SeeClickClear: We Deserve Transparency

TransparentVoteBoussy LGTomorrow is Election Day in Stoneham! I’m excited to get out and vote to re-elect Tom Boussy because he’s the one with the proven track record for transparency and delivering on his promises:

In Tom’s words:

Upon my election in April of 2012 I pulled up my sleeves and began to work.

Town Website

The first problem I wanted to fix was the town’s website which was outdated, featured stale content and hampered communication with our residents. I formed a sub-committee with former selectman Rich Gregorio to re-launch the website.

I worked with our team to improve functionality and make the website more user friendly and relevant. Once we had the web site rebuilt, we could work to keep citizens informed on matters large and small. We were able to launch email alerts and we strive to make information more accessible.

SeeClickFix

Next, I sought to give residents a more direct voice. I discovered a web-based tool called SeeClickFix. I formed a team with Selectman Ann Marie O’Neill to launch this tool, which gives residents an opportunity to report issues online and then follow their issue through to completion.

Open Check Book

Soon after, I saw that the City of Woburn had received a grant to implement a new program called Open Checkbook. I learned there was a second round of funding available that would allow new communities to use this too. Open Checkbook allows residents to access and view each and every financial transaction that takes place in the municipality.

I worked with our Town Administrator and Town Accountant to win the grant for Stoneham to access the Open Checkbook program. As a result, at our most recent annual town meeting we had a 45 page budget available for review before the town voted on a $67,000,000 Budget. I continue to work to bring Stoneham current with today’s technology so that we will maintain our competitiveness in the future.

Fees / Trash

Last year I worked on a sub-committee with Selectman Vallarelli with the goal of containing trash removal costs, which were spiraling out of control.

Trash is contentious in any town and Stoneham was no different. Stoneham needed to reform its program and through hard work and compromise we were able to increase services by adding unlimited weekly recycling and save the town over $200,000 a year.

A great byproduct of this initiative is promoting environmental conscientiousness by increasing recycling from 13% to approximately 25%. Further, we were able to reduce the trash fee from $260 a year to $150. I worked with our Town Attorney to have a home rule petition passed by the State House to put the trash fee directly into a revolving account so that the trash fee would only be used for trash and not funneled into our free cash account or used for any other purpose.

Remember, my fellow Stoneham neighbors, we get the government we deserve on Election Day when we choose whether or not to vote. We deserve a Selectman that works in the best interests of our community. We deserve a leader that has gone above and beyond to fulfill his promises during his first term. We deserve the one candidate that has tirelessly worked to move Stoneham in the RIGHT direction.

We deserve to re-elect Tom Boussy.

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SeeClickTheft: Reading Between the Signs

StrongerCommunityBoussy LGThere is a SeeClickFix report of stolen campaign signs. I’m really sick of this trend that seems to occur during every election. How does taking a sign do anything effective?? It doesn’t erase a candidate or make people forget who they are. Not to mention it’s an arrestable offense. Can you imagine making the newspaper for being arrested for theft of a sign?! That’s right up there with beating up the Liberty Tax sidewalk dancer.

I feel like this type of behavior is the equivalent to when people mail anonymous letters, post commentary on social media with false identities (I especially don’t miss the old Patch for this reason), or make accusations without any supported facts or sources. It simply stirs the Drama Pot and creates some very unnecessary, negative results. (And as an aside note while I’m mentioning these activities, like or hate what I write, my identity is clear and I always link out to sources/ facts in anything I post because credibility is everything.)

