Stoneham, do you want better roads, sidewalks, and improved transportation?

CompleteStreetstoStoneham

We’re listening to YOU: Complete Streets Workshops and Survey.

Stoneham Residents, it’s time for your voice to be heard! We have two “drop-in” workshops scheduled so that literally every single resident can help shape the future of how we move around Stoneham.

Thursday, June 1:       9:30 am – 11:30 am at the Stoneham Senior Center

Tuesday, June 6:         6:00 pm – 8:00 pm at the Stoneham Town Hall Auditorium

Stoneham will be applying for a Complete Streets grant in September and we need your input. The goal is to develop a 5 year prioritization plan and in order to be successful, we need to know what’s important to you, the residents of Stoneham. For instance, do you want Stoneham to be more walkable, thus making sidewalks the emphasis? Or is public transportation more important to you? Traffic lights, ADA compliance, bike lanes or just bike racks… Are you more concerned about crosswalks, or traffic and safety, or parking? What would YOU like prioritized? Walking to recreational areas, downtown or to the schools, or is connecting neighborhoods more important to you? Tell us all about it!

There are two ways to participate and I encourage you to do both:

1- Drop-In Meetings: Mentioned above, these will be very informational, shouldn’t take more than a half hour of your time, and you can show up at any time to participate.

2- Online Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HQMNYY7.

For more information on Complete Streets, the town will also have representatives at the Farmers Market this Thursday from 2:30 to 4:30 at the Town Common.

We really want to make this an all-inclusive process, so if you have new ideas or opinions about how to improve mobility in Stoneham please get involved. Every single voice will play a role in the way we get around Stoneham!

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As Always, The Voters Make the Call

Thank youI have been your Moderator for the past six years because I respect and honor the process that ultimately comes down to the voters, and today is no different.   

I want to congratulate my opponent on her victory, and wish her and Stoneham the best as she takes on her new role. Also, a special thanks to my supporters for all of their hard work.

 

Thank you,

Larry Means

Cristine Warren Linn: It’s All About the Solid Work Ethic

10572071_10207844278775337_8341126795282299126_oI’m proud to officially announce my endorsement for Cristine Warren Linn for Stoneham Selectman in the election taking place this Tuesday, April 4th. Cristine is a good friend of mine who has worked on my campaigns in the past and I have returned the favor in this election, but that’s not why I’m endorsing her. I could talk about her two degrees, one in economics and another she achieved later in life for nursing, or just the plain fact that she had returned to school later in life at all, proving that she loves to take on new challenges. A step like that takes courage, and moreover, she made that move to nursing so she could give back to people at a time they need it most.

But the real reason that I am convinced that Cristine is the right person for this job is her work ethic. If you want to know how hard someone will work as a Selectman, just watch how much effort they put into getting elected.  I have watched Cristine’s campaign and I must say that I’m very impressed. From the beginning she set a budget, laid out a schedule, and stuck to it while raising enough money to meet her budget. She identified the most pressing issues facing Stoneham, then studied the facts around them. Next, she went out and spoke to the residents directly to get their feedback. This whole campaign she has been writing about the issues and how we need to address them, all based on LISTENING to what Stoneham residents said.

Cristine prepared for the live TV debate, something that she had no prior experience with, and she knew she would be facing an opponent who has spent 10 years on the School Committee that was quite used to answering these types of questions. Cristine tried to anticipate the top issues Stoneham is facing and she came prepared to speak on these topics, but the questions posed to the candidates focused on a completely different track of questions. For example, one of the panelists asked about the trash contract, something Cristine was not familiar with, and that is how she answered. The day after the debate Cristine went to Town hall to learn what she didn’t know and posted her findings. That shows the kind of work Cristine will do for our community. If she doesn’t know the answer, she will tell you that and then go find facts.  

