Friday, April 20, 2007
Who should I vote for?
As I paged through the April 13 issue of the Mosquito last weekend, several items caught my eye. Under the "More Mosquito Mail" column on page 17 were three letters, two written by write-in candidates and one by a petition candidate for our upcoming Town Election on Tuesday, May 8. Further back, on the last page of the newspaper, was a press release announcing the League of Women Voters (LWV) Candidates Forum to be held this Sunday, April 22, from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Clark Room at Town Hall. Individuals running for office in the upcoming election have been invited to participate.
This year there are two contested races. The School Committee has two openings with four candidates in the race — incumbent Wendell Sykes, Dale Ryder, Donald Rober and write-in candidate Kevin T. Smith. The Board of Health also has two openings with three candidates — incumbents Martha Bedrosian and William Risso, and Christopher Deignan.
Wishing to be an informed voter, I look forward to the Candidates Forum. I want to meet and hear all the candidates, whether running unopposed or in contested races, and whether nominated by the March 12 Town Caucus or placed on the ballot by petition. This should also give me an opportunity to meet write-in candidates as well.
In this week's newspaper are the statements by each of the candidates for office, those whose names are on the ballot, as well as those who are write-in candidates. These are the people who have stepped forward to serve their community as the town faces many challenges ahead, such as Massachusetts's 40B projects, which enable a developer to circumvent our zoning bylaws.
Be sure to read each candidate's statement on pages 10 to 12, but let me also encourage you to attend the League of Women Voters Candidates Forum on Sunday. It is there that the moderator will ask questions of each candidate and you will be able to hear their responses. Also, townspeople may submit handwritten questions to be addressed to the candidates by the moderator. This is where you can get to know the candidates and make those very important decisions as how to vote, particularly in the contested races for Board of Health and School Committee.
See you on Sunday afternoon, April 22, at 3:00 in the Clark Room at Town Hall, for the LWV Candidates Forum.
Carlisle has more than a bear problem on its hands; it has an identity problem. As last week's editorial reminded us, throughout years of surveying the public about priorities for the town, "rural character" has always been high on the list. We prize our open land, our trail-veined woods, our two-acre zoning and our barns. All the work that has gone into preserving this country landscape has also benefited the wildlife. I love casually telling my family in New Jersey just how I co-exist with deer, foxes and coyotes, and watching their eyes widen.
All this natural abundance, however, has now attracted a new neighbor — the Black Bear — and we find our equanimity shaken. Why? Because the bear is a bad neighbor. You know the kind I mean; they throw loud parties that disturb your sleep; they back their car over your mailbox, and are always borrowing things they never return. So too is the inconsiderate bear. Here in Carlisle, we love our birds, monitoring them at our multiple feeders, and even counting them every Christmas. So what does the bear do? He/she plunders the birds' feeding stations, knocking down feeders in a quest for food. Here in Carlisle, we dote on our domestic animals, our dogs and cats, as well as our horses, goats and chickens, so we are rightly appalled when the bear spooks our horses and drives our dogs into a frenzy, again in the quest for food. Some of us with pools and hot tubs are even finding our covers ripped and filters damaged as the bear comes too close as it forages for food. Like the most annoying of neighbors, the bear refuses to pay attention to boundary lines.
I don't mean to belittle what some people have experienced; I can imagine how terrified I would be if I or my terriers encountered a bear, and property damage is never a laughing matter. As one who has merely heard about the bear, I must admit, though, that I harbor a fantasy. Picture this scenario: a town dedicated to conservation, upon hearing that a government agency plans to come in and shoot the bear, bands together in a cover-up. People stop reporting on the whereabouts of the bear; the town newspaper refuses to print sightings; the town police chief denies state officials any help. ("What bear?") What a great story — get Disney on the line!
We all know how the story is really going to end, though. The environmental police will find the bear and shoot it, probably on someone's property, and for a time our feeders and barns and bee hives will be safe. But only for a time, according to MassWildlife, who reports that bears in Massachusetts are on the move east. Somewhere down the line, we'll run into another such unruly neighbor, drawn to the area because of our rural character. There are definite limits to that character, however, and unfortunately someone forgot to inform the bears.
© 2007 The