no better than the elected officials that took the easy way out and implement the PAYT last June-without following state guidelines which want the city to contact the community---first before they pass it and make it a law. Also, there's like two days left to get on the ballot and there are many candidates that already have support, fundraisers and people in place to run a effective campaign.......wait, that's what we've been doing for nearly 14 months with the trash bag tax....

    I also realize that politics is a contact sport, but, I can't stand a leader of a cause running for an office when the issue they start hasn't been decided by the electorate--it's corrupting just like in my opinion the system that we're in now in our city. But, if you have a seat in mind for me in the next few years i'd be more than willing to listen to you and anyone else. Heck, why don't you write me on the ballot for the seat (s) that you think I'm qualified for.....it worked for two councilors this year!

    Marilyn---get all the facts as your opinion matters just open your mind to all the information....

    Posted by Bob Miller July 26, 09 08:16 PM