Friday, November 6, 2020

FM #382 Town Council candidate KP Sompally - 10/27/20 (audio)

FM #382 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 382 in the series.

This shares my interview and discussion with Town Council candidate KP Sompally. Our discussion was conducted via conference bridge to adhere to the ‘social distancing’ requirements of this pandemic period.

Franklin, MA voters should be aware that there will be a special election (per Town Charter) to fill the seat recently vacated by Eamon McCarthy Earls. He left at the beginning of Sept to enter law school in Virginia. The special election is scheduled for Saturday, December 5, 2020 to meet the 90 day requirement of the Charter.

All candidates are asked the same set of questions to allow Franklin voters to make an informed comparison.

FM Q - By the way of introducing yourself to the Franklin voters, what is your Franklin story?

My Wife and I have lived and raised our family in Franklin for 12 years, having benefited for all of the reasons why I moved here: a safe community with blue ribbon schools, preserved open space with parks, hiking trails, and sporting fields, most importantly a small-town culture offering vibrant and enrichment events, activities and programs.

FM Q - What degree of development do you feel is appropriate for Franklin and how would you balance the need for affordable housing with the need to avoid congestion, some of which we already have?

Two of the most pressing problems for Franklin are housing affordability and traffic congestion. But there is an approach to both problems that could lead to significant improvements at low cost and relatively quickly. It involves developing transit-oriented centers in conjunction with inclusionary zoning.

This form of development gives priority to housing affordability and low car use. It does so by requiring a certain proportion of permanently affordable housing and dwellings without car parking, but with strong access to local facilities. Travel is mainly by walking and public transport.

At the same time, introducing a special rate on land, similar to existing council rates based on land values, and eliminating stamp duty on property transactions would make the market more efficient, reduce budget impacts and support infrastructure provision.

These measures will in no way completely solve our problems. But they would help increase Franklin's supply of affordable housing and reduce road congestion.

FM Q - The Community Preservation Act is on the November ballot, what do you think of it?

Adoption of CPA, helps preserve open space and historic sites, create affordable housing, and develop outdoor recreational facilities while providing opportunities for tourism, jobs and housing. This revenue is combination local contributions and state matching funds, many of our neighboring towns have already adopted this. We should move swiftly on this

FM Q - The Town Administrator suggested in 2019 that Franklin needed to consider an override measure.  The pandemic hit, that didn’t happen. The water rate and trash/recycling rate increased. Stormwater utility fee is up for consideration for implementation on/about July 2021. And yet, the operational budget both school and town side of the budget is challenged. How do you approach this financial situation?

Given our present budgetary condition, it is critical to consider it. As you mentioned this measure was in consideration last year. I don’t think the situation has changed.

FM Q - What do you say to the voter who asks: Why should I vote for you?

Franklin has been subject to Break in’s and vandalism in the last few years, this is becoming a big concern for many residents I worked with affected families in the past, I will work to bring a fresh, new perspective with a wide range of personal and professional experiences that will contribute greatly to the growth of our Franklin.

I understand how a team works and the council is just that as a team, needing diverse leader to represent this community.

FM Q - Anything else to add that we did not cover?

I continue my deep commitment to maintaining Franklin ’s ‘small town atmosphere and outstanding quality of life’

The pandemic is affecting all of us, including businesses and Town government. No one is untouched by the totality of recent events. The combined health and economic crises have created significant challenges.

Top Priorities are:

  1. Protect our small-town atmosphere
  2. Maintain fiscal responsibility with balanced budget, high reserves
  3. Preserve our open space
  4. Keep Franklin the Safest Community in Massachusetts
  5. Promote a thriving downtown and our overall business community
  6. Locally controlled planning and housing needs
  7. Expanded services to seniors
  8. Improved parks and fields.
  9. Continue addressing the impacts of COVID-19.

I am confident that our future looks bright and a carefully guided safe return to economic and health prosperity lies ahead.

The recording runs just about 11 minutes, so let’s listen to my conversation with KP  Audio file =


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The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.

I hope you enjoy!


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FM #382 Town Council candidate KP Sompally - 10/27/20 (audio)
FM #382 Town Council candidate KP Sompally - 10/27/20 (audio)

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