I Am Disappointed in the Actions
The actions taken on Monday night by the Revere City Council was, without question, the clearest example I’ve ever seen of that old adage that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.
Watching the Revere City Council, specifically on the subject of the Executive Director of the Human Rights Commission, frankly made it difficult to be a proud citizen of Revere. A motion added to the tumultuous debate concerning the Executive Director position simply devolved into the kind of deflection and talking over one another that you’d expect to see on a public Facebook argument, not the deliberations of a body meant to steer our city in the proper direction. One councillor suggested that the Human Rights Commission was a reaction to the murder of George Floyd, suggested that Revere didn’t have any issues like that (and ignored the hate crime committed on our streets last month). Yelling in legal jargon, refusing to recognize the power of the President of the Council, allowing some councillors their full-throated defense of their positions, but denying the same courtesy to others? Is this what we can expect from our civic leaders?
But, ultimately, the decision to introduce a new resolution concerning the Executive Directorship of the Commission and who should be appointed to it was one that is indicative in my opinion of a City Council willing to do as little as possible and still have the political cover to say they want change until change is presented to them. They rejected a qualified candidate on the grounds that the nominee could be “biased,” despite their own ordinance granting no such discretion to the office of the Executive Director, and then passed a resolution with no force of law based on one problematic Councillor’s best guess that there is likely a practicing attorney who’d be willing to do that job for free. Not that any member of the Council was willing to present such a person.
No, we’ve seen this trick before. The City Council doesn’t appear to want change; they’ve made that clear. One Councillor said as much when he made it clear he was worried that the Human Rights Commission might disturb the operations of government. What operations of municipal government the Councillor believed were in such violation of human rights that a Commission to explore such violations would impede their business was never mentioned.
Instead of change, this City Council wants to sit back, meekly applaud one another for making “compromises” on “divisive issues”. I thought these men and women were supposed to be our leaders. I thought we could expect more from them than do-nothing resolutions, ignoring hate crimes in our community, and shouting at each other. I thought we could expect action.
I’m sad to say I was wrong.
I Support Tony Zambuto
The events of the past few weeks compel me to offer some information in support of Revere City Councilor Anthony Zambuto, whom I feel is being unfairly characterized. Please allow me to frame my comments in context with some background. Community Action Programs Inter-City, Inc. (CAPIC) is the designated anti-poverty agency serving low income residents of Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop. The non-profit exists to identify the causes of poverty in our area and develop strategies to eliminate the barriers that keep people from becoming self-sufficient.
I retired from that organization in October 2019 after a 48-year career. Throughout my career at CAPIC, I endeavored to address the issues of poverty facing all persons in need of hope and opportunity. I found that poverty doesn’t pick a season when it strikes; it doesn’t pick race, culture, color, religious denomination, gender or natural origin. Poverty and hardship doesn’t discriminate. I grew up in Revere public housing. We lived in Veterans Housing on Broadway, then Constitution Ave. I was never embarrassed by that opportunity that our family desperately needed. I believe the experience keeps me grounded and sensitive to the needs of people who face hardship. My Dad was 100% disabled veteran from WW2 and couldn’t work for ten years after an honorable discharge. He eventually regained his health and overcame the disadvantage that a disability incurs. Many, however, due to their race, color, heritage, linguistic inability, lack of education, gender or religion cannot overcome disadvantage and continue to remain in poverty. CAPIC is there to help balance the equation and provide opportunity where and when it doesn’t exist.
Anthony Zambuto has served as a volunteer member of the CAPIC Board of Directors since 2000. For twenty years he has been an active participant in the anti-poverty dialogue that shaped two decades of programming. Councilor Zambuto, along with a long list of other dedicated Board members has contributed to the development of the programs that provide services to help all people become self-sufficient in the three-community area and to that end he has been on a team that has enriched the lives of thousands. I have never been a witness to any comment or remark that could be considered inappropriate by Councilor Zambuto, in fact he has been a champion of those in need and I promise you he has never been in favor or against any particular segment of the population. Councilor Zambuto, like all Board and Staff of the CAPIC organization takes great pride in helping others. Whatever has led to the recent criticism of Councilor Zambuto by some, is not warranted in my opinion.
Robert S. Repucci