In response to a question from Linda Tyer about the Springside House in the first mayoral debate of the general election on 10/8/15, Mayor Daniel Bianchi grossly misrepresented the facts regarding the most recent work done on that project under his administration.
Mayor Bianchi extols the out-of-the-box thinking that lead to developing a way for local prison inmates to become trained and certified in removing lead paint.
“This way we can take fellas who are recidivists, who’ve visited that jail more than once, we’re training them in a trade that they can use when they get out, and we’re utilizing them.”
Sounds like a neat idea. The only trouble is that “we” never actually utilized them. The six weeks of training for the inmates, that no doubt took place, and will likely be a useful correctional tool for the mayor’s close political ally Sheriff Bowler.
FACT: At no time did any inmates perform lead paint removal on the Springside House. As confirmed by the head of the Department of Building and Maintenance in a meeting with the Ward 1 City Councilor and a representative from the Springside Park Conservancy planning committee on October 1, the work that was performed involved power washing the surface of the house by city workers.
So Mayor Bianchi’s statement “We trained them, they became de-lead certified, and then they worked on Springside House.” is FALSE, and cannot be supported with evidence, because it’s already been documented that the only work performed this year took place by city workers from the Department of Building & Maintenance.
Mayor Bianchi should be aware that this is the case, as he just met with staff members for an update on the Springside House on September 18.
He must also be aware then, that this recent work on the house that took place:
- Violated the very Preservation Restriction his own administration put forth and the council approved on the Springside House.
- Took place without any involvement or consulting of the Community Development Department, who have coordinated the development of the assessment, restoration action plan, and funding process for this redevelopment.
- Took place with no notification of the Mass Historical Commission which funded the assessment and is working with the city on the project moving forward.
- Bore no resemblance to the actual restoration plan outlined in the assessment plan that was developed and already partially allocated for, which the Dept. of Building & Maintenance has had a copy of for over a year. In fact directly conflicts with the specifications and directives outlined in that plan. [See example below]
- Ultimately served no purpose, other than to further deteriorate wood which it has been determined will all need to be removed and replaced. Numerous staff hours were wasted, that could have been allocated to other parks grounds keeping activities as well as additional staff time in meetings to determine where communication broke down between departments.
- Throughout the entire process the SP Conservancy committee that represents 5 different park and neighborhood organizations, and has worked closely with the Community Development deparment in securing the grant for its study and every aspect of the planning of its feasibility assessment and future re-use, as well as the Ward 1 city councilor, were almost completely in the dark as to what work was being done, other than cursory and inaccurate updates.
Every one of the above statements is a documented, provable fact.
-Joe Durwin, President, Springside Park Conservancy