To the editor:
I am writing to offer a resounding endorsement of Melissa Cox for re-election as Ward 2 councilor.
My perspective comes from a professional relationship working on many downtown initiatives with the councilor in my role as a PR person for local small businesses and as a resident of Ward 2 itself.
As a community-committed citizen and a mother and wife living in Gloucester, I am involved in so many of the local arts, charity, green and holiday events that occur in Gloucester’s downtown in the course of the year.
I can honestly say I cannot think of one of these events that Melissa has not been a working, integral, delightful contributor to in her time as a Gloucester resident and more so now as a ward councilor.
From Block Party to Middle Street Walk, YMCA, Cape Ann Museum of Citywide Arts Festival, emergency outreach, resource awareness initiatives and pretty much everything else we have going on downtown, Councilor Cox misses nothing. And she is not just as a photo op seizer, but a true “maker of it happening.”
On any given day, Melissa can be found in the Burnham’s Field gardens or at the side of any one of the community organizers with her sleeves rolled up and a legitimate “joie de vivre” to be in the thick of it for her community.
As a resident of the ward, I also have first-hand experience with Melissa as a public servant and a resource for her neighborhood, which is likely the toughest from the point of view of density, economy and diversity, never mind traffic!
With an ongoing and growing problem of transient loitering in our neighborhood as the result of the Grace Center being welcomed into the west end, we as neighbors had a very real concern.
The number of unknown homeless guests in and around the Grace Center’s churches, the lingering masses of users attending meetings and staying long after, and the nearby 22 single-unit residences for active addicts render our neighborhood and its beautiful church yard an unsafe place for our children to play without supervision. Walking to and from the bus stop, the library, the Y and between houses is no longer something we parents peacefully take for granted.
I contacted Melissa to discuss the matter on a Wednesday. By Friday, she had a meeting arranged and confirmation from the churches involved, the police and many of the neighbors.
That evening, a Friday, Melissa walked door-to-door to put notices in mailboxes regarding the Monday night meeting, for those who might not have seen it online. Monday night came, and 40 people showed up for what was a well-organized, effectively facilitated, emotional and sometimes sensitive meeting. We aired our grievances, acknowledged our own responsibilities and most people there worked toward a swift attack on the negative side of a positive idea.
The police brought to our attention our failure to call in disturbances, we spoke freely about having given up on requests for help, the churches agreed to look into relighting the spotlight that renders the churchyard an impractical place for mischief; almost everyone involved was committed to improving the situation.
My family is grateful to have her working for Ward 2 and she has our vote and support on Nov. 5.
JENNIFER GOULART AMERO