On May 8, 2009, at 11:27 AM, Massachusetts Slow Growth Initiative wrote:                                               Hav...
in the pipeline, even if it is temporarily stalled by a weak economy.These terrible projects have been approved by the tow...
4. Colleen Stansfield stated that “Donald was the perfect candidate.” She thenstated incorrectly that the Inspector Genera...
coverage. Phil chose to characterize the presentation of this information as“disrespectful and even shameful to the electi...
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Fwd politically just plain incorrect/ May 8th 2009

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Roland Van Liew TV critic ;)

Reviews Tom Christiano's Post Election show 2009


http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3256989518089497713#

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Fwd politically just plain incorrect/ May 8th 2009

  1. 1. On May 8, 2009, at 11:27 AM, Massachusetts Slow Growth Initiative wrote: Having trouble viewing this e-mail? please use this link. The “Post-Election Analysis” show on Chelmsford Cable (Tom Christiano’s “Politically Incorrect”) was hardly that. In fact, it was no more than a love-in for Donald Van Dyne supporters and Repeal 40B bashers. No opposing viewpoints were presented. The worst thing about the show, though, was the free reign it provided for the continuation of the pro-growth camp’s smear tactics and misinformation campaign. The most vocal panelists were Phil Eliopoulos and Van Dyne campaigner Colleen Stansfield. There were three main categories of smears and misinformation: 1) Baldfaced lies; 2) Important points that were completely ignored because they would refute the falshoods being promoted as truth; 3) Bashes and personal insults based on made-up premises and the baldfaced lies. The statements made were too far-reaching to allow to hang out there and affect public policy dialog. Phil Eliopoulos is vice-chair of the Master Plan committee. Colleen Stansfield was recently appointed and then elected to the Planning Board. Unfortunately, their public statements require a detailed response to provide the facts. Baldfaced Lies and Misinformation 1. Phil Eliopoulos joined Town Manager Paul Cohen in claiming that there are no 40Bs in the pipeline and that Chelmsford does not have an issue with 40B’s because there are “no shovels in the ground.” Phil went even further and claimed that “there’s nothing happening with respect to 40Bs.” There are at least three projects that are actively in the pipeline. Hillside Gardens is a 49-unit – mostly market rate, not affordable units – project on five acres, approved as a 40B LIP by the Board of Selectmen. Phil Eliopoulos was the deciding vote in a 3-2 decision by the BOS (joining Bill Dalton and Sam Chase). It’s sited on a commercially zoned parcel partially alongside heavy industrial businesses. The residential abutters have fought the project for years now. The ZBA pushed to move the project forward, but the commercial abutters have sued and the project is in litigation. That project is very much in the pipeline, and Phil Eliopoulos knows very well that the ZBA is virtually certain to vote YES on that project. The ZBA has raised no significant objections, nor has it proposed downsizing the number of units, nor has it proposed increasing the number of affordable units, despite the input of countless residents, the Slow Growth Petition, and the presentation of numerous studies showing the disastrous financial consequences for the community. Phil is directly responsible for that project even being in the pipeline. Yet he claims there’s nothing in the pipeline. Princeton Properties has another, even larger project on Riverneck Road. It includes an underground garage even though it’s near wetlands, and there are numerous environmental concerns. That project is very much in the pipeline as well, the ZBA having voted “Yes” to the required Comprehensive Permit. The reason that shovels aren’t in the ground on that one isn’t because Phil or any other Chelmsford official did anything – it’s because the abutters have brought suit in land court to stop the project. If the abutters didn’t decide to bear the expense of litigation that the Town refused to bear, shovels could have been in the ground early last fall. Phil knows about this project too, since he was on the Board the entire time it was being ushered through the pipeline. A third project is the Boston Road proposal that the city just sent an approval letter for in December, despite objections from numerous residents. That project has not “gone away,” as Phil put it. It is very much alive and very much in the pipeline. A third project is the Boston Road proposal that the city just sent an approval letter for in December, despite objections from numerous residents. That project has not “gone away,” as Phil put it. It is very much alive and very much in the pipeline, even if it is temporarily stalled by a weak economy. These terrible projects have been approved by the town’s Development Director and town boards partly because there is no policy in place to provide a uniform and enforceable process to systematically protect against predatory development. As a result, developers continue to propose 40B projects that would bring them excessive profits at the expense of our community. Phil, claiming that these projects don’t exist and that the others coming down the road don’t exist either, called the Repeal 40B letter “an attempt to hijack the election… to try and make it about an issue that Chelmsford isn’t facing.” Chelmsford isn’t facing 40B development? Tell that to the abutters, who have had to spend countless hours attending hearings, calling and writing to deaf-eared town officials, and filing costly lawsuits to protect the entire town – because the Town Officials won’t do it! If you listen to Phil Eliopoulos and Paul Cohen, there’s not even a problem!
