- Name: Robert Croce
- Age: 51
- Occupation: Product Director at Wellesley Information Services
- Political office: None
Peabody Patch: What are the top three issues in Ward 5 and what do you propose to do about them?
Bob Croce: It all centers on the quality of life of our residents. During my door-to-door visits, Ward 5 residents have told me the following:
1. "We need a ward councilor who will stand by us as we battle against excessive and intrusive development."
Because of an irresponsible developer, we've seen lives disrupted and property destroyed for people living in the Winona Street neighborhood near Route 1. There are other infringements on homeowner rights elsewhere in the ward too. What I'm going to do about it is pledge to ALWAYS be on the side of the residents against irresponsible developers and irresponsible businesses. I will fight with them, and always vote in their best interests. As we rebuild our commercial tax base, and get the revenue Peabody needs, it’s important that we only do so by encouraging responsible businesses and responsible developers to partner with residents and be good neighbors. That’s just not happening enough right now in Ward 5.
2. "What some people might think are small issues are very important to us."
While going door-to-door, I’ve built a long list of neighborhood issues that I’ve promised to work on once elected. From traffic safety issues, to street and sidewalk repairs, to neighborhood flooding issues. No issue will be too small for my attention as the Ward 5 Councilor. As just one specific example, I’ve heard from seniors who were upset that they weren’t able to take their grandkids to the park because the playground equipment in many of our parks is rusted out and unsafe. This is just one of many smaller but still important quality of life issues an effective ward councilor needs to address.
3. "We want a ward councilor who is responsive, and will call us back when we have a question or concern."
There’s one thing I will always guarantee as your Ward 5 Councilor: If you call me with an issue, I will ALWAYS return the phone call, and then do my best to get you a satisfactory answer or resolution.
Patch: What do you see as the most pressing issue for the City Council to address (more on a citywide basis)?
Croce: How do we pay for improvements to infrastructure, public safety, and schools while at the same time keeping Peabody an affordable place to live for residential taxpayers? The answer is that we need to encourage more responsible businesses and responsible developers to help us rebuild Peabody. That will result in more commercial tax dollars, help us pay for what we need, and stabilize the tax rate on residents.
But it also needs to be a partnership, and these developers and businesses need to be good neighbors. As part of this, the City Council needs to ensure that the special permits it approves are in the best interest of the residents, and that the requirements of those permits are then enforced.
We’ve had 12 straight years of residential tax increases, and it’s time to stop fixing our problems on the backs of young families, empty nesters, and seniors on fixed incomes. Finding and executing on strategies that expand our commercial tax base will also help us to revitalize our downtown area, Centennial Park, and the Route 1 business corridor.
Patch: Do you have a humorous or interesting anecdote to share from your campaign so far?
Croce: A gentleman came to the door combing his hair with a green "Bob Croce for School Committee" comb from my campaign a decade ago. He said to me: "If you work as well as this comb has for all these years, that's good enough for me. You've got my vote."