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January 17, 2007


Dr. Mrs. McCarthy

Neil Darling,

If you are attempting to show us the press release, it did not work. God In Heaven, where is George when we need him?

Try it again McCabe!!!!!!!!

Dr. Mrs. McCarthy

Ron Newman

the attachment links don't work

older guy

Mayor Announces Appointment of Assistant Director Philip Ercolini as Acting Director

SOMERVILLE – In a joint announcement, Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development Executive Director James Kostaras said today that Kostaras would be leaving his city position effective January 26, 2007. He will be replaced on an interim basis by current OSPCD Assistant Director Philip Ercolini.

“Jim Kostaras is very much a big-picture, strategic thinker, but also a leader who brought deep practical experience to his work,” Curtatone said. “This has been a time of tremendous positive change and rapid progress on the development front here in Somerville – and I am very grateful to Jim for his vision, his commitment and the central role he has played over the past three years in making Somerville a better, more prosperous and more livable city.”

In a four-page letter to Mayor Curtatone, Kostaras expressed his satisfaction with the city’s progress in development at Assembly Square and Union Square, as well as his efforts to implement a multi-faceted business development and assistance program, promote mixed-use development in neighborhoods across the city, and to attract state and federal grant dollars to enhance the city’s development resources at a time of fiscal austerity. Kostaras noted that he is “proud that the City has, in only three years, achieved a series of major development breakthroughs that have set us firmly on the path to a prosperous, sustainable, neighborhood-based future.”

In his letter to Curtatone, Kostaras went on to say that, “Under your leadership, Somerville has built a reputation for innovation and vision that has attracted the favorable attention of developers and public officials throughout the metro region, New England and the nation. They have noted how we have overcome fiscal and social challenges, and made the most of our assets, in order to take our place as one of the most dynamic and creative development centers on the Atlantic Coast.”

Commenting on his letter, Kostaras said, “I wanted both the Mayor and the people of Somerville to know that I have enjoyed my time with the city, and that I believe the city has a great future. Because I now have twenty years of public-sector service, I am now in a position to spend more time writing, teaching and consulting – not necessarily in that order.”

Curtatone indicated that he would immediately initiate a full-scale search for a permanent replacement. “Phil Ercolini will be an able and energetic acting director, but he’s made it clear to me that his personal preference is to return to his job as Director of Housing,” Curtatone said. “That creates an opening at the number two spot in OSPD, and I hope we’ll be able to fill it in the very near future. On the other hand, finding a new executive director is going to take some time: Jim managed a large and complex operation, and we’ll want to mount a full search and recruitment effort.”

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The Mole

Didn't the Mayor do a nationwide search for JK? Isn't this the guy they were paying from two different payrolls to make the "Grade" pay for him? Isn't this the same guy that the Mayor stated would do Somerville proud? So, what happened?

This must have been the person that said "NO" more than once to the Mayor on Assembly Square funds, Max Pac problems and some of the funds being requested through SPCD for the recent influx in oil tank disasters. So many "No's" to Joey Cakes means Adios Amigo.

The Mole


is jk taking the fall because of bad decisions by predecessors? or, because "others" who have oversight of funds and process questioned the means and methods along with the sources and uses of funds on the third floor? (by others i dont mean the BOA). everyone knows jk was clueless about municipal what is the real story...did the feds finally say enough and jk was just the messenger?


the point was the date stamp of the press release. next time, i will not be so obtuse.


It takes a long time for JK to write the four page campaign speech for JC...oops I mean letter of send to the mayor that was quoted in the press release. That probably accounts for the delay

Born Here

don't be tricky, we only went to Somerville high ! Remember the TV news story "why Johnny can't read" about SHS? I think the teachers got a payraise too.


born here,

i thought everyone on this site went to st. clement's. my bad.



Somebody is glad that they will not build a jail in Somerville as it was to close to home, but remember if the Feds said enough is enough then there is a lot of room in Danbury from the TOP on down they even have a farm for the HOG to feel right at home.

Dr. Mrs. McCarthy


I take it that my post about your lack of abs, which was deleted, was a mistake. We all make mistakes. I'll forgive you this one but please be more careful in the future. As much as I tease Francis, he would still do anything for me.


