Remembering robert haas jr.
When I was in high school, I was Bobby Haas’ babysitter. I always loved going to their house because his mother Jean made sure there were lots of snacks to share. And all the kids had their parents’ good nature. They did all their lives.
I knew Bob Sr. all my life. I remember when the five Haas boys came home from the service at the end of World War II, and poured renewed energy into the house diagonally across from mine. I was a little scared of all that energy sometimes, but never of Bob Sr. He was patient and kind to his little sister Frannie and her friends.
Bob Jr. grew up like his dad. They shared a commitment to service. When Bob Sr. retired, he showed up faithfully in any weather to his assignment as a crossing guard because he knew that the parents and kids depended on him. Bob Jr. had a bigger assignment, and he performed that service in faithful dedication to the City and its citizens throughout his public life.
And like his dad, Bob Jr. chose a wonderful woman to share his life with. Juanita has been a true partner in every sense, an admirable role model for our community.
Bob and I were not always in agreement on every issue. But four generations of our families have experienced joys and sorrows together, and we both valued that history.
The election of 1999 had been a difficult one, and a new mayor would be coming in. The Revere Public Schools had developed a proposal for building five new schools, one that would require a financial investment for the City to supplement the 90% reimbursement from the Commonwealth.
All along Bob had had reservations about the finances. But on a cold rainy day in December, I walked up to the mayor’s office to ask him to sign the proposal for submission. We talked about our hopes and dreams for the next generations; we talked about legacies. He signed the proposal.
I did not know then that he would be back to help the RPS through the actual process of building these five new schools. But as he was there for us as mayor in the very beginning, he as a City Councillor remained committed to the project through completion.
Now that’s a legacy.
The following letter was written and published in the Revere Journal in January 2000.
With the holidays behind us, and the transition of Revere’s leadership complete, I wanted the opportunity to express my thoughts on the previous and now current administrations.
I’m not going to discuss the tax rate, nor the water bill, nor anything that most people complain about.
My goal in writing this letter was to focus on a single word, ‘integrity.’
Webster’s Dictionary defines integrity as the: ‘quality or state of being of sound moral principle.”
In my opinion, it is this word that best describes Bob Haas and how he ran the city.
Sure, there was plenty of criticism levied against him, particularly toward the end of his tenure.
However, I’ll still ask the question: Is Revere a better city now than before Bob Haas became mayor?
I believe it is, and if you answer the question honestly, I think you will agree.
Now integrity doesn’t sound all that important until you remember the previous scandal ridden administrations.
It’s a sad commentary that a mayor should be commended for running a city ethically, but consider Revere’s history, that recognition for Bob Haas is well deserved.
To Mayor Haas, a sincere “thank you.”
Regardless of what others say, as a lifelong resident of this city, you made me proud to call Revere my home.
To Mayor Ambrosino, you and Bob Haas disagreed on many issues, but I hope integrity is something the two of you share.
On behalf of every citizen in this city, please don’t ever give us a reason to doubt it.
If only more politicians would hold integrity with a higher regard, then maybe people wouldn’t be so cynical when discussing their government.
Robert C. DeMattia is a lifelong resident of Revere.
Robert C. DeMattia