Sunday, April 15, 2007

Various Election Races, More Sad News


Current Moderator Brian Walsh is being challenged, once again, by Diane Agostino. This is Ms. Agostino’s 7th run for this office, I believe. In the past her campaigns have been characterized by attacks on Warrant Committees, Selectmen and others. She’s blamed her losses on “factions”, although describing the majority of voters in 7 straight elections as a “faction” is somewhat puzzling. This year she appeared to be running for School Committee, trumpeting simplistic claims about Milton’s school budget allocations for administration.

Brian Walsh is completing his 5th year as Moderator. He’s introduced some innovations at Town Meeting which are improvements. The meetings are run with a good balance between members’ rights to be heard and members’ desire to not drag the meetings out unnecessarily. Most importantly he has the temperament necessary for the impartial managing of town meeting and appointment of able town volunteers to numerous town committees. Please support Brian Walsh on April 24.

Board of Health

There are two candidates for this position, Barbara Mason and Anne Fidler. I worked with Barbara on the Warrant Committee. She is a dedicated volunteer for the town who returned for a partial year on the Warrant Committee this year when unexpected departures created openings. I’m sure she would make a good contribution to the board. But in Anne Fidler we have a very rare opportunity of tapping an exceptional level of training and experience. Her educational attainments and long career in public health at the national and regional levels would be important assets to the Board of Health. I urge your consideration of her candidacy. For more information about Ms. Fidler, click on the link below.

Park Commissioner

Incumbent Barbara Brown is being challenged by Rick Dunn. Ms. Brown has served in this post for a number of years during which important strides have been made in the maintenance of athletic fields. Mr. Dunn has worked with the youth of Milton for two decades as coach of various sports, Program Director and President of the Milton High School Boosters. His close connections at the grass roots of town sports in such a broad range of activities would provide a useful perspective on the Board, which is why I will vote for him.

Board of Assessors

Incumbent Kathie Heffernan is being challenged by Douglas Lantigua. This race, frankly, is one of the more troubling campaigns this year. Mr. Lantigua claims that there is a “practice of lowering the high end properties assessments thus thrusting the tax burden on the under $750K housing market.” This is a ridiculous claim. Such a “practice” would require the active participation by Ms. Heffernan, Thomas Gunning and M. Joseph Manning, along with Assessor Jeff D’Ambly, in a conspiracy to create such a result. The Department of Revenue, which certifies town assessments, would have to be asleep at the switch. And you would expect to see large numbers of successful abatements, including appeals of rejections to the Appellate Tax Board. You can check the link below to see that not a single case from Milton has been appealed to the Appellate Tax Board in the last 8 years.

Kathie Heffernan has served on the Board of Assessors with honesty, fairness and care, as she has in so many other volunteer roles for the town. She is state certified as an assessor. Please join me in returning her to office on April 24.

Another Hate Crime

Sadly, haters have struck again in Milton. On Saturday morning, congregants of Temple Shalom arriving for Shabbat services were greeted by swastikas painted on the front sign and on the parking lot door. The crime was reported to Milton Police, who are investigating.

Perhaps this time some of our town leaders will exercise leadership in sending the clear message that such crimes, far more destructive to psyche’s than buildings, are simply not tolerated in Milton. I’m reprinting a letter from Paul Etkind, President of Temple Shalom and urge all to get involved in any community-wide solidarity effort that might be planned.


Letter from Paul Etkind, President of Temple Shalom:

"It is with a mix of profound sadness and fury that I report to you that two swastikas were painted on Temple Shalom. They were first noticed by congregants as they came to the Temple for Shabbat services this morning. One was on the front sign of the Temple and the other was on the parking lot door to the Social Hall.

This despicable act was reported to the Milton Police. They came immediately, took pictures, and have begun an investigation. The Milton Interfaith Clergy Association was notified and we are gratified by their immediate and vigorous support. They will be informing their congregants tomorrow from their respective pulpits. Some town officials were called and various people stopped by this afternoon to see the symbols of hatred.

The swastikas have been cleaned off of the sign and the door. The door was painted over so there is no physical evidence of the offense. However, we will not stop at simply cleaning and painting. We would like to have a community-wide observance of solidarity among the faith communities, town officials and the general public. We are checking calendars for next Sunday, April 22 perhaps in the evening. We will confirm this with you as soon as possible. The officers will be working with the Rabbi, the other faith communities, and with area officials to plan the event.

