The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 5, 1999

Learn about the library project

To the Editor:

We invite the public to come hear the exciting plans for the renovation and addition of your Gleason Public Library, a facility designed to serve the young and old in our town of life-long learners. If you are new in town, you may be curious about the long planning history. If you have been following the project, you might want the most recent update. Are you wondering why, for example, there is a facsimile check for $919,388 hanging over the circulation desk, or why bands of folks in construction boots with blueprints under their arms are poking around the stacks? We want you to be well informed before the Special Town Meeting on April 7.

The Trustees of the Gleason Public Library and the library building committee have booked Wednesday, March 17, at 7:30 p.m. for an informational meeting on the library building project. The meeting will be held in the Clark Room at the Town Hall. Because we are in the middle of the bidding process, there will not be a firm cost number that night. However, the library building committee will go to the Town Meeting with a firm bid in hand. At that Wednesday's meeting, there will be a short presentation, followed by a question and answer session.

Mary Cheever
Library trustee

Library clarifies costs

To the Editor:

There have been various references to the library project costs in the paper over the past month. I would like to clarify some of that information.

When the library first applied for a state construction grant in 1995, a 50/50 financial partnership was proposed between the town and the state. In 1996 the town was awarded $919,388 in Round 11 of the grant applications. However, the Massachusetts Legislature did not fund the grant until 1998. Construction will begin in 1999, three years after the grant was awarded. Construction costs have increased by 3-6 percent per year during this time period. Many other associated costs have increased as well. If the grant award were based on 1999 cost estimates, the town could continue in a 50/50 partnership with the state. Unfortunately, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners does not increase grants to allow for inflation, necessitating the town's contribution to be more than 50 percent.

The MBLC awards grants on the basis of its somewhat narrowly defined project cost estimates. Other project costs such as short term loans, bonding, furnishings, technology, moving and storage of the library collection are among the costs not eligible for grant funding by the MBLC and must be borne by the town alone.

The MBLC requires that proposals provide for the needs of a town's library for 20 years and beyond. Because the grant was awarded to accomplish this specific program, it is difficult to scale back the scope of the project without the risk of losing our grant monies. Since the inception of this project, the building committee has been diligent in honing costs without sacrificing the program and the ultimate success of the project. The passage of time between the award and the start of construction was unforeseen and uncontrollable, and unfortunately will increase the cost to the town.

I feel we are extremely fortunate to be able to come to Town Meeting with substantial monies in hand for a project that addresses both the immediate and future needs of our much-loved library.

Rosalie Johnson, chair
Gleason Public Library Trustees

Cable committee replies

To the Editor:

Two letters to the editor (February 26 Mosquito) prompted the need to clarify Carlisle's objectives and limitations in its search for 21st century cable service.

Sally Naumann listed some excellent channel offerings that she believes should be requested of Cablevision. Although our cable-TV survey rates Cablevision for balance in categories of programming, the Town is not authorized to make particular channel recommendations. However, we strongly recommend that subscribers themselves write to Cablevision and pass along their specific channel desires to the Director of Programming (Mr. Rob Travers, Cablevision, 4 Lyberty Way, Westford, MA 01886; or rtravers @cablevision. com).

In another letter, Susan Goodall inferred from our Mosquito article about license renegotiation that the Town is excluding consideration of providers other than Cablevision. Let me assure her that the Town welcomes competition for Cablevision. As a matter of fact, public notices appearing in this week's Mosquito and next week's Concord Journal openly invite cable-service providers to submit proposals to the Town. Although Ms. Goodall herself praises one well-known provider, the Town can not legally champion a potential bidder before any and all proposals are fairly evaluated.

In the months to come, we will periodically report this Committee's progress in the Mosquito.

Paul Gill, Chairman
Cable TV Advisory Committee

"Family values" questioned

To the Editor:

In his Forum piece "Traditional Family Values," Sal Borrello expresses a desire to return to the good old days of traditional family values. He is, unfortunately, blind to historical reality and the current failure rate of his ideal family unit.

His "time-tested historical model" requires a legally married heterosexual couple with children. This worked in the past in a social environment where half of the population (women) was subjugated and without rights or options. Families were durable because the men were kings of their castles and the women could either stay in their place, or starve. To my mind, this is not a good starting point when trying to describe good family values.

