Resident Blames City’s Shortcomings on Federal Legislative Inaction

Ted Gaiero, 9 Highland St., addressed city councilors Tuesday night.

A Haverhill resident gave city councilors his list of the community’s pros and cons Tuesday night, blaming many problems on inaction by the city’s federal legislative delegation.

Ted Gaiero, 9 Highland St., said Haverhill has been shortchanged by the federal government.

“Our federal delegation in the state seems to give millions of dollars to Lowell and Lawrence. It stops there,” Gaiero told councilors.

He called on Congresswoman Niki Tsongas and Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey to step up. He suggested, for example, tourism signs be placed on interstate highways 495, 95 and 93, promoting Haverhill’s assets. Among these, he explained, are farms such as Tattersall Farm and the downtown restaurant district. He said federal money also could be used to speed up repairs of the Ralph Basiliere Bridge. The bridge also should be made to open and close for Merrimack River boat traffic.

Among Haverhill’s pros are its school system, water resources, veterans’ services and wastewater treatment plant, Gaiero said. The cons include paid parking on downtown streets.

“I just want action done before I die. Okay? I want the Hale (hospital) debt, I want the Basiliere Bridge fixed. I want a lot of things done and we can do it,” he concluded.

He spoke under the council’s new public participation rules, prompting Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien to ask him for his critique of the process. He said the system, which involved asking President John A. Michitson for permission, was “simple.” O’Brien appeared to anticipate comments from Ronald MacLeod, 164 North Ave., who a few minutes later criticized the need for contacting councilors in advance.

MacLeod said councilors are opposed to open public participation at its meetings because they dislike Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua who introduced the concept.

“The disrespect toward this councilor is disgusting,” he said. Michitson, however, countered the council has developed rules over the years for valid reasons.

“We have public participation, but for somebody to walk in and just speak on any topic that they wish, I call that open mic,” he said.

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