Last Thursday, Jan. 4, around noon I was watching the coverage of the storm threatening our coast like many residents of Winthrop. I was in my basement apartment on Shirley Street, entrance in the rear overlooking Boston Harbor when suddenly water rushed in swiftly..It was so forceful and relentless and unforgiving…I was shocked and started panicking…After realizing I could not stop it on my own I called 911 and was connected to the Winthrop Fire Department. I then tried to get out due to rising water and electricity being on, however, could not open the door due to heavy snow had already piled up. Firemen came very quickly, although every second seemed like 10 minutes and to add to that I was in the back, no pathway to my entrance due to snow….
Fireman Doug Meade scooped me up with difficulty and told me they were taking me to a shelter..Before I knew it I was next door at the home of Gary and Janet Willwerth…I had met Janet and Gary only briefly since I had just moved here recently from Miami..Janet had been listening to her scanner and heard my address.. They took me in, gave me some dry clothes to put on and eventually gave me dinner.
All the while, unbeknownst to me, Gary had been siphoning the water out of my apartment as soon as the tide receded…Later on in the evening, Gary walked me back to my apartment in foot deep snow with major difficulty as I kept falling and he didnâ€™t give up until I was safely home.
I would like to acknowledge the heroes of the Winthrop Fire Department whose job and responsibilities are so underrated and a special thank you to Doug Meade…Also, the 911 operators who are so often taken for granted.
I canâ€™t find the words for my deep gratitude for my selfless and caring neighbors Gary and Janet Willwerth whose kind and caring nature went above and beyond…Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Shirley Street Winthrop
Year in Review
We are all directly impacted by the effects of political decisions. So it is important to all of us to thoughtfully reflect on the accomplishments of the new Republican administrationâ€™s first anniversary.Â If success is all about the economy, letâ€™s start there:
- Economy: The U.S. economy has now achieved over 3-percent growth. This growth level was never achieved at any time during the Obama administrationâ€™s eight years. We were also instructed to adjust our economic expectations as America would never achieve a growth level of 3-percent again. Today, we have already achieved over 3-percent growth, and we are poised for even higher growth in 2018.
- Stock Market: It is soaring! It has hit 71 all-time highs in the last year. This has enriched all Americans including anyone with invested retirement savings. In one year the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained over 6,000 points, a 26-percent increase. The S & P index has improved by 24-percent and the market added $5 trillion in value.
- Employment: 2.2 million jobs have been created this year. Employment is trending up in professional and business sectors, healthcare and manufacturing. The unemployment rate is now just 4.1-percent. This is 11-percent better than even the best performance of the last administration. Involuntary part time workers have been reduced by 858,000 workers and unemployment is down in all categories including black and Hispanic populations.
- Consumer Confidence: It is at a 17-year high, and it has increased in the last five consecutive months.
- War on Terror: ISIS has been driven from Iraq and Syria. This is a dramatic victory over the barbarians that were gobbling up large swaths of territory and murdering thousands of innocent people.
- Energy: The U.S. is now achieving energy independence and energy dominance. This will have the side benefit and improving our fight against terrorism.
- Legislation: â€œThe Tax Cut and Jobs Billâ€ just passed is a major tax overhaul which will stimulate the economy by another 3-4-percent of growth in 2018. It will also repatriate many billions of dollars stored off our shores.
- Safety: The administration has ended the â€œcatch and releaseâ€ policy for illegal aliens. The administration has also successfully put a temporary halt to immigration from dangerous states. This saves lives and improves the safety and security of every American.
The new Republican administration promised to, â€œMake America great again.â€ It is important to acknowledge the facts and results to determine the success of these new policies. As displayed above it is clear we are on a successful path to make America great with the above accomplishments already achieved.
Paul Caruccio- Chair Winthrop Republican
Iâ€™ve been following your editorials relative to tax cuts and the economy.Â They included:Â â€œThe Wrong Tax Cut at the Wrong Time,â€ (Oct. 5, 2017), â€œGOP:Â Tax the Middle Class and Give Cuts for the Richest,â€ (Nov. 30, 2017), and finally, â€œAmerica As We Know It is Over.â€ (Dec. 7, 2017).Â I agree with the facts and sentiments in these editorials and differ with Winthrop Republican Town Committee Chairman Paul Caruccio and Vice-Chair Steve Belmonteâ€™s Jan. 4, 2018 letter to the editor entitled â€œAmerica on the Rise Finally.â€
I named my letter â€œShort Memories,â€ because it seems that the Trump-Republican administration forgets the fact that the last Big Recession of 2008– was caused by threeÂ variables:Â Two tax cuts to the super rich under the George W. Bush administration; deregulation of Wall Street, which, fairly, even President Bill Clinton contributed to in the late â€˜90s with elimination of Glass Steagall that separated investment banking from consumer banking; and finally, the Iraqi War.
