Showing posts with label Voices of Franklin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Voices of Franklin. Show all posts

Monday, January 30, 2023

Voices of Franklin: former Davis Thayer neighborhood parents raise concerns for School Committee

We are here today to present concerns about redistricting that are unique to families living in formerly Davis Thayer neighborhoods.

To give needed background: The interest among some town stakeholders to close Davis Thayer started to come to a point of action just as the COVID pandemic hit. A number of us consistently dialed in to full School Committee meetings as well as those for the Space and Facilities subcommittee. We spoke during meetings, sent emails, and engaged in information sharing. We raised questions around space and crowding at Keller; about the transitions and adjustments students were already experiencing due to COVID; and about our fears regarding moving students when an imminent town redistricting was already on the horizon. 

Former superintendent Sara Ahern stated, in her January 2021 letter to the subcommittee: “The question remains as to whether or not redistricting is something that should be considered as part of closing Davis Thayer Elementary School or planned for in the future. It would be prudent to avoid any situation where Davis Thayer students are attending school at Keller and then redistricted at a later point in time.”

Ultimately, the committee voted to close DT, and so, in Sept of 2021, Davis Thayer children entered Keller while the pandemic raged on. They did their best to acclimate themselves to new staff and classmates while wearing masks and being cautioned not to go close to others. They learned the policies, expectations, values, and even physical layout of their new surroundings without having had the chance to first return to the comfort of their former school to adapt back to a regular, full-time school week.

Our kids have weathered this change with all the grit, grace, and resilience one could imagine. Their former school building sits unoccupied. It houses books, desks, and supplies. We have seen little on how the school closure has actually financially benefited the town. The kids’ sacrifice for their community often feels all for naught.

And now here we are at the redistricting effort. As new scenarios are discussed and new school zone lines are drawn, we wonder, what will happen to our kids? We fear how another school switch will negatively affect their academic progress and mental wellness. 

We will send a longer email to your committee that outlines some important research about the detrimental effects of frequent school-switching. We would also like to draw your attention to the potentialities of a phase-out approach or a grandfathering of former DT students. Our longer email contains more details on these potential solutions.

We ask you to value the DT kids’ courage, and prioritize their vulnerability and mental health. We hope you will honor the commitment of Sara Ahern. Uprooting young children twice from their school is not only detrimental to community educational progress, but also for their social-emotional wellness. 

We also ask you to consider in detail the facilities projections that came out of the Kaestle Boos report and that have been studied by other town bodies. For instance, that report conveyed a need to close Parmenter and Kennedy schools at some point. 

How terrible it would be to move students to one of those schools only to close it a short time later. We implore town committees including yours to create a master plan that takes into account short and long term needs of all students before making this decision.

Thank you for your time and attention, and for all the work you do.

Gretchen Donohue

On behalf of former Davis Thayer parents
A version of a Citizen Comment to the School Committee meeting 1/24/23

Voices of Franklin: former Davis Thayer neighborhood parents raise concerns for School Committee
Voices of Franklin: former Davis Thayer neighborhood parents raise concerns for School Committee

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Voices of Franklin: Karen Landers is Yes for Question 1

There are many opinions about whether to vote “Yes” or “No” on Question 1.  For those who have voted or will vote “No”, I wonder if you will regret your decision when some of the  services that we all pay for with our current tax dollars are eliminated for lack of funds.  

Our schools, roads, public transportation, bridges, etc. are not in great shape right now.  Imagine, when all of the extra funds that have been provided due to COVID is spent.  And there are also the funds from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and the Inflation Reduction Act.  All of that money will be gone one day.  Our quality of life may suffer.  I can see lots of tax override questions being argued in our towns.

Also, consider what will happen to our property values if schools fail, potholes increase, bridges collapse, there is more crime, public transportation comes to a halt.   Oh, boy!  I can see future increases in our real estate taxes, state income taxes, excise taxes, gas taxes, sales taxes, etc.  Those increases will hit everyone, not just the wealthy folks with high earnings.

Please think it through for yourselves.  Public services cost money.  This state’s transportation Infrastructure needs maintenance, repairs, and replacement.  Schools need to prepare our children for the future.  Workers need to be paid a fair wage.  Folks who earn lots of money can afford to part with a little more for the benefit of all.  Let’s allow them to do this.  

