Friday, October 22, 2010
Martinez clarifies her stand
To the Editor:
Recently, a letter was published from a Carlisle resident that was looking for specific cuts that I would make in order to accommodate the lowering of our sales tax to 3%. I appreciate the opportunity to address the question here.
The reason that this was put on the ballot was because the legislature raised the taxes by 25% in the middle of a recession. Our Senator voted in favor, although she is now trying to position herself as a tax-cutter. At the time, not one legislator asked “what will the taxpayer cut from their personal budgets to afford the decrease in buying power?”
A tax cut will result in additional commerce. Fewer people will find the trip to New Hampshire to be of value, and our sales tax will be lower than that of Connecticut, Vermont, New York, and Rhode Island, bringing additional revenue from those states. The Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University issued a report that projects passage of question 3 will result in the creation of 27,199 new private sector jobs, exactly what is needed at a time of high unemployment.
I plan to work with our next Governor on pension reform to bring state workers retirement benefits in line with the public sector, potentially saving the taxpayers up to $100M/year. We can reduce construction costs by another $75M-$100M by opening up the bidding process, and we can provide financial relief to the cities and towns by allowing them to join the state’s GIC health plan without collective bargaining.
These are a few of many ways in which I will show respect for the taxpayers of Massachusetts.
I will abide by the will of the voters. If question 3 is passed, I will work for its implementation; if it fails, I will fight to bring the tax back to 5%.
Candidate for State Senator
Big pumpkin contest winner
To the Editor:
Congratulations to Bob Orlando of Autumn Lane for growing the biggest pumpkin in Carlisle this year. Not only did he enter three large pumpkins in the Pumpkin contest at the Harvest Fair last Saturday, but he then donated them to “Pumpkins on the Common” to benefit the Carlisle Garden Club and the First Religious Society in Carlisle. Thank you to all the Pumpkin contest contestants who entered homegrown pumpkins in all shapes and sizes. The drought this summer kept the pumpkins smaller than usual, but they were all of excellent quality.
Alison Saylor, Maple Street
Carol Nathan, Robbins Drive
co-chairs for Pumpkins on the Common
A belated Halloween thank you
To the Editor:
To the townspeople of Carlisle, please accept a very belated thank you for your herculean efforts to make last year’s Halloween an experience of a lifetime. Although it was my family’s fifth Halloween in Carlisle, I had never accompanied my son downtown. Reluctantly relinquishing my post to hand out candy and enjoy our trick-or-treaters’ costumes, I threw caution to the wind, placed bowls of candy on our doorstep and ventured downtown for what I thought was going to be just another typical opportunity for my son to fill his bag with candy. I couldn’t have been more wrong. What we discovered was a magical night awash with love and community spirit. Hollywood couldn’t have evoked a happier feeling or produced a more apt setting than all of you and Mother Nature provided that night.
The Perfect Carlisle Halloween Night
Through black limbs quivering in the gusty breeze
Of School Street’s barren, gnarled, knotty trees
The silver full moon was eerily bright
Setting the stage for a ghastly fright
Church bells tolled the bewitching hour
Bats glared down from their steeple tower
Clouds raced by and leaves swirled high
As the cowboy marched resolutely on
He stumbled upon a Halloween fair
Of mysterious delights and unearthly dares
Ghoulish carousel and hypnotic wheel to spin
He enjoyed the fun with a big toothy grin
Phantasmal jack-o-Ianterns glowed in the dark
A four-legged skeleton haunted the park
Wizened witches cackled and bony fingers rattled
As the cowboy marched merrily on
A mighty king and queen dispensed regal fare
‘Neath a monstrous spider’s rooftop lair
And not to be beat, across the street
Ghosts and goblins whirled high in the air
Bat woman flitted midst gravestones and tombs
Offering sweets to those defying the gloom
Despite the grim reaper, the treats were a keeper
As the cowboy marched eagerly on
Robots, ninjas, Jedis and knights
Joyfully plundered ’mid azure strobe lights
While blue dad guardians with shields of gold
Bravely protected the young and the bold
Weary arms clutching sugared treasures found
The contented cowboy turned homeward bound
With memory ingrained of wondrous sights
Of the perfect Carlisle Halloween night
– Lori Brown
Small business owner endorses Martinez
To the Editor:
The state of Massachusetts currently disallows most workers from being classified as independent contractors. This requires that the worker be listed as an employee and the employer must pay unemployment benefit tax on the worker’s behalf. Workers in this circumstance have multiple sources of income. Since they have a constant source of income they do not qualify for unemployment benefits if they leave one of the businesses that classify them as an independent contractor. Collecting a tax that will never provide a benefit for anyone verges on extortion.
