Alderman Robert Van Campen who has served for 12 years on the Board of Aldermen has declared his candidacy for Mayor of Everett in the upcoming election. The following is his announcement:
During my twelve years as a member of the Board of Aldermen, I have been guided by a single philosophy – to make Everett a better place within which to live, work and raise a family. With that guiding philosophy in mind – and with a deep belief that a return to greatness is on the horizon for our City – I write today to inform you of my candidacy for Mayor of the City of Everett.
Over the past several years, we have watched as our City budget has exploded; our taxes have substantially increased; our housing values have plummeted; gang and drug activity has escalated; our ability to realize meaningful economic development and attract new business has been virtually non-existent; and unqualified political allies have been hired by the current Administration into jobs for which they have no experience. Allowing the same old political winds to prevail at City Hall is hardly the blueprint to follow if we are to work toward a better Everett.
Our ability to move toward a better Everett begins with real and meaningful economic development. History has shown that a vision with no action is nothing more than an unfulfilled dream. For far too long, the people of Everett have heard various grand visions for economic development, but there has been little to no movement to bring those visions to reality. In fact, the current Administration’s economic development strategy has left the old High School vacant during its entire tenure in office, has left the Revere Beach Parkway relatively undeveloped, and has left Everett and Glendale Squares looking just as they did when this Administration took office.
We can do better.
Since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2008, the City budget has exploded by $35,430,146. This amounts to a staggering spending increase of $19,413.78 per day for each day since the first day of Fiscal Year 2008. In Fiscal Year 2008, our residential tax rate was $10.35 per thousand of valuation. It is currently $15.52 per thousand of valuation – an increase of more than $5 on the rate alone! In Fiscal Year 2008, our commercial tax rate was $24.61. Today, it is $41.66 – likely the highest in all of Massachusetts! Poor fiscal management and a continuing inability to spend your tax dollars wisely has greatly impacted our City’s ability to move forward.
We can do better.
Safe streets and safe neighborhoods are critical to our success as a community. Whether through attrition or unilateral budget reductions, the current Administration has allowed staffing levels in the Police Department to fall below levels that – all stakeholders agree – are insufficient to combat Everett’s prevalent and escalating gang and drug problem. If we cannot commit to invest in our critical public safety needs, our City will continue to struggle with its escalating crime and drug problems.
We can do better.
Confronting the challenges we will face as a community over the next several years requires a Mayor with a steady hand, and an understanding of what it will take to get the job done. A Mayor must not only lead the fight to invest in public safety, our schools, our veterans, our seniors and our infrastructure, he or she must also lead the fight on behalf of the taxpayers without whom no government could survive.
Over the next several months, I will present a new vision – a better vision – of how to move our city forward and make the City of Everett the vibrant community its residents and business owners deserve. As a skilled municipal attorney with several years of first-hand experience confronting the difficult challenges many communities face today, I believe I bring a unique background and skill set to lead our City as Mayor at a time when leadership is so desperately needed. With a great sense of humility and respect, I ask for your vote and I ask that you join me as we work together to build a better Everett.