If you have not voted, yet, please vote “Yes” on Q1.  If you have already voted “Yes”, thank you!

Karen Landers 
Franklin MA

To add your voice to the discussion, please follow the guidelines

Voices of Franklin: Karen Landers is Yes for Question 1
Voices of Franklin: Karen Landers is Yes for Question 1

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Voices of Franklin: Ted McIntyre - Strong Support for Senator Rausch

I strongly support the re-election of State Senator Becca Rausch. I condemn the unethical and intentionally deceptive messages being released by her opponent.

Senator Rausch should be re-elected because she is the only candidate in this race who has forged the widespread collaborative network needed to continue delivering for our values and our community. She has both the successful track record and the broad support to prove it. Senator Rausch is endorsed by more than half the State Senate, the very people who are now, and will be, her direct colleagues. The list includes the Senate President, the Senate President Pro Tempore, the Senate Majority Leader, and every other member of Senate Leadership.

On top of that, the vast majority of local elected officials in our district have endorsed Senator Rausch. These are the people whose recommendations should weigh heavily in Rausch's favor -- they know and appreciate her skills in serving the district. You can see the impressive list at Senator Rausch has been endorsed by the overwhelming majority of State Representatives in our district, including State Representative Jeff Roy, whom Rausch’s opponent inappropriately name-dropped in a recent mailing. That mailing was an explicit attempt to mislead voters. Indeed, the letter falsely claimed support from Democrats and was signed by someone who is, in fact, a registered Republican in Bellingham. This kind of disinformation campaign runs afoul of common decency and basic respect for us, the voters.

Rausch's opponent has also tried to dodge his staunchly right wing record as he seeks higher office and promotes his own personal gain. His record speaks for itself, and that record has earned him the badge of being among the farthest right-wing extremist politicians in the entire Commonwealth, per the American Conservative Union. He has repeatedly voted against abortion access, birth control access, climate action goals, workers, voting rights, and protecting LGBTQ+ youth from the serious harms of abusive conversion therapy. Every one of those votes is documented.

You are smarter than Shawn Dooley thinks you are. Get the facts. Resist the lies. Join me in voting for Senator Becca Rausch on or before Tuesday, November 8.

Ted McIntyre, Ph.D.
Franklin MA

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Voices of Franklin: Ted McIntyre - Strong Support for Senator Rausch
Voices of Franklin: Ted McIntyre - Strong Support for Senator Rausch

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Voices of Franklin: Colin Cass - "Democrats for Dooley" half true

We received a letter in Franklin this week titled “Democrats for Dooley” and signed—“sincerely”—by two people, Dan Fallon and Daniel Ranieri.

Ranieri may be for Dooley, but he’s not a Democrat.  He’s a registered Republican.

Ooops.  I’m sure he’s sorry if he confused anyone.

When you claim to be a Democrat and you’re actually a Republican, this is called LYING.

Colin Cass
Franklin, MA 02038

To add your voice to the discussion, please follow the guidelines

Voices of Franklin: Colin Cass - "Democrats for Dooley" half true
Voices of Franklin: Colin Cass - "Democrats for Dooley" half true

Monday, October 24, 2022

Voices of Franklin: Mark and Mike Lenzi on the proposed Transfer of an all alcoholic license to Table & Vine (Big Y)

333 East Central St,
Franklin, MA 02038

October 23, 2022

Town of Franklin
Municipal Building
355 E Central St, 
Franklin, MA 02038

RE: Transfer for all alcoholic license to Table & Vine (Big Y) at 348 East Central St hearing


This is regarding the liquor license upgrade/transfer request and hearing on November 2nd 2022.


Franklin Liquors, located at 333 East Central St, has been family owned since 1978.  Mark and Mike Lenzi are the owners, full time employees, and lifelong Franklin residents. 


In the past we fought Table & Vine (Big Y) in getting a beer and wine license.  At that time, we were told a business can’t use competition, distance, or public need for a town to deny a license, and it was approved.

Table & Vine (Big Y) Request:

Please consider the points we make in this letter to you.  Table & Vine (Big Y) will tell you they want an upgrade to a full liquor license, as their customers are asking for it.  In our opinion, this request is because they can’t compete without it.  You may recall, recently the council received a request from Dacey’s Market to also upgrade to a full liquor license. The market is changing; if Franklin Liquors cannot object to a license on grounds of competition, how can Table & Vine (Big Y) be approved for saying they can’t compete without it? 

