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In-Town Report May 15 2011

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  1. 1. Choosing Chelmsfordby Timothy McIlvenna11 Brook StreetI choose Chelmsford.I choose to celebrate that we have come through what we think is the worst of theeconomic crisis, and are now increasing services where possible, including lifeguardsat the beaches and more hours at McKay.I choose to support and treasure the volunteers - the MANY volunteers - who helpthis community in so many ways.I choose to participate in town government, knowing that town government is not aspectator sport.I choose to communicate directly with our volunteers, appointed and electedofficials, and town administration, even when I disagree, so that communicationCAN be dialog, and that mutual respect and understanding can prevail.I choose to support our teachers and administration, and take the time every sooften when they go above and beyond to send emails praising them, copying theirleadership, so they know how much their efforts are appreciated.I choose to watch closely the actual meetings that occur, and not just read aboutthem in blogs or mailings.I choose to commend those that work tirelessly to ensure Chelmsford gets its duefor grant money, so that our town can be improved beyond what our local funding canprovide.I choose to try to attend many great events in Chelmsford like parades, breakfasts,book sales, concerts on the common and many of the other offerings that Chelmsfordhas each week.I choose to believe we will move beyond recalls andmailings, and spend our collective limited resources to move us forward, to increaseour sense of community, to continually restore the Lions pride, to be sires that willwin more, andchildren that will truly guard what has already been won.I choose Chelmsford.
  2. 2. POLITICALLY INCORRECTwith TOM CHRISTIANOPolitically Incorrect 16th Anniversary Show, taped on April 26, 2011, with (L to R) Town Manager Paul Cohen, Planning Bd Chair Sue Carter, Show Host Tom Christiano, School Comm Chair JanetAskenburg & Selectmen Chairman George Dixon.Topics included the current Town Meeting, the recall petitions, 9 North Road & the Fire Station. A very interesting & informative show. CLICK HERE for show
  3. 3. Chelmsford S o a p O p e r a Central Cohen: Town is Adhering to Recall BylawsMcClure: 14 Day Window for Recall Town Manager Paul Cohen said the town is act-Has Not Started Yet The Story Thus Far ing within the bylaws and the 14-day window forA letter from Richard McClure the selectmen recall to collect signatures startedto the Town Clerk. Tuesday. By Krista www.chelmsford.patch.comApril 21, 2011 April 21, 2011Dear Ms. Delaney, Town Manager Paul Cohen today said the town is acting within the bylaws regarding the process for re- Please be advised that this office represents Mr. Roland calling four selectmen.Van Liew and other registered voters who are signatorsto the recent recall affidavits for Jon Kurland, George On Tuesday, Roland Van Liew completed the firstDixon, Matthew Hanson and Patricia Wojtas. As you are step of the recall process and returned affidavits withwell aware, Mr. Van Liew caused to be delivered to your 25 signatures from each of the towns precincts to re-office numerous pages of affidavits petitioning for the re- call four selectmen. Now, he has 14 days to collectcall of these Selectmen pursuant to section 3-12 of the signatures from 10 percent of the towns voters toChelmsford Town Charter on April 19, 2011. force a recall election.For more article click hereRecall proponent blasts In a letter from Richard McClure, Van Liews lawyer,Chelmsford petition time rule to Town Clerk Elizabeth Delaney and Town Manager Paul Cohen, McClure assertsBy Rita Savard, For more article click here04/22/2011 Superior Court Judge Restarts Recall The judge today decided the 14-day window forCHELMSFORD -- A race against the clock to recall four selectmen Roland Van Liew to collect signatures fromhas one resident locking horns with town officials over the law. 10 percent of the towns voters will start today. By Krista PerryBusinessman Roland Van Liew turned in the required 25 signa- April 22, 2011tures from each of the towns nine voter precincts Tuesday, jump- www.chelmsford.patch.comstarting the recall. Once the signatures are certified, the town A Middlesex Superior Court Judge this afternoon ruled that the 14-dayclerk must issue petitions in the name of each person targeted for window for Roland Van Liew to collect signatures from 10 percent of therecall. towns voters will start today. Van Liew is trying to recall four selectmen.Van Liew is accusing Selectmen Matt Hanson, Jon Kurland, Richard McClure, Van Liews attorney, brought the case to court in an ef-George Dixon and Pat Wojtas of failing to uphold the law by not fort to seek an injunction on the grounds that the 14-day time periodtaking to court an alleged violation of a preservation restriction on should start when the lead petitioner receives the blank petitions ona 9 North Road building project. which to collect signatures, and not when the initial 25 signatures to