I was pleased to receive a SCF alert that Selectman Tom Boussy had responded to the sign theft report, and I wanted to share it here:

about 5 hours ago · TBoussy (Verified Official)

Theft, in any form, is a prosecutable crime, and I am glad that the Stoneham Police requested the poster contact them to report the theft directly. As a candidate, resident, and current Selectman, I’m dismayed that this is still occurring in our community. We need to let it be known that we have a zero tolerance stance when it comes to theft in Stoneham. Any businesses or individuals that have witnessed criminal activity, or have videos/ photos to help identify those responsible for removal of any campaign signs, please submit them to the Stoneham Police Department immediately. Anyone who runs for public office or voices their opinion has every right to do so- without any kind of harassment or interference. No matter what side of an issue any of us are on, we are a community. Tom Boussy

Thanks, Tom. And remember, kids, stealing is wrong. If/when the signs thieves are caught, I recommend this as punishment. And they should have to hold their sign while standing next to the Liberty Tax guy on Main Street:

KidThiefSign
Earlier this year, two children (Unique Caruthers, age 11, and Xacherey Scott, age 14) stood on an Indianapolis street corner, with cardboard signs.

SeeClickCommunity: Protection & Pride

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Scenes from the May 2014 Walk Along the Greenway/ Bikeway

Protecting Tax Payers’ Interests… Public Safety Improvements… Community & Town Pride Enhancements… Collaborations with Our Schools & Town Assets… Community Beautification… Long Term Planning… Transparency… Town Planner… Long-Awaited Bikeway / Greenway Progress

What do all of these achievements have in common?

Tom Boussy made them a reality without a tax increase on residents, all through a new approach to town government.

In continuing with why Stoneham residents should re-elect Tom Boussy, beyond the uphill battles he faced in his quest to better our community, let’s take a closer look at what Tom’s “Protecting Tax Payers’ Money” efforts over the past three years looks like:

* Identified mitigation funding at Fallon Road, reserved a portion to invest in a Town Planner, recently hired. Stoneham was the only community in the area with a vacancy in this important role. Hiring a Town Planner was one of Tom’s initial campaign promises;

* Negotiated $100K in mitigation money from a new developer. Tom ensured that the town would realize direct benefits and specifically set the money aside for new concrete and granite sidewalks and some road safety improvements;

* Recognized an unused portion of the Town Planner’s salary due to her later-than-anticipated hire date and utilized it to fund an innovative Downtown Façade Program. Tom conceptualized this program as initiative to encourage business owners to invest in a cohesive exterior creating a visually pleasing downtown and giving our new Planner a tool for success;

* Secured outside grants from private, state and federal sources. Utilized funding to launch Open Checkbook to residents which allows anyone to see all municipal spending;

* Protected taxpayer trash fee by establishing a dedicated revolving account to isolate this money. In the past excess funding was moved to other parts of the budget. Tom mandated this money to be used only for trash related items. A result was the reduction of the trash fee to residents with a goal of eliminating it completely;

* Protected the financial stability of retirees on fixed incomes. Tom will continue to protect the financial interests of our seniors who have worked so hard for us.

* Continued to advocate for internal efficiencies and new sources of revenue to reduce the town’s dependence on residential property taxes.

BoussyFMbgr LG

Coming in June 2015: Stoneham’s Brand New Farmers Market! Thank you, Tom.

While Tom has been cleaning up dollars and cents, he also has made strides towards creating a closer sense of “Community and Pride”:

All residents love to hear outsiders express their love of our town. It is important to our economy that we attract young families to invest as homeowners and to provide incentives for new businesses to set up shop. Both of these sectors help raise tax revenues and alleviate the tax burden placed on property owners. In addition, Tom wants to internally build community by creating opportunities for residents to come together for celebration and fun. To accomplish this Tom has:

* Worked hard to build community within Stoneham by bringing more programs and events to the Town Common for all ages, including a proposed winter ice skating on the Town Common and seasonal events like the new Halloween pumpkin walk;

* Coordinated the impending launch of the Stoneham’s new Farmers Market by petitioning for the reinstatement on the Town Common, soliciting resident input by sponsoring and manning a table at Town Day and assembling a Farmer’s Market Committee with the goal of a Spring, 2015 launch;

* Single-handedly launched an exciting Fall, 2015 Food Truck Festival scheduled for October. Not only will this increase community spirit but it is also a great economic opportunity for local businesses to increase visibility to those that attend from outside of our community;

* Recognizes the importance of reinstating the Stoneham Parks & Recreation Department.