During this campaign, I have seen Cristine work a 12-hour night shift at Lahey Medical Center, come home and sleep, then get up to go knocking doors until she must go back to work. March has been a particularly cruel month, but she is out there in the cold rain and snow, talking to the voters and listening to their concerns. When a question shows up on social media, she answers it thoughtfully and respectfully. I honestly have never seen anyone work this hard, and she is doing it because she loves Stoneham and the people that make it a community. She truly wants what is best for Stoneham.

While I have a tremendous amount of respect for her opponent and the time and dedication that she has given in her 10 years on the School Committee, I haven’t seen the same energy and commitment to this campaign– and it’s understandable after 10 years you do get a little tired of trying to promote your ideas as you will always face opposition.  Therefore, I think the fresh ideas and new perspectives, along with a renewed energy that Cristine has shown throughout this campaign, not to mention her years of community building– including inspiring total strangers to meet at the Common to have fun and get some exercise while training with the Couch to 5K– is truly what Stoneham needs in a new Board of Selectmen member.

This coming Tuesday, April 4th vote for continued steady progress by casting your ballot for Cristine Warren Linn, Stoneham Selectman.

School Committee Candidates Forum Focus: Substance Abuse Crisis

NFNHelpCombatSubstanceAbuseThere were a lot of topics discussed during the Stoneham TV School Committee Candidates Forum, and as we grow closer to election day (three days away!), I wanted to focus on one question that stood out to me: “Stoneham has been hit with the opiate crisis, just like every other town in the State. What can you do to combat this problem?”

One of the reasons I am running for School Committee is because I especially would like to help enhance policy in addressing the substance abuse crisis. We are extremely fortunate to have so many great resources in our schools and our town, so I want to ensure we build upon our successes and stay committed to supporting our programs in whatever ways they may be in need.

Here is my full answer:

Thank you for taking a moment to hear my thoughts on this issue. Please vote Nicole Fenocchi Nial for Stoneham School Committee this Tuesday, April 4th.

Orderly and Fair: Responsibly Following the Rules

GavelMeansQuestions sm

A Moderator’s job and responsibility, first and foremost, is to promote discussion that is orderly and fair.  “Fair” means exactly that, plain and simple: Everyone has the right to speak and vote, but must do so within the rules, and especially in a responsible way. I am not there to eject any member from Town Meeting, however if the member is so disorderly or refuses to cooperate with the Town Meeting rules in such a way that it is disruptive to the other members of the meeting, then that individual can be subject to a variety of sanctions by the Moderator. 

During this election I have been asked several times about Special Town Meeting: October 22, 2015.   “What happened during that Town Meeting? You threw someone out??”

Since it has come up repeatedly, I thought it was best to address it in writing so it reaches a broader audience, and also helps to clarify an aspect of Town Meeting process.

During the Article 12: Capital Purchases discussion, a Finance and Advisory Board member had made a motion to amend the article. As part of the process, discussion about that motion ensued.  Mr. McCabe was given leeway by me when he asked permission to mention the main motion, even though the main motion was not the pending question since an Amendment was proposed and was the discussion in-progress. Here’s the video clip of what took place: 

 

The motion before the assembly was not whether we needed a new bucket truck, but rather the amount of money to be spent when the Amendment was made by the Finance and Advisory Board.  I overlooked many indiscretions by Mr. McCabe (again the Amendment was about the cost ), especially when he started off by bringing up Mr. Towse, followed by then attempting to take a poll by having the members raise their hand. I tried to get him back on track with a tap of the gavel (a very universal rule at any Town Meeting in the State, which is that when the Moderator taps the gavel, the debater immediately halts his debate).  Again, the Town Meeting was discussing the Amendment, not the Main Motion, and that is where some of the confusion seems to be in terms of responses that I have been hearing. 

Mr. McCabe refused to stop talking and here I will quote what he said after I tapped the gavel:  “Larry I’m going to talk alright!!!”  “Listen I’ve seen how Larry won’t let people talk who disagrees with him”  … “I don’t want to sit down” …  “I’ve seen Larry do this to many  people.”   No Moderator– not me, not a future Moderator, or any other Town Moderator– would allow that type of disdain in a speaker’s voice towards the Moderator in front of the entire assembly.  What he was really saying was, ‘I’m running this show and not you.’  

