There are not too many advocates left in the City who are unpaid and willing to fearlessly stick out their own necks for what they believe is the good of their neighborhood or their city.
This month, there is one fewer, as long-time North Revere resident Adele Toro passed away on Feb. 12th at the age of 78 in Florida.
Toro came from the old, stare down, in-your-face school of advocacy – what many would say is the only kind of advocacy that works in a political system such as has existed and still (somewhat) exists in Revere today.
Like the late Carol Sinclair, Toro was adept at searching public records, finding information that certain officials and politicians didn’t want anyone to find, and then trumpeting that information for everyone to hear during public meetings. Right or wrong, understood or misunderstood, that information was put out there.
Her breed is largely becoming something of the past – as people are less inclined to attend civic meetings or involve themselves in things that don’t directly affect them. Neither are people these days inclined to have public showdowns with elected officials over policies, as too many people these days fear possible retribution from said officials or developers with pending projects.
It is a much quieter, more distracted and fearful time in local politics.
None of those things seemed to matter to Toro, or the advocates who fought alongside her in the rough-and-tumble Revere political world of the 1970s and 1980s.
“Bring them on,” Toro once said to this reporter after opposing a purportedly crooked Beach development in the early 2000s. “I’ve been around too long to worry about that kind of thing. They should be scared of me because I know what they’re doing.”
Knowledge was power and threats – discreet or overt – didn’t work.
Those were the days before the Internet when things were done in person and not via anonymous postings or nameless letters.
She was most active in the 1980s, teaming up with Sinclair to win a zoning moratorium on building within small, residential lots.
As a Liberty Avenue resident, she was a key member of the Franklin Park Association (yes, North Revere was once called Franklin Park). In that role, she often opposed noxious proposals in Rowe’s Quarry – including an undesirable asphalt batching plant proposed several years ago.
Additionally, she was a big mover in getting the Rumney Marsh designated as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) so as to prevent any further development in the fragile marsh ecosystem.
“I’m going to miss her and the City will miss her,” said Councillor Tony Zambuto.
Councillor Bob Haas also spoke well of Toro.
Councillor John Correggio said Toro had coordinated many of his campaigns going back to several School Committee runs in the 1980s.
“She was one of my biggest supporters,” he said. “She wouldn’t back down from anyone and she advocated for the people. They don’t make them like her anymore.”
Toro also ran for local office several times, but was never successful.
She was remembered with a moment of silence prior to the City Council meeting on Monday night.