Philip Frattaroli, 31, of the North End, a candidate for Boston's at-large city council spoke with West Roxbury Patch editor David Ertischek about small businesses, the North End, and wrestling programs in high schools. Frattaroli got married six months ago and grew up in the North End.
Patch: What is your profession? How will that help on the council?
Frattaroli: I own a restaurant (Ducali Pizzeria & Bar) and I'm a lawyer.
First off my legal education can be used because that’s what a legislative body does - legal writing and legislation. The small business background is vital because I think it's very difficult to be a small business person in Boston. All the hoops to jump through needed to set up and open a business in Boston - it takes about six to nine months to open a restaurant in Boston. It’s a really difficult process to open a business because there’s so many delays and uncertainty in the process. As you’re opening up you’re trying to staff a business, and when you don’t know when you're opening up that makes it difficult. You’re paying rent and paying for these processes, and there are even expediters to get through city hall and city gridlock. As a small business owner who opened a business and experienced going through 1010 Massachusetts Avenue (where you get Boston permits), and seeing people go through it, I think that would be a very important view on the city council.
Patch: Why are you running at-large and not district?
Frattaroli: Part of it is I’m a big fan of our city councilor. Sal Lamattina does a great job for the three neighborhoods he represents. You can see especially in Congress all these members are concerned about bringing pork back to districts. No one has an eye on the full country. You see that at a lesser extent at city council. At-large councilors have wide view of the city and make sure the whole city is for businesses to thrive and all neighborhoods have good schools to go to. It's not just a neighborhood centric view, but a citywide view of what the city council does.
Patch: What do you think of current school assignment plan being implemented in 2014?
Frattaroli: I think it’s on the road to what we need. I’m a big believer of neighborhood schools from a fiscal point of view. (Having students) being from East Boston and being sent (to a different neighborhood) through rush hour traffic, that’s not good for the kid to be in the best situation to be ready to learn. We would save $100 milion in busing if we had neighborhood schools – it helps neighborhoods become communities to grow with that opportunity.
Patch: What about lifting the charter cap?
Frattaroli: Yes, I’m in favor of charter schools. They're incubators but I want to make sure they’re playing by the same rules the public schools are playing by. In the North End, the Eliot School – it’s an innovation school, a city-run school. The teachers, through the union, have given up some bargaining powers. The principal can hire and fire teachers, and can increase the school day. The principal has turned around that school due to the abilty to do those things. As a small business manager it’s important to be able to hire and fire and play around with particulars of how to run a business. We need great principals in schools and to give them tools they can to turn them around. I’m in support of charter schools. But the innovation school is a great example of how BPS schools can work within the system.
Patch: What are your sign colors and why?
Frattaroli: My colors are red white and blue. I really like the look of it, those are the colors of our country and represent a lot to me and everybody in the country.
Patch: What is the #1 issue in Boston?
Frattaroli: I think for me it’s small business. If you look at it, it can affect jobs, the budget of the city. The jobs small businesses contribute and they’re the eyes and ears on the ground for public safety and can turn around neighborhoods. My father opened a business in 1977 in the North End and the North End wasn’t the neighborhood it is now. There were bars on the windows, and through the restaurant industry it helped turn around the neighborhood. Small city government really controls all levers that control small businesses. We can help Boston be a place where small businesses thrive. As part of the small business community I talk to people concerned with youth jobs and giving young people pathways into productive lives and make sure our kids are getting work and training to give them professional lives and better assimilate when they graduate from school and find a pathway into the world.
Patch: What has been your experience in West Roxbury?
Frattaroli: I recently had a meet and greet with the Blighs from the Corrib Pub... I’m doing door-knocking and I have some great support out there from some Ward 20 Democrats.
Patch: Anything else?
Frattaroli: Let me tell you abut my civic involvement - I’m the vice president of the North End Waterfront Council. I’m a board member of Boston Youth Wrestling and the whole idea behind that is in the public schools aren’t a lot of opportunities to participate in varsity athletics. The idea behind varisty athletics is kids are less likely to drop out of high school and be involved in gangs or violence. Wrestling is during basketball season, and that only serves 12 kids per season while a wrestling program can serve 60 kids of all shapes and sizes. You don’t need a rink, or a court. You role out a wrestling mat in the cafeteria and have breakfast there. We're trying to build a wrestling program in high schools, so far one there is one in Chinatown. And we're going through the School Committee to get a wrestling program varsity status at Dorchester High. I wrestled in high school and there was only one program in the city, at Boston Latin School. I think the sport for young men can provide self-reliance, but also you can be part of a team to be a part of a group. We’re tying to do a program at West Roxbury (Education Complex).