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City Council OK's Food Truck Pilot Program in Medford

A little persistence led to the program getting the OK.

"Persistence is key."

It's a common phrase, and one Medford resident Cindy Watson probably agrees with.

The city council voted Tuesday on a proposed pilot program to license food trucks. The trucks would be limited to the Medford Farmers Market and special events, and the program would expire at the end of October.

Since the farmers market's season is already underway, City Councilor Paul Camuso called for the council to expedite the proposal. Normally, the council needs to vote on three readings of a proposed new ordinance, a process that takes a couple of weeks. But the council can bypass that process if it unanimously agrees to skip to the third and final reading.

That effort hit a snag Tuesday night when Medford City Councilor Robert Penta was the lone voice on the council against expediting the vote.

Penta said he was worried about how the trucks could impact existing businesses in Medford Square, and also worried about the "special events" element of the proposed ordinance.

"I just can’t accept it right now," he said.

The council voted 6-1, with Penta voting against it, and the effort initially failed.

That's when Cindy Watson came to microphone.

"You have the right to do things, but you can also do the right thing," Watson told Penta. "Change your vote."

Then a pause. And with a slight change in inflection:

"Change your vote."

Penta waited.

"I’m asking you, I’m an Irish kid, you’re an Italian guy," Watson said. "Just change your vote."

And with that, Penta called for the council to reconsider the request on the ordinance, got up from his seat, circled the rail that separates the council from the public, embraced Watson, exchanged a few words and walked out of the Council Chambers.

The council began to vote again on the ordinance, but there was some confusion. City Council President Robert Maiocco asked audience members to retreive Penta from the hallway.

He emerged.

"I'm absent," Penta said from the back of the room.

So the councilors voted, 6-0-1, with Penta being absent.

Asked after about her effort after the meeting, Watson smiled.

"You only live once," she said.

