The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 2, 2004

Deb Belanger will run for Selectman

To the Editor:

As many of you know, Vivian Chaput's most tragic death has created an unfilled seat on the Board of Selectmen for a one-year term. A special town caucus has been called to nominate candidates for the open position. I would like to announce my candidacy for this seat.

If elected, my priorities would be first, to maintain excellence in both our schools and town services; second, to preserve Carlisle's spectacular beauty; and third, balance the effects which these long- established goals have on our taxpayers. We owe a debt of gratitude to those who steward our magnificent rural character, to those who educate our children, and to our employees who keep our town running smoothly, safely and securely. I believe we also owe careful consideration in our approach so that all generations and income levels can remain to enjoy this special place. So, we must understand what we can afford and when we can afford it. I see prioritizing and long-term planning as critical to managing our town's prized assets.

As for myself, I've lived with my family in Carlisle for 13 years. In this time, I've developed a strong commitment to our town. Following a 20-year career in finance and operations, I have refocused my efforts on volunteer work. I have served on the finance committee for two years, long-term capital requirements committee for three years and on the pathways committee for six. I also have served as den leader for cub scouts for four years, school room parent for two years, and Sunday school teacher.

My general approach is to first understand issues fully, invest resources only in what we value, and serve the broadest group possible with any action. If elected to the Board of Selectmen, I will listen closely and work hard for you.

Deb Belanger
Palmer Way

Wendell Sykes is a candidate for School Committee

To the Editor:

As a candidate for the School Committee, I should provide information about my approach to education. During the 1970's, I lived in Scituate, Massachusetts and served on the School Committee for 6 years. Scituate had a K-12 school system and 5 times the enrollment of the Carlisle School system at that time. During that period, we built an elementary school, expanded the high school and hired 2 superintendents.

I have been a resident of Carlisle for more than 20 years. In Carlisle, I have served as a member of the Carlisle School Council since its formation and was a member of the Superintendent Search Committee.

I believe that: a public education system is a cornerstone of American democracy, that the quality of the Carlisle Schools is a primary reasons for the increase in equity of my residence and that I should join those Carlisle citizens who directly support Town government.

With the deferred but continuing threat of 40B development, this could be a period of significant and not necessarily positive change in the Carlisle and Concord/Carlisle School systems. Like all school systems in Massachusetts, we must deal with unfunded mandates from the state and federal levels and build support across the entire community for the educational needs of our children.

Carlisle has provided quality support for public education, which has sometimes faltered in times of economic difficulty. Given a cooling US economy, in particular in the software development industry and the increasing life expectancy of its population, this is a difficult time for funding public education.

In addition to its primary responsibility of establishing policy and monitoring its execution in the schools, the School Committee must establish and defend yearly budgets before other Town agencies, the Town Meeting and the voting population. I believe that in a successful democracy, all of its citizens must be willing to make a contribution to the common good, even if it involves some personal or financial sacrifice without immediate personal benefit. I hope that this is true in Carlisle and that I can contribute.

Wendell G. Sykes
Indian Hill Road

More on Special Town Meeting

To the Editor:

I found it surprising and unfortunate that there was no mention of Brigitte Senkler's thoughtful remarks in your otherwise balanced account of the discussion at our recent Town Meeting. I also do not think that her comments were adequately addressed by the panel who presented the case for an affirmative vote.

In retrospect, it seems too that it might have been wiser to opt for written ballots given the high probability of error attendant upon a hasty count of the raised hands of almost 600 voters.

Richard Cobb-Stevens
Heald Road

Thoughts on Special Town Meeting

To the Editor:

This week's Special Town Meeting to discuss and vote on the proposal to acquire the Benfield Parcel A was an extraordinary example of a community democratically coming together to assess the merits of a proposal that will affect all of us in the future and apply their collective judgment to the recommendations from a broad set of citizen-staffed committees and local residents.

In listening to all the points of view expressed, I decided to vote "For" the Motions because I believe fundamentally that it is the "right thing to do" — to move in the direction of integrating all of the various economic and age level groups in our communities while maintaining as much of the rural character and charm of Carlisle as we can. With that in mind, the issue of "trust" became the fundamental element in my decision. Can I trust the Community Preservation Committee's words concerning their assurances of an open and inclusive planning process to:

• Seek out innovative and non-intrusive architectural concepts for the affordable housing component so that the most affected residents along South Street will feel comfortable and all of Carlisle will be proud?

• Implement a solution for the recreation areas that minimizes the need for infrastructure and allows this portion of the property to blend with the remaining open space?

• Integrate the adjoining property's planning approvals with the Designated Open Space parcel so that as much of the current natural beauty is preserved as possible?

• Clearly identify the future costs to the townspeople of various alternatives examined for each of the three components?

• Provide periodic progress reports to the South and West Street residents so that their confidence in the outcome will develop?

In the end, I decided that my trust was warranted and I suspect that many others came to the same conclusion. Now it is up to the various committees and the Selectmen to deliver on that confidence and support the townspeople have given them. Don't let us down over the next year.

David T. McKay
West Street

Peggy Wang to run against Charlene Hinton for Town Clerk

Letter to the Editor:

On March 15 at the Town Caucus, I was nominated for Town Clerk by my neighbor and friend Chris DeBruzzi. I would like to formally and publicly accept that nomination at this time.

It is a humbling experience to hear one's name nominated at Town Caucus. It is even more humbling knowing the rich history of contribution to the position of Town Clerk by Sarah Andreassen and her family before her. That's a hard act to follow.

Being nominated is also an uplifting experience because it offers me the opportunity to serve in the community that has given so much to me. Carlisle is a wonderful place to live and I enjoy living here. Having been part of the community for 18 years, I've had the chance to volunteer on various committees and boards, and I would consider it an honor to be elected Town Clerk.

Peggy Wang
Robbins Drive


To the Editor:

May I suggest review of your advertising policy as recommended in a letter posted last week titled "Erroneous and Misleading Advertising" unwarranted.

The editor's time would be better spent eradicating from these pages unsubstantiated and intemperate accusations — an excellent example of such provided by the author of the "Erroneous Advertising" letter.

Sue Wolfe
Concord Street

Come to the PATRIOT Act Forum April 6

To the Editor:

Is Live Free or Die only a slogan on a license plate? How much liberty are we willing to give up in order to feel secure? This is the question raised by certain provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act.

To explore this issue, the Carlisle Civil Liberties Committee and the Concord-Carlisle Regional School District Community Education are sponsoring a forum at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 6 at the Corey building of the Carlisle School. We invite you to come and participate in what promises to be a lively debate.

There will be four panelists representing different ways of looking at the issues raised by the PATRIOT Act.

Attorney Robert Roughsedge is an expert on terrorism. He graduated from the U. S. Military Counter-Terrorism School in 1989 and served on various security and counter-terrorism missions for the U.S. Army. He currently teaches a course at Suffolk University on Terrorism and the Law.

On the other hand, Attorney Robert Plotkin specializes on protection of intellectual property, including First Amendment protection for computer software and electronic privacy. He is a member of the Science, Technology and Liberty Committee of the Massachusetts ACLU.

Angela Reddin, director of the Gleason Public Library, has Master's Degrees in History and in Library and Information Sciences from Simmons College and has held a number of library positions before coming to Carlisle. She will speak on the impact of the PATRIOT Act on libraries.

Finally, many of you know Denis Cleary, teacher of social studies at CCHS. He will remind us that the tension between protection of the public and the preservation of civil liberties is not unique to our era but has occurred at various times throughout our history.

Police Chief David Galvin has said that he will attend and will answer questions to the extent the Act permits.

You will be asked to vote on this issue at the May Town Meeting. We urge you all to attend the Forum in order to learn about the issues raised by the USA PATRIOT Act.

Sally Coulter, Assistant Coordinator, Carlisle Civil Liberties Committee
Virginia Farme Lane

Where do we draw the line?

To the Editor:

Ted Shaw writes that my call for a hard look at whether cars like the Dodge Viper represent a disproportionate public safety risk and thus might not belong on our roads is "shortsighted." I suggest just the opposite.

His "people kill people" logic could be extended, as has been tried many times by folks like the NRA, to the gun ownership debate. Since "people kill people," should we repeal the 1994 Federal assault weapons ban? Should we make AK-47s as available as Vipers so that some can enjoy them as they enjoy a "fine wine" or "attending the symphony," to quote Mr. Shaw?

He asks, "Where do you draw the line?" We draw lines all the time when it's deemed by our lawmakers in the public interest to do so, as they did in the case of assault weapons. We do so, as well, with cars. We already have safety standards that cars must meet or they cannot be driven legally on our roads (there are exotic European cars that are unavailable in this country precisely because they don't meet those standards.)

Mr. Shaw also laments the suggestion of substituting laws for personal responsibility. Unfortunately, depending on personal responsibility sometimes leads to the death of innocent people, as we've just been so poignantly reminded. In certain situations, where cost-benefit analysis justifies it, we need to use the law for preventative reasons and there is considerable precedent for this in our history. Mr. Shaw concedes in his letter that "there is no doubt that a high performance car in the hands of an immature driver is probably a rolling accident looking for a place to happen." On this we agree. Given this, do we continue to rely on the personal responsibility that we both think is likely not there, or do we take a look at the accident statistics as I suggested in my original letter, and if the data supports my instinct that the Viper and the like are rolling assault weapons, make them unavailable, at the very least, to immature drivers?

Don Allen
Pilgrim Path

2004 The Carlisle Mosquito