  2. 2. in the pipeline, even if it is temporarily stalled by a weak economy.These terrible projects have been approved by the town’s Development Directorand town boards partly because there is no policy in place to provide a uniformand enforceable process to systematically protect against predatory development.As a result, developers continue to propose 40B projects that would bring themexcessive profits at the expense of our community.Phil, claiming that these projects don’t exist and that the others coming down theroad don’t exist either, called the Repeal 40B letter “an attempt to hijack theelection… to try and make it about an issue that Chelmsford isn’t facing.”Chelmsford isn’t facing 40B development? Tell that to the abutters, who havehad to spend countless hours attending hearings, calling and writing to deaf-earedtown officials, and filing costly lawsuits to protect the entire town – because theTown Officials won’t do it! If you listen to Phil Eliopoulos and Paul Cohen,there’s not even a problem!2. Kathy Duffet (School Committee) opened with the statement that, “This letter,written by someone who does not live in Chlemsford, really obfuscated theissues.” Quite the contrary, the letter clarified the obvious attempts by theestablishment crowd to characterize LIP projects as “friendly,” to characterize LIPprojects as outside of the 40B comprehensive permitting (which of course they arenot), and to try to claim that there is no link between growth, 40B development,and costs to the town. The effort to call white black and to call black white, iscoming from pro-growth town officials, not from Repeal 40B or from SGI.3. Jim Lane (Planning Board, Master Plan Committee) stated that the mailings“stimulated the wrong discussion, because there’s really nothing going on with40B’s right now.” There’s plenty going on – developers (and real estate lawyers)are continually eyeing properties, there are two huge projects on Chelmsford’sborders, and two projects inside Chelmsford that are under litigation. Legislationto curb 40B is being proposed by state legislators and could be supported by ourTown Officials, even if only by contacting our four state reps and state Senator tosupport the budget amendments and legislative bills that would curb 40B abuses.But they’re too busy bashing Repeal 40B and the Slow Growth Initiative to getinvolved at that level.Jim Lane also mentioned the obvious financial difficulties: “We’ve closed aschool, we’ve closed a fire station, we have people that aren’t taking raises…”The pro-growthers deny any link between growth and financial stress. The fact isthat the growth of the town over the past two decades has made it necessary fordozens of new traffic lights – that’s $30 million in state and local money rightthere – plus all the other necessary and expensive road improvements; multiplestudies for re-siting fire stations; increases in fire and police personnel; exceedingthe planned sewer handling capacity which is going to be very expensive – andgets more expensive with every single additional project. The water system isalready overextended and there are water bans every summer. The list goes onand on.Points that were completely ignored1. It is Donald Van Dyne who made it a central theme of his campaign that townpolicy should be to encourage LIP developments, which are 40B projects.However, Phil Eliopoulos disingenuously complained that a person who did notlive within the town (John Belskis, Chair of the Repeal 40B Coalition)“interjected himself” into town politics. The Repeal 40B Coalition has“interjected” itself into many town elections, creating grass roots support forrepeal of 40B that is having a substantial impact not only at the local level, but atthe state level. Chelmsford officials have been among the most sluggish to joinefforts to lobby against 40B’s abuses. Town Manager Paul Cohen’s stockresponse: “There’s nothing we can do.” Even so, had Chelmsford not had acandidate actively misrepresenting the nature of 40B projects, it is unlikely thatRepeal 40B would have even been interested in the election.2. It was Donald Van Dyne who repeatedly characterized LIP 40B projects as“friendly.” Tell that to the abutters of the Hillside Gardens project (as well asother concerned residents and business people).3. When claiming that Donald Van Dyne was not a participant in a 40B land flipin Reading, it was universally omitted that DVD paid $600,000 for the land parcelthat was appraised at half that amount. This is what land flipping is all about, andis a typical example of how 40B drives up land prices, making all housing lessaffordable, and driving Massachusetts to the very bottom of the country inaffordability. It also, of course, makes it extremely difficult for towns to competeto buy land in order to preserve open space.4. Colleen Stansfield stated that “Donald was the perfect candidate.” She thenstated incorrectly that the Inspector General’s report concluded that DVD didnothing wrong, then stated correctly that “they did the audit and found the excessmoney, he paid it back.” In other words, the audit revealed that DVD had