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raymay June 29, 2012 at 11:37 AM
What the heck happened here?! I'm an Irish kid, too -- can I get council members to change votes? Will this become the new catch phrase of public commenting? Confusion aside, I'm glad that the food truck ordinance passed. Odd to think that in the retail wasteland that is around City hall, having a truck there for a couple hours for a couple of months was perceived as a serious threat.
mary June 29, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Wow. Good story, Jarret. I'm glad you were there for that one.
ella watson June 29, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Jaret ..you left out some facts ..that ms,Watson yelled out that penta should vote for the market ..because its a non-profit!..check your facts..the market has been a For-profit corporation since jan 28th 2009. .it is FRAUD when they keep miss-representing themselves as a non-profit. Do some checking..On jan 28th 2009."Medford Square Market" filed dissolution papers with the sec, of states office to dissolve the "Non-Profit Corporationt on Sept.23 2009. At the same time "Medford Square Market".. file papers to become a For-Profit Corporation called "Medford Square Market II"...also on Jan.28th 2009. BOTH CORPORATIONS were being run at the same time. ..so whats wrong with that..Well "MSM" held a fundraiser at Whole Foods on sept.8th 2009 and raised over 3000.00 as a Non-Profit(even thought whole foods policy states that they will only host 5013c companies) only to be dissolved weeks later..where did the $3000.00 raised ...GO? There are specific rules when you close a NON-PROFIT..but rules don't applied to the "market"...When the director at.... MASS FARMERS MARKET and the manager at WHOLE FOODS were asked why the market was allowed to use there 501c3 papers..Both responed with..They(the market told them they were going for thier own 501c3 papers themselves. We now know thats a LIE!.. Wake -up citizens of Medford.You have been taken for a ride.If your wondering why the mayor and its departments allow this to go on...go online and see who has been on the boards
Mike June 29, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Hell yea Ella let these people know that there all phony
raymay June 29, 2012 at 02:02 PM
ella and bill, There are two issues here. One, I have no idea whether the market is a non-profit or a for-profit (sounds like the latter). They should be clear about it, I agree. To be clear, though, filing papers is not the same thing as actually getting approved; that takes months. So honestly, from January-September 09, they were probably still a non-profit, and the fundraiser they had in September was for a non-profit. Not sure where this need to see things in a fishy light comes from. Also, btw, for-profits can have fundraisers, too. As for where the money goes, I suspect it goes into marketing, paying the performers, paying the market manager, buying supplies. If you want to know, I recommend you write to them and ask. To call them all phonies is a pretty sweeping statement. Not sure what you have against farmers markets and volunteers trying to improve the quality of life in Medford, esp. when the city does so little.
ella watson June 29, 2012 at 03:05 PM
. Bill and .raymay.....at the end of the coun.meeting. Penta asked City Attorney Rumley to Investigation the Mayor for.... using his office by (Phone and emails) to Advertise for the market..Margarita's rest.and an undisclosed Car Wash. Penta want the attorney and the " Ethics comm." To Investigate the Mayors miss use of his office.I am not the only one that is concerned. if and when the Mayor and the market comes clean..I will support it (like i did before they lied) ..unlit then ..NO I will not support them. What happens if every "Business or Org". in medford wanted the city "DPW" (thats who put them up).. to put up signs around the city..for their business. to get free advertising............ Don't worry..... it won't happen.It won't happen...the mayor has crossed a very straight line. when rumley was asked to investigate..he said he neww nothing about the calls and emails...Penta responded with..an email was sent to you..how could you not open it.. his reponse..I didn't open it...Like I have Said...AUDIT TIME..independent AUDIT lets see where the money really goes
raymay June 29, 2012 at 03:37 PM
I never received any phone or emails advertising the market from the city. ? ?? Is your beef with the market, or with the Mayor/the administration? That the mayor allowed them to post signs? I agree that if the market is for profit, that is unfair and sets an odd precedent. Doesn't mean the market is crooked, though. And I'm definitely for a City Hall audit. It's been a longtime dream of mine. I am pretty sure that there's a lot more bad stuff happening there than what the market may or may not have done.
Timothy McGivern June 29, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Ms. Watson- I don't understand why you are so negative? The Farmers market is a wonderful addition to the City. I highly encourage you to meet the members of the Board of Directors for the Farmers Market before you make such harsh decisions (full disclosure: my wife is on the Board). They are genuine people trying to improve the City that you live in. They are not crooks, phonies or criminals. I encourage you to get involved. Maybe you could volunteer in some capacity? This way you could not only be on the inside, you could see the overwhelming positive side of things. There is an explanation for all of your gripes, but you need to ask the questions and not just type negativity on a public forum. You make them sound like a bunch of fat cats in some giant corporation. They are the exact opposite. They are grounded people who care about your city. They are not out to make any money, they are out to help bring good, fresh, local food to the citizens of Medford. I have personally asked the questions that you are concerned about and have received answers and explanations that not only make sense, but shows the hard work these folks put in on their own time. If any other readers are concerned like Ms. Watson, I encourage you to visit the market, talk to the Board of Directors, get answers to your concerns. I for one love the market and hope that it grows. I also hope the City of Medford continues to help promote the market while promoting the City at the same time.
