Councillor-at-Large George Rotondo’s motion to have Dimple Rana, director of Healthy Initiatives, provide the Council with the Revere Farmers Market’s policies set off a mildly heated exchange between the two at Monday’s Council meeting.
Rotondo is a candidate for re-election while Rana is a candidate for councillor-at-large. Both candidates have qualified for the final election on Nov. 5.
The Farmers Market is a weekly event held on Fridays from July through October on the lawn at the American Legion.
Addressing Rana who stood at the podium, Rotondo said he “wanted to know why a particular vendor, Niko Kostopoulos, was given a written warning – two violations because he was wearing a ‘Dan Rizzo’ shirt at the Market.”
“There is nothing in these policies, these rules that says he can’t do that,” contended Rotondo.
Rana injected, “Councilor [Rotondo], I do not have the agreement in front of me,” adding that all vendors are required to sign a policy and vendor agreement form.”
Rotondo claimed that Rana had worn attire related to her councillor-at-large campaign “in the area” of the Farmers Market. But in an interview following the meeting, Rana rejected that claim, saying that all Farmers Market staff and volunteers are required to wear a red shirt that has the words, “Can’t Beat The Revere Farmers Market” on it.
Asked whether she had worn attire related to her campaign for councillor-at-large, Rana responded, “Never. Not once.”
In light of the controversy, Council President Arthur Guinasso requested that Rana submit a copy of Farmers Market policies to City Clerk Ashley Melnik so the Council may review the policies. Rana said she would be submitting the policies “very soon.”
Rotondo spoke with media after the meeting, illuminating on the Farmers Market rule that prohibits ‘political solicitation.”
“He [Kostopolous] was wearing a t-shirt. That is not political activity. It is t-shirt. It is not political solicitation,” said Rotondo.