The state also raised sales tax to 6.25%. My business is 20 minutes from the New Hampshire border. Guess how this tax increase impacted my business? Now I discover that legislators are voting for increases in state income tax, and multiple other taxes.
I am not a political activist, but I did attend one meeting promoting Sandi Martinez. Her stand on taxes encouraged me, and her stand on not accepting a pension is refreshing.
William F. Brown
Reasons to vote Democratic
To the Editor:
Although the economic recovery technically began 16 months ago, the recession’s aftershocks are still very much with us, largely in the form of unacceptably high unemployment. As a result, economic issues are paramount for thoughtful voters in the upcoming election and will be equally paramount for the victors once they assume office.
In these circumstances, we need an especially cohesive team of elected officials. I urge those inclined to agree with my assessment of candidates to vote on November 2. Here are the four candidates at the top of my list and, briefly, why I support each.
Governor Deval Patrick: He has presided over our state’s making progress on education, health care and environmental issues. The state’s bond rating, an informative index of how its affairs are being managed, is strong. Such standing does not come automatically. In the fall of 1989, for example, Massachusetts’s bond rating became the worst in the nation.
Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. I can’t improve on Nancy Garden’s excellent case made for her in the letter published last week. I can only add one further point: our president needs her. Any loss of congressional seats his party sustains will make his already more than challenging job several notches more difficult still.
Senator Susan Fargo. First elected in 1996, she has served energetically since then. She has sponsored a host of legislation to help us live healthier and more fruitful lives. The School Nutrition bill, focused on reducing childhood obesity, is one example, and a tough pesticide bill is another.
Representative Cory Atkins. She too has served tirelessly and effectively for over a decade and is unfailingly there for all of us. Aiming to bring us better government, she opposed Sal DiMasi’s reelection as Speaker early on, at a time when doing so was a lonely act of courage indeed. Anyone who has ever heard her speak about what being a state representative means to her will understand immediately. After a Republican friend heard her at a recent gathering, he told me: “I’m going to vote for her.” That about says it all.
Kenneth M. Deitch
Voting “no” on Question One
To the Editor:
With an S.B. in Economics from MIT, an MBA from Harvard, and a 20 year old daughter who died from a heroin overdose last December 26, my head and heart will be voting “no” on #1.
The sales tax on alcohol generates approximately $110 million for substance abuse prevention and treatment programs. In 2004 a U.N. office cited that every $1 invested in treatment and prevention saves $7 to $10 of drug-related crime and health costs. Substance abuse and addiction related programs accounted for 21.8% of the total state budget in 2005, almost a quarter of that in the justice system alone.
Nationwide, 5.5% of children ages 12 to 17 abuse or are dependent on alcohol, or one student per classroom of 18 students. Underage drinking cost our Commonwealth $1.5 billion in 2007-- approximately $227 per resident
I recently heard a student speak about his experience in one of the state’s three recovery high schools. To paraphrase, “I don’t know much about politics, but why would people want to cut funding from a school where kids like me can stay clean? That just seems dumb.”
Per the Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia (CASA) the U.S.A., with 4% of the world’s population, consumes two-thirds of its illegal drugs. The impact spans the local (everyday life in families, schools and workplaces), to the global (national security and long-term economic viability). And Massachusetts rates are among the highest in the country.
Anyone thinking about voting down the sales tax on alcohol should first talk with a family who has been touched by addiction – perhaps due to a loved one’s substance abuse, or losing someone in a drunk driving accident or having had their home or business robbed (per CASA, in 2006, drugs and/or alcohol were implicated in 78% of violent crimes and 83% of property crimes).