hiddenexcess profits, which of course is unlawful. She then confirmed he paid $17,000to settle the matter. The breathtaking illogic of that must have hit her because shethen stated she was “not going to get into the details of that.” She certainly alsodidn’t mention the detail that Peabody town officials stated that working with VanDyne as the developer was “problematic.”5. The I.G. report confirms that because of the land flip from one developer to adifferent developer (Van Dyne), the additional $300,000 profit created by the 40Bpermit could not be recovered by the town of Peabody. That’s a reality and anexcellent example of how the land flipping protects profits at the expense of thetowns.6. The land transaction was mentioned once in the Repeal 40B letter, and not at
  3. 3. 4. Colleen Stansfield stated that “Donald was the perfect candidate.” She thenstated incorrectly that the Inspector General’s report concluded that DVD didnothing wrong, then stated correctly that “they did the audit and found the excessmoney, he paid it back.” In other words, the audit revealed that DVD had hiddenexcess profits, which of course is unlawful. She then confirmed he paid $17,000to settle the matter. The breathtaking illogic of that must have hit her because shethen stated she was “not going to get into the details of that.” She certainly alsodidn’t mention the detail that Peabody town officials stated that working with VanDyne as the developer was “problematic.”5. The I.G. report confirms that because of the land flip from one developer to adifferent developer (Van Dyne), the additional $300,000 profit created by the 40Bpermit could not be recovered by the town of Peabody. That’s a reality and anexcellent example of how the land flipping protects profits at the expense of thetowns.6. The land transaction was mentioned once in the Repeal 40B letter, and not atall in the SGI letter, yet that was the main point discussed about the letters, asthough everything in the letters hinged on that point. It was never pointed outthat, until the Repeal 40B letter appeared, DVD had tried to make it sound likeLIPs were not 40Bs, and had tried to claim that he was not “really” a developer.7. After the revelation that abutters to Van Dyne’s LIP project in Chelmsford hadbeen paid cash, ostensibly to smooth the way for his project, DVD claimed thatthe money was for a “neighborhood improvement fund.” Yet no such fund ismentioned in the financials or in the audit for the I.G. report. This, of course, wasnot pointed out by any of the panelists. If the payments were simply gifts to theabutters, DVD would be liable for the taxes and, of course, he consequentlywould not be in compliance with the tax laws. So it’s important to Van Dynesupporters that this issue not be explored in any detail.Gratuitous Bashes Based On False Premises1. Donald Van Dyne backers and establishment pro-growthers can’t find realerrors in the mailings from Repeal 40B and SGI, so they’ve repeatedly invoked agrand total of two fabricated falsehoods: First, that there was no land flip inReading; and Second, that there are no 40B’s in the pipeline, no shovels goinginto the ground, and therefore no 40B problem in Chelmsford. They stay onmessage and have used these two false assertions over and over to characterizeRepeal 40B mailings as “full of errors” and “full of lies.” Phil Eliopoulos made ita point to say over and over that Repeal 40B “needs to get their facts straight” and“isn’t factually accurate” and “owes the town an apology” and so on. Bill Daltonused the same technique at a recent Board of Selectmen meeting. As thoughrepeating it often enough would make it true.2. Phil Eliopoulos chose to go further and jump to all kinds of conclusions that,while ridiculous, were nevertheless very disparaging: For one thing, he claimedthat “Everyone knows that SGI obviously paid for the Repeal 40B mailing.”That’s a nutty thing to assert, but it gave him the false premise to say veryforcefully that “SGI should just be up front” and “SGI are cowards” and “JohnBelskis owes the town an apology.” Repeal 40B paid for its own mailing, ofcourse. Some would say that “Everyone knows that Phil Eliopoulos, himself areal estate lawyer, acts as a political insider for his relatives in the constructionindustry.” Perhaps they feel he should “just be up front about it.” Some wouldsay he’s a “coward for not admitting it.” Some would certainly say PhilEliopoulos owes the town an apology.Watch the pro-growthers foam at the mouth regarding those statements, whiledoubtless not a word will be said about Eliopoulos’ original symmetricalstatements that are based on outrageous falsehoods.3. Phil made other outlandish claims, like Repeal 40B and SGI share a PO Box(he was corrected by someone on the spot about that). He also stated that Repeal40B “used SGI’s bulk mail permit,” which is laughable – the Post Office wouldnever allow it even if it were to be attempted. He went on to claim that this writer“heckled” DVD in a case where precisely the opposite occurred. Rita Savard(Lowell Sun journalist) corrected him on that one. Phil has spent so much timesaying