Raymond V. Mariano
As legendary Boston Celtic announcer Johnny Most might say, “This thing is a rock fight.”
It all started with challenger Richard Cipro and his supporters accusing incumbent Sean Rose of wanting to fund the police department, of missing important neighborhood meetings and of being a day late and a dollar short on a series. neighborhood problems. Cipro hit Rose hard and repeatedly.
After Cipro came first in the preliminary elections, Rose decided to fight back. In essence, he called Cipro a liar for twisting his record and called him a “Trump” candidate.
Seeking her third term, Rose is a low-key and unassuming consensus builder. He sees his greatest strength in his ability to bring people together.
The knock on Rose is that he moves too slowly and speaks too softly – that he’s hesitant to challenge the city administration to do more or do it differently. From my point of view, this criticism is justified.
However, if it is fair to blame it for moving too slowly, there is no denying that jet skis would still speed up on Indian Lake and that Duffy Field would be heading for a major renovation – unwanted by neighborhood residents – if Rose did not intervene and led the city council.
Rose is particularly proud of her efforts to fund parks, playgrounds and library branches in the region. He said he was working to ensure a balance of attention throughout the district – where no neighborhood is given priority treatment over another.
Rose was also involved in an effort to launch a speed bump pilot program to address a growing number of speeding complaints in neighborhoods where young children play.
And Rose helped organize the painting of the words “Black Lives Matters” on Major Taylor Boulevard outside the DCU Center.
Cipro and his supporters have attempted to portray Rose as supporting the “defund” of the police movement. But, Rose rightly points out that he has never voted to cut the police budget and has no intention of doing so.
On the issue of police reform, Rose supported the use of body cameras, the removal of police officers from schools and the city manager’s comprehensive reform recommendations. But, he did not come out from behind the manager’s recommendations to propose one of his own.
Cipro has an impressive professional background. A police sergeant and a colonel of the national guard; he made two tours in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Following the January 6 uprising, Cipro was sent to Washington DC to serve for four months as the chief of staff to the general commanding the US Capitol Security Task Force.
On its campaign website, Cipro lists four main issues it wants to focus on. He strongly criticizes what he says is the city’s lack of coordination and accountability for agencies dealing with opioid addiction, mental illness and homelessness. He also criticizes the city’s recycling programs, particularly the new bins with lids preferring a larger bin.
Cipro advocates a lower tax rate for homeowners and businesses. But when I asked him how he could do both, he didn’t get a real answer.
Often times, the performance of an incumbent in office can be the focus of the campaign – and it was in the beginning. But for the final election, the focus shifted to the challenger.
In the prelims, Rose gave way to Cipro and Cipro responded by pounding Rose as anti-police and asleep at the switch. Now Rose has turned the tables and made Cipro the target. In press statements and a soon-to-be-published direct mail article, Rose lashes out at Cipro by pointing out what he considers to be deliberate misrepresentation – lies.
When it comes to the police service, Cipro admits that state law prohibits him from voting on anything related to the police service, including body cameras, police reform, the police budget or even the Shot Spotter Connect program. He also now admits that he cannot speak to his colleagues at the town hall about police matters.
In addition, a 1993 State Ethics Commission opinion appears to indicate that Cipro, due to his position in the police department, could not take any action relating to the employment of the city manager.
The district and city council need a strong, frank voice, ready to challenge the city administration on occasion – this is not Sean Rose. While Rose has a list of accomplishments to brag about, he rarely shakes the boat, preferring to build consensus slowly.
Conversely, Richard Cipro is probably someone who won’t hesitate to say what he thinks. He has the experience to understand the mechanisms of local government and the tenacity to speak out when needed.
But Cipro crossed the line in his misrepresentation about Rose’s position – and he has done so repeatedly and knowingly.
During the preliminaries and until he is called by Rose, Cipro has also distorted his ability to deal with issues related to the police and on issues such as local taxes he tries to have it both ways.
In addition, his association with the union’s Facebook page, which enabled a number of posts that many considered blatantly racist, is troubling. Cipro said the union did not regularly monitor positions and only recently implemented a policy requiring all new positions to be approved before being posted. It should have been done much earlier and not in the final weeks of a political campaign.
Rose might not be a dynamic voice, but for his straightforwardness and efficiency – even measured – he’s the top pick in District 1.
Email Raymond V. Mariano at email@example.com. He served four terms as mayor of Worcester and previously served on city council and school committee. He grew up in Great Brook Valley and graduated from Worcester State College and Clark University. He was most recently Executive Director of the Worcester Housing Authority. His column appears weekly in the Sunday Telegram.