Your View (site blog, not mine personally)
Resident offers his choices for all key boards
Carey Theil of Arlington submitted this column reflecting a range of candidate endorsements for the April 10 town election.
As a husband, employer and guardian of two dogs and three cats, I am proud to live in Arlington. My family moved here a decade ago, at the same time a nonprofit organization I helped found relocated to the old police headquarters across from Town Hall. We work to pass animal protection laws around the world, and Arlington has been a welcoming environment for us and our work.
In just a few days we will have the town election. Please vote if you can, and urge your friends and neighbors to also cast ballots. Local elections have a profound impact on our lives, affecting such issues as education, recycling and affordable housing. We have an amazingly talented group of candidates running this year. They have all made sacrifices in an effort to serve the public good, and deserve our thanks.
For Select Board
For the Select Board, I will be happily voting for Eric Helmuth and John Hurd. Eric has served as a Town Meeting member for a decade, chairs the Community Preservation Act Committee, which provides funding for affordable housing and open space, and led the effort to bring electronic voting to Town Meeting.
John Hurd has many years of experience in town government, including as a member of Town Meeting and the Select Board. He also serves on the board of directors of the Arlington Food Pantry. A few years ago I reached out to John about an animal-welfare issue in Town. He responded immediately, listened to my concerns and offered his help.
For School Committee
For School Committee, I will be voting for Jeff Thielman. I have known Jeff since he ran for state Legislature years ago, and he has been a steadfast supporter of animal welfare and other progressive causes. As chair of the Arlington High School Building Committee, he has led the town through a critical time, and we owe him a debt of gratitude.
For Housing Authority
In the race for Housing Authority, I will be enthusiastically casting my ballot for Kelda Fontenot. She has deep experience working with the AHA, and has identified specific problems that need to be fixed. Her experiences echo a 2019 League of Women Voters study of the organization, which found there is an inadequate number of social workers, that residents were given unfavorable treatment when they criticized the organization, and that there is a need for training to better serve people with disabilities. A professional musician, Kelda would give AHA board member Jo Anne Preston a progressive, compassionate partner with whom to collaborate.
Regarding Town Meeting, I will be voting for Rebecca Gruber and Patricia Worden in District 8.
For Board of Assessors
There are two fantastic candidates for assessor, although they probably don’t agree on much of anything! Guillermo Hamlin is a strong, progressive voice who deserves our support. On the other hand, Phil Lohnes is a man of great integrity who deeply loves Arlington. I wish I had two votes.
Finally, I was deeply disappointed by comments made a year ago by current Select Board candidate Jennifer Susse. In an effort to gain votes for a particular candidate, Susse implied that Arlington Fights Racism is not sincere in its mission to fight racial injustice, but is instead an anti-incumbency front group for unrelated issues such as the high school build, charter schools and the removal of trees. That claim was patently false, and there is no place in our town for such demagoguery.
The last few years have been difficult for the town. We have grappled with painful issues related to policing and racial justice, while also living through a terrifying pandemic. Nonetheless, I know we will move through these challenges together, as one community, and our best days are ahead of us!
This opinion column was published Sunday, March 28, 2021.
Editor's note: Please scroll down and read Barbara Goodman's comment.
In my view, the statement by Carey Theil, does not accurately reflect what Jennifer Susse wrote in May, 2020. Read both below.
Theil writes: “Finally, I was deeply disappointed by comments made a year ago by current Select Board candidate Jennifer Susse. In an effort to gain votes for a particular candidate, Susse implied that Arlington Fights Racism is not sincere in its mission to fight racial injustice, but is instead an anti-incumbency front group for unrelated issues such as the high school build, charter schools and the removal of trees. That claim was patently false, and there is no place in our town for such demagoguery.”
Read Susse’s published words:
“There are some exceptional people listed on this slate, and I am especially heartened that many candidates of color are running. Arlington has become increasingly racially diverse over the past two decades (though sadly losing economic and generational diversity). It’s high time our town government reflected the make-up of our residents.
"However, along with these exceptional people, there are some who are extremely divisive, and there are some amazing people running for office who are not listed there. Basically, you should do your homework. Being listed on this slate is not a reliable indicator of whether someone has progressive views.
"While its moniker is Arlington Fights Racism, it is fundamentally an anti-incumbency group that includes, along with some exceptional candidates, many abrasive critics of Arlington town government with controversial views, especially with respect to education issues. The slate includes multiple opponents of the high school rebuild, multiple advocates for the 2016 charter school proposal that would have decimated public-education spending in Massachusetts, and at least one person who voted for Stephen Harrington’s warrant article in 2015 to cut $1 million from the school budget."
Barbara C. Goodman
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