black is white and white is black, he may be starting to actually believe it.4. Several of the panelists used the word “intrigue” which is “a secret scheme” or“an underhanded plot.” In the view of these town officials, public fact-findingand information dissemination that counters their own misinformation anddisinformation is “secret scheming” and “underhanded plotting.”5. The letter from Repeal 40B provided information that is very important andwas not readily available to the voters from other sources, including newscoverage. Phil chose to characterize the presentation of this information as“disrespectful and even shameful to the election process.” Phil went on to call thepresentation of the information “dirty politics.” Then he went on to say that he“wants a campaign to be based on the truth.” Again, the mistruths that have beenintroduced into the discussion, then repeated over and over, have been introducedby him and other pro-growth apologists.SummaryThe long and the short of it is, if Don Van Dyne’s foolish and self-servingproposal to make LIP development projects the centerpiece of a strategy forChelmsford’s future had any credence whatsoever, he should have walked awaywith the election – because the opposition vote was being split among FIVE othercandidates.Clearly, Chelsmford residents are ready, in fact eager, to unite around a strategy ofstability, prosperity, and sustainability. But establishment figures like Phil
  4. 4. coverage. Phil chose to characterize the presentation of this information as“disrespectful and even shameful to the election process.” Phil went on to call thepresentation of the information “dirty politics.” Then he went on to say that he“wants a campaign to be based on the truth.” Again, the mistruths that have beenintroduced into the discussion, then repeated over and over, have been introducedby him and other pro-growth apologists.SummaryThe long and the short of it is, if Don Van Dyne’s foolish and self-servingproposal to make LIP development projects the centerpiece of a strategy forChelmsford’s future had any credence whatsoever, he should have walked awaywith the election – because the opposition vote was being split among FIVE othercandidates.Clearly, Chelsmford residents are ready, in fact eager, to unite around a strategy ofstability, prosperity, and sustainability. But establishment figures like PhilEliopoulos, Bill Dalton, Claire Jeanotte, and Town Manager Paul Cohen havebeen intransigent about refusing to fight growth as the Master Plan dictates.Eliopoulos and Dalton are off the Board of Selecment. But opposition to such astrategy continues to come from Town Hall in the person of Chelmsford’s electedand appointed officials – including the pro-growth Community Developmentoffice and pro-growth Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA).Phil Eliopoulos lamented that the election “became, at the end of the day, all about40B.” First of all, one must ask the question, “Who is responsible for that?” Thecandidates certainly talked about and researched all kinds of issues, and that wasreported in the media but not very thoroughly. That’s not under the control ofSGI or Repeal 40B. The simple fact is, if the Board of Selectmen, of which PhilEliopoulos was chairman, had taken even 15 minutes to implement the simplest ofthe safeguards proposed by SGI (and, by the way, adopted by several othertowns) then 40B would indeed have been a non-issue in the election. BecauseEvan Belansky would have explicitly been prohibited from rubber stamping thenumber of units in the Boston Road 40B in December, and Van Dyne’s campaignwouldn’t have even been able to consider a foolish proposal to encourage 40BLIP development in Chelmsford.But for the past two years Phil has dug in his heels, along with Sam Chase, BillDalton, Pat Wotjas and Claire Jeannotte, refusing to initiate even a single action tocodify any policy that would explicitly advocate sustainability, or discourage 40Bdevelopers in any way, or protect the town from predatory development. Thepro-growthers blame the resulting conflict on SGI and Repeal 40B.Getting the facts right is no guarantee that good policies will follow, but it is aprerequisite. It’s fortunate that organizations like SGI and Repeal 40B advocatefor the truth. The large number of signers to the Slow Growth Petition and theresults of recent elections are evidence that the town is ready and eager to unifyaround policies designed to protect the town from predatory development. So farthe town’s officials, both elected and appointed, have refused to implement suchpolicies. Robert Mitchum famously said, “Half the people in America are fakingit.” In the case of Chelmsford’s policy makers, it would appear that the number isfar greater than that.Roland Van LiewChelmsford ResidentCo-Founder, Chelmsford Slow Growth Initiative This email was sent to re007hq@comcast.net, by contact@slow-growth.org. You may unsubscribe from this list. If this message was received in error, please report it. Slow Growth Initiative | PO Box 2375 | Acton | MA | 01720 | US

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