Letters to the Editor

I believe this is an Amazing opportunity

Dear Editor:

Hello and thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell you how I feel about the situation with the police fire and teachers and if you choose to maybe put it in print. 

So here we go!

First off, I have to apologize for the missed opportunity to have the police and fire as well as school representatives, family and friends speak, that was a sad scenario, lesson learned that will never be repeated again. It is the right of the people to be heard and vent their frustrations, my deepest apologies!

I am a little confused by something, I had a meeting with the City manager and the figures he spoke to me about where nothing compared to what I heard on the council floor this evening. Look, all my bills have gone up, heck my life insurance went from $270 to $320, out of nowhere, So they cant expect things not to change for them even though they are changing for everyone else. Cost of living increases are a part of life.

I applaud our City Manager Tom Ambrosino for what he is trying to do with the insurance portion of the contract with the police fire and teachers union. The fact is that when you are in charge and are a person who cares, sometimes you have to make some unpopular decisions for the greater good.

As most of you know I am a Realtor and finance guy and I can tell you that the signs are all there, we know it, we see it coming but we choose not to make any changes until its right on top of us and then we realize it’s here and we are in dire straits, we want to blame everyone and everything else, I speak it because I live it as well, I know its hard to save for the future and that is exactly what our city manager wants to do, he wants to improve our savings for the future. So that when the market does turn for the worse, the impact on those accounts will be more manageable and the blow will be less aggressive. I heard someone tonight say ” its not like when things get bad we wont sit down to negotiate” well of course you have to sit down to renegotiate but wouldn’t it just be nicer to negotiate with a healthy account instead of an ailing one.

People are saying, yeah but there is a $7million dollar surplus and to them I say, when you have that surplus and then you divide that by hundreds and hundreds of active police, fire and teachers and then on top of that you add the retirees who are very much entitled to their benefits as well as the active, you realize that that amount is not very much when you take into consideration the fact that it takes approximately 7 – 10 years to recover from a market downturn and during that downturn you have foreclosures so no real estate taxes are being paid, excise taxes also take hits the overall revenue coming to cities and towns including aid from state and federal is reduced significantly. 

The reality of life is that if you start saving for a market collapse 2 years before the market downturn, you will survive approximately 6 months to a year of a long cycle. You start saving now with a strong surplus and when the market downturn happens, you are able to survive the initial drought while you strategize on survival skills from a strong position.

As I sat in the council meeting and I heard all of these stories of $500 to $1000 deductibles, my stomach turned, i could not afford that, so i completely sympathize with people and i too would be thinking as they are. I urge all of the people who are being affected by this to ask questions about what the options are because the options people spoke of where semi alien to me and what i heard and read where much much more favorable terms. 

I believe this is an Amazing opportunity to make history for the Unions and City Manager and be the first organizational group to start and do what has never really been done in a city and that would be consciously save aggressively in these more affluent times and solidify their legacy with the city as the reps who represented for the future and saved a lot of people a lot of heartache and pain from having a lack of  insurance, in the upcoming market crash, because the city simply didn’t have the funds!

In conclusion, I would like to thank THE MOST AMAZING GROUP OF DEDICATED FIRST RESPONDERS AND TEACHERS! The work you do is invaluable and none of us can ever repay you for having our backs the way you do, whether its FIRE, POLICE OR TEACHERS, We are LUCKY TO HAVE YOU!

These negotiations are just that negotiations, I would much rather the city be paying you LEBRON MONEY but tis not our reality.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart and may god guide your every step!

Luis Tejada District 2 Councilor Soldiers Home!

May is Mental health awareness month

Dear Editor:

In America today, approximately 45-47 million, or 1 out of 5 Americans, is suffering with a mental health issue; and approximately 1 in 25 adults is currently experiencing a serious mental illness that substantially interferes with one or more major life activities. Sadly, the rate of suicide is at a 30-year high. 

While more individuals are accessing care, an astounding 9 million are struggling with unmet needs.​These are our friends, colleagues, neighbors and perhaps our own family members. As CEO of the Arbour Hospital, my staff and I have the privilege of serving many members of our community who are experiencing some of the most challenging times of their lives – mental illnesses that are often invisible to the casual observer in ways that physical illnesses are not. 

May is Mental Health Awareness month, providing an important opportunity for reflection and collective action to address barriers, including the ongoing stigma and stereotypes preventing many individuals from getting the care they need. 

A recent poll of 1,000 Americans conducted by Research Now provides some noteworthy insights regarding perception and barriers. High percentages of respondents view mental health as equal in importance to physical health with illnesses like depression and anxiety cited among the top concerns, along with cancer and heart disease. The same poll identified barriers to care and different perspectives regarding value for physical and mental health where historically the latter wasn’t taken as seriously.​ 

The good news is that there is much hope – and today, positive outcomes are not only possible, they are experienced every day. Like chronic physical illness, mental illness can be diagnosed and effectively managed.  Individuals who were once in despair can regain their mental health and go on to live their best lives. This is highly rewarding and one reason I chose to work in this field.

What can we do within our communities to recognize the signs of mental health issues and assist those in need of care and treatment?

• Listen and show understanding: If you suspect a 1 one is struggling, offer to listen and encourage them to seek professional help.

•1Share the Lifeline number (800-273-TALK) – a 24/7, free and confidential support line. Military veterans may press ‘1’ for dedicated support. Suicide affects all demographics: different ages, races, ethnicities, sexual orientation and occupations.

•1In case of acute emergency, dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Suicide is often preventable when people at risk receive the support that they need.

• Our schools should encourage students to pursue careers in mental health fields, whether through nursing, medical or vocational programs. This is a growing field; we need the next generation of talented professionals. Arbour educational partners include Northeastern University, Roxbury Community College and Tufts School of medicine.

• Each of us can play a positive role to improve the lives of the millions of Americans suffering from mental health challenges, not just during this month, but every month in every community across the country.

Eric Kennedy, CEO

Arbour Hospital

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