It is our hope that this incident will give all good people in and around Milton the opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with us at Temple Shalom in order to confront prejudice and reaffirm a sense of solidarity with the best that is within us, the attributes of decency, mutual respect and good will."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phil –
At a time like this, I think it’s worthwhile to remind ourselves what the Town of Milton and its people really stand for, which are the solid values of a welcoming and humane community. So I am copying below information about the Milton No Place for Hate program, which is a reflection itself of the community values that Milton residents hold dear. The vast majority of Milton’s residents and leaders believe in promoting positive, trusting, friendly and respectful relationships among all our diverse Milton residents. There will be unfortunate occasions, however, when someone feels a need to commit an act of hatred, such as the anti-Semitic swastikas painted this weekend. These things can happen from time to time and my belief is that how we come together and react as a community – what we say, what we do, the solidarity and support we show - is actually more significant than the misguided, offensive act itself. So far, several top Milton officials have expressed their personal disgust at these hate symbols and their sympathy and support for the Temple congregation, just as one would hope and expect. It is reassuring. If a public gathering is scheduled, Milton No Place for Hate will certainly take part and promote it to our members and the many community friends & supporters of the Milton No Place for Hate program who believe in the fundamental values of respect and caring for all our fellow residents.


Milton is one of over 50 Massachusetts communities participating in the statewide No Place for Hate program (NPFH) and our town has fulfilled the requirements each year since 2002 for certification as a “No Place for Hate Community.” At the annual award ceremony, town and city officials from across the state are present. At least one Milton Selectman has represented the Board of Selectman each year and the Police Chief has always attended.

South Shore communities are especially active in the No Place for Hate program. Milton NPFH is a member of the South Shore No Place for Hate Coalition of 12 participating communities. The coalition meets quarterly and organizes at least one joint activity each year. The coalition’s activity for 2007 is the South Shore No Place for Hate / White Ribbon Campaign / STRIKE OUT HATE AND VIOLENCE! Night at the Brockton Rox baseball game on June 27. The White Ribbon Campaign combats violence against women and this will be is a joint event with the South Shore No Place for Hate Coalition.

Milton NPFH projects have included: public forums on diversity and on racial profiling; 6th-Grade No Place for Hate Homeroom Workshops; 5th-Grade No Place for Hate Improvisation Theatre Workshops; Hate Incident Response Plan with town officials; collaborating with town officials on healthy responses to issues that arise; co-organizing Milton’s Annual Martin Luther King Celebration & Service with Milton Public Schools, Milton Interfaith Clergy Association and the Milton Gospel Choir; organizing post-performance discussions at the high school when The Laramie Project was staged; NPFH Sabbath Weekends at local houses of worship; activities with the South Shore No Place for Hate Coalition of 12 sister communities; the current "Civic Engagement in Our Changing Milton" project, which has inspired several new resident task forces: Enhanced, Dynamic Milton Website, Welcome to Milton Program, Activities to Promote Neighborhood Interaction and Youth Programs & Dialogue on Teen Issues.

The statewide No Place for Hate program was started by the Anti-Defamation League in partnership with the Massachusetts Municipal Association and it receives substantial support from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, which has become the first “No Place for Hate Company.” The Annual NPFH Awards & Workshops are also held at Blue Cross Blue Shield’s offices in the Fenway’s Landmark Center.

The Milton NPFH Committee was formed in 2001 by residents to work with fellow residents and leaders to: proactively recognize issues of diversity; build inter-group understanding, respect and harmony within our community; challenge hate incidents, civil rights violations and bigotry that may occur. We stand against hate and promote respect for all residents, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, physical ability, gender, age, financial status, etc.

In a June 2001 public ceremony, the Board of Selectmen issued a No Place for Hate Proclamation that was co-signed by the chair of the Board of Selectmen, the Superintendent of Schools and the Chief of Police. Over 200 additional town officials, community leaders and residents endorsed the new program.

6:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Great blog. As a relatively new resident of milton, I wish I had found it sooner. I read with interest your commentary on the election. As a parent of two young children, I'm curious if you could post a synopsis of where the different candidates stand on the more popular issues discussed during this election. For example which plan does each support for the school restructuring; what plan does each have for commercial dev; or simply what are the top three issues and stances each would set as priorities to be addressed by the Town.

As a relative newcomer, it would begreat to hear your voice.

11:30 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home