O’Malley talks big issues in ‘town hall’

(Photo Courtesy City Council Office) City Councilor Matt O’Malley

Casino gambling and redistricting were among the vast range of subjects discussed during City Councilor Matt O’Malley’s second annual “town hall” meeting. About 30 people attended the April 2 meeting at the Connolly Branch Library.

Speaking about the City Council redistricting plan, O’Malley said he opposes any plan that split either West Roxbury or Jamaica Plain. He also touched on casino gambling coming to the Commonwealth, noting he believes “very, very strongly in a citywide vote” on whether to build a casino in East Boston.

The contentious Casey Overpass replacement project was also discussed with Bernie Doherty, a member of the Working Advisory Group, criticizing the at-grade option and asking for an investigation.

“It was a bag job from the very beginning,” said Doherty.

O’Malley reminded the audience that it is a state-run project and said, “I hate that this has divided the community as sharply as it has.” Asked if the project could be held up any longer, he replied he is not a lawyer and that it was his understanding that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation would lose federal funding if it does not move forward with the project.

The councilor did say that he will request that a full-time manager be on-site during the project and a phone number be available for complaints. He added he would like to see the money saved from going with the at-grade option instead of the bridge be used towards the Arborway Yard redevelopment project.

O’Malley was praised by some audience members for his efforts in trying to restore the funding for the Curley K-8 School and the renovation of the Jamaica Plain Branch Library. But he also heard complaints about high property taxes, billboards in the area, and his vote approving former Councilor Maureen Feeney as the city clerk.

The move to select Feeney as city clerk was seen as controversial to some who felt the council was giving the position to one of its own in a process of favoritism.

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