* Tirelessly advocated for the Bikeway / Greenway (BWGW) Project. Tom recognized the value this new asset brings to our community. Not only will Stoneham capture the major portion of a $5.5M state investment, but we also obtain an enviable new asset that will connect schools and neighborhoods. This asset will come with major safety enhancements and is a valuable business development tool. Tom worked to overcome obstacles of this proposal and communicated benefits to residents resulting in an overwhelming approval.

On Tuesday, April 7, 2015 vote for continued, steady progress. Re-elect Selectman Tom Boussy.

SeeClickConsider: Letter From Selectman Ann Marie O’Neill

BoussyProgress

From Selectman Ann Marie O’Neill:

—–Original Message—–
From: Ann Marie O’Neill
Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2015 9:41 PM
To: Stoneham Community
Subject: The Selectman Election – April 7th

Next Tuesday, April 7th Stoneham residents will vote for two candidates to represent their interests on the Board of Selectmen. This is a big race because 40% of all decisions made over the next three years will be made by whoever holds these two seats. Recently the candidates participated in “The Candidates Forum,” more popularly known as “The Debate.” I have included the link below, the first 18 minutes is the Moderator’s debate.

Courtesy of Stoneham TV

I encourage you to watch, listen, and decide who will best represent you over the next three years. I respect all perspectives and regardless of who you vote for, the important thing is that you exercise this hard fought for privilege. If you have children, take them with you, it’s a great example. Personally Tom Boussy has my vote. Three years ago Tom stepped forward as a complete unknown. Tom questioned why we weren’t doing better as a community, why our services were decreasing and our fees increasing. In three short years Tom brought unprecedented reform, budget transparency, and innovation to Stoneham. I would like to see our community continue in this direction. For more details on Tom’s impressive list of accomplishments, and to see his future goals, please visit his web page –

Tom Boussy’s Accomplishments (aka- all the reasons to re-elect Selectman Boussy)

The Moderator is another important, contested position up for election. The Moderator presides over Town Meetings, is required to keep order, and have an intimate understanding of Robert’s Rules of Order – the practice Stoneham abides by during Town Meeting. In addition the Moderator appoints members to the Finance and Advisory Board and the Bike Committee. Current Town Moderator, Larry Means, was the only candidate to show up for this portion of the Candidate Forum. I have seen Larry keep order during meetings that were spirited. He is fair, respectful and understands the format to which our town subscribes. Larry has my vote!

MeansBalanced

Thank you for your time. As always, please feel free to share, and please vote on Tuesday, April 7th!

Thanks,
Ann Marie

SeeClickRevitalize: In Progress

411Main 2012 copyBefore Tom Boussy, there were a number of eye sores around Stoneham. And when I say eye sores, I mean out-and-out, long-time holes in the ground (ie- EIGHT YEARS of the 411 Main Street “crater” in Stoneham Square). Tom was literally beaten up in his quest to better our Town.

Fast forward to a successful, winning campaign and more-than-fulfilled promises that we all are enjoying as residents today, I’m excited about the continued progress of the Stoneham Square Action Plan Advisory Committee! (Note: Tom Boussy is the only Selectman on this committee) The Stoneham Chamber of Commerce held its first Stoneham Square Merchants Group introductory event on March 26 at Doucet Remodeling & Design. All Stoneham Square businesses were invited to learn about new initiatives and share ideas for revitalization of the town’s center.

SSCCPhoto

Speakers from l-r: Rachel Meredith Warren – Chair of the Stoneham Square Action Plan Advisory Committee, Erin Wortman – Stoneham Town Planner, and Chamber VP Chris Senna of C&S Capital Properties.

It’s incredible to think that just a few short years ago, taking Stoneham in this direction wasn’t even possible. But now we not only have a cleaned up 411 Main Street

New411MainBoussy

…We also have made progress on what was a several decades-long fight for the Greenway/ Bikeway.

