Candidate Website/Social Media Address
Born in Massachusetts, 2 adult children, lived in Franklin for about 30 yrs, writer by profession. Active in town government and community most of the time I have lived here. Started Franklinobserver.town.news to provide a daily "newspaper" for the town
Will you support putting the override on the ballot this term? If not, how do you propose addressing the fiscal challenges set out in the FY2021 budget message? https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/uploads/2020-05-27_fy_2021_budget_message_narrative_final.pdf
I have not heard of any plans for an override so far. The FY 2021 budget is not what the Council will be dealing with. I will look carefully at all the issues if elected and if they come before the council.
How do you propose supporting Franklin’s small businesses? What actions Town Council should take to attract more small businesses to Franklin?
Simplify regulations as much as possible. Targeted programs are unfair to businesses that are not part of the target so, in general, the town should simply try to create a level playing field for all businesses.
What accomplishments are you most proud of during your most recent tenure? Or, if you are a new candidate, what achievements make you most qualified for the position?
I am pretty well informed about town issues and about many aspects of public policy. I am not an idealogue. I listen and learn and work well in deliberative bodies, helping to find solutions or agreements that work and that others can support.
What do you believe the Town Council’s priorities should be for the upcoming term?
Consider charter reform -- a long process -- so that we can provide elected representation for each precinct as well as some at large councilors. At present, voters cannot count on any councilor to pay attention to THEIR concerns. Representation by precinct will better link individual voters to the town's political processes.
I also feel the town should have an ongoing organizational improvement and efficiency process to ensure that government is responsive and as efficient as possible.
THe council should also work closely with the Town Administrator to give him priorities AND support.
In its 2020 update to implementation of the 2013 Master Plan, the Department of Planning & Community Development (DPCD) recommended two goals related to housing in Franklin, the first goal is to provide an appropriate mix of housing alternatives for middle income workers. The second goal is to support development opportunities for low, moderate and middle income households preventing many in Franklin from being able to find affordable housing. Are you in support of these goals? Why or why not?
In general I support those goals. Franklin is lurching toward being a "rich" community with no room for low-and middle-income people. I wonder if more can't be done than even these ambitious goals? I will certainly be interested in that. However, I don't feel we should just build and build, using affordable as an excuse for even more development in town. And we need to come to a broad consensus in the community about what we want Franklin to become.
In the FY22 Budget Hearing, the Superintendent of Schools presented data showing Franklin falls in the 22nd percentile statewide for Net School Spending (state aid + local contribution) and 75% of districts in Massachusetts spend more, per pupil, than Franklin. Do you believe Franklin's local contribution to education should increase? Reference: https://www.franklinps.net/sites/g/files/vyhlif4431/f/uploads/fy22_public_budget_hearing_presentation_2.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2kIknw-RiGTdInzDHdBcc4Th8VDGdlug7qYepSxrnoQxUCK_oITKrCiQY
Spending is one indicator and an important one but needs to be looked at in context. Are we getting results proportionate to spending, for example? All spending decisions must be looked at in context. Just as Franklin is becoming a "rich" community, it is also gradually raising its taxes and fees and this hurts the middle and lower income people in town. In short, there is never any easy answer.
In its 2020 update to implementation of the 2013 Master Plan, the Department of Planning & Community Development, (DPCD) recommended two goals with regard to transportation and infrastructure. Goal one was to improve and maintain the Town’s public roadway system. The second goal is to make the Town more walkable and bikeable by creating and maintaining safe interconnected pedestrian and bicycle routes. Are you in support of this why or why not? How do you propose funding?
I come from a family that has been advocating for bike transit for a century. Having said that. we shouldn't get seduced by things that sound good -- bike paths, for example. I have STRONGLY advocated for bike paths that actually go places --- for example linking Franklin to theaters and shopping in Bellingham but have been stonewalled by the planning department and ignored by the council. So, yes, I will advocate for things like this, but realistically, our biggest transportation problem is GRIDLOCK. Just like Boston and New York City, here in Franklin, some intersections regularly far exceed their capacity to handle cars. This is unsafe, inefficient and in New England, where inclement weather takes up half the year, car are not going away anytime soon.
One other thing that is a terrible deficiency, is our lack of meaningful bus transit. Other towns on the periphery of Boston do MUCH better. That would be one of my highest priorities.