On the Issues

Affordable Housing

A diverse community must be supported by diverse housing options. Whether you’re renting or own a home, looking to downsize or upsize, you should be able to find an affordable option to do so without leaving Salem. That is not the case now. During my first term, I have voted for policies that eliminate barriers to creating more housing opportunities in Salem. OVer the past 2 years, I have served on the Salem Affordable Housing Trust Fund Board to contribute to policy-making at the community level, making sure any housing policy is crafted with Salem's needs in mind. Additionally, I serve on the Board of Directors of Harborlight Community Partners, a non-profit affordable housing developer. To address the housing crisis, we needs all tools in the toolbox and as your Councillor, adoption of a diverse set of housing policies will continue to be my top priority.

Joining friends and colleagues of Harborlight Community Partners at Notch Brewing where Governor Baker held an event to garner support for his

Housing Choice Bill.

Accepting Massachusetts Housing Partnership's 2019 Housing Heroes Award on behalf of City of Salem with Mayor Driscoll, Staff Planner Amanda Chiancola, Zoning Board member Rosa Ordaz, Ward 3 Councillor Lisa Peterson, and Planning Director Tom Daniel.

Growth & Development

Salem’s continued growth means we are doing things right. People choose to stay, live, and invest in our city for its rich culture and amenities. During my first term, I have promoted businesses both large and small in Ward 2 through my regular e-newsletters. Businesses choose to locate here to tap into the entrepreneurial energy of our workforce. Rather than curbing growth, we should manage it in thoughtful ways that consider the spectrum of housing and commercial needs of our city. I support quality development that do not compromise our city’s character. I welcome developers that are willing to work closely with city boards and committees on refining design and development program.

We must recognize that we are the commercial center of the North Shore and leverage opportunities of the regional economy. Supporting commercial growth alleviates residential tax burden, but it won't be sustainable unless we also provide homes and a advocate for a robust regional transit system - both issues where I have been a vocal supporter.

Talking to commuters about unfair fare hikes with no improvment in service at Salem station.

Sharing thoughts for Metro Boston's regional plan at Old Town Hall.

Traffic & Parking

In my first term, I have been an active participant in the Traffic & Parking Commission's meetings and initiatives. I organized and held at least 3 neighborhood traffic calming meetings throughout Ward 2 to improve the safety of our street. Salem’s streets and homes were not originally built for automobiles. I am committed to working with the administration on advancing alternative modes of transportation so that having a car is not a prerequisite to live, work, or visit Salem. For example, the City must take every effort to invest in bicycle infrastructure, intra-city shuttles, ferry service, and an additional commuter rail station in South Salem. I will continue to advocate to give our Traffic & Parking Commission more authority over traffic and parking regulations in the city. Lastly, I will continue to push for a robust parking management plan that looks at parking in the city holistically, not on a street-by-street basis. 

Christine and her family is a frequent user of Salem's bicycle network.

Joining the Salem Bike Party on an e-scooter.

Homelessness

There is no denying that homelessness is a complicated issue with no straightforward solution. We must prioritize the Housing First approach, providing stable housing before all else, and provide on site, wraparound services for those who are placed in homes. The City works with several nonprofit organizations in the area including LifeBridge, North Shore Community Action Programs, North Shore Medical Center, among others, to provide shelter and services for the homeless. We must continue to support these organizations and not reinvent the wheel. The City has convened nonprofits, our police force, and elected officials to establish the Collaborative for Hope as a task force to tackle issues associated with homelessness.

 

Climate Change Adaptation

Salem is a coastal community. The 2014 climate vulnerability assessment and adaption plan shows that we are already taking steps to be prepared for the effects of climate change. There are long and short term actions we must take, as outlined in the plan. In the long term, Our drainage infrastructure must be updated to accommodate intense storm surges and seawalls need to be reinforced. In the short term, I’d like to see Salem adopt stormwater bylaws as many communities in the Boston area have done to encourage low-impact development (LID).  LID maximizes the use of pervious materials (during paving) or construct rain gardens or bioswales to improve stormwater drainage in natural ways. We can also change our development approach to reduce the amount of impervious surface and require design elements that would minimize damages because of a storm surge or flood, such as elevated houses or a car garage on the ground floor and living space above.

 

Business Development

When our businesses do well, our community does well. Given that Salem’s commercial tax rate is double the residential tax rate, a strong commercial base alleviates the tax burden on homeowners. However, this means that any business takes on substantive financial risk, and the city must do our best to soften that risk. We already have small loan programs and experienced staff and organizations to provide technical assistance and guidance on doing business in Salem. Lastly, we must strive not only to be business-friendly, but also business-ready, through transparent and predictable permitting and licensing processes.

 

Keeping Salem Clean

Salem has a fantastic crew of dedicated volunteers who organize community clean ups and promote awareness on proper disposable of all types of waste. These efforts show visitors that littering is not acceptable in our community. However, with the increasing popularity of our city as a tourist destination, we must look beyond the work of city services and volunteers to tackle the problem. I would like to explore the possibility of bringing in Salem Ambassadors, based on Boston’s model of Downtown Improvement District Ambassadors, to expand our cleaning capacity. These Ambassadors play several roles during the day: provide tourists with information, pick up litter, remove graffiti, and connect the homeless with city services.