Dan Rizzo’s inaugural Monday night inside the Revere High School auditorium was an extraordinary affair by every standard of measure.
A festive, well-dressed throng packed the huge auditorium, which is an accomplishment by itself.
It is very likely close to 1,000 people attended the event, which was broadcast live on Revere TV.
Rizzo’s inaugural kick-off dwarfed similar events staged many years ago by former mayors Robert Haas and Tom Ambrosino at the beginning of their respective administrations.
Many councilors were ebullient.
“This is a great night. I’m looking forward to the future,” said Councillor Arthur Guinasso.
Charlie Patch, standing next to him shortly before the proceedings began echoed the same thought.
“It is a great night to be here and to be part of this city government,” he added.
For former mayor Robert Haas, now a councilor at large, it was a bit nostalgic for him to be in attendance.
“It is amazing how the years pass and I’m attending another inauguration,” he said thoughtfully.
The traditional procession into the packed auditorium was a special moment for all who participated.
The giant crowd stood and cheered as the new mayor to be led the members of the city council and the school committee down the center aisle onto the stage.
Everyone was given their oaths by District Court Justice Roberto Ronquillo.
The crowd erupted after Rizzo was officially pronounced mayor.
As speeches go, Rizzo’s was to the point, short, but filled with promise about things to come.
The entire ceremony appeared to be a validation of Rizzo’s election.
The inaugural’s theme was patriotic and the patriotic songs belted out boldly by Marine Sgt. Dan Clark were clearly over the top.
Clark’s performance was one of the highlights and great surprises of the evening.
He began with a skit about the American Flag in all its various incarnations which was extremely well thought out and effective. The crowd enjoyed it. Applause for Sgt. Clark was heavy and sustained – and when he sang God Bless America, nearly everyone in the auditorium was singing along with him.
“It was an enjoyable successful night. Everyone had a great night. It was a lot of fun. There was a very happy mood. There is the belief 2012 is going to be a very good year for the city of Revere and I think Dan Rizzo will do a good job,” said Councillor at Large John Correggio.
New Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo took the oath of office Monday night and delivered a speech that outlined a handful of new initiatives and promised that Revere’s finest days were yet to come.
Probably most notably, Rizzo said he was excited about the prospects of casino gaming coming to Revere, but stressed he will not hang the City’s future on its potential casinos. Instead, he said he believes Revere can move forward on its existing strengths.
“Most of us are optimistic about the prospect of expanded gaming coming to our city,” said Rizzo. “I cannot and will not place the future of this City in the prospect of casino gaming. Revere has much more to offer in terms of its natural resources.”
Rizzo offered that look into his burgeoning administration on Monday night in Revere High School’s Auditorium. The house was packed with nearly 1,000 people in attendance, including House Speaker Bob DeLeo, the entire state delegation and Congressman Ed Markey.
Additionally, Winthrop Town Council President-elect Peter Gill was also in attendance, and Suffolk Sheriff Andrea Cabral acted as the Master of Ceremonies.
Rizzo is the 27th mayor of Revere and the first new mayor to take office in more than a decade.
After the City Council and School Committee took their oaths of office, Judge Roberto Ronquillo called Rizzo to the podium and delivered the oath to him.
Rizzo took the oath solemnly and then signed the official book, amidst loud applause and a standing ovation from the crowd gathered on a holiday night at the high school.
Rizzo then settled in to deliver his inaugural address, which lasted approximately 18 minutes.
He, first, thanked former Mayor Tom Ambrosino for his 12-year tenure and noted all of the accomplishments that had been completed in that time, including new schools and a new public safety facility.
The new mayor then touched on public safety, noting recent crime reports and saying it would be his first priority to curb such things.
“It is unacceptable,” he said. “This will be a priority of mine and it will start on day one.”
Rizzo then proceeded to the meat of his message, and outlined a few new initiatives for a new administration that is expected to make many changes.
First, he said that Revere and the Town of Winthrop are working together to regionalize the library director position for both communities, thus saving money for both.
“We have been working with Winthrop to secure a new library director that would serve both communities and we’re already in discussions to create a regional 9-1-1 call center,” said Rizzo.
He highlighted the new Waterfront Square project, and said that Revere’s positive attributes – such as having Revere Beach, being close to downtown Boston and Logan Airport and being on the Blue Line – should make it a destination for more commercial development.
He indicated he would create a new office to bring in new commercial development.
“One would think that with all those positive attributes, developers would be knocking down our door with opportunities,” he said. “Sadly, it’s not the case…I plan to create a new position, an Economic Development Director. They would, in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office, be charged with growing the commercial tax base through continuous dialogue with the Massachusetts Office of Business Development, the state and federal delegation and reputable developers in Massachusetts and beyond.”
He said the new office would operate with a competitive mindset and would tweak the City’s zoning and permitting processes, the building codes and offer property tax incentives to businesses when it makes sense.
He also said that budgeting at City Hall would change, and that city government would be centered on providing services, not jobs.
“Budgets will be based on productivity, not just what was spent last year and the previous year,” he said. “We will use technology to evaluate what things are working best…City government exists to provide services to our residents, not to serve as an employment agency.”
Rizzo also touched on Revere’s new and diverse populations, many of whom are seen as outsiders and frequently don’t participate in or know that much about city government.
“We could learn a lot from a box of crayons,” he said. “Some are sharp. Some are pretty. Some are dull, while others are bright. Some even have weird sounding names, but they all have learned to live together in the same box.”
With that anecdote, he indicated that he would start an office staffed with volunteers that would cater to new residents of the city. It would be known as the Office of New Revere Residents. It would be charged with strengthening the city’s diverse population and bringing them into more of a social and participatory role in the City.
Rizzo closed by quoting Albert Einstein towards the end of his speech, and to approval of the audience.
“We will pay attention to details and reinvigorate this city neighborhood by neighborhood and block by block,” he said. “There are challenges and obstacles ahead, but they are no match for the character of the people of Revere. As Albert Einstein once said, ‘The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.’”