Memories ARE short, as the billions of dollars of tax cuts for the 0.1 percent translate into $1.4 trillion added to our deficit.Â Deregulation of Wall Street, along with deregulation of environmental and consumer protections, is also rearing its ugly head.Â A war?Â Iâ€™d hope and pray not, but the Tweets that fly daily between Washington, D.C., and North Korea are enough to make anyone anxious.Â There they are–the three variables, all over again.
Paul Caruccio and Steve Belmonte must have written their letter before final authorization of the â€œTax Reduction and Jobs Act,â€ as state and local tax deductions remain deductible.Â Â Lawmakers had to compromise by saving some small contribution to the low and middle class and small business.
Nevertheless, the impact of this tax bill is yet to be realized.Â The main issue is the flagrant inequality and unfairness of the cuts.Â Most of them benefit the 0.1 percent.Â Middle-class may feel some small gain, but the real benefit goes to those already doing â€œphenomenally well.â€ (Bernie Sandersâ€™ term.)Â $80 billion alone went to Big Pharma.Â Do I even go there.
In addition, removing the Mandatory aspect of the Affordable Care Act, the pool of insured is decreased thereby raising the cost of premiums for the rest of the insured.Â About 13 million Americans will no longer be able to afford medical insurance—case for single payer, â€œMedicare for Allâ€ option.
Maybe, some corporations will raise salaries for their employees.Â Wells Fargo will up its minimum wage to $15 an hour.Â AT&T indicated that it would give more than 200,000 workers a special $1,000 bonus to celebrate the signing of the tax-cut bill.Â But, as Minority Leader Schumer warned:Â â€œAT&Tâ€™sÂ announcement is the exception, not the rule, when it comes to the biggest corporations spending their windfall….There is a reason so few executives have said the tax bill will lead to more jobs, investments, and higher wages—because it will actually lead to share buybacks, corporate bonuses, and dividends.â€
These last three things do NOT â€œtrickle downâ€ to low and middle income workers or small businesses.Â Salary raises and job development do.
I add that historically, the big CEOâ€™s have hidden their profits in off-shore banks in the Cayman Islands, Switzerland, Ireland, and elsewhere.Â So whatâ€™s left for consumer spending that, bottom line, generates our economy???Â Workers need raises in wages and job development.Â Wages have been stagnant for about 40 years or so.Â People are unable to pay for the exorbitant costs of education, housing, and medical care.Â No consumer spending on goods and services equates to another major recession.
I leave you with a quote from Speaker of the House Paul Ryan when referencing how to PAY for these recent tax cuts to the already superrich:
â€œWeâ€™re going to have to get back next year (2018) at entitlement reformÂ which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit.â€Â Â Entitlements or EARNED benefits?Â Either way, Ryan, Trump, and the Republican administration plan to cut big holes in the social safety net of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to now PAY FOR exorbitant tax cuts that make the rich even richer and the rest of us poorer.
Best to call Sen. Warren (202-224-4543), Markey (202-224-2742), and Rep. Katherine Clark (202- 225-2836) to register your concern about proposed cuts in these earned benefits.
Donna Segreti Reilly
Winthrop Democratic Town Committee
In July 2016, the Winthrop Board of Health, under the leadership of then Chair Nick LoConte, adopted a new Regulation Restricting the Use of Polystyrene (Styrofoam) Disposable Food Containers in Food Serving Establishments due to serious health concerns.Â The regulation took effect on Jan. 1, 2017.
In addition, the Board of Health determined that beginning Jan. 1, 2017, those same food establishments would be required to have their grease traps emptied by a Health Department permitted Grease Hauler on a regularly scheduled interval with timely reporting upon completion to the Health Department.Â The purpose of this enhanced compliance system is to ensure that grease waste from food establishments is adequately controlled to prevent costly damage to the Townâ€™s sewer system.
Board of Health member Susan Maguire and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the food establishments in Winthrop for their cooperation and willingness to comply with these regulations and policies during the past year.Â We appreciate the efforts of local businesses to meet these public health and environmental concerns.
Winthrop Board of HealthÂ