 Again, the Motion on the floor was not the bucket truck, but rather the Amendment on spending less from $74,000 instead of the $284,000 in the Main Motion. Unfortunately, many erroneously thought he was on subject because he was talking about the uses of the bucket truck, but rather he was off-topic from the pending question which was the Amendment of a lesser amount.

I hope this information is helpful, and I thank those of you who asked about this. I am always more than happy to discuss process and decisions at any time. I know the rules and processes can be confusing, which is especially why I enjoy hosting “Town Meeting 101” how-to sessions.

Please remember to get out and vote THIS Tuesday, April 4th. Like Town Meeting, the election works best with as many votes as possible!

Tuesday’s Election: Why Cristine Warren Linn and Larry Means?

Gazebo Run GroupDecisions and policy made at a town level have a greater, direct impact on each citizen’s life, more so than state and federal policy. It is for that reason I decided to step forward and become involved in town government four years ago. At the time, I had no political or government experience. It was my contention then, and remains today, that participation in local government should be open to anyone, not just those experienced in government environments. The Board of Selectmen is a policy-making body that makes decisions for the community, which are then carried out by the Town Administrator.
The Board of Selectmen meets to consider various agenda items. As a Board of Selectmen member, I listened to both sides of an issue and, I always asked myself how I would feel about the passing of a policy if I lived on a side of town that would be impacted. I considered what I thought was most fair. Because I was new to the local government scene, I was not beholden to any person or business. I made the decisions I thought were right for most people in Stoneham. It is in that spirit that I endorse BOS candidate Cristine Warren Linn.

I have a great deal of respect for her opponent, who has served in another capacity for many years, and in making my endorsement I have nothing but nice things to say. However, I believe that it is both healthy and productive that new people step forward to bring different perspectives and new ideas to the community. This is, in my opinion, the best way to critically consider issues and push the forward-moving momentum of the community. Cristine is clearly qualified, holding a degree in Economics with many successful years in the business world. She is currently a nurse at Lahey Clinic.

Cristine approached me in her neighborhood outreach and shared with me her perspective of community. I must say I was very impressed with all she had to say, and I hope you will join me in voting for Cristine Warren Linn next Tuesday.

I also endorse Larry Means for Moderator. I first met Larry four years ago when I joined the Board of Selectmen. I found him warm, welcoming, supportive, and extremely bright. Larry knows everything there is to know about our bylaws and more importantly, he knows how to run a Town Meeting. It is not easy to maintain control of up to 600 people when debating a contentious item. One must keep the room focused on the matter at hand, and in doing so it may be necessary to reel in a conversation in danger of going off topic. Larry knows, and takes very seriously, Robert’s Rules of Order, which is the format in which Town Meeting is run. Larry is also approachable and fair-minded. I have never seen him not allow a voice to be heard because he holds a different opinion. I hope you will consider re-electing Larry to Town Moderator.

I hope that as a community we band together on Wednesday and support whomever the town decides upon. Putting yourself out for a town position is not an easy job and that makes me grateful we have contested races.

It’s Time for Change (And not just in the weather)

Collage 3_31_17.jpgI’m on just a short break after speaking with many residents on this snowy day, and where we are truly  amazes me. On January 6th I announced my candidacy for Stoneham Selectman. Now almost three months later I’m even more energized than when I started this campaign! Talking to so many neighbors one-on-one across all seven precincts has made me realize how much work there is to be done, and most importantly, how hard I want to work for YOU, the voters, to help achieve the goals most important to ALL of Stoneham.

With that, I wanted to put a summary together of my position on some of the pressing issues I had shared with you throughout my campaign:

Talk Is… Costly:

highschoolcrossroadIt’s time for some REAL “long range planning.”  That’s a phrase that gets talked about a lot, but seldom put into action. As the saying goes, “talk is cheap,” but in this case, talk is actually costly unless we get serious about proper planning.

