In an effort to keep you informed, Caught in Southie will be bringing you candidate profiles for the upcoming election on Tuesday, September 26th. This is the second one in the series.
Corey Dinopoulos – is a 33 LGBT activist, community organizer and graphic designer originally from Dracut, and a South Boston homeowner on K and 7th.
A graduate of Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Corey co-founded the movement to explore bringing the Summer Olympics Games to Massachusetts. For him, it was about pushing our city to dream a little bigger and making a commitment to fixing our aging transit system and infrastructure. Through the process Corey says he gained an understanding of the complexities of city government including its capabilities and limitations.
“It was a humbling experience that made clear to me that I was passionate about Boston, its residents and its bright future. It also taught me that only if we work together and listen to all voices, Boston will always succeed.”
Why are you running? “I’m running because I love Boston and all the neighborhoods of District 2, and I believe I have the energy and willingness to work for all parties across the district. I come with a fresh, open minded approach to city government as I’ve never been officially in politics although I have been very civically engaged. I will say that the level of support for all the candidates is admirable and there is a warm and respectful element of good sportsmanship among all the candidates.”
We’ve got an embarrassment of riches with a field of really excellent candidates vying for this post – what sets you apart? “I have been working for 12 years in my field full time and I have always been very community focused. Still at this point in the campaign I am working my 40-hour a week paying job while I campaign, attend meetings and events to reach the people in my district and I think that inherently points to my work ethic and dedication to this city and my district. It’s exhausting but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
What is your proudest accomplishment? “That’s a hard one, but I guess the fact that my college senior thesis became the foundation for Boston’s Olympic bid, which made it to the international round of bidding. It was a boggling exercise but one I am proud to have participated in. Ultimately LA got the bid, and Boston made the right decision – so I will book my tickets for LA and see the festivities on the left coast! I am very proud of the friends and relationships I made with elected officials through the bid process, and in fact I hosted a party recently at my house and some of the London 2012 athletes came to support my campaign. I am also very proud of the work I do on behalf of Mass Art’s alumni leadership council and the chance to promote this gem of a school in Boston and help them raise money for programs and scholarships for talented students.”
Southie’s bus situation is OUT OF CONTROL. How will you work with the MBTA to mitigate the overcrowding? “Well I am excited to share the news that I have been endorsed by former Massachusetts Transportation Secretary Jim Aloisi. Jim and I ride the bus every day and discuss ways to create and advocate for better transit for the neighborhoods in South Boston. I’ve been going to the MBTA fiscal control board meetings to testify on behalf of Southie. And I’ve never seen a city councilor on the T – and they can easily pass the buck and say it is a state issue, but we need a councilor using the system to document the issues. I think we should look at every possibility including implementing rapid bus transit lanes and cutting the amount of bus stops – we don’t need a bus stop at every corner. We also need to look at easier ways to obtain bus passes and eliminate cash on board so commuters can board the busses at front and rear doors more efficiently and quickly. We need more service to the Seaport area on the weekends so people can shop and enjoy the attractions of that area and not drive or take costly Ubers or car services.”
Speaking of driving and cars… Do you think households should be able to get unlimited resident parking stickers? How do we fix our parking crisis? My own parents can’t even come visit because of our parking issue. Last time I had a friends over to dinner they got a ticket – this affects everyone. Boston doesn’t charge for resident stickers and I think that is a real lost revenue channel. If we charged just $5-20 annually for a resident sticker we could earmark that revenue to fund safe streets programs and the Vision Zero initiative. We need a way to deter residents from having multiple cars in one family by incentivizing them to use alternative transport like an improved bus system and protected cycling lanes. I also think there are a number of “ghosted” handicap spots that are either no longer associated with a resident or no longer needed and I think we need an audit of those spaces, which actually could be a quick beginner fix for parts of South Boston.”
Thoughts on the Boston Edison Development? “I’ve got very strong opinions on that site and I have attended every meeting regarding the development. “I don’t support additional housing that isn’t transit oriented, and this site is in a location where it’s only accessible by car and Southie can’t afford more cars. We have a hard enough time as it is now servicing that neighborhood with public transportation. I’d love to see a garage for overflow parking, a grocery store, green space, maybe retail or hotel space, and arts and cultural space that provide more benefit to the community.”
First Job? “I had a great first job – I worked for the DeMoulas family at the Market Basket in Lowell where I unloaded trucks and was a bag boy. I started at 14, and we had to wear a shirt and tie which I think was a great policy – we were treated as professionals and the job helped me hone my interpersonal skills and learn about excellent customer service as I walked groceries to the cars for the little old ladies! I saved and saved and that little job eventually helped me buy my house in Southie. Now I’m with a firm and I am co-building a team from the ground up that works on innovative apps to help increase the speed of business while improving the employee experience.
Favorite restaurant in Southie? Oh god that is a hard one. I’d have to say it is a toss-up between Loco and Publico. One of the owners of Publico is Greek and I am half Greek and half Irish so we share a comradery for the goodness of Greek cuisine!
Go to order at Sully’s? “I like to keep it simple – hot dog with ketchup and mustard and of course fries.”