start the recall process were turned in, which was Tuesday.But Richard McClure, Van Liews attorney, said yesterday that hisclient has a dilemma. Van Liew has 14 days to collect about 2,400 "(The judge) reset the clock today," said Town Manager Paulsignatures, 10 percent of registered voters townwide, to trigger a Cohen. "He also determined the town clerk’s preparation of re -special election. But that clock started running on Tuesday when call blanks met the requirements for delivery, so she doesn’tthe affidavits were filed -- and the town has not issued the formal have to do anything beyond that despite the assertion shepetition forms that must be used, McClure said. had to deliver petitions to all the people who (initially) signed it." it.McClure said the clock shouldnt begin ticking until his client has For more article click herethe official paperwork required to gather signatures."Theoretically, your office could take 13 days to prepare A Letter from Richard McClureand deliver the blank original petitions; leaving my McClure addresses the town manager, selectmen and residents.clients only one day to obtain signatures from 10 per - April 24, 2011cent of the towns voters," McClure wrote in a letter to Town voters, www.chelmsford.patch.comClerk Betty Delaney. "It is my opinion the correct interpre - Open Letter to the Residents of Chelmsford, Town Manager, Paultation of (the bylaw) is that the filing of the signed Cohen, and the Chelmsford Board of SelectmenFor more article click hereAnother injunction filed in recall effort As you are all well aware, the town manager has filed a complaint against me with the State Ethics Commission. As Mr. Cohen takes hisKevin Zimmerman/Staff Reporter • Tue, Apr 26, 2011 direction from the Board of Selectmen, I must presume the Board complicit in his decision regarding same. Not having received the pro- fessional courtesy of a copy of said complaint, I will have to accept Mr.The selectmen recall case returns to court later today over the issue Cohen’s explanation for his reasoning which he delivered to me viaof how many blank petitions the town must supply to recall support- live commentary on last Saturday’s WCAP morning show.ers.In a letter addressed to Middlesex Superior Court Assistant Clerk Apparently, Mr. Cohen feels that I am in violation of state and localMartha Brennan, Attorney Richard McClure argues the time con- ethics regulations which purport to prevent an elected public officialstraints in place to collect the nearly 2,500 required signatures means from acting as the attorney for parties who wish to bring legal actionmore than 700 blank petitions - for each of the selectmen - delivered against the Town. Obviously, Mr. Cohen is referring to my representa-by the town is inadequate. tion as the attorney for myself, my family and over 400 voters from the"Plaintiffs contend that the 700 blank petitions already de - town of Chelmsford in a recent Petition for Preliminary Injunction filedlivered to the signatories to the recall affidavits is insuffi - in Middlesex Superior Court.cient given the fact that there are over 22,000 registeredvoters in the Town of Chelmsford and less than 14 days Contrary to Mr. Cohen’s selective version of the facts, I do not repre-during which to collect signatures. Plaintiffs wish to so - sent anyone seeking the recall of 4 current members of the Board oflicit signatures by forwarding petition blanks to registered Selectmen. I represented myself, my family and over 400 Chelmsfordvoters via the U.S. mail, at their own expense," wrote Mc- expense voters whoClure. For more click hereFor more article click here
  4. 4. Two sides argue over recall signatures By Monica Jimenez / Wicked Local Chelmsford GateHouse News Service Apr 27, 2011 — Selectman Jon raising the question of whether local businesses should toleraterecall petition canvassers on their premises. But according to recall leader Roland Van Liew, the signaturecollectors are doing nothing wrong – and as a state Civil Liberties Union attorney sees it, neither Kurlandnor Chelmsford store managers are in a position to stop them.Signature collectors have been sighted at Drum Hill Road businesses, local supermarkets and stores likeCVS. An info sheet these out-of-town petitioners have been handing out refers prominently to a controver-sial 9 North Road building project.Kurland claimed because the petitioners are being paid, they are not showing residents what they’re sign-ing, misleading them about what the recall would do, or distracting them with an emotional issue. Peoplehave come to him asking how to combat the recall, Kurland said, and he has suggested they contact storemanagers and discuss the petitioners’ presence.“There are times when it’s appropriate for businesses to look at what people are doing,” doing,Kurland said.Petitioners are exercising their right to free speech by approaching people outside these stores, he said,but so is a person holding a graphic anti-abortion or pro-death-penalty poster – or a person holding a signto boycott the store. Managers might take issue with this behavior, Kurland said, and they should view therecall effort in the same light.