AGAWAM – Sam Di Santi has spent 16 years in Agawam and has volunteered his time in the community. Now, Di Santi said he is ready to help in another capacity by running for City Council.
Di Santi served as a Business Mail Specialist for the United States Postal Service for 30 years and said he could advocate for Agawam residents who feel they have no say in local government.
“I believe that you need someone that is going to be proactive and really get out there and rattle the sabers sometimes when it needs to be done,” Di Santi said. “You just can’t sit back and let things go as they go. As it is in any government, you can’t be passive. I feel that I have that personality in being vocal to get things done.”
Di Santi has tried his hand in politics before, challenging state Rep. Nicholas Boldyga in 2013 because he felt he could help the city.
“I enjoy living in Agawam and I feel like I would be an asset to people here in as far as being vocal,” he said. “There are a lot of issues in town that I would like to straighten out. Being a vocal type person, I think I would help.”
Some of these issues include proper zoning to protect neighborhoods, namely Springfield Street, addressing declining property values and blighted homes, finding a remedy to cellular “dead zones” and the redevelopment of Games and Lanes.
Because Springfield Street allows both residential and business zoning, Di Santi said it needs to be monitored better.
“A lot of businesses aren’t keeping up with their frontage as far as maintaining it … Zoning needs to be looked at a little more closely when it comes to granting businesses. It’s basically going to turn into another Riverdale Street,” Di Santi said. “Zoning definitely is an issue in any town and would have to be adhered to. Agawam does allow both. It’s not illegal, but I believe it needs to be closely monitored. It’s out of hand.”
Blight in Agawam is another focus for Di Santi. Though an ordinance was recently passed that identified blighted properties, he said it did not do enough.
“I feel that the ordinance itself lacks teeth … I don’t feel there’s strong enough language in there. Time will tell, but these house have not just shown up in the last three months,” Di Santi said.
With six candidates challenging all incumbent City Councilors, Di Santi said it speaks to the dissatisfaction of Agawam’s residents. Getting new councilors at the table is a chance for new ideas to flow through, he said.
More than this, the election gives citizens of Agawam a chance for introspection.
“Agawam has to look at Agawam. We have to get proactive in our voting. There needs to be more voters active in voting, taking a stance in looking at the town’s whole environment,” he said. “We can’t keep worrying about Tom Brady and Deflategate issues. We have to worry about what’s going on here. That stuff doesn’t matter to us. What matters is worry about what’s going on in our town.”