Exposure and control of alcohol:

This transfer request from Village Mall Liquors to Table & Vine (Big Y) would take control from an alcohol-only store to a supermarket.  You may ask, why does this matter?  For that you must think of the safety of the community. People that don’t drink, those affected by alcoholism, and those who don’t want to expose their children to alcohol don’t need to, and won’t go into a liquor store such as Franklin Liquors.  Those same people must go into a supermarket to purchase essential daily supplies. This will increase exposure. Please also think about workers in these stores- many underage employees will now be exposed significantly more. 

Articles on Exposure:

Consumer alcohol exposure in supermarkets: legislatively adherent, but a societal problem

“Alcohol misuse is a well-known public health problem. Supermarkets provide relatively easy access to alcohol for consumers; this is linked to an increase in alcohol misuse”

Children's exposure to alcohol marketing within supermarkets: An objective analysis using GPS technology and wearable cameras

“One mechanism by which on-site alcohol marketing influences child non-drinkers to consume alcohol is by its conflation with everyday consumer goods sold at supermarkets,”

Effects of Alcohol Advertising Exposure on Drinking Among Youth

“Youth who saw more alcohol advertisements on average drank more”

Young people and under-age exposure

“Further, alcohol was found to be located near staple foods such as bread and milk, reinforcing the perception of alcohol as just another ordinary food stuff.”

Call to ban alcohol in supermarkets after cameras reveal over-exposure to children

“The over-exposure of alcohol to children put it on par with everyday products such as bread and milk, causing children to drink alcohol earlier in their life”

Note: This study also noticed by the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs

The relationship between exposure to alcohol advertising in stores, owning alcohol promotional items, and adolescent alcohol use

“This study provides clear evidence of an association of adolescent drinking with weekly exposure to alcohol advertising in stores and with ownership of alcohol promotional items. Given their potential influence on adolescent drinking behavior, retail ads, and promotional items for alcohol deserve further study.”

Alcohol exposure in NZ supermarkets 'like advertising candy' to children, researcher says
“Children grow up seeing it offered every Friday, every Saturday, samples being given to adults," 

Note On Exposure: 

Many town residents and councilors have made comments about alcohol miniatures (nips) on our streets.  That is an example of overexposure to our community through the form of trash and waste. People are already being inundated with the sight of alcohol in their daily lives. Take a walk into Shaw's, BJ’s, or Table & Vine (Big Y)- seeing alcohol line the shelf in a big box is even greater exposure to the community, and our youth, who have no choice to avoid these stores, either for work or purchasing supplies.

The town CAN say no:
Table & Vine (Big Y) currently sells beer and wine, so this will not prevent the sale of alcohol at the store.  You will prevent them from increasing exposure by not allowing a full alcohol license.  As a corporation they also have the option to pursue this request in many of their other stores in Massachusetts: this isn’t their only store to expand in.  Here are some resources for you to see other towns who have denied supermarkets, even one that regrets giving a beer and wine license to Table & Vine (Big Y).

Stop And Shop Denied
A transfer request denied in Harwich

And follow up after denial
Stop & Shop withdraws alcohol license request
“He added that the town and its residents clearly didn't want the supermarket to be able to sell liquor, and that the store, which already sells liquor in three of its other stores across the state, should look elsewhere.”

As selectboard airs concerns about Big Y, Price Chopper liquor license denied

“That members of the sober community might be unnecessarily tempted by the alcoholic offerings,”

“Board member Ed Abrahams added that he had voted to give Big Y the all-alcohol license a few years ago and now regrets it. “

Distance And Public Need:

In the past Franklin Liquors brought to the attention of the council the number of licenses on East Central Street.  Currently, Table & Vine (Big Y), Franklin Liquors, Shaw's, And Devita's all occupy the same area, less than one mile.  Devita's and Franklin Liquors sell full alcohol.  Here is a CDC study that is a guide to measuring “density” for alcohol.

Guide for Measuring Alcohol Outlet Density

“High alcohol outlet density, defined as a high concentration of retail alcohol outlets in a small area, is known to be an environmental risk factor for excessive drinking. To prevent excessive drinking, the Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends “limiting alcohol outlet density through the use of regulatory authority (e.g., licensing and zoning),” which is based on strong scientific evidence of intervention effectiveness.”

