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BRIAN'S POLITICAL AGENDA 2021-2025

Count on me!

I am asking for your vote to become the next Mayor of Lawrence.

In 1989, I finally took a leap of faith and moved to the “City of Immigrants”; along with my children and continue to live here ever since. Upon my arrival and determined to become financially independent, I opened my first business in Lawrence.  Many of you may recall how “Brian’s Hardware” was the only Latino hardware store located on Broadway catering to Spanish working-class customers.  In the beginning, my father worked side-by-side with me in the store dealing with customers while I was growing the business. Surprisingly, amid a struggling economy the store flourished quickly, growing into a prosperous business.  After successfully transforming the hardware store, I joined other real estate ventures, acquiring and redeveloping several residential and commercial properties in the city. Today, I am the owner of “Tenares Tire Services” and “De Peña Auto Services”.

 

Over the years, my enterprises have employed a number of local residents, helped many families facing hardships, and supported the local market through a struggling economy and strenuous recession.  I attribute my success to five key elements:

 

  • My sharp-edged entrepreneurial skills

  • My understanding of the market

  • My sensitivity to the business climate

  • The ability to take prudent action

  • Keeping my finances under a microscope.

 

My decision to run for office was not motivated by self-interest, but by my constant interaction with the public.  The bond with the community became much more than a business relationship.  Everyday people would approach me for help, recounting obstacles they are facing as a community, or voicing their frustration with the city government.  That has awakened my interest in politics and development.

My mission as your Mayor is to explore the potential for mobilization to reshape the destiny of Lawrence.  As a serial entrepreneur, I come with strong advantages and prepared to fulfill this important role – I am familiar with the government process, I know what needs to be done and how to get it done in a timely manner.  The reputation that I have gained from my previous private ventures, legislative experience as a Lawrence City Councilman, combined with the ability to collaborate with multiple stakeholders, makes me the right choice as your City Mayor.

 

                                                                        FOREWORD

 

Effective as your Mayor, my key priority will be to focus on improving the welfare of all “Lawrenciums”, by affording economic security and access to opportunities.  This incorporates the right to education and adequate income, work, housing, good nutrition, and services that support strong and lively families and vibrant and prosperous city.

 

Effective municipalities of the new millennium are service driven, welcoming and responsive.  For Lawrence to advance as a premier city, we need to create a new path.  A path in which equality and inclusion are our driving force.  As your mayor, I will respect the experiences of all Lawrenciums and make certain that our city government works to elevate the quality of life for all.  I am a firm believer that good governing principles set out the benchmarks we expect and to which we must all work.

 

Supported by a framework of specific policies, my principles will work alongside public agencies, corporate industries, private organizations and the public in general.  As a result, you can expect, that by the end of my tenure, I would have left behind; a Lawrence that is financially stronger; whose residents have more trust and confidence in each other; whose infrastructure is better maintained and with increased capacity; whose generated wealth is spread more evenly among the population; and which is more closely connected with and collaborating with other local governments in the state.

 

                                     MY VISION AND POLITICAL PLATFORM FOR LAWRENCE

 

"THE PEOPLE OF LAWRENCE WILL ALWAYS BE AT THE CENTER OF MY GOVERNMENT WHERE THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE IS GREATER THAN THE PEOPLE IN POWER"

 

 

                                                    THE CITIZENS OF LAWRENCE FOCUS AREA

 

                                                                   A RESPONSIVE GOVERNMENT

 

                    “A man cannot sit down alone to plan for prosperity” – African Proverb

As your Mayor, I will lead a systematic process working in close collaboration with private and public sectors, to determine the vision and roadmap for building prosperity and a stable future for Lawrence.

 

                              Establish Integrity, Transparency, Equality in Municipal Conduct

 

Progressive change requires a holistic approach and move towards a real sustained commitment to continual improvement. My administration will operate with integrity being ever mindful that public funds spent on the community comes directly from the citizens tax dollars. Good stewardship and accountability of public resources is my number one priority as your Mayor. Enabling citizens to have oversight on how my office intends to earmark those funds is a fundamental requirement for transparency and gaining public trust. Good governance means keeping the best interests of all Lawrencians at the forefront of my decision-making for the community.

 

                                                Creating a Shared Vision for Prosperity

 

Immediately upon taking office, I will launch a Joint Strategic Planning Task Force to guide my administration on the development and execution of Lawrence 2021-2025 strategic plan. All community stakeholders – from private corporations, small businesses, nonprofit organizations, faith-based organization, community activists and semi-public agencies will have a place at the table and a voice in creating the shared vision for Lawrence, while minimizing polarization and oppositions. The task force is charged with crafting key components of a new strategic plan allowing for a practical vision, focus on fundamental paradoxes, defining new strategic directions, develop and prioritize the implementation plan.

 

                                                                  Maintain Good Business Practices

 

My job as Mayor is to make government operations more efficient and cost effective. I will identify and apply best practices to reduce government spending and improve organizational efficiency.  Where possible, best practices will be applied to a variety of processes such as payroll, travel administration, employee training, accounting and budget systems, procurement, transportation, maintenance services, and repair services.

