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

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


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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 (wfpr.fm) you likely have seen some changes to this home page and or to some posts.

Two additions

  • The daily schedule for Franklin TV and wfpr.fm 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 ->  https://www.franklinmatters.org/2011/03/introducing-voices-of-franklin.html
  • 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  -> https://forms.gle/oPdi8X3ZbHHyrHzo6   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 -> https://www.franklinmatters.org/p/welcome.html


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 (https://www.franklinmatters.org/2021/10/voices-of-franklin-alan-earls-i-heard.html, 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 (https://franklinobserver.town.news/g/franklin-town-ma/n/45065/flags-aflutter) 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


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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 franklinmaunited.com/home.

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 ->  https://franklinobserver.town.news/g/franklin-town-ma/n/45691/politics-sizzles

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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

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Voices of Franklin: Robert Vacca "Education is More Than Back to Basics"

At the October 14th Candidate’s Night, Franklin School Committee Candidate Mark Bisson stated that his platform is “back to the basics, Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.” This sounds very pragmatic, however, this has been in place for years and we, as educators, do a whole lot more.  Our schools have math specialists who meet and plan with the math teachers to bring high level lessons into the classrooms. Students collaboratively use math skills to solve problems and analyze their responses.  We also have reading specialists in every school who plan and collaborate with classroom teachers to bring high level literary instruction into our classrooms.  The district has implemented the MAP testing program which will allow educators to use data collected from math and English tests to better plan and instruct, as well as provide differentiated instruction to our students.  

Several years ago, our school system invested in a program called Three Keys to Literacy. Through this program, educators in all content areas have been trained in how to bring literacy instruction into the classroom.  This instruction includes building vocabulary skills through comprehension and categorization, comprehension strategies which include note taking and the process of persuasive argument writing.  Students also learn how to use question terms in order to remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate and create. As an educator, I have found this program to be invaluable in my planning and instruction in order to help my students develop as 21st Century learners.  


“Return to the basics” is redundant.  The basics, and a whole lot more, as stated above, can be seen in every subject, classroom, and school.  To settle for the basics would be to sentence our students to a substandard future.  As educators, we do not settle for the basics as our students deserve so much more than that. 


Robert Vacca

Franklin Resident


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Robert Vacca "Education is More Than Back to Basics"
Robert Vacca "Education is More Than Back to Basics"

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Voices of Franklin: Jayson Joyce on "politics and baseball"

October brings two things to mind: politics and baseball. 

One historic Franklinite embodies the best of America’s pastime and national service: Eddie Grant. Eddie played baseball for Franklin High School, Dean Junior College, Harvard College, and—eventually—for Major League Baseball (MLB). He even played in the 1913 World Series. 

When America entered the war, Grant answered the call to serve. He embodied courage, aptitude, and leadership in combat, and he was the first MLB player killed in WWI. His name is carved in stone on our Franklin Common. 

I was thinking about Eddie on August 30th as I crossed the Common to hear comments from Senator Elizabeth Warren. I was surprised when a large group of protestors, donned in blacked, arrived and began shouting her down. I was outraged when they continued chanting through a moment of silence for Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, the Lawrence Marine killed in Afghanistan. 

Some things should be beyond the tired left-right divide in this country. Surely those who have sacrificed everything for this country are first on that list. Maybe those hollering and heckling didn’t hear the call for silence, but that’s just the point. We have an important election coming up in Franklin. There are service-minded candidates running. They are Democrats, Republicans, and unenrolled. I may not agree with them on every policy position, but I’m voting for Democratic, Republican, and independent candidates for town council, school committee, planning board, and clerk. But there are also candidates who were clad in black that day in August—those who would shout down rather than join together in commemorative silence. 

It’s October. Let’s root, root, root for the Red Sox. Let’s do our research and intentionally select the candidates we support. Let’s VOTE on or before November 2nd. Let’s elect citizen representatives worthy of the legacy of Franklin’s past leaders—especially Eddie Grant. 

Jayson Joyce
Franklin resident 

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Voices of Franklin: Jayson Joyce on "politics and baseball"
Voices of Franklin: Jayson Joyce on "politics and baseball"

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Voices of Franklin: Colin Cass on School Committee candidates

I attended a meeting of the Franklin School Committee a few weeks ago.

A number of parents spoke during citizens’ comments.  They included people running for school committee and other town offices.  They were very passionately opposed to having their children wear masks at school.

In effect, these parents were blaming the school committee for the fact that we’re living through a pandemic and that some unpleasant measures must be taken.

This sorry situation is not the fault of the school committee.  And as for masks as a remedy, it doesn’t follow that just because you dislike a medicine, you don’t need it.

We should elect people who understand that an undesired solution can be the right choice if the alternative is worse.  Such wisdom is especially needful on the school committee, which has the heavy responsibility of spending half the town’s entire budget and educating its children.

Colin Cass
Franklin Resident



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Voices of Franklin: Colin Cass on School Committee candidates
Voices of Franklin: Colin Cass on School Committee candidates

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Voices of Franklin: Robert Vacca on School Committee candidates

When I began my teaching career in Franklin, in the fall of 1996, I quickly realized that Franklin was a town that I wanted to live in and make my home.  It was actually an obvious choice for me.  Franklin shared many of the values I was raised with.

I grew up in Rhode Island, in a town about a third of the size of Franklin. Education, factual knowledge and civility was valued in my family as well as in my community.  We respected teachers, police men and women, our fire department and one another.  We helped neighbors and practiced the golden rule.  We looked out for one another

As a teacher, I could not be more proud of what my colleagues have been able to do for our students throughout this pandemic.  As a resident, I am proud of the selfless acts of generosity and kindness I have witnessed from the many, but remain disturbed at the hatred and vile comments that are too often part of our general discourse from the few.  

In my twenty-two years of being a resident of Franklin, I have witnessed both the selfless acts of kindness and the darker side of incivility.  I cherish calling Franklin my home and where I am raising a child exposed to the positive values of kindness, respect and civility.  

There are candidates running for public office in November who also share these values.  They have a vision of what Franklin represents and what more it could be.  My vote will be cast for these candidates who value education, factual knowledge and have the vision for a town where values are cherished and civility rules the day.  


Robert Vacca

Franklin Resident



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Voices of Franklin: Robert Vacca on School Committee candidates
Voices of Franklin: Robert Vacca on School Committee candidates

Monday, August 16, 2021

Voices of Franklin: Ted McIntyre also on "For The People Act"

The former guy lost the 2020 election. Sadly, his absurd lies about his loss have spawned an attack on voting rights across the country that threatens the integrity of our democracy. No matter what your personal political beliefs are, we citizens must act now to preserve the American experiment.

Trump is a diminished figure. Nevertheless, his multiple, fantastical lies about the election have been used to justify grotesque voter suppression bills in many state legislatures.  These bills do not address 'policy' questions or make good faith efforts to ensure election integrity. They are blatant attempts to intimidate the kind of voter Republicans don't like. For example, in Georgia and Florida, it is now illegal to give food or drink to people forced to stand in hours-long lines waiting to vote.  (This begs the question: Why are people forced to stand in line for hours?)

We are moving to "Jim Crow, Esq." in the sophistication and reach of these efforts. The intent is clear--make it harder for those who may oppose GOP policies to cast a ballot. They are intended to guaranty the dominance of a single political party in the currently red states, and weaken other voices in the rest of the country. But  this is not 'just' an issue for certain minorities. These laws will impact everyone in the country, and everyone should be alarmed.

The effects of these proposed new laws are far reaching. If these voter suppression bills had been in place in November of 2020, the GOP would have manipulated the results and the now former guy would still be president. If the new batch of bills is left unchallenged now, the integrity of the 2022 and 2024 elections will be compromised. Remember, the Members of Congress elected in 2022 will vote to certify the winner of the 2024 Presidential election. Based on the performance of the GOP in (not) certifying the 2020 election on the day of the Insurrection on January 6, 2021, we can expect a coup-like power play in 2024.

The good news is that a path back to sanity exists. The US House has passed a bill called the "For The People Act."  It set a nationwide floor for voting rights, and would reverse most of the egregious voter suppression bills in consideration in state legislatures. The bill is now before the Senate, but the filibuster rule is being used to prevent passage.

The filibuster rule was adopted early in our history and infrequently used-except to block civil rights legislation. It is anti-democratic, with a small "d."  The filibuster requires a supermajority of 60 votes in order to pass legislation. Unfortunately, in recent years it has been weaponized by the GOP to block all action in the Senate. The important word is 'rule.' The Senate sets its own rules of procedure and can change them. The filibuster is a self-imposed rule. It is not in the Constitution. The Senate can simply vote to change that rule and allow a vote on the For The People Act.

Time is of the essence. If the bill does not pass this summer, there will not be enough time to implement its protective measures before the 2022 election. What can be done to get the For the People Act through the Senate? There are many ways to help, but the simplest is to call your US Senator. Here in Massachusetts, both Senators Warren and Markey are outspoken in support of the bill.  They need to know that you support passing the bill and that you encourage them to do whatever it takes to get it passed. It is easy to reach the Senators. A brief phone call to 202-224-3121 will suffice. Simply leave a message saying "My name is ___ and I live in Franklin. Please do everything you can to abolish the filibuster and pass the For the People Act.  I think Joe Biden should speak forcefully. The Senate should cancel its August recess.  The Senate must pass these bills."

Time is short. The action is easy. Your democracy is at stake. Please act.

Ted McIntyre Ph.D.
Franklin MA 

Voices of Franklin: Ted McIntyre on "For The People Act"
Voices of Franklin: Ted McIntyre also on "For The People Act"

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Voices of Franklin: Ted McIntyre on "For The People Act"

The Insurrection of January 6th was an attempted coup, a brazen assault intended to interrupt the functioning of the American democracy. But the coup attempt did not end on January 6th. In fact it is ongoing. The GOP is even now laying the legal foundation for a second coup attempt, this one conducted under a pretense of respectability.
 
Voter suppression laws are being passed in states across the country. Those laws not only selectively suppress voting by people the GOP dislikes, but they also provide means to reject the result of an election in favor of one the GOP legislatures like better. For example, the state of Georgia is attempting to take responsibility for the certification of election results in Fulton County, which includes Atlanta's largely black population.
 
If these state level  laws are not preempted by Federal legislation, the GOP will have two different paths for a new coup attempt, this time under the cover of law. The first path is through the impeachment of Joe Biden. If the GOP retakes the House and Senate in 2022, they could elect Donald Trump Speaker of the House. While according to tradition, the Speaker is always a Member of Congress, the Constitution does not forbid Trump's selection. Given the cult like devotion already accorded the former guy, it is not implausible to think the GOP would make this choice. Once Trump is Speaker, he is third in line to the Presidency. The House could impeach both Biden and Harris- truth and evidence be damned- and make Trump President.
 
The second pathway for the GOP's 'legal' coup is through the Electoral College. The Supreme Court, in the infamous 'Bush v Gore' decision of 2000, said that- unless there is a Federal law preventing it- the state legislatures hold the power to determine the Electoral College members. This is a nightmare scenario, since legislators are right now giving themselves the authority to challenge election results on flimsy grounds and then override the voter’s choice by installing electors they prefer. Does anyone think, if given the opportunity in 2020, that the legislatures of GA, PA, WI and AZ would not have chosen Trump electors for  the Electoral College? In 2024, those state legislatures will have granted themselves that opportunity.
 
We should not think that the GOP is too high minded or patriotic to do these things. Five years ago, who would have thought that Trump's  contempt of norms  and open corruption would be accepted? The recent testimony of Trump’s complicit DOJ employees is chilling. Who would have thought the GOP could install a Supreme Court Justice just before an election? Who would have thought Members of Congress would support a violent assault on the Capitol? The scenarios outlined above are shocking and nearly unthinkable. But the time had come to think about the unthinkable. The GOP has forfeited its status as a legitimate participant in a democratic process, and now represents an authoritarian power grab threatening our very democracy. There is no bottom, no ‘bridge too far’ for them in pursuit of power.
 
It is essential that the Senate, now under Democratic control, passes the For The People Act to protect the election process from the GOP plans. Time is of the essence. If the bill does not pass this summer, there will not be enough time to implement its protective measures before the 2022 election. What can be done to get the For the People Act through the Senate? There are many ways to help, but the simplest is to call your US Senator. Here in Massachusetts, both Senators Warren and Markey are outspoken in support of the bill.  They need to know that you support passing the bill and that you encourage them to do whatever it takes to get it passed. It is easy to reach the Senators. A brief phone call to 202-224-3121 will suffice. Simply leave a message saying "My name is ___ and I live in Franklin. Please do everything you can to abolish the filibuster and pass the For the People Act.  I think Joe Biden should speak forcefully. The Senate should cancel its August recess.  The Senate must pass these bills.”

The time to act is now.

Ted McIntyre
Franklin resident

Voices of Franklin: Ted McIntyre on "For The People Act"
Voices of Franklin: Ted McIntyre on "For The People Act"


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Voices of Franklin: Karen Landers questions zoning variance request

As an abutter, I received notification that there is to be a remote public hearing on Thursday, December 17th at 7:30 pm regarding an application that is requesting a variance to build a rather large 2-unit dwelling on a lot that is smaller than the zoning laws require. Instead of the required 35% impervious coverage, the builder wants to cover 50% of the lot.  This is so that the Project can be as profitable to him/them as possible.  

This dwelling will overpower the homes adjacent to it, among other things.  I thought this town was concerned with Storm water runoff.  Why do zoning laws exist if a variance request can be had without much concern to the neighbors Involved.  According to the annual town report, from 2008 to 2018, there were 315 requests for a variance for many reasons.  Only 23 were denied. 
 
While I have an appreciation for our town citizens serving on boards, giving of their time and effort, perhaps there are way too many town officials who are in the real estate business, and, therefore, may have a conflict of interest.   

If any Franklin resident is concerned about how variances are reviewed and want to get informed, go to the town website and sign up to get onto Zoom for this hearing.  We are all abutters!

Karen Landers
Franklin Resident 
 
 
 
If you have something to say, you can find the guidelines here
https://www.franklinmatters.org/2011/03/introducing-voices-of-franklin.html