“There is strong scientific evidence that regulating alcohol outlet density is one of the most effective strategies for reducing excessive alcohol consumption and related harms.”

Section 16C: Licenses for premises located near schools or churches:

We know the applicant has done all the steps to notify abutters and the church within 100 and 500 feet.  Other town departments will also sign off on this request. Many don’t know that New England Chapel hosts Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Do town council members ever follow up with the community or research impact after getting license request?. How does adding additional alcohol exposure impact these community programs in previous safe spaces? Other organizations, such as the Safe Coalition, would be skeptical of this increase. 


Franklin Liquors would like the Town Council to consider denying this transfer request based on:

Great Exposure and Limited Control of Alcohol
Distance And Public Need
The Use of Can’t Compete Requests
Other Towns Having Denied OR Regretted These Transfer Requests
Table & Vine (Big Y) Already Has Beer/Wine-Not Preventing them from selling alcohol
This would be the first Table & Vine (Big Y) Full Liquor in Eastern MA
Table & Vine (Big Y) Has MANY other Store in State in Can Do This In 
Franklin Already Has Alcohol Exposure In 3 of 4 Big Box Stores- IF you approve this Table & Vine (Big Y) gives up their Beer/Wine. If Village Mall closes, chances are Stop & Shop will then apply for that. 
Support of the growing “shop small” movement in Franklin

Thank you for your time in reviewing these details.  We hope you think of all the information provided and choose to deny this transfer. 

Mark And Mike Lenzi
Franklin Liquors 
Vintage 1978 

Voices of Franklin:  Mark and Mike Lenzi
Voices of Franklin:  Mark and Mike Lenzi 

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Voices of Franklin: Colin Cass says "Please sign candidate nomination papers!"

Candidates in Massachusetts who want to be elected to any public office this fall need something right now.

They need large numbers of qualified voters to sign their nomination papers before May 10.  (No need to get tangled in the weeds:  the numbers and qualifications depend on the offices sought.)

People seem confused about this.  Your signature on a nomination paper commits you to nothing.

It shows only that you helped a candidate get into the race.  This is crucial for all candidates (you can sign for as many as you please) and completely harmless to you.

So if candidates who want to run in your district ask you to sign their nomination papers, give them a break.  

Colin Cass
Franklin, MA

To add your voice to the discussion, please follow the guidelines

Voices of Franklin: Colin Cass proud of the diverse election results
Voices of Franklin: Colin Cass says "Please sign candidate nomination papers!"

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Franklin Matters information service updates

As part of the integration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio ( you likely have seen some changes to this home page and or to some posts.

Two additions

  • The daily schedule for Franklin TV and is shared. This is in addition to the weekly post sharing the programming guide. We'll be watching the stats (such that are available) to see if this addition is making a difference.
  • "Ask Franklin Matters"  is back in a top of fold web page spot. I had introduced this when we started the "Talk Franklin" radio interview series during 2020. This is a new year, hence a new opportunity. A couple of question have already come in so that is good. Hopefully, this feature will help answer your questions. 

Two reminders

  • This is a daily digital newsletter and you have a chance to have your say (with a question - as noted above) or a comment/email. You should also know that the "Voices of Franklin" is really the same as a "Letter to the Editor". It has been used primarily during the election season but is a feature available any time you feel the need to write. Guidelines here ->
  • The community calendar functions best when all the events are available to the community. Organizations with a Google calendar can integrate automatically. If you don't have one, you can use the form to submit the event  ->   If all else fails, send me an email. Be sure to include the basics of the event (who, what, when, where, etc.)

This Franklin news service (daily newsletter, podcast, Twitter, etc.) is my public service effort for Franklin but I can't do it alone. I can always use your help.


How can you help?

  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors

  • If you don't like something here, please let me know

Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for reading/emailing/commenting/listening, etc.

Friendly reminder: The best way to remain informed is to subscribe for the daily newsletter ->

Franklin Matters information service updates
Franklin Matters information service updates

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Voices of Franklin: Ted McIntyre on the "crisis in the democratic process"

America is trapped in a set of interlocking crises, which the anniversary of the January 6th insurrection puts in high relief. Each crisis by itself could be overwhelming, but it is not hyperbolic to say that the multiple simultaneous emergencies present a generational challenge.

