Friday, May 18, 2001
Sarah S. Brophy for Town Moderator One-year term
Tell us about yourself. I'm a museum professional, a mother of two boys in Carlisle schools, and the wife of a volunteer fireman/soccer coach. During 13 years in Carlisle, I've been appointed to three town committees, sat on the board of the historical society, written museum articles for the Mosquito, and twice worked with many volunteers as editor of the Red Balloon (spiral bound) Phonebook.
Your background? Town Meeting is the best training for a moderator. During the last year, besides moderating two special Town Meetings, I've attended selectmen's meetings whenever Annual or Special Town Meeting information was on the agenda, and I've attended a Concord Selectmen's meeting and the joint multi-committee meeting regarding the possibility of a joint Town Meeting. I've also attended the Massachusetts Moderators Association's new-moderator training and their annual workshop, plus Town Meetings in Weston and Stow, and three nights of cable-view for Concord's Annual Town Meetingnot for the faint of heart. Watching a delayed run of our own Meeting on cable this year will be very helpful for me. The moderator must be prepared for anything, but that only comes through many, many Town Meetings. I'm trying to accrue as many as possible as quickly as possible. Every Meeting has a new procedural twist, whether from the nature of the article, the strategies of town boards or the details of state law.
What are the challenges? What have you learned? Carlisle has fewer rules for Town Meeting than any community I've found. I'm not in a hurry to change that too much. Every decision comes down to efficiency and fairness. My few tinkerings include the requirement of hands for a vote, the request at some Meetings to waive counting some 2/3 votes that are obvious, and setting up chairs for microphones. That last one isn't working. I'm trying to figure out if I should just let people line up at the microphones, or continue to call on people and wait for them to labor over each others' legs on the way to the aisle. I'm hoping folks will suggest ideas.
There was a bit of grumbling about no voice vote, so we've gone to allowing voices and requiring handsso far, so good. I am going to be tougher this year about one seat, one vote, though.
Per person time limits worked well, so I'm holding to eight minutes for main presentations (unless the motion-maker and I have a chance to negotiate) and four minutes for questions and comments. It's not designed to limit debate, but to encourage speakers to be thoughtful and concise to allow more speakers an opportunity before the listeners grow impatient.
I truly enjoy the process and discussions of Town Meeting. Why else would I bother to go to so many?
I do hope that people will stop feeling badly about not attending a Town Meeting. Confessions are rampant this time of year. Of course I wish everyone would come, but life often intervenes. I do appreciate comments afterward of those who came.
Tell us about yourself. I have lived in Carlisle for the past 22 years with my wife Mary and our three children, Lauren, Erin and Jason. Two of our children are now in college and our youngest is a junior at Concord Academy.
I was born and raised in Colorado and came to Massachusetts to attend MIT and subsequently Harvard Business School. My business career has been involved with entrepreneurial activities. Having sold my last company in January of 2000, my business activity is now limited to serving on a few corporate boards.
Your background? I have previously served on the Carlisle School Committee for five years. I participated in the founding of the Carlisle Education Foundation and have served as its president. For the past several years I have been a member of the Caroline Hill Scholarship Committee.
I have served as a director of Carlisle Communications, Inc. and for several years directed the K-2 soccer program for Carlisle. I have coached both youth basketball and soccer for many years. I am an active member of the Unitarian Church in Carlisle.
What is your position on the four ballot questions? I support both levels of the operating override for the Carlisle Public Schools and the Regional High School. I believe the Carlisle School has done a responsible job in managing its budget and provides outstanding value for our children. While I am less positive about the manner in which the high school budget has been managed and presented, I do believe we need to provide consistent and reliable financial support to our schools and I support the overrides.
I believe that both the fire department and the public works department are responsible in their requests for capital expenditures and I support the approval of their equipment.
The Community Preservation Act is a unique opportunity to secure additional funds from the state and plan responsibly for conservation projects in the future. Adoption of the CPA would provide consistent funds, allowing for the flexibility to act when unique opportunities present themselves.
