Town Meeting/Town Election information
To the Editor:
The Annual Town Meeting will take place on Monday, April 29, at 7 p.m. in the Auditorium of the Carlisle Public School.
To accelerate the check-in process at the Town Meeting, voters will be checked-in by use of electronic Poll Pads. Voters may give their last name or license to any available teller in order to check-in. Scanning a license speeds the process and matches name and date of birth, only. No information from a scanned license is retained on the Poll Pad. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts does not require that a voter present a license to check-in at Town Meeting, it is simply a way to expedite the process.
The Annual Town Election will take place on Tuesday, May 7, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Carlisle Town Hall and the usual street name/number process will be used at that time.
Absentee ballots are available to eligible voters who: are absent from the town on Election Day; or have physical disabilities; or because of religious beliefs. Applications may be found at: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ELE/elepdf/absentee/English-Absentee-Ballot-Application.pdf . The last day/time to request an absentee ballot is noon on May 6.
Mary de Alderete, CMC
We need a plan
To the Editor:
We have a gazillion (technical term) of Warrant Articles coming up at the next Town Meeting. We have a chance to vote on each of these Articles. Only one of these Articles could help put in context most future Warrant Articles. This Article is for funding of the Master Planning process. The Master Plan will help align diverse opinions and our limited resources behind projects that will benefit all of us. I urge you to vote “yes” for the Master Plan funding.
Master Plan Steering Committee
Taking exception to Freedman’s letter
To the Editor:
Housing Authority Chairman David Freedman’s letter in the April 5, 2019 Mosquito does not refer to me by name, but he twice either misquotes me or takes comments I made as past vice-chair of the Housing Authority out of context.
David objects to former Housing Authority Chair Mark Levitan’s assertion that the town’s paying $300,000 to make a single unit at Woodward Village affordable would be “ludicrous.” I was the person who suggested that the Residential Open Space Community bylaw include a provision allowing the Housing Authority to propose “buy downs,” but was overruled by other members of the Authority precisely because the costs would be so high. I distinctly remember asking David to delete this provision and being told it would be. I was most surprised to learn in the Mosquito that it remains in the bylaw.
Second, David quotes my statement upon resigning from the Housing Authority last fall: “We want to make this as controversial as we possibly can.” I simply meant that we wanted everyone to know what he and the Board of Selectman had done (see below) to make affordable housing in Carlisle virtually impossible.
David claims that he was “the author of several bylaws promoting housing diversity in Carlisle.” In fact he wrote two housing-related bylaws (I co-wrote one of them), and although I supported them both, neither provided affordable housing as defined under state law.
Instead, David led efforts to: 1) kill affordable housing at Banta-Davis; 2) convince the Planning Board not to require developers to include affordable units or pay into an affordable housing fund; 3) prevent the Housing Authority from funding a study on the feasibility of affordable rental housing in Carlisle, and 4) eliminate the Housing Coordinator position. Despite David’s objections, I think Mark Levitan was accurate in calling him “an affordable housing opponent.”
As a private citizen, Mr. Freedman had every right to advocate as he did and I never criticized him for doing so. But as the current Chair of the Housing Authority, his sworn responsibility is to advocate for affordable housing, not against it.
Carlisle needs real leaders, not nay-sayers
To the Editor:
Last week Energy Task Force (ETF) members received a USPS mailed letter from Selectman Kissinger explaining why he voted against the EVC Station at the Town Hall. In the letter he stated it was a senseless project and the town should return the $7,433 competitive grant from MA Green Communities, so it could be used by other towns.
His “nay” vote was myopic.
Forty percent of Massachusetts’ carbon emissions are due to transportation. The state needs us to transfer to electric vehicles to reduce our carbon footprint, so provides rebates to electric vehicle (EV) purchasers and Green Community Grants ensuring that the Commonwealth will have a network of recharging stations for EV users across the state. The utility companies have established an EV Make Ready Program to ease installation. In 2018 the purchase of electric vehicles by Carlisle residents shot up by 300%. It is likely that the town will purchase electric vehicles in the future, because electric vehicles will become the norm.
