Stoneham is headed to the polls again on April 5, 2016 which is in a scant TWO WEEKS! (How is it almost April!) Once again, this is an entirely local election, where it is SO HARD to get information on the candidates. In fact, I challenge you to go find a copy of the ballot anywhere online. Go ahead. Try. (I couldn’t find one. I had to email asking for a copy of it.)
Here it is, for your edification: Stoneham MA April 2016 Election Ballot
This election is a little different for me in a few ways. The biggest difference is that I’m passionately enthusiastic for one of the candidates. I’ve known Anthony Wilson from his work on the Greenway, and I’m extremely impressed with him. That was a very fraught issue, with high feelings. Anthony stayed very factual, cheerful and always held to the high ground (even when I suspect it was tempting not to). His platform is centered on the crazy concept of “planning ahead” so that we capture capital requests in the budget and can make good decisions about where to allocate Stoneham’s resources. I think he will be a truly excellent Selectman for the town. Frankly, I’m really grateful he’s willing to run.
I’m also really impressed with Rachel Meredith-Warren, who is running for school committee. She’s done a great job of reaching out to the community. She was a primary driver behind the Stoneham Square Strategic Action plan, which is doing amazing things for our little town. She’s also been involved with a bunch of really good work in Stoneham like the finance committee. Again, I feel lucky she’s willing to give us her time and talent, serving our kids and our community!
After that, my recommendations get a bit murkier.
We have two open spots for selectman, and four candidates. I have considered casting only one vote, since I have such a strong preference for Anthony. (That makes it more likely he’d win, since there might be a scenario where my second vote propels a candidate into a slot ahead of him.) Although I’m still considering that, I think the rest of the three candidates are varied enough in their strengths that it may be worth casting a second vote. (BTW – if you want to decide for yourself, many of the candidates showed up for a recorded candidate forum with Stoneham TV)
Frank Vallerelli – if I cast a second vote, he’s likely to get it. Unfortunately, he has almost no information available online. In watching the selectmen during town meetings, he generally seems like a reasonable person who listens to speakers and constituents respectfully.
John DePinto – I can’t recommend voting for Mr. DePinto. John was an opponent to the Greenway, which I find hard see as a far-sighted choice. I did not appreciate the way he dealt with the public during Town Hall meetings, and he wasn’t responsive when I reached out to him during the Greenway period. I find it a little depressing he couldn’t show up for the candidate forum to help us understand what he would do with an additional term.
George Seibold – I recommend against voting for Mr. Seibold. He has zero information available online, which I think says something about how much candidates care about new voters and folks who didn’t grow up in town. (I think that’s true of Frank Vallerelli too, if you’re wondering.) In addition to his opposition to the Greenway, in his last tour as a selectman he tried to build a prison in Stoneham. Someone who thinks building a prison in one of Stoneham’s most beautiful locations is a great idea (and defends that position with the amazing statement “‘Personally, I’d be retired before this is all said and done. So it really wouldn’t affect me,'”), while arguing a bike path is a dangerous innovation… well, that’s not the kind of decision-making I want again.
I have heard generally positive things about incumbent Anthony Kennedy and newcomer Carol Murtone, but if anyone has some information or links on those races that would be useful, I’d love to see them.
So with no further ado, here’s my ballot for April 5:
Board of Assessors:
I would love any (polite! I’ll delete anything that is rude!) feedback or information you have on the Stoneham election that you think would make me decide differently. A big part of the reason I post these election posts is because it is really hard to find information on the local election when you did not grow up with half the candidates. I think it’s really important to have this information available online. So please – if you have any conversation to have, let’s have it here in the comments where other voters like me can see it too and decide for themselves. I will update my recommendations if new information comes in!