Carlisle's taxes are high and we must manage our funds wisely, and carefully assess all new expenditures. I do believe, however, that the majority of our citizens share two central priorities. We want outstanding educational opportunity for our young people and we want to conserve and protect the unique and beautiful physical environment that we are blessed with.
I would be honored to serve as your selectman and I salute outgoing selectman Michael Fitzgerald for his tireless service to the town.
for Board of Assessors
Tell us about yourself. I have been a resident of Carlisle for over 20 years. My wife Nancy and I have two children, Craig, 17 and Laura, 13. We all enjoy the many benefits that Carlisle has to offer.
Your background? As a Carlisle resident I have been very active in several community efforts. I have always found these community activities very rewarding. I have worked for over 20 years in the real estate finance business. This work required the review of real estate appraisals and interaction with appraisers for purposes of establishing loan parameters. I have an MBA from Babson College and BA in economics from Fairfield University. During my work career I have started several businesses and built a successful consulting practice.
What are the biggest challenges? The biggest short term challenge facing the board is the replacement of the vacated principal assessor position.
How do you respond to recent letters to the editor about slow response to abatement requests? Regarding timely response to abatement questions, the state has specific time frames that must be followed and to my knowledge the board has diligently met those time frames. Setting tax rates and assessing property values is highly regulated by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. It would be my intention to assure that we continue to meet these requirements.
for Board of Assessors
Tell us about yourself. My wife Liz Thibeault and I moved to CarlisIe in 1980. Our son Jon is currently a sophomore at CCHS. I have been active in the religious education program at Saint Irene Parish for the past 13 years and coached for the Concord-Carlisle Soccer Club for seven years.
Your background? A professional real estate appraiser for 17 years, I currently own and manage a medium-size real estate appraisal and consulting firm, Minuteman Appraisals, Inc., in Chelmsford.
I know Carlisle well. As a professional real estate appraiser, my firm performs over 2,000 residential appraisals in the local area each year. This breadth of assignments gives me a broad overview of the spectrum of real estate values and what creates and influences value. An area of specialization for my firm, which is of assistance to my work on the board of assessors, is consulting assignments for real estate property tax abatement.
I have very much enjoyed my tenure on the Carlisle Board of Assessors these past three years. My experience in valuation has been an asset on the board. I look forward to continuing to serve my neighbors and my town.
How do you respond to recent letters to the editor about slow response to abatement requests? An issue needing clarification is the property tax abatement process. Two letters to the editor (Mosquito, March) complained about "improper treatment" by the Carlisle Board of Assessors toward both "senior citizens" and "new residents." Both of these property owners had been recently denied requests for tax abatement. One case was for a statutory (personal) exemption and the other was related to "overvaluation" of real estate. There has been a lot of correspondence in each case. The board reviewed the facts of each request for abatement and denied the request. The board of assessors office at the Town Hall will gladly assist any taxpayer in the process of filing for a property tax abatement. It is important to remember that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has rules to be followed, dates and deadlines that have to be met and, in some cases, eligibility requirements. If the request for abatement is denied, or the amount of abatement is not acceptable, the taxpayer has the right to appeal to the Appellate Tax Board.
for Board of Health
Tell us about yourself. I am the mother of a nine-year-old daughter, Dianna. My husband, Kenneth, and I have been happily married for the past 16 years. We happened upon Carlisle because of a beautiful old, historic colonial home with a hint of Victorian style, in a community and school district that appeared to be second to none. We were seeking a clean and serene environment for our family. We love the smell of sweetly cut grass, though we may sneeze a bit more. One of the best things about being in Carlisle, besides Kimball's, is that we do not have to travel on the weekends to find the space and outdoors that we wanted.
Another important factor for us was to find a community where civility, values, tolerance, history, and appreciation for nature could be nurtured. If you pass by our house, often there are two flags flyingthe Stars and Stripes for America and the Tricolors of our ancestral homeland, Armenia, a country struggling for the democracy that we so
enjoy. Speaking of democracy, elections!