Richie M June 29, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Ella the look on Rumley's face when Penta pointed out that Rumley's name was on the emails being sent out by McGlynn said it all. Normally he's being fawned over by Paul Camuso, but he knew Penta had him. How about his comically absurd response? " I couldn't possibly read the email as I receive over one hundred emails a day." Sure. Everyone ignores correspondence from their employer.
ella watson June 29, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Tim G. frist i want to say that this is a public forum..so I can exercise my right to speak.I don't have a pose a question.... I am happy for you and your wife and your love for the market.Your wife being on the board sounds wonderful...but here was your chance to clear the air. This was your oppotunity to get it right.Why didn't you take this time to tell everyone ..If the market is For-Profit or Non-Profit..you left that part out....why? I mean you would know with your wife on the board. If the hearts are all in the right place...tell us please why would all those members be at the coun.meet. ..where they heard cindy watson yell to Penta..."please change your vote ..were a non-profit...like other non-profits" this why Im writing... and not questioning. They are not fat cats..i have never implied or referred to their personal income or financial state. My concern is a for a corporation that uses false truths to get their way..instead of following the procedures that everyone else in the commonwealth has to follow ...I don't see anyone elses corporations asking city hall and the mayor for help.I have no-beef with the workers,board or the volunteers..my concerns are for the seniors and families in this city.....why not come clean ..just say it..Is the market" for or non" profit. Last time I looked at the sec.of states office..the market goes by 2 names: Medford Square market II and Medford Farmers Market..BOTH BEING ..For-Profit Companies .
Timothy McGivern June 30, 2012 at 12:01 AM
(1 of 2) Ms. Watson, You have already stated correctly that the Market is not a non-profit. This is a matter of public record. I have nothing to “come clean” about. A couple things you (and all reading) need to be aware of: -It is my understanding that Cindy Watson was speaking about CACHE, which is a non-profit, not the Farmers Market when she spoke at the Council meeting. -Most farmers markets in Mass. are not non-profit. As far as I understand it is difficult to be approved as a non-profit because it requires a large educational component which is not part of the markets focus. Typical markets don’t have the capacity to fulfill this requirement. Education is related, but not a primary focus. A board of all volunteers who have jobs has a difficult enough time as it is running the market as a business. You have the freedom to ask the Board where the profits go at the end of the year (if there are any), and I would bet they get reinvested into the market in order for it to grow. (continued)
Timothy McGivern June 30, 2012 at 12:02 AM
(2 of 2) -The four people on the board volunteer their time and there are two employees that are part time. -The Medford Farmers Market is a member of the Federation of Massachusetts Farmers Markets (which is a non-profit), and as a member is able participate in fundraisers such as the Whole Foods 5% days. -Most farmers markets in Massachusetts are sponsored by the City or Town in which they reside. Most Cities and Towns consider Farmers Markets an amenity to their city, and most citizens agree, which is why this is considered acceptable. Farmers Markets provide access to healthy food for people, especially for people on SNAP. In closing I'd like to invite you to sit down for coffee (or tea) and we can go over your concerns in detail and generate a plan to address each one. You can send me an email at tim.mcgivern (at) gmail.com.
ella watson July 05, 2012 at 11:36 PM
I guess some people are okay with things being "acceptable". Iin MSM and MFM The " Articles of Organization" Are exactly the same . Both stress "education" as their "mission statement". I don't agree with Tim G. that the "medford farmers market" is like other markets....if so..then we should see full disclosure of "minutes"... of their meetings(past 6 years) and their end of the year budget....Like other city and towns do...They make it available in a PDF files. Most markets post a link..... on their web sites..so citizens can access the information. Medford farmers market can be a Leader in Transparency. I'm sure if the market shares their information....It will allow the citizens that want to know the markets needs can respond with.. crucial support....if deciding to participate as vendor/volunteer Last but not least...I won't sit with you for information about the market..clearly the market personnel are to busy to make a clear and definitive remark..clarify or help explain their request for whatever their needs may be.Tim..sitting down with you would defeat the purpose of this fine papers stories and article..and the "Freedom of Speech" so graciously bestowed on all of us through "Patch" comments to "post" or "reply" with what ever... we all want to Say.... or for other to Ask.. If the market would like to clear up anything that the market thinks readers don't understand. Here is your chance ......go for it.
Timothy McGivern July 06, 2012 at 10:38 AM
At this point, I'm not sure you would be satisfied with anything I've said or could say. The information that you ask for is available. Please contact the market and you can see meeting minutes, budgets, and whatever else you want. IT IS AVAILABLE. It might not be posted on the internet, but like I've said, these folks have day jobs as well. How hard have you tried? Is your gripe personal or something? I have offered to help you find what you are looking for. I've offered to be on your side. By the way, sitting down for coffee does not "defeat the purpose" of this publication. I look forward to meeting you at some point. Also, my name is not "Tim G." It is Tim M. if you'd like to shorten it.
ella watson July 06, 2012 at 01:00 PM
Tim M. ..First i don't need anyone on my side..because I'm not taking sides..I'm trying to get information to the citizens of medford..this could be made so easy..by posting links to all their info online in one place(market facebook page or their web page.... for all to see.....Because you keep referencing that they all have full time jobs..I felt this would accomplish a goal of transparency ..my suggestion of linking to their site is one way info could and would be made public.......Just suggesting what "other" markets do to satisfy their customers request. Why should anyone have to search for info...when you say its available. Its totally the markets choice ...if they want the citizens to know whats going on..with the market..they will post a link to their reports..filings..and anything their hearts desire...IF they don't want the citizens to know...then leave it the way it is. ...