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“It was amazing to see 650 people fill town hall to vote on the Greenway. Thank you to all the residents, town officials and business who spent countless hours working to make this happen. Monday January 12 was a great day for the town and for the TriCommunity Greenway.”

So, as Election Day (April 7, 2015) gets steadily closer, let’s summarize why we need to re-elect Tom Boussy: He is for what’s in the best interest of Stoneham- and has the proven track record for making it happen:

Long Term Planning

*For too long Stoneham has operated without a well-defined plan in place that would put us in charge of our own destiny instead of being reactive and taken advantage of by outside developers. Tom’s future goals to combat this deficiency is:
*Develop a housing plan so that we are no longer at risk of undesirable 40B development projects like Weiss Farm. A housing plan will enable us to preserve and develop housing for the needs of all residents, from young singles looking to start their lives, to families, to retirees looking to age in place with dignity.
*Tom has already begun to create a Downtown Revitalization Program that will identify and define business goals and revitalization. A solid plan will help attract businesses that are a complement to our community goals and values and not be vulnerable to possibilities that will forever change our culture.
*Develop a well thought out Open Space Plan to ensure the future of our Parks and Recreational Space including a plan to bring back the Parks & Recreation Department. Tom has made it a priority to work with our Town Planner to update our plan and position Stoneham to become eligible for thousands of dollars in state grants. For the last several years our local parks have only received a minimum of attention. Parks tell a community how we value ourselves and our community. They are a resource to young and older alike. The importance of community social opportunities in well-maintained and invested upon resources attract active life within the community and repels opportunity for crime and other undesirable activity within a depreciating area.

Bikeway / Greenway

Tom needed no convincing to recognize the value a new linear park and bike path would bring to Stoneham from both a social perspective and as a business development tool. The passage of BW/GW provides Stoneham with an enviable amenity in the form of open space and recreation. Economically Stoneham businesses have an opportunity of visibility and of capturing the business of users. Most important Stoneham gained the lion’s share of $5.5 million in state funding. All of this at no cost to Stoneham.
*The Bikeway Greenway Committee actively sought the support of Tom when they faced opposition by town leadership. Tom got involved early to lend his support to the project. He rose awareness of what was at stake should Stoneham lose this opportunity. Tom’s strong communication and outreach skills brought the issues to the public’s attention so voters could make an informed decision.
*Tom worked hard to educate the public and encouraged residents to have a voice in their community. The result was one of the largest turn outs in recent town meeting history with 650 people in attendance to overwhelmingly support the greenway.

“Tom has always Supported the Bike Path / Greenway Project and not by just saying that he does but by attending meetings and arranging meetings with the abutters as well as knocking doors and calling people to support the project.” Anthony Wilson Chairman of the Bike Path / Greenway Committee”

Let’s keep all of the positive momentum going, Stoneham! On April 7, 2015 vote for continued, steady progress: re-elect Tom Boussy.

SeeClickCrickets: No Show = No Respect

Tonight were the Stoneham Town Moderator and Stoneham Board of Selectmen candidates’ live televised forums at Stoneham TV. I plan on writing about the contents in the coming days, but for starters I want to focus on one thing: No Shows.

Seriously. Nothing says “I don’t care about or have any respect for the Stoneham community” than not showing up to make your case for why we, the residents of Stoneham, should vote for you.

Let’s start with the Town Moderator forum:

MeansForum 3_23_15 ImageLG

Larry Means already had my vote during last year’s Town Meeting workshop, co-hosted by Tom Boussy and Larry Means. Moderator Means and Selectman Boussy worked hard to ensure all residents had the opportunity to understand exactly how the Town Meeting process worked, thus providing us all with everything we needed to be able to effectively and properly participate.