 

                                 ECONOMIC VIBRANCY & SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

 

            “Nothing gets transformed in your life until your mind is transformed.” – Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha

 

I will introduce sustainable models to city planning, build the local capacity, stimulate new investment and reinvestment partners, and boost small entrepreneurs to produce a new and dynamic business sector for prosperity.

 

                                    The Implementation of a Sustainable “Smart Growth” City Model

 

I propose smart growth and sustainable values as the guiding principles in the city’s overall planning and development scheme.  Sustainable cities concentrate most development activities on compact design, consolidating infill development, and avoiding greater impact on the natural environment. This model favors social cohesion, which encourages the encounter of activities, connection to public spaces and favors the development of community life. Likewise, it enhances the mix of uses, combining residential buildings, commercial spaces, offices, shops, equipment, large green areas, public spaces, and transportation.

 

                                                                         Community Capacity Building

 

Competency building is critical to creating a sustainable community and is therefore, considered a central component of my agenda. In keeping with my commitment, my administration will work hand-in-hand with the private sector to boost competency and leadership training courses covering various disciplines to accelerate viable change and prosperity. This initiative aims to support the community in its ability to understand public issues and development and perform selected community development assignments.

 

                                              Stimulate Reinvestment & Attract New Investment Partners

 

Part of my action plan, is to immediately address the most pressing challenges facing the undesirable image of the city and infrastructure.  Concurrently, I will invite anchor firms of Lawrence to help design a profile-raising marketing plan to retain and attract new investors and companies to the city.  Investors are drawn to a city if there are prospects to make money. Companies that create quality jobs and not abandon their operations hardly ever make location decisions based on the availability of subsidies. They value the attractiveness of a city by appraising the modernization of the infrastructure and transportation networks, the skills of the local workforce, opportunities and the likelihood of making a profit. The cities that offer them the best formula of scale, risk and return are the ones that are chosen.  

 

                                                                             Small Business Innovation

 

My plan is to foster alliances with the local chamber of commerce and expert organizations to offer emerging enterprises with entrepreneurial leadership and product development education. These learning opportunities will help them gain adequate experience, innovation and marketable product to advance their companies beyond start-up, into the growth stage. As a result, local businesses will be able to compete for lucrative contracts in both the private and public sectors to support the local economy through job creation and tax revenue.

 

                                                                     Housing Development

 

I propose a balanced housing development strategy by intensifying homeownership and low-to-moderate income housing at the core of the development policy. A balanced housing policy is comprehensive and involves drawing a mixture of forces at once to address the wide-ranging housing challenges facing low- and moderate-income families.  My vision is to make sure that both rental housing and homeownership opportunities are accessible, affordable and safe to all family income categories.

 

                                                                   Workforce Development

 

My workforce-development plan focuses on closing the skills gap for both college educated, as well as for those without college degrees. My approach involves conducting job-market analysis, identifying sectors with high growth potential, support demand-driven training, collaborating with employers for training cost-sharing, and developing school-to-work program preparing high school students for job market, and positioning local college graduates in leading positions.

 

                                                            Infrastructure & Capital Projects

 

Our infrastructure is aging, under maintained, and largely inefficient, and the impacts of that are not shared equally. There is a tremendous opportunity for improvement and almost no money to make that improvement.  As Mayor, I will implement a new initiative that will help control costs and reduce the schedule time of capital projects undertaken by the city.   Priorities will include the modernization and streamlining of the procurement process; encourage the expanded use of design-build contracts; and speed up a project’s initial review time minimize scope-of-work changes through better planning

 

                                                                   Inspectional Services

 

Through legal and programmatic enhancements that build upon a “Good Neighborhood Program”, I will utilize code enforcement to systematically identify, inspect, and abate public nuisance and blighted occupied and unoccupied properties.  The overarching goal is to increase the speed, volume, and quality with which these destabilizing properties are addressed so as to increase public safety, residents and investor’s confidence, and equitable and revenue-generating housing and commercial opportunities in the City of Lawrence.

 

                                                                                     PUBLIC SAFETY

 

“But the chief problem in any community afflicted with crime is not punishment of the criminals, but the preventing of the young from being trained to crime.” -W E B Du Bois

 

 

Public Safety is the foremost important issue in a community.  Citizens needs to feel safe within their own community to boost development and investment.  Under my leadership, there will be a multi-faceted strengthening of the Lawrence Police Department, achieving more effective and efficient crime control, lessen fear of crime, investing in crime prevention strategies, rebuilding community relations, and economic development.

 

                                                                       Crime in General

 

I will undertake crime and violence swiftly by addressing it as a public health crisis. Outlining the challenges as a health crisis will compel the community to address the root causes of violence and meet those challenges head-on with a system that extends beyond law enforcement.  My priorities include a significant decrease in the number of drug related crimes, domestic violence, thefts, robberies, physical assaults, homicides, and children’s exposure to violence. 