The tests of our time are as big as any faced by America from the Revolution to WWII. Either we rise to the occasion with new ideas or we will sink into a civilizational quagmire. The stakes are indeed that high.

The list of crises is daunting. The Omicron variant will kill thousands this winter if the Delta does not. The new variant is simply the next wave of a preventable disease, exacerbated by the Fox TV-induced delusional behavior of 'anti-vaxxers'. It is fair to say that a segment of the population living in an alternate reality is a crisis all by itself.  

Inequalities in income and opportunity are a crisis, made extravagantly clear by billionaires joy-riding in their space ships while others die from a lack of insulin.  Constitutional rights, long secured by the Supreme Court's dedication to probity, are at risk due to the assertion of extreme legal philosophies. Rising above all this is the threat of climate change, where urgent and transformative action needs to begin now.

One crisis, however, stands out in high profile in the very near term.  This is a crisis in the democratic process. The imminent risk to American democracy demands immediate attention, because its resolution is foundational to addressing all the other crises. The seeds of authoritarianism have been germinating for a long time, but the former guy's big lie--that the election results were not accurate--has been adopted by cynical actors in states across the nation. It is important to note that these cynical actors are almost exclusively conservative members of the GOP. 

Legislatures in red states across the country are actively suppressing the votes of minority communities. We in MA should not feel immune to the impact of these threats to others’ rights in other places. Our votes in Franklin are devalued by voter suppression in Atlanta. Worse, these GOP extremists are changing the very rules under which the elections are certified. (Who knew that was even a thing before 2020?) These process changes mean that no matter what the actual vote count, GOP legislatures can discard the voters’ choice. Such a power in extremists’ hands will come home to roost in the 2024 presidential election, where Q-Anon--style secretaries of state in places like GA, AZ, PA, and MI will be able to ignore actual votes and submit the slate of presidential electors that they prefer. 

There will be no need of an insurrection at the US Capitol in January of 2025, because the coup will happen in state capitols across the nation. The solution to these woes lies with Congress, which can mandate sane election rules for the whole country. Passing such laws with Democratic votes is prevented by the filibuster and the Senate’s timidity in facing the question. The issue should be addressed now, before the new year. This kind of progress can happen only if the filibuster, an old and racist tool designed to prevent progress, is modified.

Protecting our democracy is not partisan issue. Republicans of good will can support voting rights. Citizens of Franklin should demand that Senators Warren and Markey act immediately in ways that reflect the seriousness of the moment. Hardball tactics--for example stripping recalcitrant legislators like Manchin and Sinema of committee assignments, or stalling Senate business until these important issues are considered--may be needed to force the Senate to take action.  

The battle is joined in the US Senate. Time is short. 2022 is too late. Please call or write your senators and urge them to do whatever is needed to save our democracy. 

Ted McIntyre
Franklin resident

You can add your own statement to "Voices of Franklin". 

Voices of Franklin: Ted McIntyre on the "crisis in the democratic process"
Voices of Franklin: Ted McIntyre on the "crisis in the democratic process"

Monday, November 1, 2021

Voices of Franklin: Karen Landers - Time for a change on the Planning Board

Boy, time sure does fly by!  Would you believe that Anthony Padula and Joseph Halligan, Jr. have been serving on the Planning Board for a total of 30 years between them.

Perhaps, it is time for a change!   We should thank each of them for giving their time and expertise to ensure that all residential and commercial projects that have come before the Planning Board have correctly followed the zoning, building, and town bylaws before being approved.  That has been no small task, considering all the growth that has occurred in all of those years.  

But now, the town has high hopes for the two new candidates who are currently seeking election to the Planning Board.

Jennifer Williams, who is currently an Associate Member of the Board, is a registered architect with  planning experience.  Jennifer has the correct skill set and expertise that will be needed when reviewing site plans, subdivision plans, by-law changes, and anything else that needs Planning Board approval or input.  

Beth Wierling, another great new candidate is very qualified to serve on the Franklin Planning Board, having worked for eight years as the Franklin Town Planner, beginning in 2007.  She has 20 years of experience in the field of economic development, construction management, planning, and land use.   She is a graduate  of UMass-Amherst and holds a graduate degree in Public Administration from Clark University.  