Of course, kids need a stable family. Whether there is a marriage certificate or not is a minor issue. What purpose does it serve? It certainly isn't very effective at holding the family together. The current divorce rate proves that.

Sure it's great if there are two parents, one male and one female. But it's a lot more important that the adults in the family respect each other, treat each other fairly, and act as good role models for the children. The historical evidence shows that men and women don't naturally treat each other equally and with respect. Maybe it's a good idea to consider some same-sex marriages. They can't be worse than some heteromarriages. Certainly procreation is no longer an imperative. I can attest that there are plenty of wonderful children who desperately need to be adopted into stable homes regardless of the number and sex of the parents.

Mr Borrello is welcome to his own personal dream of the perfect family. Unfortunately, he uses his superficial criteria to decide if a family is worthy to benefit from the budget surplus. He thinks "applicable laws, tax and otherwise" should be written to benefit his dream family. Society would be better served if we supported the families which exist rather than some idealistic dream. I think "applicable laws, tax and otherwise" should be written to benefit anyone who is able and willing to have a healthy family. Children and society will thereby benefit.

Does Mr. Borrello think that a woman who removes herself and her children from an abusive marriage should forfeit the support and protection of the government? Does he think that a couple who exercises that great American trait of individuality by not getting a marriage certificate doesn't deserve equitable tax treatment? Does he think two people who love each other are unfit parents simply because they are of the same sex? I would not call these traditional family values, I would call them superficial family values.

Clyde Kessel
Curve Street

Not real family values

To the Editor:

Views like those expressed in the February 26, 1999 "Forum" column by Sal Borrello cannot in good conscience go unchallenged. They must not be allowed, in the guise of "values," to limit and define for us who may and may not form a family unit (husband, wife, children, period), and to dictate to us that only such "real" families have social value.

It goes without saying that proper child rearing is a vital social concern and that children are best reared in loving, stable and secure homes. It is also fairly basic that long-term committed relationships between human beings who share a home form the building blocks of civil society, and that adults in such relationships are often most well-placed to rear children in a loving, stable and secure setting. All this, however true, has nothing to do with Mr. Borrello's "simple" definition of a real family which, he tells us, is based neither upon morality, religion nor reason, just upon what he knows to be so in his heart. It surely does not come from tolerance, either, since all those who disagree, or whose families fall outside his rigid definition are to be dismissed as "mad" or as "crazies."

The fact of the matter is that the stunted model of a real family offered us by Mr. Borrello turns out not to be terribly descriptive of reality at all, and certainly not the reality that is larger than Carlisle. It excludes far too many forms of successful long-term committed relationships between human beings to tell us anything useful about who may and may not really be a family. There are, for starters, heterosexual couples (some married, too!), who choose to remain childless. In my view of a real family, but apparently not Mr. Borrello's (why marry only for love and companionship? Get a dog.), they count. So do adult siblings who share a home; the older men and women who live with offspring, more distant relations, or friends of whatever age and gender; the grandparents who rear grandchildren when parents cannot; the single, widowed or divorced parent who raises her/his child without another adult; the adults of same or different gender who share a home and a life, with or without a sexual component, with or without children. There is love, stability, security and commitment to be found in all these types of families. They are all real families, and efforts to undermine their members' dignity and worth should be entirely disdained.

The world is not made better by confining our approval and giving our assistance only to those who comfortably resemble ourselves. To the contrary, we have learned to our sorrow time and again how pernicious and just plain dangerous it is when any group, even those in a numerical majority, smugly sees virtue only in itself and thinks it only right to convert, marginalize or condemn those who are different. Unlike Mr. Borrello, I think a diverse world a richer one and believe all real families have social value and deserve our support. Exclusion and intolerance, however traditional they may unfortunately be, are not real family values.

Barbara Lenk
Russell Street

A broader sense of family values

To the Editor:

Gee, I don't know anyone who'd want to marry a dog, no matter how lovable it might be. And I don't think that allowing gay marriage would lead to that kind of foolishness, despite the worries Sal Borrello expressed in his 2/26 Forum piece, "Traditional Family Values." Nor do I think that term is necessarily associated with "wild, right-wing religious fanatics," as Mr. Borrello says the liberal press does, although I think right-wing religious fanatics have, unfortunately, used it as a weapon in their fight against gay marriage.