On Jan 10, 2017 the BOS, School Committee, and Finance and Advisory Board came together in a Tri-Board meeting. It was interesting to watch (and certainly encouraging to see the three boards collaborating- so much can be accomplished like this!), but in the end I was left to ponder the future of a new school with more questions than answers.

Trash Talk: I Didn’t Know, So I Asked:

CWLKeepCalmAskOne of the questions presented Stoneham TV Selectman candidates forum was, “How do you feel about Stoneham’s current trash contract, and do you see any way to reduce costs?” While I discussed what I felt were pressing issues related to trash, the reality was that I did not know what the current trash contract terms are, as I stated during the forum. Why? Because the Selectmen don’t negotiate contracts. No one has seen it except for the Town Administrator and the people he is in the process of finalizing it with.

How do I know this? After the forum, I clarified that no one has seen it because I did what I would do if I am elected to the Board of Selectmen and am asked about something I do not have the answer to: I went down to Town Hall to obtain a copy and familiarize myself with the contract, only to discover that it has not even been signed yet and is NOT a public record.

Land Swap: Potential for Community Growth and Unity:

weissfarmdreamcwlRapid development occurs today in virtually every town and city, making it more important than ever to preserve our link to the past and maintain the unique characteristics that define Stoneham. Consider the possibility that the last remaining farm, located next to one of the oldest homes in Stoneham, could be preserved and re-purposed into inclusive, truly open space benefiting children, seniors, and everyone in-between. Beginning with the barns – there are few, if any buildings in town, that are as quintessential Stoneham than the barns at Weiss Farm.

While there is no set design at this point, there will be plenty of opportunity for citizen input before the final plan is developed.  First, the town needs to agree on terms that satisfy both parties. Swapping land at Weiss for land at the Oaks solves our 40B minimum affordable housing stock and allows the town to have input on design. This is a $60 million construction project, involving two parcels of land that equals over 35 acres of land valued at over $16 million. It is projected to generate over $350,000 per year in tax revenue.

Real Training and Experience for a Real Epidemic Part 1:

addictionblogimageI am committed to providing recovery options and support for our town. I am also committed to prevention strategies that have been missing for our young people for far too long. There is no blame to be placed, but we need to face the fact that current strategies are just not working. We need to treat substance abuse like the disease it is and refrain from treating a disease like a crime. As a community we need to adopt a new mindset and provide police and fire– often the first responders to overdose tragedies– with dedicated tools and resources that won’t draw from an already over-stressed department. We can’t ask our first responders to take on a gargantuan task such as substance abuse without taking responsibility and giving commitment to provide more resources. Prevention is the key to eradication.

Real Training and Experience for a Real Epidemic Part 2- Dialogue:

endstigma-1_13_17I wrote about my desire and commitment to bringing fresh ideas, as well as my experience as a nurse to help combat the substance abuse epidemic. I had shared my write up to a few Facebook channels which prompted a variety of responses, as well as a conversation that I wanted to share with the larger audience that might not have seen it in the Stoneham Community Group.

A Voter Asks: “What are your thoughts on our downtown and its potential?”:

StonehamSquareCWL 3_29_17Stoneham resident Ronnie Diemer submitted a question that I thought was worth sharing with the voting public, especially because I had this come up A LOT while speaking with community members directly:

Hi Cristine, thank you for running. I had a question or more of a frustration. I don’t understand why our downtown is so culturally behind in terms of shops restaurants and aesthetics in comparison to our neighbors like Wakefield , Melrose , and Reading. What are your thoughts on our downtown and its potential … your vision…

Stoneham voters have an important choice to make THIS Tuesday, April 4th. If you agree that it’s time for the kind of change that will ensure positive progress in Stoneham, then please vote Cristine Warren Linn for Selectman. I am ready to be an effective part of Stoneham’s leadership team that ensures your voice isn’t just heard, but is also ACTIVELY advocated for.