Dr. Mrs. McCarthy


Finally, we get an editor with some gumption. I love it! Welcome back Neil!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I wish Kostaras well in his pursuit of a new job. The best kept secret in City Hall is that this guy tried to do his job the best he could. But as usual, politics got in the way. The worst kept secret in City Hall is that while he had many conflicts with his staff over the "business as usual" mentality that permeates the walls of City Hall, it was the Mayor's gang of four(Heuston, Trane, O'Donovan and Roche) that were the henchmen to discredit and get rid of him. Anyone remember Trane's hissy fit at a Board meeting publicly berating Kostaras and his entire staff and then threatening them with a "good butt chewing"? Trane really is a class act.(NOT)

Interesting that all four had or currently have major pieces of rezoning efforts that have or will have to pass through Strategic Planning. His meddleing with how they wanted to do business was pissing them off. And the potential harm his actions and policies could have on the developers contributions to the Mayors campaign coffers(and theirs) just wasn't acceptable. The gang of four complained often and loudly to Curtatone. Hence the ax. As for the "letter of resignation"? I can understand why Kostaras signed something he did not write, but it is kind of insulting to think that people would actually buy it.

Somewhat Shocked

I think Somerspeak has is partially right- although I do think that a large part of JK's problem was his inability to keep his own staff content. When you lose some of the long-time staff people- who lasted through three administrations - that he lost, something is wrong.

My take on it is that JK was torn between being a professional and doing what the Mayor wants from him. A tough spot to be in when sometimes what the Mayor wants isn't the best from a long-term planning perspective.

Here come da Judge.....

Well, if it's true that he tried to follow the laws and was ousted because of that, we're all in trouble. And the city can probably expect more lawsuits such as the one from MVTF when people become aware that the city often does not follow their own zoning regulations!


Maybe he thought that some of it was illegal what he was asked to do? Maybe it was, maybe it was not who knows, him, the ????? (what would you call him you fill the blanks) must now convince the temp to tread very very carefully or just maybe he can take the fall?


I often read the posting on here when I need some comic relief but this is my first time responding. Most of what I read is from the same people over and over. It is always so negative and nasty that I ignore it but not in this case. I just had to take a moment to respond to somerspeak's posting. He has it all wrong.

I am a direct abutter to the proposed project at the old Conwell school site in Ward 7. I have to say that I was very impressed with how Alderman Trane handled the entire project from day one. It was open and he held numerous public meetings on site to get the neighbors take on what should and shouldn't happen on this project. He was very responsive and met with me personally on four different occasions to go over aspects of the project that I didn't understand or when I needed more information. He sat right here at my kitchen table with the plans and went over everything with me.

Changes were made to he project and all the neighbors were happy with the compromise that came out of these meetings.

The reason Alderman Trane got mad was that the planning department allowed the developer to come in and make changes with no notification to the neighbors. After countless hours of hard work to make sure everyone effected was kept informed Mr. Kostaras made a decision to allow more units on the site with no public input.

Trane challenged the planning department on our behalf and I'm glad he got mad. They deserved it! He also uncovered other changes that were in the works that no one was aware of but Mr. Kostaras and the developer.

A sweet heart deal was in the works that would have directed millions of dollars in grant money and directed it to this development. It would have changed the entire scope of the project. All of this was done with no public input.

Mr. Kostaras was the one playing god on this deal. If Mr. Trane had not stepped up and made a lot of noise it would have been another back door deal done at the expense of the neighbors and taxpayers of the city.

I notice that Mr. Somerspeak seems to always post very negative and erroneous information and I just had to set the record right on this matter!

Mr. Trane did the right thing from day one on this project. I have lived here for over forty years and in that time I have never had a better Alderman. In fact Bob Trane is the only Alderman that came out to my front door to speak to me directly in all those years. I could tell he cares and that he has a sincere passion to do what is right. I will support his efforts and I will support him because of those efforts.

Truth Fan


You are correct on these narrow facts: Jim Kostaras either made an executive decision, or took responsibility for for one someone else made,that contradicted the consensus established by the public process. Bob Trane was justifiably angry, and he complained about this. Now think for a moment as to whether you believe that these facts are sufficient to explain why Kostaras got the heave ho.

Somerspeak is not mistaken. I don't recall him ever being negative in his intent, either. In this case, he was positive in appreciating Kostaras's attempts to do the right thing. But Somerspeak is conscientious in describing a negative reality. Of these "negative" statements that I have been able to confirm in the past, all of them have checked out accurately.

Somerspeak's post is restrained in revealing all of the goings on behind Kostaras's getting squeezed out. For example, Stan Koty was deeply unhappy that DPW was placed under Kostaras, since this constrained a lot of Stan's extracurricular revenue generating activities. Stan's girlfriend served as a $60K-per-year spy within SPCD, badmouthing not just JK, but many of the SPCD staff who decided to move on.

And of those who left (Ezra G., Eamon G., Tuck O'B., Sherrie G. Carrie S., Maureen ?, and others), many did so because the mayor's manipulation of development and personnel policy offended their ehtics, morality, or professional standards. The two of those who left who I heard use the term "hostile work envrionment" did not identify Kostaras as the cause of that hostility, but with being "caught in the middle."