The human tragedy, the direct financial costs and the opportunity costs of substance abuse are staggering. While families must do their part, that mustn’t stop us as a Commonwealth from doing what research shows does make a difference.
Supporting Patrick and Tsongas
To the Editor:
On November 2, I would urge all to vote to re-elect Deval Patrick as Governor of Massachusetts and Niki Tsongas as our Representative in Congress.
These are serious times that require all of us to participate in our democratic process in a thoughtful and serious manner. I do not believe it to be serious or thoughtful to demonize the opposition or trivialize the very complex and difficult issues that we face in our state and country. The stakes are just too high for anything less than a serious and thoughtful approach.
Charlie Baker is a good man who has an extensive record of public service and leadership in the private sector. At this time, however, I believe Deval Patrick to be the better choice to lead our state. After a difficult start to his term, he has shown decisive and thoughtful leadership in dealing with our fiscal problems in a compassionate and forward-looking manner.
I have had the fortunate opportunity to speak with both of the major candidates for Congress and observe them in debate. I have congratulated Jon Golnik on being the first person from Carlisle to run for Congress and thanked him for putting his name forward. He is a good and capable man. In my opinion, however, Niki Tsongas has shown a thoughtful command of the issues and has the breadth of experience to better foster economic prosperity in our district. She is the more qualified choice.
We are fortunate to have good choices on our ballot. In my opinion, the best decision is to support Governor Patrick and Congressman Tsongas for re-election. I urge you to vote on November 2 and when the election is over, support our elected leaders, whoever they may be. Our future is in the balance.
Washington needs Carlisle values
To the Editor:
Last week’s Mosquito editorial observes that the federal government would work better if our national leaders did things the way we do in Carlisle. I agree. In fact, wouldn’t a good start be sending someone to Washington who understands Carlisle values? Consider: Every spring Carlisle adopts a balanced town budget. We pay our bills. That’s not true in Washington. In the past two years the federal government has borrowed $2.7 trillion. Spending has increased by 21 percent. Where was Representative Tsongas? She sits on the House Budget Committee. She could have used her position to control spending. Instead, her committee hasn’t even produced a budget for the fiscal year which began October 1. It was due on April 15.
Carlisle boards thoroughly review and seek public comment on matters large and small. That’s the prudent thing to do. But in Washington, Ms. Tsongas votes on bills thousands of pages in length that she hasn’t read and the public hasn’t seen. Indeed, Readthebill.org has compiled a long list of bills rushed through the current Congress in less than 72 hours. Making laws in the dark is not democracy.
Carlisleans are independent thinkers. Sixty percent of us are neither registered Democrats nor registered Republicans. But our current representative is not independent. Ms. Tsongas votes with Nancy Pelosi 98% of the time according to the Washington Post.
And in Carlisle, we may differ on the issues but we leave personalities out of it. We treat others with respect. Not Ms. Tsongas. You’ve probably received some of her attack pieces in the mail by now. Ms. Tsongas claims to want to “change the tone” in Washington. In fact, she’s turning up the volume.
Carlisle’s Jon Golnik is running for Congress. Jon’s an independent thinker who respects and considers the views of others. A small businessman, Jon knows how to manage a budget, to control spending and set priorities. He’s energetic, articulate and knowledgeable. He’s a friend to many of us and a neighbor to all. He’s taken the high road and run an issues-oriented campaign. He’ll bring Carlisle values to Washington.
James G. Bohn
November 2 Ballot Questions
To the Editor:
On November 2, the League of Women Voters recommends a “no” vote on Ballot Questions 1, 2 and 3, and a “yes” vote on Question 4. Here are the reasons.
Question 1 would repeal the extension of state sales tax to alcoholic beverages. The tax applies to beer, wine and liquor and helps to fund state substance abuse programs.
Question 2 would repeal the affordable housing law (Chapter 40B), under which 58,000 affordable homes have been built. Chapter 40B allows developers who plan to build government subsidized low and moderate income housing to apply for a single comprehensive permit from the local Zoning Board of Appeals. The permit may be granted if at least 20-25% of the planned housing has long-term affordable restrictions and meets other conditions. If over 10% of a community’s housing units are qualified low or moderate income units, the special permitting process is not available. The law has been criticized, but repeal would halt affordable housing projects already in the pipeline, leaving no viable incentives for developers to build needed housing.