 

                                                                  Drug Trafficking & Gangs

 

The drug problem and related organized crime has always played a big role in public safety, specifically in Lawrence. Strengthening relevant law enforcement structures will be a key priority of my administration to respond to the threat posed by illicit drug trafficking organizations and organized crime. I will insist on conducting more joint operations with state and federal law enforcement agencies targeting drug shipments and major trafficking networks operating to and from the city.

 

                                                                        PUBLIC HEALTH

 

“The hallmark of a healthy society has always been measured by how it cares for the disadvantaged. – Joni Eareckson Tada

 

My priority as Mayor is the welfare for all by protecting and creating a secure and healthy environment.

 

                                                                          Public Health

 

                                                                            Drug use & Opioid Crisis

 

Drug addiction requires a multi-agency action at every level to combat the dramatic increase in opioid drug overdoses.  My effort will focus on a four-pronged approach:

 

  • Ending the stigma through prevention

  • Education programs for students, family and the community in general; demand resources to help families

  • Work with local agencies such as faith-based organizations, nonprofit organizations and human service agencies for intervention and professional support

 

                                                                         Homelessness

 

I will champion strategies that prevent and reduce homelessness in our community by evaluating shelter options, building awareness, convening stakeholder groups, identifying public-private partnerships, and leveraging resources.

 

                                                          Building Community Resilience

 

Instituting of a community resilience plan to respond to adverse situations (e.g. crime, fire).  This allows for the adaptation and growth of a neighborhood after tragedy hits.  Communities that are resilient can minimize any misfortune, returning to normal life as effortless as possible by coming together and overcome any obstacle while rebuilding physically, emotionally, spiritually and economically.

 

                                                              HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

 

       “Every person deserves the equal opportunity to reach his or her potential”

 

I will work with the nonprofit and private sector to promote youth leadership and service-learning opportunities. 

 

                                                                               Youth Development

 

My overall goal is to encourage, involve and raise the level of interest of our young population in their role as citizens and strengthening academic engagement.  I will support youth programs that increases the capacity of students by combining instructions with community service to effect positive change in the community.  It helps young people learn about their civic responsibilities and how they can help themselves, others and society through informal educational activities which combine enjoyment, challenge and learning.

 

                                                                       Elder Services

 

My plan for the elderly is to get multi-partners providers to work together and provide innovative and participatory responses to improve the health of the elderly, especially the prevention of chronic diseases and intensifying structured programs that involves restorative activities intended to decrease depression, increase regular physical activity, decrease social isolation, and enhance peer interaction via structured art and music therapy.

                                                                               Parks & Recreation

 

My plan involves increasing the budget of the Department of Parks and Recreation to improve and expand existing parks and recreation facilities, and plan for the identification and acquisition of new open spaces, while protecting capital investment. Through delivery of recreation and parks services, we raise the standard of living and care for the health and well-being of our people, our community, our ecosystem and our economy.   Lawrence is a community-driven city and we have an obligation to provide a fit foundation for productive lives through holistic growth and development.  Together, we help our children, youth and adults alike reach their potential, ensuring healthy, active and balanced lifestyles.

 

                                                              INCLUSION, EQUALITY & CULTURAL HERITAGE

 

“A people without the knowledge of their history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots”. – Marcus Garvey

 

Lawrence’s cultural heritage is a legacy inherited from our ancestors.  I will leverage this powerful instrument in promoting social inclusion, intercultural dialogue, civic participation and a means of revitalizing our local economy.

 

                                                                      Arts & Culture & Tourism

 

My administration, and I, will actively strive to create an inclusive and equitable environment in which all members of our community are valued and respected.  Art and culture is a key component in my strategy for development.  It is central to the creative industries that plays a major role in the economy and quality of life of the community.  My proposal is to capitalize and leverage our diversity to promote Lawrence as an emerging tourist destination north of Boston that offers history, a variety of artistic talents, flavor in culinary arts and multicultural traditions.

 

                                                                              EDUCATION

 

                                                                    Lawrence Public Schools – Receivership

 

My approach for Lawrence Public Schools is to accelerate the exit of receivership by ensuring that our education system meet sufficient improvement to be removed from its designation as struggling, to a high-achieving and innovative institution.

 

To achieve this goal, I will work in partnership with the Lawrence Alliance for Education Board and the newly appointed Superintendent to emphasis the continual review of the performance indicators to evaluate the extent to which LPS has met the school intervention plan and annual goals such as improving school attendance, academic performance – MCAS Proficiency rates, class sizes, graduation rates and drop-out rates, and parent engagement as well as professional development for teachers and administrators

 

                                                            Encouraging Innovation in Schools

 

We must view education from a new perspective and innovate. This will demand a change in focus, to aim for educational and training programs that align more closely with student’s most pressing needs and develop the necessary skills for them to succeed in the future.  My priority is to advance science, technology, engineering and math disciplines (STEM programs) and other similar programs in our formal and informal education to help students develop those skills.

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