Stoneham Town Election: Tuesday, April 3 2018
The Annual Town Election will be held on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. The polls will be open from 7AM-8PM at the Town Hall, 35 Central Street.
This election sort of snuck up on me. It’s in April. April is spring. It is snowing and cold. Therefore, the election is not soon. That was the subconscious process. But this year has been a year when lawn signs have been buried under snow mounds, and the election is only 10 days away. I have done less preparation for my vote this year than I did last year. I did not make time to interview the candidates myself, so much of my decision making comes from watching how these folks have acted in the past and interacted at town events.
Once again, I’m excited by the vibrant political life of our little town. I’m amazed at people’s willingness to work hard and put themselves out there for what is essentially a volunteer job. I’m grateful for all the candidates for offering to undertake the hard and often thankless work of making our town the best place it can be.
With no further ado, here are my selections. As always, I’m open to new information or to having my thinking changed. You can reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with resources, polite comments or questions. I do moderate comments on the post, and consider rudeness or incivility of supporters a black mark against a candidate.
Selectman: (Pick Two)
Raymie Parker (strong recommendation)
School Committee: (Pick Two)
Constable: (Pick Three)
I’m looking at this election as an amazing opportunity to change the tone in our government, and return to civility and reasoned decision making. The two candidates up for re-election have deeply disappointed me with how they treat other elected officials, town employees, and people with whom they disagree. We are very fortunate that we have some excellent, collaborative choices instead!
Raymie is a consistent presence in the civic life of Stoneham. She is there at every Town Meeting, prepared to talk intelligently about the issues at hand. She spends generously of her time and energy on volunteer work, with a focus on our youth sports programs. I have found her thoughtful and independent, with a deep commitment to the well-being of our town and all its residents. I’m hopeful that on the board, she’ll turn her care for youth into making sure that we have a solvent, sensible budget plan and a focus on building a new high school. This post in particular speaks to that intention. I’m very excited to vote for Raymie!
I am voting for John, with some reservations. On the plus side, he has long experience on the Board of Selectmen from prior terms, and understands what needs to be done in the job. There have been times in his past service that he has not shown the level of respect and civility I expect from public servants. I’m hoping that given another chance, that’s something he’d work to rectify.
Tom is a man with a lot of energy and passion, and when it’s directed towards bringing people together, that’s been a great asset to the town. But in the last few years, I’ve been saddened to see that Tom has sometimes directed that passion unkindly. His interactions with town employees has been that of a bully. The employees of the town of Stoneham are a huge part of the success (or not) of the town. If we have disengaged, fearful folks working on our behalf, we will never be able to do big things. I would not hire a bully to work on a team I led. And I won’t hire a bully to lead the town I live in, with my vote.
When Caroline was running for State Rep, she sent out a mailing in which the face of her opponent had been photoshopped with zits. One of the groups supporting her sent out a mailing persecuting transgender people, which she is on tape supporting. She is unwilling to even be in the same room as people she disagrees with. I watched with my own eyes as one of her friends attended a charity event she had said she’d be at (although she did not actually pay for a ticket to that event) to watch and see when Mike Day left, so she wouldn’t have to be in the same room as him. She came just long enough to take pictures to post on social media, then left. It was childish behavior. More seriously, she has bankrupted our water and sewer system to the point where all our rainy day funds are gone, and you will see a 29% increase in your next bill. That’s an average of $75 a quarter this coming year PLUS we have no money in the rainy day fund now. Caroline led the charge, sending out flyers for the Water and Sewer policy that ran through the savings we’d put aside. She wants to bankrupt our trash system in the same way. (Mark your calendars for the Town Hall Meeting Monday, May 7, where we need to show up and fight this fiscally irresponsible plan.) (See more details in my subsequent post.) Speaking of responsible, I’ve never once seen her take responsibility for the consequences of her actions. For example, she and Tom opposed* the simple act of accepting almost half a million dollars from state to improve our sidewalks (Complete Streets). (Winchester got the grant, and is now getting over $800k). But instead of owning the consequences to the town about that decisions, she creates fear, uncertainty and doubt. Moreover, her ardent supporters have been known to create fake personas (especially on Facebook) She’s been a disastrous leader for Stoneham, and I cannot support her candidacy for any role.
*Selectman Wilson stated that his motion to accept the $50,000 grant from Mass DOT that will lead to the $400,000 Complete Streets funding still stands. Selectman Seibold seconded the motion.
Selectman Boussy moved to table this until the new TA is in place. Selectwoman Colarusso seconded the motion.
Voting in favor:
Vice Chairwoman Colarusso
We’re spoiled for good choices with School Committee. We’re lucky to have dedicated, hard-working people willing to spend their free time ensuring our children are getting a great education. I had a tough time picking from the top three. That said, here are my choices.
Thomas is a relatively recent graduate of Stoneham Public Schools, and has been running an energetic and enthusiastic campaign to advocate for his alma mater. Despite being young, he’s no novice to Stoneham politics. He is serving capably and admirably on the Finance Committee now. I have had several conversations with him in other circumstances, and I really enjoy his energy, optimism and enthusiasm. If I’m thinking about who I want fighting for my kids’ education, I think Thomas is a great choice.
I don’t have any first person experience with Jaime, but she has an excellent reputation in town. She’s been the PTO president for Robin Hood Elementary School for several years, which I think points to a willingness to do hard (and thankless) work to benefit kids. It also speaks well to her organizational and coalition building skills. She seems like someone I’d be happy to vote for.
Cory Mashburn Updated
I have very little information on Cory. He might be a great choice, but it’s a crowded field. I feel like Thomas and Jaime both bring a balance of skills and experience which will be great, but can’t really spot from his public information what Cory would uniquely bring to the table. I’ve done some more research on Cory, directed there by many of his ardent and excellent supporters. He seems like a dedicated, intelligent and capable person who I think would do a fine job in the role. I sincerely hope he’ll choose to run again if he doesn’t make it this time, when I can give him my full support. He makes a focused case on social-emotional intelligence in the school curriculum. I personally am more concerned with a new high school, which wasn’t one of the things he focused most on. I think the current curriculum (as seen by my middle schooler) seems pretty darn good! I’m sure it could be better, though. I wish I could vote for three candidates!
George has run for several local offices in the past, including State Rep (R). He might be fine in the School Committee (although his platform seems to be unarticulated and he doesn’t highlight what he would be able to contribute that others wouldn’t). But I have trouble getting past his support for Caroline. (Peak irony in this quote from his letter supporting her: She spearheaded efforts to reduce the trash fee for every resident.) That makes me wonder if he’d be fiscally responsible with our kids’ education.
This is another tough one. I have no data on most of the candidates. I would decline to vote for Robert Sweeney, based on how he comported himself in opposition to the Greenway. But I have no information on the other candidates.
All opinions expressed are soley those of Brenda, and do not reflect the official opinion of any group, including my employer.