In addition, both Jennifer and Beth have no potential conflicts of interest that could detract from serving on the Planning Board and making decisions on all projects that need approval.  

Please consider voting for both Jennifer and Beth on November 2nd.  For more information about these new candidates, please review their bio in the 2021 Voters Guide or on Franklin Matters.

Thank you, 

Karen Landers 
Franklin Resident

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Voices of Franklin: Karen Landers - Time for a change on the Planning Board
Voices of Franklin: Karen Landers - Time for a change on the Planning Board

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Voices of Franklin: Arielle Shearer - the word is 'complicity'

As Alan Earls appears to be a friend and supporter of Dashe Videira, his statement in Voices of Franklin on October 28, 2021 (, attempting to shift blame to a righteous voice in our community, is preposterous. He states "Free speech, and all that, it still seemed to be in poor taste and stingingly calculated to burn whatever social bridges remain on our street. And just when I was hoping we could heal."

I know several families on that street. I can't imagine ANY of his neighbors that I personally know being okay with inviting a bigot into their home, or attending an event where one was invited to speak, or even continuing to enjoy and defend an association with the bigot promoter.

I can't imagine ANY of the people that I know on Mr. Earls’ street supporting or accepting a public demonstration such as the one on October 8th, 2021 on Route 140 near the Honey Dew Donuts.  This demonstration was described by Mr. Earls ( as “A group of adults and children bearing flags and signs with patriotic-themed messages.” The photographs in his post show School Committee candidates Dashe Videira and Mark Bisson amidst signs stating “In God We Trust,” “Vote 2021” and “We Are A Christian Nation.” Excluding non-Christians is not patriotic. A public demonstration marginalizing and excluding Franklin residents of other religions from the demonstrators’ nation should not be applauded by being labeled patriotic. It not only hurts people but directly contradicts the United States Constitution, in which the First Amendment prohibits the establishment of a national religion. 

There's a word for Mr. Earls' statement in Voices of Franklin and his “reporting” of the October 8th demonstration. There’s a word that describes his willingness to continue to speak well of people permitting and promoting hate and exclusion. It's "complicity." Attempting to smooth over the natural consequences - sadness, discord, anger, activism, and any other appropriate response - of bigoted and exclusionary acts, writing an opinion such as the one in Voices of Franklin, blaming the person pointing out the hateful choices, at no point indicating or recognizing wrongdoing on the part of the candidates referenced, this pushes it way past being a vocal bystander.

Dashe Videira invited a man into her home as an honored guest speaker. The man is an unapologetic bigot, as anyone who Googles him can determine on their own in less than a minute. Dashe Videira and Mark Bisson participated in a "stand-out" in which they marginalized and excluded non-Christians by promoting the message "We Are A Christian Nation." These are things that happened; no one is contesting that. Aaron Gouveia's post brought these things to light. Rejecting hate does not, as Mr. Earl states, "burn social bridges." Promoting and validating hate speech and exclusion "burns social bridges."

Mr. Earls states "To behave as if a young mother of four children, brimming with energy and kindness, is an existential threat to society, is at best a gross exaggeration." It's one thing to turn your head away and ignore prejudice. That’s bad enough, but that is not what Mr. Earls has done. By looking straight at it and willingly telling a fairytale, by reporting an exclusionary event as patriotic, by attempting to redirect blame onto someone doing the right thing, Mr. Earls has made it very clear that he is okay with what has transpired in recent weeks, and equally clear that he is part of the problem.

Arielle Shearer
Franklin Resident

To add your voice to the discussion, please follow the guidelines

Voices of Franklin: Arielle Shearer - the word is  'complicity'
Voices of Franklin: Arielle Shearer - the word is  'complicity'

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Voices of Franklin: Alan Earls "I heard the bells on Christmas Day..."

Wow, what a lot of pain there is around our town. Reading my neighbor, Aaron Gouveia’s recent post in this space about our mutual neighbor, Dashe Videira, I couldn’t help but feeling like something was getting lost in translation.  It is a fact (and perhaps symbolically rich) that our homes are on opposite sides of the Videira residence.

I was surprised several days ago when Aaron mined his private conversations and texts with Dashe to publicly excoriate her on Facebook – and now the campaign has moved to Franklin Matters. Free speech, and all that, it still seemed to be in poor taste and stingingly calculated to burn whatever social bridges remain on our street. And just when I was hoping we could heal.