Question 3 would reduce the state sales tax from 6.25% to 3% on January 1. The legislature increased the rate to 6.25% to lower the state budget deficit. Reducing the rate would add $2.5 billion to the deficit, which is already projected at $2 billion. We cannot afford the resulting cuts in essential state programs and aid to cities and towns.
Question 4 is a non-binding ballot initiative in 14 representative districts including ours. The question asks whether our state representative should be instructed to support legislation creating a single payer health insurance system for all Massachusetts residents. LWV supports single-payer as a reform that would make health care affordable and available to all.
Becky Shannon, Co-President
Cindy Nock, Vice President
League of Women Voters
Candidates on cable
To the Editor:
The League of Women Voters of Concord-Carlisle held an informative Candidates Forum on Saturday, October 16, at which all four candidates running for Congress in our district (Dale Brown-I, Bob Clark-I, Jon Golnik-R and Niki Tsongas-D) appeared. We wish to thank all of the candidates for participating, moderator Risa Nyman of Brookline for her professionalism, Alcott Elementary School for the use of its auditorium, CCTV for taping equipment and set-up assistance and League volunteers from Acton, Carlisle, Concord, Harvard and Westford for making this event happen.
The October 16 forum, as well as the LWV’s October 20 State Candidates Forum, will be aired on cable Channel 8 until November 2, Election Day. Please check the program schedule for times or watch CCTV Video on Demand (www.concordtv.org).
LWV of Concord-Carlisle
Spaghetti Supper thanks
To the Editor:
As co-chairs of this year’s Sixth-Grade Spaghetti Supper, we would like to thank the many people who helped make this annual event a great success once again in bringing the community together and raising funds to support the students’ upcoming class trips, plays and graduation expenses. To everyone who supported the sixth graders’ efforts by purchasing meal and raffle tickets as well as joining us that evening, we thank you all.
We would like to acknowledge the many parents who gave of their time, energy, ideas and financial support over the last several months as we planned the supper. We also owe a huge debt of gratitude to the school faculty, administration, and staff who, in countless ways, encouraged and supported the students and us.
Finally, we would like to thank the sixth-grade students. When it was time for them to take on the responsibility of selling tickets and, on Tuesday evening, of serving as wait staff, they did it with enthusiasm, energy and focus. These young people understood the importance of the Spaghetti Supper and directed their energies accordingly. Their efforts put the crowning touch on an event that took months of preparation but was well worth all the effort. Great job, Class of 2013!
LWV encourages “yes” vote on Question 4
To the Editor:
There will be a fourth question on the November 2 ballot in 14 districts of the Commonwealth including the 14th Middlesex District. Question 4, which is non-binding, asks:
“Shall the representative from this district be instructed to support legislation that would establish health care as a human right regardless of age, state of health or employment status, by creating a single payer health insurance system like Medicare that is comprehensive, cost effective, and publicly provided to all residents of Massachusetts?”
Under Massachusetts’ present health care system, many insured residents are unable to pay the high deductibles and co-pays required to get the health care they need, and are resorting to emergency-room care at a great cost to everyone. Many residents are also reluctant to seek preventative health care visits driving up costs as necessary treatment often becomes more serious.
But the real crisis is the rising cost of health care. Town budgets are suffering with the staggering costs of the health care provided to their employees and retirees. With a single payer system, a Commonwealth entity, such as the Massachusetts Health Care Trust, would collect the premium payments and pay the health care providers who would continue to operate as either non profit or for profit businesses and professionals as they currently are. This system would reduce administration costs and cut the total cost of health care spending by estimates around 10% according to researchers at the Boston University School of Public Health.
The League of Women Voters believes that a single payer system, like an improved Medicare for All, is the goal for health care reform in the Commonwealth and the U.S. We urge a “yes” vote on Question 4.
Launa Zimmaro, Board Member
League of Women Voters
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