|By G. Michael Dobbs|
HOLYOKE – He was once an enthusiastic supporter of Mayor Alex Morse, but now businessman Daniel Boyle is reviving his own campaign for mayor and is a critic of Morse and his administration.
Boyle had run against Morse in the last mayoral election, but did not clear the primary into the final election. He then sided with the political newcomer in his bid to unseat then Mayor Elayne Pluta.
Less than two years later though, Boyle has a list of reasons why Morse shouldn’t be re-elected and why voters should reconsider his candidacy.
For Boyle, the “most egregious” of Morse’s mistakes was how the mayor flipped on the issue of casinos and then flipped back again. Boyle believes the citizens of Holyoke should have had the opportunity of expressing themselves on the issue as they had done in two referendum votes in the 1990s.
Speaking of the most recent casino conversation, Boyle said, “The voters had the right to know what the proposal was.”
He believes that Holyoke, with one of the highest commercial tax rates in the state, could not afford to have turned away $20 million to $25 million in tax revenue.
He added he believes the Holyoke site was the “best situated” one among the locations in Western Massachusetts.
He added, “In addition to an estimated $20 million in tax revenue, which would be used to lower the tax rates for residential owners and business and commercial property owners, the creation of more jobs is essential for Holyoke’s viability. With a casino, we’re talking about our sons and daughters who are graduating from college having an opportunity to return to their hometown to seek gainful employment in a wide variety of opportunities – whether hospitality, human resources, marketing, financial operations, etc. Currently, there are few, if any, opportunities like that. Plus, the city residents who are semi-skilled or unskilled would have the chance to become employed in jobs that offer training, a good starting wage, fringe benefits including health insurance, and the chance for upward mobility. The opportunities, I believe, are unlimited.”
He noted there is a referendum question on casinos on the November ballot.
“I don’t think you can say you’re pro-business unless you give the opportunity to lay out the plan to the community,” Boyle said.
Boyle also criticized Morse for the number of terminations of city employees the mayor made.
“It was almost like a hit list,” Boyle said.
The city has had to pay for legal fees to cope with these firings, he added.
Boyle also criticized Morse for his attempt to shut down the Lyman Terrace housing project “without investigative work.”
Morse’s reduction of the municipal budget was “sleight of hand,” Boyle charged.
Boyle also believes that Morse and his Board of Health went against the will of the voters in his handling of establishing a needle exchange in the city.
Boyle said that if he were elected he would “return real transparency to city government.” With a background in labor relations, Boyle said one of the first things he would do is meet with city department heads and representatives of labor unions to assess their needs and to discuss potential savings.
He would also look at the property inventory of the city. He would like to get those properties cleans up and marketed for light manufacturing.
“The amount of manufacturing we have is a sore point with me,” he said.
To help encourage business development, he added he would work with the City Council to reduce the city’s tax rates.
On the issue of the WalMart planned for Whiting Farms Road, Boyle said that section of the city “may be over-saturated” and suggested the now unused John J. Lynch School as a commercial site. He noted the city owns the property and it is commercially zoned.
Its location on U.S. Route 5 and Interstate 91 should be desirable for a company such as WalMart, he added.
He believes that Holyoke is “a diamond in the rough.”
Boyle has a Facebook page for his campaign at www.facebook.com/pages/Elect-Dan-Boyle-Mayor-of-Holyoke.
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