Late last summer, my husband saw the advertisement in the Mosquito to fill a position on the board of health. He encouraged me to send in my resumé. I thought about it, dismissed it, and then thought about it again. Being on a board is a time commitment. However, this is our community and involvement speaks the loudest. In September of 2000, I joined Steven Opolski, chairman, and Lisa Davis Lewis on the board. We have spent hours on many issues important to public health and safety to the citizens of Carlisle.
What is your position on Warrant Article 16, membership in the Eastern Middlesex Mosquito Control Project? With respect to mosquito control, the board of health position is unanimous in support of the Warrant Article 16 for membership into the East Middlesex Mosquito Control Project. Personally, with my science education and training, I prefer to make informed decisions based on concrete data. I am the kind of person who needs to know the what, why, where and what if? When it comes to making a decision, I need to know the facts and do my homework.
What is your background?
Professionally, I am an educator. I teach biology and anatomy and physiology at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. I have taught for the past 23 years. I hold a BA in biology and a M.Ed in natural science from Boston State College. In 1986 I completed my requirements for the degree of doctorate in education in instructional leadership and staff development from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Over the years I have been a mentor teacher/cooperating practitioner for students from Harvard Graduate School of Education, Boston University and Boston College. With my interest in curriculum development, I continuously revise and create interactive and inquiry-based materials aligned with the Massachusetts State Frameworks in Science and Technology. In collaboration with the Rindge School of Technical Arts and the Cambridge Community Services, I developed the Health Careers Pathway Program, a Work to Learn curriculum.
My position on the board was as a replacement for a resigning member. So, if you would like me to continue on the board of health, please let me know. Stop by and vote for your elected board members and the several other important ballot questions on Town Election day.
for Library Trustee
Tell us about yourself. Dick and I moved to Carlisle in 1985. From 1987 to 1992 we relocated to Geneva, Switzerland on business. Since returning I have remained at home raising our two children, Elizabeth and Matthew.
Your background? I have an MBA and worked as a product manager in the high tech industry before choosing to remain at home with the children. I initially integrated into the community through school, Scout and church volunteerism. Three years ago I decided to graduate to working with adults too and thereby ran for trustee. My training and experience were assets on the library building project and will continue to be as we turn our attention to maximize the use of our beautiful new library within budget.
What are the biggest challenges? I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenges of bringing our library renovation/addition program to its present level of completion. We await approval of the landscaping plan, which will beautify the outside of the property. The library's endowment, which donated over $300,000 to the building project, needs to be rebuilt. We will be conducting a long range planning process, facilitated by the Mass. Board of Library Commissioners, to determine which services and programs we should add, which we should continue and those that are not of value to our patrons. Of course, we will have to prioritize the use of our limited resources when implementing the results of this study.
Ideas on limiting library costs without limiting services? Each new, larger facility in town has seen an increase in operating costs. This is to be expected. We are all very proud of our "new" Gleason Library. Since we have reopened at the Bedford Road site our membership and circulation rates have increased dramatically. We service the whole community from pre-readers, to MCAS test takers, to entrepreneurs to retiree portfolio managers. The Gleason also serves as a community center. Many who have moved to the town for the superior schools have found our library services lacking compared to the system they left. Through the long range planning process, which solicits patron input, we plan to provide the services required by the townspeople in the most efficient way possible.
for Planning Board
Your background? After six years on the planning board, the last as chairman, I have decided to run again. I made this decision after ample deliberation (and some cajoling), not because I am a masochist, or because I relish late-night deliberations, or because I enjoy jousting with developers and their counsel; nor do I run because I necessarily believe that I am the best candidate for the position. The truth is I ran because no one else wanted the joband there is a job to be done.
What are the biggest challenges? The development challenges facing the town are profound. One only need open one's eyes to see the signsthose placed before every new roadway and development, the construction progressing behind a thin layer of remaining trees, the long agenda items filling each meeting of our land-use boards and committees. The signs are everywhere, and I, like many others, am concerned about how these changes will affect the town. But, despite the board's rewriting of its Rules and Regulations, its aggressive use of conservation clusters over the last few years, its modifications of the town's zoning bylaws, and its diligence in trying to fully utilize the land-use management tools available to it, the signs of development proliferate.