The Selectmen applied for this Green Community Grant last March. The ETF manages the grant. The town now has obligations to the Commonwealth to fulfill this grant to the best of its abilities. It is the institutions and committees in our own town that have created the hurdles regarding the location of the EVC station, not the state.
Mr. Kissinger’s lobbying and voting record illustrates that he is not in favor of carbon reduction projects. In his letter he praises the ETF for saving the town money, but not for reducing carbon emissions and helping to mitigate climate change. In 2018 he voted against wind-sourced electricity as the standard for our municipal aggregation. That change to renewable electricity reduced Carlisle’s total carbon footprint by 14%!
We need leaders that lead, who comprehend that we have to act NOW to mitigate climate change and embrace the disruptive technologies.
Our leaders should also operate in full transparency when discussing community issues, not in the shadows. I uploaded Mr. Kissinger’s letter on the internet for all to read. http://tinyurl.com/y63t5wu8 .
Thanks for the Trash Party
To the Editor:
I wanted to thank The Mosquito for running the annual Trash Party. Our town looks clean and beautiful. This is a great testament to what a large community of volunteers working toward a common goal can achieve in a short time.
Oak Knoll Road
To the Editor:
Yes, it’s that time of year again. The time when turtles come out of hibernation, having spent the winter in the mud of local ponds. Turtles can be seen on streets near any body of water. At first you might think it’s a rock or pinecone, but please slow down and look again—often it is a turtle just trying to cross the road. Squirrels are fast, and we see lots of them dead along the road. Now consider how slow turtles are…
If you can do so safely, please stop and help them across the road. Females normally lay their eggs in May and June, so anything we can do to help them survive is wonderful. If you live near an area where turtles and cars might meet, consider putting up some turtle signs to alert motorists—can’t hurt, might help. Thank you in advance for your consideration.
Timm and Claire Brandhorst
Support “Right-to-Farm” bylaw
To the Editor:
I am writing in support of the proposed “Right-to-Farm” bylaw that will be voted on at the Town Meeting on April 29.
I feel that John Lee’s Forum piece from last week stated the reasons for supporting the right-to-farm bylaw exceedingly well. As he wrote, right-to-farm bylaws themselves don’t introduce any new protections for farms, but they do clearly restate the protections that already exist under state law. It is tempting, then, to think them redundant and therefore insignificant, but I do not believe this to be the case.
There are many ways that we here in town support local agriculture. We sign up for a local CSA. We look for local produce in our grocery stores, and we shop at farmers markets and farm stands. The masochistic among us even toil in gardens or raise some of our own meat or dairy. These are all great things to do, and the future of food, I believe, will require us to do all of them, to varying degrees.
So where does passing a “right-to-farm” bylaw fit into all of this? Consider a “Community Supported Agriculture” membership. As any farmer knows, a CSA membership does two things for the farmer: first, it provides them with some much-needed cash up-front in each growing season, when they tend to need it most. To be sure, that is important. However, perhaps just as important is the emotional or psychological message it communicates to that farmer. It says, “I am someone here in your community who respects and values what you’re doing.” No matter the particular dollar amount that happens to be attached to it, that is a powerful statement! This right-to-farm bylaw would be a little like that. I think every farmer or would-be-farmer in town would get a real boost from seeing everyone come together with a vote that says, “Yes, this community supports agriculture!”
So please join me in voting “yes” for Carlisle’s “right-to-farm.”
East Riding Drive
Gas at $313. 73 per gallon?
To the Editor:
The misnamed “deer hunting” controversy is not about deer, hunting, Lyme disease or forest “understory.” The issues are land use, town policy, authority, citizens’ rights, abuse of power . . . and money.
The Board of Selectmen (BOS) exceeds its authority when it informs us that from this point forward the only totally safe use of our lands during beautiful fall foliage season is restricting ourselves to the trails so that seven of our 5,424 citizens can hunt. This limits our range of usage by 99. 2%. This arbitrary change in policy was announced in signage at the entrance to each and every trail.
Consider this example: There are two ways to double the present price of gasoline at, say, $2. 50/gallon. The more direct method is to simply charge you $5/gallon with the next fill-up. Of course such a sudden and drastic change would be intolerable and start a revolution.
