2nd Hampden and Hampshire Senate Parker-O’Grady

 

 

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I’m J.D. Parker-O’Grady. I’m from Southampton, Mass. I grew up here and running for office to

tackle a few key issues that are affecting the Second Hampden and Hampshire District.

First is just generally economic development. We have so much potential on this district with

sites that are ripe for redevelopment, for example the mill buildings in Holyoke, the mill

buildings in East Hampton that have already been redeveloped and shown promise are a good

example.

Second, public education. Fully funding public education before we start siphoning money away

to charter schools and the private companies that run them.

Third, really we need to do more to address the opiate addiction crisis. The legislature has taken

some steps to address supply especially of pharmaceutical opiates, but people are still overdosing

on these heroin-fentanyl mixtures that are coming from out of state, and without addressing the

addiction, there will still be a demand for those drugs, so that means getting long-term treatment

programs, program beds, and pathways to get people into those treatment programs.

I don’t see any reason why the mandatory rent escrow shouldn’t be passed. There is an argument

I guess on one side that due process before this money goes to the landlord, but the escrow

process would just mean that money is held until the end of a trial or the end of a lawsuit and

then returned to the tenant if there are violations found or given to the landlord because they are

owed that rent, so I know.

I think that should be passed. It should secure that money in a place where it’s available at the

end of the disposition of the trial.

It’s too often just used by tenants who are just trying to avoid paying rent for a certain period of

time. That’s been seen. A lot of landlords I’m sure will see that, but if there is an actual code

violation or hazard, then they’ll get their money back anyway, so there are cases where tenants

abuse the system to try to not pay rent for the duration of the trial, and then so at the end of the

trial, that money may not be available. They may not have saved it, and that is absolutely an

issue that needs to be addressed by mandatory rent escrow.

It’s necessary but I think the 6-month process is too long. We should reduce it to something

maybe a month paid by the landlord, a month paid by the storage company with potential for

recovering that money unless of course many tenants in these cases are so-called judgement

proof, but I do think it’s necessary to have some sort of system in place because the tenants still

have the right to ownership of that property and some sort of protection needs to be in place to

ensure they get that property in good condition back to them.

No, I don’t think the absolute right to subdivide is the way to go here. The zoning restrictions are

in place for health and safety reasons, and as long as the landlord conforms to those, they should

be able to subdivide but there are legitimate reasons to prevent certain subdivisions from taking

place. May be there should be allowances that promote multifamily housing with restrictions

such as allowing a certain amount of open space or a certain amount of square footage size, but

no I don’t think the absolute right is the right way to go on this issue.

First, it would be nice to get the East-West Rail connecting Worcester and Boston to Springfield

and connecting the state together better. It just helped move the economy out here in Worcester,

Mass. Second, ageing infrastructure, when you see the current work that’s being done to

temporarily fix the I-91 Viaduct to Springfield, that needs a permanent solution. The ageing gas,

water, and sewer lines, we had the explosion in downtown Springfield from the gas leak a few

years ago. They’re all issues that need to be tackled and affect us and affect the economy out

here in Worcester, Mass.

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No, they should not right after the first, there should be some sort of grace period either a 7-day

grace period to ensure that payment still gets in before because many landlords still owe a

mortgage that they need to get in on the 15th, so there should be some grace period. But on the

1st just doesn’t match up to what the way many other bills work. There’s normally some sort of

grace period.

Yes, we should reduce that level simply because we should be a leader or at least attempting to

lead in reducing the blood levels of lead in the state. Even if there’s that extra caseload, things

can be done to help offset that caseload, the Schedule LP tax credit for example.

No, I don’t think it should be automatically a $35,000 fine for cases of discrimination. It should

be reviewed on a case-by- case basis, depending on how aggrieved just the discrimination in that

case was and that should be left up to the judge.

No, it’s triple damages is an inappropriate amount of damages for a human error. Oftentimes it’s

just a simple clerical error, sometimes even by the bank not by the landlord. That triple damages

is just too much, given the in-severity of the infraction.

I know I’m young and I know this is my first time running for office, but I think that’s what

exactly what we need is fresh blood, new ideas, and the energy to affect change here in the

district.

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