How can we slow or limit the pace of growth in Carlisle? What can we do? First, we must implore as many creative and caring citizens as possible to get involved in these matters. Second, we must be open to new ideas and approaches presented by the town's boards and committees intended to manage growth and protect and preserve that which we value. Lastly, when the voices of the minority speak out loudly against these new ideas and approaches, we must remember to open our eyes to the signs.
for School Committee
Tell us about yourself. My family moved to Carlisle in August 1997, from Medford, Mass. I was elected to the Carlisle School Committee in the spring of 1998, and I am running for my second term. I have daughters currently in the seventh, fourth and second grades in the Carlisle Public School.
I work at Ames Safety Envelope in Somerville as VP, Quality and Information Systems. Before I joined Ames in 1995 I worked as a consultant and an assistant professor at Boston University's School of Management in the production/ operations department.
Your background? Although I have not lived in Carlisle a long time, my wife Phyllis Zinicola and I did plunge into town activities almost as soon as we moved here. Phyllis was a reporter for the Mosquito until she returned to full-time work last summer, and is a member of the planning board and the Carlisle Garden Club, and works with the Girl Scouts.
During my first term on the school committee, I served on the municipal land committee and several school subcommittees. During the last school year I have served as chair of the school committee.
What are the biggest challenges? I think that the Carlisle Public School is an extraordinary, inspiring organization and community, but the town and its school face growing and difficult fiscal pressures ahead. This will make for interesting times in Carlisle. Our challenge will be to reconcile the financial and moral support needed to maintain our excellent school with the requirement that the people of Carlisle can afford it. I hope to help make this work for the Carlisle community.
Do you see any alternatives to building a new school in Carlisle? The short answer is that we cannot expand significantly on the present site for regulatory as well as physical reasons. An important question then is the rate of new enrollment and the ultimate level at which enrollment may level off. The municipal land committee has estimated very roughly that enough land remains to be developed so that Carlisle's ultimate population, with two-acre zoning, might be about 50 percent greater than it is now. However, if developers use comprehensive permits to build many more units on the available land, then we can expect significantly more children enrolling in the school. So in the short term the rate of growth matters a great deal.
There are several factors driving enrollment growth, and we do not know if the factors constraining enrollment growth will be strong enough to overcome the growth-driving factors. The Carlisle Public School is highly attractive to families with young children, or those planning to have children. As these families move to town, they create a constituency for maintaining the quality of the school at a very high level. Massachusetts still has tens of thousands of young children and Carlisle doesn't need to attract a very large percentage of them to get a severe case of enrollment indigestion.
However, as school budgets rise, tax rates rise. Increasing tax rates detract from the attractiveness of Carlisle for current and prospective households: the greater the taxes the less attractive the town. And, as the economy slows, we should see land sales and the rate of house building slow (each new house adds one child to the K-8 system on average), and possibly the turnover rate of existing houses will also slow (each turnover adds one-half a child on average).
There! I haven't been able to answer the question, but I hope I have explained why I have no answer. The school committee believes that in light of the very long lead time to create a new campus, the impossibility of significant expansion on our current site, and the uncertainties described above in the future growth rate, the prudent course is to plan now for needing a school in a very few years. This is to some extent an "insurance policy" approach, but one that we think is our best way of serving the community's interest in our children and in Carlisle as a whole.
Suzanne Whitney Smith
for School Committee
Tell us about yourself. I have been a resident of Carlisle for 21 years. I have a daughter currently in seventh grade who has attended the Carlisle Schools since kindergarten. I am running for my second term on the school committee.
Your background? I am in my fourth year teaching preschool at The Red Barn Nursery School in Weston. Prior to that I taught at Lincoln Nursery School. Both schools are parent cooperatives. I worked many years with the Carlisle School Association and served as president prior to running for the school committee. I feel I have a good perspective on the role parents play in supporting and enriching education programs. I am an active member of the First Religious Society in Carlisle, currently serving on the parish committee. I am a student at Lesley University, working on my Master's Degree in Education with a specialization in Integrating the Arts in the Curriculum. I will
© +YEAR+ The Carlisle Mosquito