The more insidious or underhanded way would be to lull the paying customer with assurances that the price remains at $2. 50/gallon. However, new fine print redefines that a “gallon” is now two rather than four quarts..
The area of our trails (three feet wide times 12. 6 miles in length) on the five town-land parcels posted is 4. 58 acres compared to the total area of 560. 4 acres, a mere 0. 8%, or a reduction of 99. 2%. This huge shortchanging of “product” comes out of the taxpayers’ pockets. In terms of the gas example, this new gallon is neither four nor two gallons but 1. 02 ounces, a mere two tablespoons. This translates into a gas increase to $313. 73/gallon.
The BOS is terribly confused. It (and Town Counsel) have misinterpreted the present boiler-plate language of bylaw 10. 1. 1 intended to limit the BOS discretion to allow hunting only as case-by-case exceptions to Carlisle’s posted “no hunting” policy. Instead, unfortunately, the BOS has assumed blanket authority that usurps the citizens right to control such town-wide policy. The fact that the BOS is considering expanding this heavy-handed approach concerning hunting in future years is alarming. This needs to be clarified on April 29 at Town Meeting.
Movement on Benfield issues
To the Editor,
I have been a resident of Benfield Farms for two years. I have recently been appointed, along with Jonathan Stevens of the Planning Board, to serve on the Carlisle Affordable Housing Trust.
Although I believe that the former members of the Housing Authority (CHA) cared deeply about affordable housing in Carlisle, perhaps they focused too narrowly on their mission. For the past five years, Benfield residents reached out to the CHA and the Housing Coordinator to address a range of maintenance issues with the building.
The common response was that we shouldn’t complain publicly or take our concerns to the Board of Health but should only communicate with the management company. Unfortunately, management’s historically poor response was a big part of the problem. The underlying message was that we can’t talk about problems because then people in Carlisle will never support more affordable housing. I don’t agree. I think Carlisle taxpayers want existing affordable housing to be kept in good condition and for its residents’ concerns to be addressed.
With the retirement of the Housing Coordinator and resignation of the former members of the CHA, we no longer have a barrier between our voices and those in town government who can assist us. Eighteen Benfield residents recently signed a letter and many have attended Board of Health meetings seeking relief. Thanks in part to the support of current CHA members David Freedman and George Payne (who also lives at Benfield), and the responsiveness of the Board of Health, for the first time in a long time something is beginning to change at Benfield.
With the transfer of the ground leases to the Housing Trust, I believe the town will provide proper oversight, will listen to residents, and will assist us in getting support, where appropriate, from other town entities or from the property management company or leaseholder.
I can also confirm that the Housing Trust is having serious discussions about possible approaches to affordable housing and that we are committed to coordinating with Master Plan project on the best way to build support in the community for future initiatives.
Thanks from departing Kids’ House Director
To the Editor:
For the past 16 sixteen years, I have had the immense pleasure of being part of the Carlisle community by being the Director of the Carlisle Kids’ House Preschool and Extended Day program, first at the preschool and then becoming the Executive Director of all programs. It is with excitement and sadness my last day at CKH will be May 3. I have the opportunity to fulfill the number one thing on my bucket list and provide childcare for my grandchildren in Idaho.
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank some specific Carlisle community organizations and vendors who have made the past 16 years so wonderful. J.D. Plowing and Landscaping, JJ Supple Construction, Batchelder Painting, all Carlisle businesses who have been my go-to companies with wonderful efficiency and support. The Carlisle Police Department and Fire Department—though, thank goodness, we’ve only needed them sparingly but, whenever we did, they were there fast, were so helpful and professional. One of our favorite times was when the coyote had to be herded off the playground!
The Carlisle Public School, especially their office staff, has been a tremendous support and help. The First Religious Society has graciously always supported CKH by letting us use their facilities for our Movie on the Common community event. A big thank you to St. Irene’s for letting us use their parking lot for spill over on our large events when our parking lot could not handle the crowd.
The “village” of Carlisle has truly been a wonderful place to work and I have enjoyed being part of the community. My Carlisle families will always have a huge piece of my heart. Your children have been true gifts to my life. Thank you.
Carlisle Kids’ House Executive Director