Coming to a Somerville house party near you: Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone.
The city of Somerville recently launched a Mayor in My Backyard (MIMBY) program, where residents can invite the the mayor to come to their home, hang out, relax, and talk over some food for thought. So, crack open the beers, get those records spinning, and cook up some Italian food!
"It could be a barbeque, it could be me cooking you dinner or just hanging out for cocktails at your house," said Curtatone in an interview with WGBH's Emily Rooney on Boston Public Radio.
Resident's can submit a MIMBY request via the City of Somerville's Facebook page.
"We're evaluating proposals. We want some wild and crazy 'so Somerville' ideas, so bring it on," he said. "It's an opportunity for me to get out as the mayor and let people know: I'm the CEO they elected."
"I'm here to serve them and connect and interact with them on issues—from the different social and civic events in the city to important issues on development or anything concerning them—in a very casual setting."
While we had Mayor Curtatone in the Boston Public Radio back yard, we took the opportunity to ask him about a few Somerville-related issues on the top of our mind. Here's what he had to say:
On the introduction this year of an official Hanukkah Menorah in addition to the official Somerville Christmas tree...
"Since I've been in office we've sought to do it and we worked with the Jewish community to have them all involved and it worked out that we could get it done this year. There was some concern that it might be too religious [but] it really is iconic...and we felt, basically it came down to, 'we're just going to do it.'"
On the possibility of a Steve Wynn casino coming to neighboring Everett, MA...
"I talked to the mayor of Everett this morning, who's a good friend of mine, and as I told him he's doing a great job. He's gotta fight for what he thinks is best for Everett [but] I have been vehemently opposed to casinos. Casinos just don't build communities and they really suck the consumerism out of the region."
On the possibility of a New England Revolution soccer stadium being built in Somerville's Assembly Square...
"We're intrigued by that possibility. We have no proposals before us. Somerville doesn't need a soccer stadium for its viability—we are on our way—but what it would possibly provide is more economic velocity. And it sort-of brings a worldwide cache to the city...so we have a strong interest in exploring that."
On the expansion of Boston's popular Hubway bike-sharing program into Somerville...
"It's been a huge success. Somerville has become ranked the eighth most bikeable city in the nation. He continued, "There's an incredible urban Renaissance happening in this county. People want to live and work in the urban core and they want the transportation resources to make it happen. So they want rail expansion. They want a community that embraces a multi-modal system of transportation and bicycling is one of them.
On Somerville itself...
"It's just the perfect scale...It's hip, it's creative, it's funky, it's freaky, its' still so Somerville, it's blue collar. We're only 4.1 square miles so its very walkable, bikable. But as a mayor, I'll tell you it's fantastic because it's the type of constituency that's cerebral on all the issues that we care about and it's great to do so many of the things we're doing there. It's the perfect model."
Before you put in your MIMBY request for Mayor Curtatone, you might want to bone up on his likes and dislikes so as to dazzle him with your sparking dinner conversation. To get you started, here's Emily Rooney's full interview with mayor: