Monday, April 29, 2013

Selectman and Planning Board Endorsements


Selectman Robert Sweeney seeks a second three year term and is being challenged by Katie Conlon. Sweeney is a retired teacher in the Boston school system, a life- long resident, a town meeting member from Precinct 9 and some years ago served on the Milton School Committee.  Conlon was also raised in Milton. She’s an attorney, a Town Meeting Member for 22 years and currently serves on the Boards of Fuller Village, Milton Hospital, and the Cunningham Foundation.
Robert Sweeney
Selectman Sweeney came to office with a key objective. He wanted to block if at all possible the development of the Governor Stoughton property. He enjoyed generous contributions from neighbors in Indian Cliffs who also wanted to stop any development.  When the RFP proposals for the property were submitted, he supported one that was essentially a gift to the Town, containing no development, and offering substantially less money to the trust than two other proposals.  When the Board met to discuss the options and make a selection, Indian Cliffs residents packed the COA meeting room and in a rare display of rudeness attempted to intimidate the Selectmen into ignoring their responsibilities as Trustees of the Governor Stoughton Trust. Mr. Sweeney was happy to oblige them, while the other two selectmen understood their responsibility.

 Running for re-election he’s built his campaign around political grandstanding over MWRA water rates and an anti-tax stance. Although the campaign has not specifically said he will oppose any tax increases, his supporters have been saying that and you can be sure the underground campaign that takes place in all elections is touting that as fact. Milton requires periodic overrides to make up for annual revenue growth that falls short of comparable communities and even the state average.  Mr. Sweeney’s own co-treasurer, long-time Town Treasurer Kevin Sorgi, has been noting for almost a decade the town’s need for overrides from time to time. It’s disturbing to me that a Selectman might not support the citizens making a choice by vote between lost services and tax increases, as it should be to anyone concerned about Public Safety and our Schools.

Katie Conlon
I worked with Katie on the Warrant Committee during my last year on the committee. She went on to -serve as the Chair  for three years and did an outstanding job during her tenure. The Town Meeting respected her work on the annual town budget recommendations and it was rare that those recommendations were not followed.  Needless to say, she understands the town’s budget and finances very well.

Katie is one of those rare individuals who really is objective in her approach to issues.  Although I don’t always agree with her, I always know that her conclusions about things come from careful study, not a predetermined position.  She understands that a Selectman’s role is to represent the entire town, not a neighborhood or groups with whom one might have an association. She’s forward – looking and will tackle difficult problems and work collegially with fellow Selectmen to find solutions.

By nature, Katie is fiscally conservative, as anyone who’s ever worked on a budget with her would know. But she recognizes the special fiscal restraints the town operates under. She’s under no delusions about how tight our budgets are.  In the final analysis, she will balance her fiscal instincts with the residents’ right to make the final decisions on services and taxes.

I support Katie Conlon for Selectman and hope you’ll give her your vote.

Planning Board

Incumbent Alex Whiteside seeks another 5 year term on the Planning Board and is being challenged by Real Estate Developer Todd Hamilton.

Alex Whiteside is a personality. In his role as Planning Board member he can occasionally be supercilious, and just plain difficult.  But he possesses a very valuable skillset for his role on the Board. A large part of the Board’s purpose is to apply the zoning laws contained in our own Zoning Bylaws and in State law to land and development issues in Milton.  As a career lawyer with special focus on these very topics he offers an on the spot check of Board deliberations from a legal perspective, and despite what his opponent says, this is a valuable asset.

Mr. Hamilton’s candidacy seems to have been spurred by the Planning Board’s rejection of his development proposal off Hillside St. Now both Alex Whiteside and the Board are capable of making mistakes, as would Mr. Hamilton if he were elected. I don’t understand how this constitutes a rationale for voting for Mr. Hamilton.

Mr. Hamilton is a developer. Besides the obvious concerns of putting the fox in charge of guarding the hen house, Mr. Hamilton seems to think that when development conflicts with zoning, things should be settled like a business deal where everyone sits around a table and hammers out a compromise.  He’s referenced his experience at dealing with Planning Boards in other communities, mentioning Bridgewater for one. Now Bridgewater’s a fine place. However, I don’t think anyone who’s ever driven through the town would confuse it with Milton. We have a history of bias against expanding commercial development and this has resulted in a heavier burden on homeowners than otherwise would be the case. But this is not a reason to ignore current zoning.  And our beautiful town owes much of our attractiveness as a community to long standing adherence to zoning laws.

This is no time to swap smart zoning for the art of the deal. Please join me in supporting Alex Whiteside for another term on the Planning Board.



Blogger Philip Mathews said...

Laurie Kennedy has left the following comment on

"Phil, your comments are rude. I did not want to see the Governor Stoughton property developed so please do not assume everyone wanted that property developed (and by the way I do not live in Indian Cliffs). That’s why I will vote for Selectman Sweeney again, he deserves my vote as he is a person of intelligence and integrity with the ability to see the big picture."

Laurie, you seem confused. I made no point that only Indian Cliff residents opposed development at the Town Farm. But they led the charge, heavily funded Mr. Sweeney's campaign and were in fact rude at the public meetings on the options. Far from seeing the big picture, Mr. Sweeney saw the little picture of his neighbors, and failed miserably to fulfill his legal duties as one of the Trustees of the Governor Stoughton Trust. That legal responsibility trumps what he, his neighbors, and you wanted to see happen on that property.

10:32 AM  

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