Friday, October 5, 2007
Can budget sustain psychologists?
To the Editor:
The Mosquito's September 28 front page article on the dire trajectory of our expected property taxes — up "50-60% over the next five years" — rendered the page eight article on Carlisle's newest K-2 psychologist, Jennifer Lipton, otherworldly.
I did not know our taxes paid for four psychologists, which would easily run the town $400,000 in annual costs. Those savings look especially salutary compared to the projected $250,000 shortfall that the lead article estimates Carlisle must fund to pay for our share of the increase in our high school obligations with Concord.
Jennifer Lipton's background appears beyond laudable. I am not raising any objection to the choice of person, but to the commitment of such substantial resources to this layer of support that never existed in my day.
When faced with our imminent budget shortfall we must be vicious in questioning what we prioritize, and dispassionate about the need to eliminate the "nice-to-haves" from the "need-to-haves."
Removing the in-house, dedicated school psychology layer feels like an easy call to me, for several reasons:
· Supply of this type of service will invariably create demand for the service, as teachers — who naturally develop close relationships with their paired psychologist — will send the "marginal" kid to her friend and co-professional down the hall, rather than deal with the child directly, or engage parents earlier in the process.
· These really are individual family issues. Parents need to take responsibility for knowing the emotional health of their children, and making appropriate decisions about retaining more skilled services if they so desire. A town's taxpayers do not absolutely need to subsidize the psychological requirements of individual families, who are free to choose from a broad range of service providers.
I will soon have four children in the Carlisle school system, so mathematically I benefit from all other taxpayers who have a more modest claim on town finances. But I have no problem with shouldering more parental responsibility so that our town can save money and moderate our looming tax increases.
Tsongas will be a conservation leader
To the Editor:
It's clear. We now know we are stuck with global warming/climate change and its costly effects: higher temperatures, more deadly storms, melting arctic ice, rising sea levels and drought. We are seeing it right here this summer and fall. And think of Katrina.
Now, the trick is to keep things from getting worse. Instead of our usual "Me First" energy decisions, we all have to act "Globe First" and fast.
One such action we are taking is to vote for Niki Tsongas for Congress on October 16. Her environmental platform to combat global warming is a high priority and is much more comprehensive and specific than those of her four opponents (one Republican, two Independent and one Constitutional Party candidates). She understands the urgency and supports Cape Wind and the need for other viable alternative energy sources and research funding.
Former Congressman Marty Meehan, whose office she seeks, had a 100% voting record with the League of Conservation Voters, and Niki will continue his legacy with her own strong national leadership on energy policy, environmental protection and green space preservation. The Massachusetts Sierra Club has endorsed her.
Please join us in sending Niki Tsongas to Congress. Vote "Globe First" not "Me First" on October 16.
Bonnie Miskolczy, Cross Street
Beatrice Shneider, Stearns Street
Dottie Harris, Nowell Farm Road
Wendy Davis, East Street
Bob Wallhagen, Timothy Lane
Cheryl and John Mandler, Mallard Drive, Concord
George Bishop, Judy Farm Road
D'Ann Brownrigg, Acton Street
Ken Harte, Estabrook Road
Looking forward to sidewalks
To the Editor:
I want to say thank you to the people who are working really hard on the new sidewalks project. I also want to thank the homeowners who are allowing the sidewalks to go through their yards. It's nice to see so many people working together to make this town a better place.
When we get the sidewalks in I'll be able to walk to Ferns, school, the library and to the new park. My family is looking forward to being able to walk to Kimball's more safely. We are all looking forward to doing more hiking. Thanks again to the people who are helping to get this project done.
Ogonowski's a leader, not a partisan
To the Editor:
Niki Tsongas may be an able politician. But her campaign is about the past, not the future.
Ms. Tsongas has styled her campaign as a referendum on George Bush. To see what I mean, just Google "Niki Tsongas" "Bush" and "Referendum." I came up with 1,340 web pages, many of them very negative.
The fact of the matter is that Ms. Tsongas' Bush bashing, while no doubt a source of malevolent satisfaction for some of her followers, is not a policy agenda.
We need a representative in Congress that is willing to work with others — left, right and in-between — to address the generational challenges facing our nation.
We need to have a national conversation on how we are going to pay for the retirement of the baby boom generation while making sure that we don't break the bank for Generations X, Y and beyond.
We need to reform our educational system so that the American worker has the skills to compete with India and China.
And we need to win the war on terror and the war in Iraq — not fight a war of words among ourselves — so that our children do not have to live in fear of another 9/11 or worse.
More of the same from partisan politicians is not going to do it. We need a quiet leader in Washington who will work with others to get things done. Jim Ogonowski is that man.
Special State Election is coming up
To the Editor:
The Special State Election for the Fifth Congressional District Repre-sentative in Congress will be held on Tuesday, October 16, 2007 from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. at the Clark Room in Town Hall.
We look forward to seeing as many registered voters as possible on Election Day. However, if you are not going to be in town on October 16, you may vote by absentee ballot. State statutes require that applications for absentee ballots be obtained by noon on the day preceding an election, or in this case, noon on Monday, October 15, 2007. You may vote in the Town Clerk's office between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. until the deadline. Applications for absentee ballots may be obtained by contacting the Town Clerk's office at 1-978-369-6155 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You may apply for an absentee ballot for a family member and we will mail the ballot to the address that you provide.
In keeping with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), all Massachusetts cities and towns now have at least one automated voting machine that allows people with disabilities to vote without assistance. The machine is not limited to use by people with disabilities, so if you are curious about how automated voting machines perform, you are welcome to try out our new machine on Election Day. When you check in to vote, simply ask for a ballot for the AutoMARK voting machine and we will show you how to use the machine. You do not have to provide justification for using the machine; it is available to all registered voters.
If you have any questions regarding the upcoming election or ballots, please contact the Town Clerk's office and we will be happy to assist you.
Your continued participation in this important endeavor is greatly appreciated.
Charlene M. Hinton
© 2007 The