While I am certain that JK was "encouraged" to leave, I think that his exit from the snake pit brings a certain amount of relief with it. I'll leave it to other bloggers to tell the rest of the story.



Thank you. It is not now and never has been my intent to be so negative about the City. It is the sometimes reprehensible actions of some of our elected officials that truly makes me angry.

And while the truth serum still flows through my veins, and while I can never prove any of the following(not without JK's agreement on it) Conwell, would it surprise you to know that the changes that were made were done so with the full knowledge of the Mayor? Would it surprise you to know that Trane knew about the changes, kept quiet about them, then feigned public outrage just to solidify the case to get rid of Kostaras? It would? Then I suggest you look a little deeper at how your Alderman really operates.


I think you just proved my point somerspeak. Once again you make allegations about someone’s motive, yet it is only supposition on your part. What’s next? Will you be telling me that Trane was on the grassy knoll in Dallas the day Kennedy was shot.

As someone that actually took part in this process, and lives in ward 7 I think I offer a far more substantial point of view. Once again you show your true colors as a professional hater with only negative viewpoints. I realize this forum has no editor and that much of what you post is rumor. I can only wonder what your true motivation is for posting this dribble.

I was wondering when DPW was moved under planning department? I don’t recall reading about that in this paper or the other local newspaper.

Since it is part of the city charter I don’t think it could happen without the approval of Board of Alderman. Are you telling me your so called conspiracy group voted to put Stan Koty under someone else’s control? That makes no sense what so ever. Perhaps you can tell me when this happened so I could check the facts on that one.


Dear Truth Fan,

I don't know about everything you said, but Stan Koty could not have a girlfriend working for the city. He is a happily married man.

The rest is for others to dispute. Not me.

City Hall Nose

"Flashback in Time"; 2003 Campaign-

Price of a gallon of milk - $1.79

Who were the 2003 Superbowl XXXVIII Champions - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Most asked question of Politicians - "The Envlope Please"!!!



You and I will not agree on this one. Why don't you call Trane, ask him to come on over, sit at your kitchen table, look you right in the eye and ask him if there is any truth to my rumormongering.

Truth was incorrect stating that DPW was moved under Kostaras. Only the Inspectional Services section was moved to Strategic Planning.

Watch for Inspectional Services to be very quickly and quietly moved back under the management of the DPW commissioner.

Just the Facts Please

Conwell--Can you tell me the big changes that upset you and Bob? It looks to me like there was never any major change to the project but that Bob Trane was confused. I checked the Somerville News and found the following about the Conwell:

"Seems that Ward Seven Alderman Bob Trane is very upset with the VNA as well as the Planning Department at City Hall - their proposed development up at the old Conwell School site was supposed to be 90 assisted living units - which was already approved.
" Jim Kostaras of the Planning Department and Linda Cornell for the VNA decided to go ahead and change the plans and not let the Alderman or the neighbors know about it - now the plan calls for 60 assisted living units and 30 low-income units."

Then I looked at the City of Somerville's site to find the Mayor's Press Release last March about the project:

"The VNA, working in conjunction with the Somerville Housing Authority (SHA), will build a 95 unit housing facility on the site, 72 of which will be affordable assisted living rental housing units. The remaining 23 units will be reserved for moderate-income housing. The project is expected to be complete in the fall of 2007."

You see, contrary to what Bob told the Somerville News, the plans never called for just assisted living units, but a combination of assisted living units and low-moderate income housing of 23 units.

Also, could you give me actual details about the sweetheart deal that you say he helped stop and the millions of dollars in grants that would have impacted Somerville taxpayers? I never heard about it. Thanks in advance, I'm alway looking for unbiased facts that impact our City.


Sooner or later those damn press releases have a way of catching up to folks.

Dr. Mrs. McCarthy

And there you have it folks. That concludes tonights episode of "Tales of Cambriville". I will now be able to go into a nice rest-filled sleep knowing that Stan Koty is a happily married man, Bob Trane was just confused and that Somerspeak is back at his favorite watering hole in Teele Square ripping the wings off winter moths.


Dr. Mrs. McCarthy


If he is then do you beleive in fairys and things that go bump in the night and I dont mean bed springs or do I? But with that weight the springs would not last long. So he might go home again to? let me see not Somerville but it might begin with W.

Truth Fan

Yes, I misspoke. Or rather, miswrote. Inspectional Services was moved from supervision by Stan Koty in DPW to supervision by Jim Kostaras in SPCD. Sorry for the confusion, which was a failure to proof read rather than an intent to mislead.

I've got to believe that whoever posted as "Correction,"has a good heart and an innnocent spirit. His or her assertion that Mr. Koty can't have a girl friend because he is happily married is endearing.

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