Election in Ward 7: Robert Trane
A brief profile of Ward 7 alderman candidate Robert Trane, the incumbent. This week, Somerville Patch will profile the three candidates in Ward 7: Robert Trane, Katjana Ballantyne and Joan Whitney Puglia.
The city's only preliminary election for the Board of Aldermen will take place Sept. 13 in Ward 7.
Ward 7 encompasses West Somerville and includes the outskirts of Davis Square, Teele Square, the Clarendon Hill area and the neighborhoods along Alewife Brook Parkway.
The candidates running for the Ward 7 seat are incumbent Ward 7 Alderman Robert Trane, Joan Whitney Puglia and Katjana Ballantyne.
The preliminary election on Sept. 13 will whittle the field down to two candidates, who will face off in the general election held Nov. 8.
To give voters some information about these candidates, Somerville Patch met with each candidate in the Ward 7 race and is featuring a short article about each candidate this week.
Today, we feature Robert Trane. Yesterday we was Puglia, and tomorrow is Ballantyne.
Robert Trane, the incumbent alderman in Ward 7, has served on the Board of Aldermen since December, 2002, when he was nominated to replace resigning Ward 7 Alderman James Halloran.
Why run for re-election in Ward 7?
"I like the job; I like helping people," Trane said. "I think there's still a lot of work to be done."
Trane enjoys the "personal contact" he has with people in the ward, and he believes in "people first, politics second," he said.
He also said, "I think the city's in good shape, but we can always do things better."
Biggest issues in Ward 7
Trane said one of the biggest things happening in Ward 7 is the city signing an agreement with the Department of Conservation and Recreation to run Dilboy Stadium. "That will give us control over a big piece of green space," he said. Trane suggested using the space to create more playing fields for youth soccer.
He also listed "quality of life issues" as important in Ward 7. One of those issues is rowdy parties, he said. It's an issue Trane has addressed with a proposed ordinance that would put landlords on the hook for repeated party problems on their property. He pointed to a recent series of incidents on Ossipee Road in which police, he said, were repeatedly called to the same building to deal with rowdy behavior. Trane said of his ordinance, "The landlords are being asked to be part of the solution."
He said, "When kids want to have fun, that's fine." It's the ongoing problem properties he wants to target with his ordinance. Also, "It's not just around the Tufts area [that would benefit from the ordinance.] It's everywhere in the city."
Powder House School
Trane said, "We had numerous community meetings" about the Powder House School, an unused city property along Broadway outside Teele Square. One of the difficulties with the property, he said, is the cost of bringing it up to code, which would be in the neighborhood of $12 or $13 million. With those costs, ideas to turn the building into a something like a community center are not feasible, he said.
He suggested a public-private partnership to do something with the Powder House School, with developers making proposals to the community. "I have a couple crazy ideas in my head" about the property, he said. One of those ideas is to create a development that includes something like Frog Pond on Boston Common. "I think it would add value to a developer to have open space, have green space" at the site, he said.
Biggest issues in Somerville
"I think the city right now, we're in great shape," Trane said of the overall state of affairs in Somerville. He said the city has the highest bond rating in its history, and "[We're] spending money more wisely."
Green Line extension
Trane said the Green Line extension is probably the biggest citywide issue in Somerville right now. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation recently announced significant delays to the project, which would extend the MBTA's Green Line subway trolleys into Somerville and Medford.
Trane pointed to the "thousands of hours the city's put into this" and said his fear is "they're going to take the money and fund other projects."
He called on the city to pursue "every legal avenue we can possibly take" and said "we've got to fight. This is past due."
Trane spoke of accomplishments he's proud of.
One of those, he said, was the renovation to Hodgkins-Curtin Park, which is something he pushed for, he said.
"I had a part of the design where the kids were picking things out," he said. "I wanted the kids involved in the design."
Doing so would give them a sense of ownership and a sense that "they have stewardship of the park," he said.
Trane also pointed to zero-sort recycling, which is coming to Somerville soon. "I've been pushing this hard with the mayor for over two years," he said.