Larry Means’ challenger, F. John Carino gave us this:

EmptyChair
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Next we have the Board of Selectmen candidates:

SelectmenForum 3_23_15 ImageMD

Quite frankly, given what I shared not long ago about Selectman Bob Sweeney’s lovely conduct, his no-show at tonight’s forum is consistent with his inability to actually show up to most Board of Selectmen meetings in general. The silence and absence of Robert Sweeney is almost deafening, next to actually yelling “I don’t care about Stoneham.” (But yelling actually requires effort.)

I thought I recognized Sweeney in a debate against Clint Eastwood a few years back…

EastwoodChair

SeeClickBullied

womens-rights copyOn April 7, 2015 we will be voting on two seats for the Stoneham Board of Selectmen. There have been a lot of positive changes that have propelled our Town forward over the past several years. I was very excited to see a wider pool of Selectmen candidates this year, which means the excitement about contributions to continued progress is growing!

However, I was shocked and dismayed to see who is running for re-election. Ordinarily I’d never be so bold as to call out someone by name in a negative way, but I have had personal experiences that make me feel it is my duty to do so. As a resident, woman, and Mother, I am asking my neighbors not to vote for Bob Sweeney.

A year ago I was an active part of a sitting Selectman’s re-election campaign, serving as her Communications Manager. As I had stated then, up until that point I had not been active in anything Town-related. The Selectman candidate’s hard work had inspired and compelled me to change that. This, of course, made me and my activities visible, thus opening me up to criticism from the opposition’s supporters, which was perfectly normal and expected, as with any political campaign.

What I feel was not appropriate was what Bob Sweeney said about me in regards to his, shall I say, “deeply passionate dissatisfaction” with my efforts of supporting a candidate he was against, both to community members and on one occasion within my earshot. To have called me a b*tch, as well as made homophobic and misogynistic comments about me was not only disgusting, it was downright disturbing conduct for a public official.

Bob Sweeney has a documented history of such outrageous behavior and it’s time the community puts an end to his ability to adversely affect our Town. I mean really, the arrogance to act out in an explosive way during a meeting, as reported here:

Veteran Selectman Robert Sweeney cursed an elderly Larson Street resident and stormed out of a public hearing this Tuesday night on designating George Street as a one-way street.

With the Town Hall hearing room packed with area residents frustrated by the impacts of the one-way change, Sweeney’s outburst followed a suggestion by Larson Lane resident Art Bourrell that one of the Selectmen may be related to a George Street resident.

Even though Bourrell was the first speaker of the night, that suggestion of impropriety was enough for Sweeney, whose daughter (Erin Sweeney Sinclair) resides on George Street.

“Hey guy, why don’t you kiss my ass, alright?” interrupted the longtime Selectman in a raised voice, before storming out of the side door in the hearing room.

This is not the only occasion in which Bob Sweeney has disrespected residents during public meetings. But what was more disturbing to me was an incident that took place on June 10, 2014 in relation to a Board of Selectmen meeting. This was a matter of public record, so I most certainly invite and encourage residents to contact Town Counsel Bill Solomon (781-438-4543) to discuss and obtain further information, as warranted by the Request for Public Information Act.

As a result of that incident, there has been a police presence at every public meeting. This is what our Town has come to because of Selectman Sweeney’s actions, and I feel it’s absolutely unacceptable for Bob Sweeney to be permitted to continue in a Stoneham leadership position.

There have been many incidents beyond these that have involved Robert Sweeney, but I wanted to only speak out regarding my personal experiences and these two readily accessible ones that are of public record, as I respect my community neighbors’ safety and privacy.

I want to make it VERY clear that this post is of my own accord. While I’m an open and vocal Selectman Tom Boussy supporter, my overall point is that I feel Tom Boussy, Caroline Colarusso, and Erin Sweeney Sinclair are a refreshing candidate pool for the two open Selectmen seats- WITHOUT Bob Sweeney. It’s time for change away from Sweeney’s boorish brand of Town ‘leadership.’

I greatly hope that Stoneham residents make responsible and clear choices on April 7th, 2015.