Timothy McGivern July 06, 2012 at 05:41 PM
If they did not want the citizens to know, they would hide it and cover it up deliberately, which they are not doing. You are making an illogical inference. Just because an organization does not provide a link to a comprehensive database to all of their documentation, DOES NOT mean that they are hiding or trying to cover something up deliberately. Nobody has to "search" for it. You can write an email or make a phone call requesting the specific info you need. this is TYPICAL procedure when it comes to organization transparency. Yes, you are taking sides. You are taking the side against the market. I believe this is quite clear reading your posts. It is also quite clear from reading your posts that you are not doing enough research to make your claims. Please go back and re-read. Emphasizing the fact that they have day jobs is only to highlight the point that they are volunteers, and that their time is short. Do you know how much work it is to provide an online database that is current with meeting minutes, agendas, financial statements, etc.? They have a tough enough time as it is securing vendors and getting people to come to the market.
ella watson July 06, 2012 at 07:17 PM
....are you forgetting how this all began...We were trying to find out if the market was non or for Profit. ...information for citizens to understand.
Timothy McGivern July 06, 2012 at 07:39 PM
That question was answered far up near the top, and is documented as public record available for all to see and know if they choose to do so.
ella watson July 06, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Awesome....I will be sending a written request that you send a copy to each city council member. The addresses are online...If you want to get them ready. As a tax payer..any Organization that the Mayor sends out emails and phone calls to citizens from his Office/City Hall... asking to or for support.. ..only to do it for some organizations... and not all organizations is wrong. .Like councillor Penta said.. This should be looked into...ethically ....Glad your willing to get the information out..that's all we have wanted from the beginning..that the council be informed with facts...I will mail the requests shortly... I want the council to have all the facts...before going forward on any bonds....including or not including the market. I'm glad we are in agreement that communication and transparency are the keys needed to succeed in Medford. Thank you for your imput..Tim M....sincerely ella
raymay July 06, 2012 at 09:26 PM
It really is a mystery what your beef is with the market, ella. If the councilors want that market information, they can request it themselves. And again, I say I never received any emails or phone calls from any city representative in support of the Market. Could you clarify that point, please?
Timothy McGivern July 06, 2012 at 10:12 PM
"Awesome....I will be sending a written request that you send a copy to each city council member." -Ella Watson Please clarify the above. My role here is as an informed citizen, and not a liaison.
ella watson July 06, 2012 at 11:24 PM
raymay..I don't have a beef with the market or anyone else on here.I'm watching city council meeting and a statement is made that "their a non-profit like us"...knowing that that is not true..I responded on this thread. As far as wanting the council to have all information. I help out with several org in the city ..and they have asked why the market gets special treatment...Having the Dpw take time out to place signs around the city....... Don't you think al faro, the neighborhood restaurant. or the Deli on riverside would have liked some "free " publicity..before they went out of business. ..or the Gould School of Dance in West Medford ..would have liked to have signs saying their... competing in National Competition in Chicago as we speak..The Schools Champion Dancers will advance to World Class Competition later... Or the recent "relay for life" ..event at Fields of Dreams..would have love to have posted signs that stay up all year round...their are many deserving organization "old and new" and... For-profit businesses in the city that could use help...I'm not against the market..I have been to the market every year...purchased breads ..soap..oil ..candy and honey and Hummus(hated to see the deli go..)..to see art and hear the music.. I love all the vendors..wish some would come back..If your going to ask the city for help..then as a taxpayer..I want information to decide if we want the city to invest..or not. Be proud of sharing your efforts..I for one want facts..
ella watson July 06, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Tim M...I didn't realise you are an informed citizen like me..disregard the "you" in the sentences. Point of information..City Councillors week after week thank some citizen or many for sending information..about defects...request...photos etc..... through emails..text and voicemail on numerous bits of information. Don't get bent out of shape...if I want to send information to the council ..information of any topic..I will..and more should do the same...Their are many taxpayers who want answers..I will direct my questions to the market directly..Since your only an informed citizen like us...we can both benefit from what is gleaned...
Maria Daniels July 08, 2012 at 02:58 PM
The expedited permit was granted to CACHE, as someone stated above, and not to the Farmer's Market. CACHE is a coalition of nonprofits, businesses, and individuals who want to see Medford thrive. The people trying to launch the food truck and Circle in the Square pilot program are piggybacking on the fact that the Farmer's Market is in the Square on Thursdays, and hoping that will help more people turn out to be part of our community, patronize Medford Square businesses, and enjoy cultural and arts attractions. CACHE ran the wonderful Medford on the Mystic Festival last October and they are planning more public events for next October. http://cacheinmedford.weebly.com/
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