I do know plenty of gay and lesbian couples who'd like to marry. I guess most of those who've been together for 10, 20, 30 or more years don't feel they need to do that in order to cement their relationship. But without legal marriage, if one of them is hospitalized, there's no guarantee that the other will be allowed to visit or make crucial medical decisions if the patient cannot. Without legal marriage, the wills of such a couple, leaving property to the survivor, can be contested. Without legal marriage, there is usually no chance of a health insurance policy that covers both partners. Yes, marriage might mean the couple would have to file a joint tax return, which could end up costing them more than two single returns——but I haven't heard anyone complaining about that.

As to children, well, sure, it's probably best for kids to grow up in households where there's both a mom and a dad——but there's no guarantee these days that such households are automatically secure; indeed, given the current divorce rate, it would appear that a good many aren't. Why on earth would a gay couple, who has to go through complicated legal and/or medical procedures in order to have a child, later abandon that child, as Mr. Borrello seems to fear? And isn't an adopted child better off growing up in a stable, loving gay family than in a succession of foster homes——or, in the case of children adopted from abroad, perhaps not growing up at all?

Many gay and lesbian couples are as committed to each other as are many straight couples. And yet, a thousand little things, from the forms on which the choices are "married," "single," or "divorced," to the awkwardness of introducing a same-sex spouse as a "friend" at social functions remind them daily that their relationships, as solid and loving as good heterosexual marriages, are denied the recognition straight people take for granted.

But Sal Borrello is right about one thing. As he said, we do "need more people who are willing to embrace the phrase 'traditional family values'"——but in its broadest sense. To me, a family consists of two or more people, regardless of gender, who love each other, support and care for each other, and are committed to each other for life. Doesn't that sound pretty traditional?

Nancy Garden
Ember Lane

Daycare clarification

To the Editor:

First and foremost, I would like to extend my thanks to the Carlisle Mosquito for exploring what our daycare centers/nursery schools have to offer. It's so important for all families with young children to have a "reference guide" as to what is available in their town. I'm writing this letter to clarify some oversights that were either missing or inaccurate in last week's article on page 8.

Currently, Carlisle Children's center has three full- and two part-time teachers, most with degrees in Early Childhood Education and many years of experience. As with all licensed childcare programs, we must meet or exceed the Office for Children regulations which include yearly child development courses including C.P.R. and first aid training.

Once a week both the toddler and preschool classes enjoy music performed by Mike Slattery. Along with his guitar, "Mike the Music Man" brings a wonderful variety of hats and puppets for an hour of songs and dance.

In previous years we have offered families of kindergarten children the service of before-and after-school care. Presently with our school at full capacity, we regretfully haven't had the space to accommodate them.

In closing, I again want to express my thanks to the Carlisle Mosquito for their continued support.

Gail MacLeod, director
Carlisle Children's Center

Register now for Silber talk

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Carlisle Public Schools, I'd like to invite the entire Carlisle community to the fifth annual Carlisle Education Forum on Saturday, March 27. This year continues a tradition of dynamic and thought-provoking speakers as we welcome Dr. John Silber, the chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Education and Chancellor of Boston University.

Dr. Silber's presence gives us a chance to hear and discuss state policies and directions that have a direct impact on Carlisle's schools. Dr. Silber is noted for his strong opinions about education, and we expect his insightful words to spark many thoughtful conversations. The Education Forum has always provided a wonderful opportunity for all members of the Carlisle community to come together and join in a dialog about the future of education. As in the past, we invite you to join smaller discussion groups following Dr. Silber's address. I particularly urge your participation in these discussions. They provide valuable feedback for future planning for our schools.

Registration forms have been mailed to all Carlisle addresses. Please help facilitate a smooth event by pre-registering. We hope all of you will join us Saturday morning, March 27, from 9:30 to 12:30. Check-in begins at 9.

Thanks for your support.

David Dockterman
Chairman, Carlisle School Committee

1999 The Carlisle Mosquito