My sadness in these events brought to mind the Christmas carol whose lyrics were written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Hearing the beautiful pealing of church bells at Christmas even as the Civil War raged across the land, threw him into despondency. You don’t have to be Christian or celebrate Christmas to imagine the painful disconnect a man like Longfellow experienced in that moment.

And yet, for him, he also managed to discover hope in that moment.

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
and wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."

I am of that mind, with Longfellow. Leaving aside the specific religious connotations, I am sure we can find our better natures not yet out of reach and once again, rekindle neighborliness, kindness, and toleration and find peace on earth, or at least in Franklin.

I meet few who do not share this hope. So why not here, why not now, and why not in Franklin?

We will and we must disagree but we should recognize that people who actually intend harm to others are a rarity. To behave as if a young mother of four children, brimming with energy and kindness, is an existential threat to society, is at best a gross exaggeration. 

It is incumbent upon us to find out why and how those with whom we disagree came to their views and values. We can and we must understand that ideas – and civil societies – evolve and can do so peacefully when we occasionally hold our tongue and foreswear a cruel remark for the sake of sustaining a vital and meaningful conversation.

We have an opportunity to be large-hearted with each other, to imagine our similarities instead of alighting only on our differences.  Yes, there is a gulf between us on many issues but our job is to bridge the gulf and construct new edifices where we all can feel at home.

I plan to be at the polls on Tuesday, anxious to meet all my fellow citizens and candidates and hopeful that they will bring with them not just their list of candidates to vote for but also curiosity, warmth and a sense of humor. Afterall, at a bare minimum, we are all mortal and that fact should provide each of us with a starting point.

Alan Earls
Franklin Resident

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Voices of Franklin:  Alan Earls "I heard the bells on Christmas Day..."

Voices of Franklin: Raymond Milici advocates Support for Franklin United

In cities and towns across the nation there is a concerted effort by right-wing ideologues to infiltrate local governments, and if you think Franklin Massachusetts is exempt from that effort think again. Whether this is a state or national organized effort, I just couldn't say, your guess is as good as mine. But one thing is for sure, it's happening now in Franklin.

This is dangerous for our town. Just look what the former president has done. The division and hate that exist today is primarily caused by right-wing ideologues with policies and principles that have no place in Franklin Government. That's why it's important to elect local leaders that share the values of our community.

Do your homework before you vote, and make an informed decision. I have decided to support the Franklin United group of candidates. This is a moderate group of candidates with experience and common sense ideas. They are down to earth citizens concerned about the the future of Franklin. A low voter turn out could mean we end up electing right-wing ideologues. Be very concerned and vote on or before Nov 2. Check out all the candidates at

Raymond D Milici
Franklin Resident

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Voices of Franklin: Raymond Milici advocates Support for Franklin United
Voices of Franklin: Raymond Milici advocates Support for Franklin United

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Voices of Franklin: Aaron Gouveia for candidates that support diversity

Despite seeing much lower turnout, local elections impact citizens far more than presidential contests. To that end, I implore people to pay close attention to the folks we're electing to local office in the hopes that Franklin chooses to bypass extremism and fringe candidates who represent potential harm to this community.

On Oct. 15, School Committee candidate Dashe Videira held a "Diversity, Equity, Inclusion CRT" (taken directly from her website) event that included guest speaker Rev. Steven L. Craft. Following 30 seconds of searching on Google, I found a video Rev. Craft posted on his own YouTube channel featuring him as a guest on a New Jersey television show speaking about whether or not a transgender teacher should be allowed in the classroom. He says "homosexuality in all of its forms, along with other sexual deviations, are wrong." He also goes on to say "There is child abuse here when children are being brainwashed and being taught these deviant lifestyles and making them appear normal."

It is nothing short of horrific that a School Committee candidate aligns herself with a speaker who feels gay people are "wrong" and that it's "child abuse" for students to be taught be a transgender teacher. When I followed up with Dashe directly, she confirmed that she would not allow her children (none of whom attend Franklin Public Schools) to be instructed by a transgender teacher specifically because they are trans. She cited her faith as the determining factor in this decision.

Then, a week later, I read the opening statements of the School Committee candidates who couldn't be present at a candidates night. Four of them introduced themselves, stated why they wanted to run for office, and identified important issues and potential solutions. Dashe Videira's statement, however, was singularly focused on Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye and why this classic should not be read by Franklin High School students. Because apparently the issue she felt to be of the highest priority is potentially banning a book by an African-American, Nobel Prize winning author.

Please do not vote for anyone who holds these archaic and damaging views regarding transgender people and whose priority is banning books instead of expanding the world view of our kids. There are gay students in Franklin. There are trans students in Franklin. There is even a trans School Committee candidate. I can't imagine how terrible it must feel for these folks to hear that a School Committee candidate thinks they are potentially harmful just because of who they are or how they identify. Or to know someone could soon hold office who would actively limit exposure to books that share the lived experiences of marginalized authors.

Unfortunately she is not the only one in this boat. Town Councilor Andrew Bissanti is up for reelection and was captured in a Milford Daily News photograph holding a sign this summer at a rally in Medway that read "Screw your critical race theory: Stop teaching racism and woke liberal politics in our schools."

First of all, Critical Race Theory (CRT) is something graduate students learn but it is not taught in our schools and there is no plan to do so. Which means Bissanti is opposed to something that isn't even happening in our schools. But more importantly, a sitting Town Councilor holding a sign that says "Screw CRT" and demeaning good faith efforts to examine how race and racism influence our laws, policies, and practices by terming them "woke liberal politics" is a monumental red flag. As is insinuating our hard-working teachers are in any way teaching racism in school. He told the paper "Parents don't want their children viewing the world through the lens of racism." But Bissanti certainly doesn't speak for all Franklin parents and I wonder if he thought about our non-white families who have no choice but to see racism on a daily basis when he made that statement.

This is not about condemning religious beliefs and this transcends left vs right or liberal vs conservative. People are free to worship however they choose and hold whatever views they want, but there's a different standard when that person's religious views and beliefs are going to be injected into policy that affects every child who attends public school in Franklin. And bigotry cloaked in religion is still bigotry.

Please don't vote for extremism and intolerance on Nov. 2 or for people who openly admit they won't separate church and state. Franklin deserves better than that because our community IS better than that. Thankfully we have a robust slate of diverse and qualified candidates, and I hope voters choose people who don't condone prejudice or align themselves with extremism.

Aaron Gouveia
Franklin Resident

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Voices of Franklin: Aaron Gouveia for candidates that support diversity
Voices of Franklin: Aaron Gouveia for candidates that support diversity

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Voices of Franklin: Colin Cass on what "partisan" means and doesn't mean

In his indignant article titled Politics Sizzles” in The Franklin Observer (10/14/21) Alan Earls complains of—among other things--“one more departure from the traditional ‘non-partisan’ orientation of town elections” in Jennifer Williams’s use of “Act Blue, the national Democratic fundraising system, to gather funds for her candidacy.”

The nonpartisan description of Franklin elections has always puzzled me.  Section 5-1-1 of the Town Charter says 

"All elections of town officers and Town Council members shall be nonpartisan, and all election ballots shall be printed without any party mark or other political emblem."

What does that mean?  The term “nonpartisan” as applied to elections simply means that candidates do not run with partisan labels.  It means only that.  The candidate will not be identified with a party on the ballot.  Nothing more, nothing less. 

The more interesting question is what it does NOT mean.

It does NOT mean that candidates cannot belong to a political party.

It does NOT mean that candidates cannot be supported by a political party.

It does NOT mean that candidates cannot use a party’s national fundraising system.

It does NOT mean that candidates cannot be supported by a PAC.

It does NOT mean that candidates cannot espouse the values or policy positions of their party.

Apart from the restriction about party affiliations appearing on the ballot, the nonpartisan clause is merely aspirational.  It proscribes no actions beyond the ballot format.

Why does this discussion matter?  For two reasons:

First, it makes clear that Williams has done absolutely nothing to violate the Charter’s nonpartisan clause.

Second, it exposes the hypocrisy of “editor” Alan Earls in bemoaning the partisanship in this election when he is himself a candidate and when he is the chairman of the Franklin Republican Town Committee.


Colin Cass
Franklin Resident

Franklin Observer article link for reference ->

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Voices of Franklin: Colin Cass on what "partisan" means and doesn't mean
Voices of Franklin: Colin Cass on what "partisan" means and doesn't mean