“These are outsiders trying to destroy our town,” Kurland said. “A recall effort would cripple town,us.”us. Van Liew maintained the recall is a vehicle for residents to remove officials they no longer support from Town Hall. He referred specifically to Town Manager Paul Cohen. “The out-of-towners who are gathering signatures are giving voters the chance to assert their will,” Van Liew said. “The out-of-towner in Town will, Hall is thwarting the voters’ will. ” Van Liew said the petitioners are professionals who have been instructed to inform Roland Van Liew residents of what they’re signing and they have no reason to lie. Kurland’s approach to the petitioners has drawn another kind of criticism. Although hesaid he used the word “boycott” purely in the context of persuasive rhetoric, he has also reminded people boycottthey have the right to stop shopping at a store to express disapproval of petitioners.State Civil Liberties Union attorney Sarah Wunsch said freedom of speech may be a protected right, butKurland’s words in this case may raise concerns because he is a selectman.“He has coercive authority,” Wunsch said. authority,She also referred to the legal case Batchelder v. Allied Stores International, in which a court upheld a citi-zen’s right to collect signatures in a large shopping mall. It is possibleChelmsford’s supermarkets could get in trouble for heeding advice to remove Jon Kurlandpetitioners, Wunsch said.“If he [Kurland] puts pressure on local businesses and causesthem to stop someone else from collecting signatures, it couldbe an Article 9 case,” Wunsch said. case,Article 9 of the state constitution guarantees equal access to the ballot.Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved
  5. 5. Agreement reached over recall petitions Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Reporter • Thu, Apr 28, 2011 www.chelmsfordmassnews.comAlthough he prepared to argue his client should be given more recall petitions, Attorney Richard McClure and the townreached an out-of-court settlement Tuesday."The clerk will accept exact duplicates," said Town Manager Paul Cohen. duplicates,Town Clerk Betty Delaney provided Roland Van Liew with 700 petitions for each of the four selectmen involved in the re-call. McClure argued time constraints in place to collect the nearly 2,500 required signatures made the 2,800 issued inad-equate."Plaintiffs contend that the 700 blank petitions already delivered to the signatories to the recall affi -davits is insufficient given the fact that there are over 22,000 registered voters in the Town of Chelms -ford and less than 14 days during which to collect signatures. Plaintiffs wish to solicit signatures byforwarding petition blanks to registered voters via the U.S. mail, at their own expense," McClure wrote to expensethe court on Tuesday.Because the petitions were numbered the clerk did not think she could accept photocopies of the originals, said Cohen.Town Counsel Kopelman & Paige reached an agreement with McClure over allowing copies.McClure also dismissed claims of "a smoking gun" surrounding an e-mail he sent to both town counsel and Epsilon GroupLLCs lawyers last fall. For more click here Filing pushes for immediate recall vote Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Reporter • Mon, May 02, 2011 www,chelmsfordmassnews.comAttorney Richard McClure plans to argue before a Middlesex Superior Court judge Monday that Chelmsford officials ac-tions have irreparably harmed the recall effort to the point where an election should be scheduled immediately.McClure believes elected and appointed officials worked to "thwart the recall effort" and violated recall supporters effortFirst Amendment rights to collect signatures.This third injunction requesting an immediate recall election or at least giving proponents an additional 14 days to obtainsignatures follows McClures earlier ones aimed at establishing when the 14-day collection period begins and whether pe-titioners can turn in photocopied forms."Its kind of three strikes and youre out," McClure said Saturday afternoon. out,The latest filing, on behalf of "all registered voters of Chelmsford," claims Board of Selectmen member Jon Kurland vio-lated Article 9 of Massachusetts Declaration of Rights by "denying equal access to the ballot." ballotFor more article click here Court issues order against town in recall Published • Tue, May 03, 2011 www.chelmsfordmassnews.comA Middlesex Superior Court judge issued a restraining order Tuesday morning and ordered Chelmsford officials to stop in-terfering with the recall effort.The judge also extended the deadline to collect signatures until midnight on May 11."I imagine theyll appeal it," said Attorney Richard McClure. "Id be willing to be theyll appeal it." it, it.Town Manager Paul Cohen said town counsel plans to appear in court later this afternoon.Read the restraining order here. CLICK HERE for the restraining order here. Next court battle scheduled for recall effort By Monica Jimenez / Wicked Local Chelmsford GateHouse News Service May 03, 2011 —The next court battle over an effort to recall four Chelmsford selectmen will be fought Thursday, May 5 at 10 a.m.The following day, May 6, is Chelmsford resident Roland Van Liew’s deadline to collect enough signatures to recall select-men George Dixon, George Kurland, Pat Wojtas and Matt Hanson. He must have the names of 10 percent of Chelms-ford’s registered voters to call a special election for the selectmen’s removal.A court granted an order Tuesday giving Van Liew until May 11 to get the signatures, but took it back a few hours later.The legal skirmish began when Van Liew, represented by local attorney and Planning Board member Richard McClure,claimed attempts to gather signatures were obstructed by the actions of Selectman Kurland, Town Clerk Betty Delaney,Town Manager Paul Cohen and George Dixon.The argument was largely based on a statement Kurland made last week: He suggested people contact store managersto discuss the presence of petitioners on their premises. Van Liew and McClure said this violated the right of equal access
  6. 6. to the ballot.Middlesex Superior Court ordered the deadline to collect signatures extended from May 6 to May 11 and summoned thefour defendants named in Van Liew’s action to a May 11 hearing. The court also issued a restraining order forbidding theofficials from interfering with signature-gathering efforts.“I fully expect that the defendants will continue to waste more taxpayers’ money in appealing this deci -sion; further evidence that they will stop at nothing to prevent a legitimate, constitutionally-protectedrecall election,” McClure said in a statement shortly after the decision was handed down. electionHe was right in one sense: Town counsel reacted quickly, arguing against the deadline extension and Van Liew’s claims onTuesday afternoon. The judge decided to vacate the order and scheduled a Thursday morning hearing to address VanLiew’s complaint with all parties present.Cohen said this new development will cost the town a good deal more in legal fees, but added at least part of it could havebeen avoided.“We were not given proper notice,” he said Tuesday afternoon, referring to that morning’s hearing. “Otherwise, it noticeprobably would have been resolved today. The judge could only go on one side of the story, which ledto the doing and undoing of the order. It’s unfortunate because I would have liked to resolve thissooner.”sooner.Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved Judge to Decide Today on Recall A superior court judge heard from both the town and Richard McClure today. By Krista Perry 5/5/11 www.chelmsford.patch.comA superior court judge today will issue a ruling on an injunction and other pleadings from Richard McClure, who today saidhe was acting as his own attorney.Attorney Spencer Kimball accompanied McClure to court today. Kimball said he was representing Roland van Liew.Roland van Liew seeks to recall selectmen Jon Kurland, Pat Wojtas, George Dixon and Matt Hanson. McClure has raisedquestions over the 14-day window to collect those signatures, how many petitions the town should provide and who theyshould be provided to.Today in court the towns counsel Kopelman and Paige told the judge it is illegal for McClure, who is an elected official tothe Planning Board, to represent someone else in a case against the town. Though Kimball came to court today, the townsaid, all affidavits McClure has submitted have been on behalf of Roland van Liew.McClure argued he has his first amendment rights to fight a case in court and appear on behalf of himself in a case againstthe town.The town also argued McClure did not provide timely notice of court appearances and did not provide important docu-ments to them. The town also said some documents were given to the media before counsel had a chance to see them.Judge Herman Smith said McClure was "walking a fine line" and "was never clear about his role" line rolein the proceedings.McClure also argued Selectman Jon Kurland had been interfering with the signature-gathering process by calling storemanagers and asking workers be removed when they have the right to be there. McClure said Kurland told people to boy-cott the stores the signature takers stood outside of."Hes using his authority as a selectman," said McClure. selectman,Judge Smith said Kurlands opposition to his own recall is not illegal."I find you intolerable," Judge Smith said of McClure at one point in court. intolerable,The judge will make a decision on the matter today. Check Chelmsford Patch for the latest on this case. Ruling due today on latest recall suit Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Reporter • Thu, May 05, 2011 www.chelmsfordmassnews.comMiddlesex Superior Court Judge Herman Smith Jr. promised a ruling today on a motion to dismiss the ongoing court caseover Chelmsfords selectmen recall effort.During Thursday mornings hearing, Smith offered searing criticism of how Attorney Richard McClure has litigated his caseagainst town officials including Town Manager Paul Cohen and Town Clerk Betty Delaney.Smith questioned why McClure neglected to serve the town properly through Delaneys office with every new developmentand claim.
  7. 7. "This is the most unseemly case Ive seen in 21 years on the bench," said Smith. "Im not going to tolerate bench,gross and unprofessional conduct on your part. You walk a very fine line and I find it intolerable. I was -nt born yesterday." yesterday.Following the hearing, McClure said the town and its lawyers Kopelman & Paige received notice every time he filed a motion with the court."These are emergency filings," said McClure. "Im not going to send them through Betty Delaneys office." filings, office.Kopelman & Paige attorney Jonathan Silverstein rejected McClures claim of notification."Weve never seen the first amended complaint," said Silverstein. "This is a violation of the rules of civil complaint,procedure. Attorney McClure has blurred the lines all along. The rules of procedure appear to meannothing to him. The rules of professional conduct mean nothing to him."him.Silverstein went on to say McClures lawsuits have less to do with protecting the rights of Chelmsford voters than providingpublicity to the plaintiffs and their lawyer.He pointed to actions from Delaneys office - which he said dropped everything as it prepared for RichardTown Meeting to certify recall affidavit signatures and issue petitions - as proof town officials never McClureattempted to hamper the recall effort."There has been no interference from town officials. They have bent over back -wards," said Silverstein. "They (plaintiffs) wanted it to go to court. They wanted towards,wave their flag in the media." media.McClure believes officials interfered with every step of the process. He wanted to know why thetown didnt adopt a passive defensive - what it does if someone files a suit against one of Chelms-fords elected boards."This is about four selectmen being recalled. The town as an entity has no interestin this," said McClure. "From the chain of command at the top - selectmen and the this,town manager, who reports to the selectmen - we have an active demonstration to fight a legitimate re -call election." election.The judge disagreed with McClures assessment specifically because the town is listed as a defendant in the case."The town cant defend itself?" asked Smith. "You get to dictate their strategy as well?" itself? well?Smith also questioned why the plaintiffs continued to claim town officials used their positions of authority to thwart the re-call effort. McClure argued Selectman Jon Kurland sent e-mails and letters to media outlets in which he urged residents tocomplain about petition signature gatherers outside local stores by contacting those businesses’ corporate offices andthreatening to boycott if petitioners were not removed."Selectmen were expressing their own opinions; they have a First Amendment right to do that," said that,Smith. "Selectman Kurland is urging people not to sign. Why is that illegal?" illegal?Such a tactic, said McClure, constituents an illegal action because Kurland used his position of authority to impede the re-call effort.With a limited time frame to gather names on a petition, when signature gatherers were chased off a commercial property -which McClure said is a violation of their First Amendment rights - the recall effort is harmed.Smith also questioned that argument.If petitioners were worried about not having enough time to collect signatures, why did they pick up only two of the 700(per selectman) petitions on Good Friday? The balance of the petitions remained at the Town Clerks Office until the dayafter Easter."What about the three and a half days you sat on your hands?" asked Smith. hands?Once the hearing concluded, lead plaintiff Roland Van Liew said he picked up two petitions on Good Friday, because ontwo petitions included his name as a signer of an affidavit. Van Liew said he was intimated by Delaney when seeking theadditional petitions.Van Liew said he asked Delaney to provide 3,000 (per selectman) petitions and was told that wasnt going to happen. ForVan Liew, the town only followed through on what the charter requires it to do after he filed or threatened to file a lawsuit."This is how they impede me," said Van Liew. me,Failing a dismissal from Smith, town counsel also filed a motion to disqualify McClure from representing anyone in the re-call effort. As a municipal employee, which he is as an elected member of the Planning Board, McClure cannot be involvedin court proceedings that impact Chelmsford, town counsel said.
  8. 8. UPDATED: Court Sides with Town, Denies Injunction The recall petitioners have until 5 p.m. today to file their signatures to force an election. By Krista Perry 5/6/11 www.chelmsford.patch.comThe court has denied an injunction by Richard McClure, siding with the town.Yesterday the town and Richard McClure and Spencer Kimball argued their stances in court regarding the recall of fourselectmen. McClure said he was representing himself during court while Kimball was representing Roland Van Liew, leadrecall petitioner.Van Liew is trying to recall Selectmen Matt Hanson, Pat Wojtas, Jon Kurland and George Dixon. In court McClure raisedquestions about when the 14-day clock to collect signatures started as well as how many petitions should be provided toVan Liew.The judge also orders McClure "not communicate directly with any defendant in this matter except throughcounsel for the other plaintiffs or directly to defendants counsel. The defendants request for sanc -tions is DENIED." DENIEDMcClure said he disagrees with the judges ruling."I cannot agree with one iota of it. Judges are incorrect on enough occasions that we have TWO levelsof appellate courts," said McClure in an e-mail. "Apparently, the point (sufficient signatures) is moot as we courts,have more than enough signatures for a recall of all 4 Selectmen. I will most likely file a motion forreconsideration before appeal on the other issues." issues.Read Superior Court Judge Smiths ruling:"This Court DENIES the plaintiffs Emergency Motion For Further Injunctive Relief for the following reasons. The plaintiffsclaim in their Emergency Motion that the defendant Town of Chelmsford (Town), two selectmen, Jon Kurland, GeorgeDixon, and the town manager, Paul Cohen have been interfering with the plaintiffs right to petition for signatures in theireffort to obtain sufficient signatures to proceed with a recall vote against four selectmen, including Jon Kurland andGeorge Dixon.This Court finds that the plaintiffs do not have a likelihood of success on the merits.Based upon the evidence before the Court, the individuals were exercising their constitutional right of political speech invoicing opposition to the recall vote petition efforts. None of the individuals were speaking for the Town. There is not oneiota of evidence indicating that the Town did anything to hinder or impair the recall petitioning effort nor is there any evi-dence that Court finds that the plaintiffs allegations are wholly lacking in merit.2. ORDER ALLOWING Defendants Emergency Motion to Disqualify.Plaintiffs Counsel. After hearing this Court ALLOWS the Defendants Emergency Motion to Disqualify Plaintiffs Counselupon the following grounds. As clearly and accurately set out in the defendants motion and supporting memorandum,which this Court adopts in its entirety,Attorney Richard P. McClure is an elected and sworn member of the Chelmsford Planning Board and, as such, is a mu-nicipal employee within the meaning of G.L. c. 268A. Under G.L. c. 268A, Section 17(c): No municipal employee shall,otherwise than in the proper discharge of his official duties, act as agent or attorney for anyone other than the city or townor municipal agency in prosecuting any claim against the same city or town, or as agent or attorney for anyone in connec-tion with any particular matter in which the same city or town is a party or has a direct and substantial interest. In thiscase, Attorney McClure has filed pleadings on behalf of all the plaintiffs, all of whom are prosecuting claims against theTown. This constitutes a knowing violation of the conflicts of interest law enunciated in G.L. c. 268A, Section 17(c). Thelatest example of Attorney McClures violation is the so-called "Plaintiffs First Amended Petition for Certiorari, Petition forWrit of Mandamus, Complaint for Declaratory Judgment and Preliminary Injunctive Relief(1) Paper #8 on the Courtsdocket (First Amended Complaint) which is signed by Richard P. McClure both as a Pro Se partyplaintiff and as attorney.No attorney for the other plaintiffs is named nor signed the First Amended Complaint. On this basis as well party in thismatter. Attorney Richard P. McClure, may, of course, represent himself.Further, any other pleading filed by AttorneyRichard P. McClure in his supposed capacity as counsel for the other plaintiffsin this matter is hereby STRICKEN.Further this Court ORDERS that Attorney Richard P. McClure shall not communicate directly with any defendant in thismatter except through counsel for the other plaintiffs or directly to defendants counsel. The defendants request for sanc-tions is DENIED."
  9. 9. R e c a l l p e t i t i o n s f i l e d w i t h To w n C l e r k By Monica Jimenez / Wicked Local Chelmsford GateHouse News Service May 06, 2011 —Signatures to recall four Chelmsford selectmen were submitted to the Town Clerk today at about 4 p.m. Chelmsford resi-dent Roland Van Liew, who is leading the effort to recall selectmen George Dixon, Jon Kurland, Pat Wojtas and Matt Han-son, turned in the papers with one hour to spare before the 5 p.m. deadline.Town Clerk Betty Delaney must now make sure all the signers are registered Chelmsford voters from the correctprecincts, and that 10 percent of registered voters have signed. The town charter gives the Board of Registrars five daysto complete this process, according to Town Manager Paul Cohen.Once the signatures are certified, a special election will be called so voters can decide whether to remove the four select-men from their positions. Earlier today, a court granted and then rescinded a deadline extension for the recall effort. Localattorney and Planning Board member Richard McClure, who was representing Chelmsford resident and recall leaderRoland Van Liew, appeared in court Tuesday morning, claiming town officials interfered with the signature collectionprocess. The complaint specifically named Selectman Kurland, Town Clerk Betty Delaney, Town Manager Paul Cohen andSelectman George Dixon.The argument was based on a statement Kurland made last week: He suggested people contact store managers to dis-cuss the presence of petitioners on their premises. Van Liew and McClure said this violated the right of equal access tothe ballot.“Our town manager and selectmen have made it crystal clear that they don’t want residents to have achance to vote disapproval of their unethical and unlawful behavior, but the recall petition is going togive Chelmsfords voters that opportunity,” Van Liew said Tuesday. opportunity,Middlesex Superior Court ruled that day to give Van Liew until May 11 to get the signatures, but rescinded the order a fewhours later pending a hearing Thursday. Ultimately, the judge decided Kurland had not broken any rules.“Based upon the evidence before the Court, the individuals were exercising their constitutional right ofpolitical speech in voicing opposition to the recall vote petition efforts. None of the individuals werespeaking for the Town,” read the ruling, issued Friday afternoon. “There is not one iota of evidence indicating Town,that the Town did anything to hinder or impair the recall petitioning effort nor is there any evidencethat anyone was using Town resources or personnel to do so. In short this Court finds that the plain -tiffs’ allegations are wholly lacking in merit.” merit.The court also ordered McClure disqualified as counsel for Van Liew, ruling that because he holds a position on a townboard, he has a conflict of interest.“In this case, Attorney McClure has filed pleadings on behalf of all the plaintiffs, all of whom are prose -cuting claims against the Town,” reads the ruling. “This constitutes a knowing violation of the con -flicts of interest law enunciated in G.L. c. 268A, Section 17(c).” 17(c).Finally, the court chastised the plaintiffs for failing to give town counsel proper notice of Tuesday’s hearing, which made itnecessary to schedule another hearing Thursday; the court also noted McClure’s evasion of the issue.“Such unprofessional conduct is unacceptable,” read the ruling. unacceptable,Now that Van Liew’s signatures are in, the town has until Friday, May 13 at 5 p.m. to certify them.Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved Roland Van Liew Richard McClure
  10. 10. Van Liews Expense Report: $70,000 on Recall A look at how much money Roland van Liew has spent on the recall effort. By Krista Perry May 5, 2011 www.chelmsford.patch.comAs Roland van Liew tries to recall Selectmen Matt Hanson, Jon Kurland, Pat Wojtasand George Dixon, here is a look at how much he is spending on the effort. Becausethe effort is considered a political campaign for an election, van Liew is required tofiled expense paperwork with the town clerks office.Date Company Expense Purpose3/17/11 Curry Printing $15,941 Printing, mailing, postage4/1/11 Curry Printing $4,054.88 Printing and mailing4/13/11 SNI Companies $1,728 Canvassing4/22/11 Staples $891.94 Admin and copying supplies4/22/11 Powderhouse Political Consulting $9,000 Signature gathering4/24/11 SNI Companies $1,237.50 Canvassing4/26/11 Powderhouse Political Consulting $6,000 Canvassing4/27/11 Curry Printing $6,869.04 Printing and mailing4/27/11 SNI Comapnies $1,237 Canvassing4/29/11 Curry Printing $14,129 Mailing and printing4/29/11 Kimball Political Consulting $5,181 Canvassing4/29/11 Airline and Thrifty auto rental $3,024 Travel expenses Total: $69,295.98$$$ so far
  11. 11. Chelmsford officials to face recall vote Van Liew petition sets up special election to remove four selectmen By Jennifer Myers, 05/14/2011CHELMSFORD -- Chelmsford voters will head to the polls this summer to decide whether to remove four ofthe towns five selectmen from office.Resident Roland Van Liew alleges that Selectmen George Dixon, Jon Kurland, Pat Wojtas and Matt Han-son failed to uphold the law by not taking to court an alleged violation of a preservation restriction on acontroversial 9 North Road building project developed by the family of former Selectman Philip Eliopoulos.Selectman Jim Lane was not on the board at the time. He replaced Selectman Eric Dahlberg, who did notseek re-election this spring.Town Clerk Betty Delaney confirmed yesterday morning that Van Liew had submitted the required numberof voter signatures (2,363 per selectman) to force a recall election. The petitions submitted included 2,537signatures to recall Hanson, 2,523 for Kurland, 2,504 for Dixon and 2,495 for Wojtas.According to Town Manager Paul Cohen, selectmen will vote Monday night on when to hold the election.The Town Charter stipulates the election must be held 60 to 90 days from the certification of signatures.The election is expected to cost $18,000 to $20,000."My hope is that the selectmen simply resign and spare the town the expense, "said Van Liew."This is all about Paul Cohen," said Kurland, who cast the lone vote against the building project, but Cohen,has expressed vocal opposition to Van Liews mass mailings pushing the recall, stating he does not believehis colleagues violated the law. "This is just a naked power play by someone who wants to buyour government for whatever it will cost him to get rid of Paul Cohen." Cohen.Van Liew says that no one wants to see a recall, but it is the last resort for voters who feel their elected offi-cials are not protecting their best interests."Once officials are elected, there is no way to make them do anything," he said. "They act anything,independently and that is how it should be, but if they dont act in the best interest oftheir constituents,voters have norecourse when thejudicial system andstate agencies willnot enforce thelaw."law.The catalyst for therecall effort is a atwo-story, 15,494-square-foot officebuilding that willeventually housemedical, dental and lawoffices for theEliopoulos family. The2-acre parcel, behindthe Center Fire Station,was purchased from OUT TO SHAKE UP THE BOARD: Chelmsford resident Roland Van Liew has submitted enoughEastern Bank by signatures to force a special election to recall four of the town’s five selectmen over the building projectMichael Eliopoulos, at 9 North Road,behind him.father of the former Heading for a recall ballot are, from left, Selectmen Jon Kurland, Pat Wojtas, Matt Hanson and George Dixon.selectman. Sun photo/ Tory Germann
  12. 12. Last July, John Carson, Paul Hart and Joe Shanahan, the last three surviving members of the 1978 Boardof Selectmen, criticized the sitting selectmen, arguing that their intent on creating a preservation restrictionon the 2-acre parcel was to keep it as open space.An attempt to halt construction last year was rejected by a state Land Court judge.At the time, Philip Eliopoulos said the wording of the preservation restriction clearly allows for somedevelopment, while establishing standards of density on the site. He stated that is why three town boards,town counsel and the state Land Court have all given the project a green light."All of this opportunity for the selectmen to show the worst side of politics could havebeen avoided if the state authorities had done their job," said Van Liew. "They are all asleep job,at the wheel. All I had asked for was that the selectmen allow a formal inquiry to proceedand place the preservation restriction before a Land Court judge for interpretation." interpretation.Last year, Van Liew spearheaded an effort to recall Planning Board members George Zaharoolis andSusan Carter for voting to approve the project. The recall never got off the ground because Van Liew didnot submit the required number of signatures before the deadline."The Planning Board recall was just a shot across the bow, a warning," said Van Liew. warning,"We warned them in March 2010 that there would be a firestorm of outrage and they couldbe recalled; they ignored those warnings and issued the special permits anyway." anyway.He added that if the Planning Board members had been removed from office, their replacements would beappointed by Cohen, "the guy who is the problem. ""There was no incentive to carry that effort to completion, but the law does not provide forhim to replace selectmen because they are his boss," