The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 29, 2004

Vote for Kerry, Fargo and Atkins

To the Editors:

I am voting for Kerry/Edwards, Fargo and Atkins. Why? Because of their values, approach, and priorities towards governing. Alliances, fairness, inclusiveness, assistance, and opportunity. Education, health care, civil liberties, progressive taxes, conservation, and security. These candidates have a proactive engagement with our future.

The national debate and its innuendoes have been played out within our full view. The differences between Republicans and Democrats are real; the choice is clear.

At the state level the issues are not as visible, but I believe the approach toward governing is equally drawn. After a long slow recession when the state government and towns exercised fiscal discipline and made significant cuts, Governor Romney and the Republicans would prefer to roll back taxes to the 5% level. Cut taxes before rebuilding the rainy-day fund, replenishing local aid or SBAB. Or restoring funding for higher education (UMass was cut almost 25% last year), rebuilding social services, and funding conservation. Less funding is not necessarily better government.

Locally, we have two active candidates who have served their communities with energy and commitment. I know each of them well and appreciate all that they, and others, have given to our towns. Doug Stevenson and Cory Atkins have different approaches towards government. Doug is a solid republican, in the best sense of the word, fiscally conservative, preferring less government. Serving with him on the Board of Selectmen we have differed on several key votes: the Benfield acquisition, pathways, the Patriot Act, or funding the search for a superintendent. Cory is actively working to restore funding for education at all levels, she is intimately involved with affordable housing and 40B reforms, and she leads a number of economic development efforts.

Yes, money matters. Less money means less government and less support for education, conservation and social services. Cutting taxes and increased deficits means there are fewer services. In Carlisle, we might not see these cuts. I believe that we need prudent, positive and involved representatives who understand the limits and the good of government. So please vote for Kerry, Fargo and Atkins.

John Ballantine
Fiske Street

Vote for Doug Stevenson

To the Editor:

I encourage all those who desire more openness and accountability on Beacon Hill to join me in voting for Doug Stevenson for 14th Middlesex District State Representative.

As a former member of Carlisle's Conservation Commission and as the father of three playmates of Doug's triplets, I have spoken with Doug many times over the past several years and am left with two impressions that I'd like to share.

The first impression regards Doug's general philosophy — a philosophy that is sadly absent on Beacon Hill these days. Doug believes in the power of individuals working together to solve the problems faced by each community in the Commonwealth. Doug believes that local control leads to solutions more attuned to the needs of individual towns — especially in the areas of education and housing. Whenever possible, Doug values competition and market-oriented solutions over bureaucracy and unfunded mandates. Doug believes in personal responsibility and the power of strong values to enhance quality of life. And, when in doubt, Doug would not ignore the will of the people, as was done, for example, in 2002 when the income tax rollback was "frozen."

The second impression involves Doug's motivations for running. During a number of fairly in-depth discussions about rather arcane aspects of pending legislation, it was clear that Doug had done his homework. But it was also clear that Doug didn't acquire his knowledge out of raw ambition or the desire to be in power. Simply put, Doug genuinely believes in the old-fashioned notion of public service, as evidenced by his seven years as a Selectman. In the end, Doug wants people to live full, free and meaningful lives, and he knows that government can create the environments in which those lives flourish.

Doug is the right person for the job, and I hope you join me in voting for him.

Jonathan Beakley
West Street

Stevenson's got the right stuff

To the Editor:

This year, both candidates for State Representative are talking about reform. Massachusetts needs it. According to the Center for Public Integrity, Massachusetts, 13th in population, ranks fourth in the nation in expenditures by lobbyists at the state level.

What does Doug Stevenson offer that the incumbent does not? Two things come to mind.

First, Doug understands teamwork and compromise. You have to in Carlisle where the affairs of government are conducted by volunteers serving on town boards. He looks to build on that experience working with Governor Romney and like-minded legislators to make government more responsive and efficient. The Governor, Republicans and other centrist members are eager to reciprocate.

In contrast, Representative Atkins is at odds with both the leadership of her party and Governor Romney. This is clear from debate accounts in the Mosquito and other area papers. This fall not one Democratic House member voted with her (she voted "present") on the selection of the new Speaker. In a 160-member chamber, you need to form workable alliances to get things done.

Second, Doug understands the importance of accountability. Any Selectman in a community with an open Town Meeting form of government does. A vote at Town Meeting is closely akin to a referendum question in state government. In Carlisle, the decisions of the voters at Town Meeting have been respected. The townspeople appreciate that. If you aren't a straight shooter, you'll hear about it at Ferns or the transfer station.

The incumbent's embrace of reform, if sincere, is relatively recent. Her voting record is at odds with the opinions expressed by Carlisle and neighboring communities on many important issues including taxes, clean elections, and bilingual education. In her previous term, she voted for the elimination of term limits on the speakership allowing Mr. Finneran to remain as speaker indefinitely, and she backed an amendment that eviscerated the Clean Elections Law, requiring that it be funded by voluntary donations.

Doug has been shaped by the values we hold dear in a small town with an open form of government. We need more people with those values on Beacon Hill.

James Bohn
Concord Road

Writer supports Susan Fargo

To the Editor:

I want to express my support for our dedicated State Senator, Susan Fargo.

Public policy is serious and intricate. Rather than advancing meaningful debate and discussion of it, the two recent mailings our family received from the Massachusetts Republican Party that attack Senator Fargo constitute a further deterioration in the civility of discourse, a further addition to the campaign-by-caricature now broadly engulfing the spectrum of American politics.

Since entering the Senate in 1997, Senator Fargo has worked tirelessly, effectively, loyally, and intelligently on behalf of her constituents. As one of them, I am very grateful. I certainly hope she wins the fifth term which she now seeks, and I encourage other voters to join me in helping her do so.

Kenneth M. Deitch
Laurelwood Drive

[ The writer is a member of the Carlisle Town Democratic Committee.]

Benfield Land abutter voices concerns

To the Editor:

The planning process for the Benfield property on South Street concerns placing both housing and an active recreation area on what amounts to less than half of the total parcel, along with sufficient parking space to accommodate both uses. While the total area of the property is 45 acres, the Carlisle Conservation Foundation has limited development to the 19 acres closest to existing homes, and these 19 acres also contain wetlands that have to be worked around.

I'm surprised that the chair of the Recreation Commission is unaware that the Recreation Commission is requesting a multi-purpose field large enough for organized athletic programs such as football, lacrosse, soccer, and field hockey. These programs have referees blowing whistles, coaches yelling to players, and cheering parents. They run five days a week after school, and all day on Saturdays, with pickup games on Sundays.

Neighbors on South Street welcome the sound of children playing on swingsets and in sandboxes but do not want to see the neighborhood overrun with the significant noise and the traffic from surrounding communities that will be associated with a ballfield.

The proposed ballfield would be in very close proximity to people's homes, and I'm sure that most people can understand that it goes beyond "the sound of children playing," and that the neighbors are reluctant to have this sort of disruption in their lives.

Alan Carpenito
South Street
Neighborhood representative, Benfield Planning Task Force

Invitation to tour the Carlisle Public School

To the Editor:

November 15 - 19 marks the 84th annual observance of American Education Week. The purpose of American Education Week is to increase public understanding and appreciation of our schools, to encourage parents and non-parents to visit schools, to build civic and community pride and support for education.

Today's teachers do more than teach basic skills. They nurture and inspire children despite obstacles. They help students learn essential skills not always measured in testing, such as critical thinking, conflict resolution, cooperation, and problem solving, which help students throughout life.

On behalf of the Carlisle School Committee, administration, faculty and staff, we invite you to tour our schools, visit classrooms and see students and staff in various learning environments. Classrooms will be open to the public each morning during American Education Week from 8 to 10 a.m. for grades 5 - 8 and from 9 to 10:30 a.m. for the elementary school, PK - 4.

A Welcome Desk in front of the Wilkins Main Office will be manned by school personnel who will provide you with a Welcome Packet and assist you with any questions you may have.

Marie Doyle,Superintendent
Nicole Burkel
Chair, Carlisle School Committee
School Street

Cory Atkins is looking out for the people of this district

To the Editor:

One very important choice we will make on Tuesday is the election of an individual to represent our community in the State Legislature. Since Carlisle was rejoined with Concord in the 14th Middlesex District, our interests have been well represented by Cory Atkins. We need to send Cory back to Beacon Hill.

Cory is at the forefront and a natural leader in education issues. During the last legislative session, while the administration was disproportionately cutting funds for public education, Cory worked extensively to restore state funding for our local schools. As a direct result of Cory's work, the cuts for the Carlisle Public School and the Concord-Carlisle High School were less than originally proposed. Cory fought to protect the funding levels of our Chapters 70 and 71 aid.

In addition, Cory worked to increase the reimbursement percentage to be paid to cities and towns under the Circuit Breaker program. Originally it was scheduled to reimburse municipalities up to 74% of special educational costs in excess of a foundation level, but the administration reduced the funding for this program from 74% to 28%, leaving communities such as ours with a huge bill to pay. Cory's efforts were successful in increasing the final reimbursement percentage under this program.

Cory has proven time and again that she is looking out for the best interests of the people of this district. We are fortunate to have such an effective legislator working for us. On Tuesday, November 2, please join me in marking your ballot for Cory Atkins for State Legislator.

Midge Eliassen
Virginia Farme

Writer criticises negative campaigning

To the Editor:

As an Independent voter with great faith in our democracy, I find myself deeply offended by the negative campaigning being waged by the "Massachusetts Republican Party" on behalf of its candidates, Joseph Thibault and Doug Stevenson. Instead of receiving positive information on these men, I have been receiving large postcards featuring scare tactics and unflattering photographs of the political opponents, Susan Fargo and Cory Atkins. The Republican Party should know that this constitutes mean-spirited mudslinging, and we don't need any of that to affect the "democratic" process in our "republic."

Howard Knuttgen
Stearns Street

Say "No" to negative advertising

To the Editor:

The Massachusetts Republican Party has funded bulk mailings of postcards misrepresenting the voting records of Senator Susan Fargo and Representative Cory Atkins. The cards show poor photos of the candidates; in Senator Fargo's case, the photo is extremely distorted. Constituents in Senator Fargo's and Representative Atkins' districts are offended and outraged by the smear tactics that the Republican Party is waging against these distinguished legislators.

Outraged by the smear cards? Things you can do:

• Mail them back to the Massachusetts Republican party headquarters at 85 Merrimac Street, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02114 with a note expressing your disgust.

• Call the office of the Massachusetts Republican party (1-617-523-5005) and the campaign offices of Doug Stevenson (1-978-369-9400) and John Thibault (1-978-455-7287) and complain about the offensive campaign tactics. Let them know if your vote has been affected by their negative campaign tactics.

• Tell the Republican candidates and their supporters on visibility occasions (in rotaries and on street corners) that you are offended by the tactics being used.

• Web sites and can help you separate fact from fiction.

Kathy and Sidney Mayer, River Road
Sandra Scott, Ember Lane
Nancy Garden, Ember Lane
Irwin Garfinkle, River Road
Leona Curban, River Road
Janet and Edward Gaffey, Lowell Road
Muggsie and A. Gregory Rocco,
East Meadow Lane,
Nancy Roberts, Indian Hill Road

Writers support Doug Stevenson

To the Editor:

We are writing to encourage our Concord neighbors to join us in voting for Doug Stevenson for State Representative on November 2.

Doug is a lifelong resident of Carlisle and a product of the schools in Carlisle and Concord. He has been a terrific public servant and volunteer in Carlisle for decades. As a Selectman in Carlisle for the last seven years (two as chairman), Doug has fought to maintain top-notch schools while balancing the needs of multiple generations. His local experience fighting for education with a sense of fiscal responsibility is just what we need on Beacon Hill.

In addition, Doug has spent decades as a community volunteer. For the last 22 years, Doug has been an on-call firefighter and has also spent years as a youth sports coach and Boy Scout leader. Doug's energy and commitment to public service is just what the voters of Concord and Carlisle need.

On November 2, we will be voting for Doug Stevenson and urge you to do the same.

Phillip and Amy Jane Newell
Lapham Road, Concord

A writer responds

To the Editor:

I would like to respond to a letter in last week's Mosquito about Representative Atkins' and Senator Fargo's votes in the latest Constitutional Convention. It appears in that letter that Representative Atkins and Senator Fargo were trying to prevent the people of Massachusetts from voting on gay marriage on purely procedural grounds. This could not be further from the truth.

Amending the Massachusetts constitution is not easy and takes three steps. The process begins when an amendment is proposed to the Legislature, which supporters must convince to agree with it. When one session agrees, the amendment is then put on hold until after the next election, when the new Legislature is asked to vote on it. After the proposed amendment has passed those two hurdles, then the voters of the Commonwealth are asked to either consent to or reject it. Thus, before the constitution can be changed, there must be three "yes" votes by three separate groups. The authors of the constitution made it this way because they did not think that such an important document should be easy to alter.

With this in mind, Representative Atkins and Senator Fargo cast their votes because they felt that the proposed amendment was bad for our Commonwealth. They voted their conscience as they were obligated to do.

Charles F. Schweppe
School Street

Former Carlisle resident supports Doug Stevenson

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter to ask the good citizens of the 14th Middlesex to do what I regrettably cannot do — cast a vote for Doug Stevenson. I have known Doug Stevenson since our childhood in Carlisle and cannot think of any other individual more deserving of your consideration and your vote on November 2.

The true judge of any person's character is whether or not they have true friends from every stage of their life. I, along with many others from Doug's past, are proof that Doug's unwavering loyalty, honesty and commitment to community service are a part of his very existence. Doug Stevenson is a gem that we have known about for decades and now the voters of the 14th Middlesex can allow him into their lives.

I am blessed with many wonderful friends, but very few match up to Doug. The best way to sum up my regard for Doug is to speak as a father of three young children — I would be thrilled and honored if my children grew up to be the kind of person that Doug Stevenson has been his entire life.

I urge the voters of the 14th Middlesex to cast your vote for Doug Stevenson; your towns and the district will be blessed to have Doug represent you.

Justin Shay
Rochester, Mass.
(formerly of Carlisle)

Writer supports Atkins and Fargo

To the Editor:

As someone who has become involved with both our State Representative and State Senator, I would like to offer these observations.

As part of the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, I chaired meetings with both Cory Atkins and Susan Fargo and received great support on the mission to reduce toxic chemicals in our environment. Following their effort to move new legislation through the State House gave me a great appreciation of the arduous job involved. Both of our legislators spend long hours and have built up great working relationships with other key legislators needed to move bills through various committees to finally get them to the floor.

The number of hours these women spend amazes me. I have been to more than one 7:30 a.m. "Conservation Coffee" that Cory has attended. Following one of these coffees, where Ray Faucher spoke about Great Brook Farm State Park, she became involved in trying to eliminate the parking fee at Great Brook, so that Mark Duffy could fairly operate the ice cream stand. She was able to get an amendment on to the Appropriations Bill, although it failed to pass. On the late end of the day, it is common for both legislators to attend evening meetings and many of you saw Cory at our Special Town Meeting in April.

It is my understanding that Doug Stevenson plans to continue at his current job on a part-time basis. From my appreciation of what is involved in representing our district, I don't feel it can be adequately performed on a less-than-full-time basis.

Please join me in voting to keep our excellent Representatives, State Senator Susan Fargo and State Representative Cory Atkins.

Bob Wallhagen
Timothy Lane
Vice Chairman, Carlisle Democratic Town Committee

2004 The Carlisle Mosquito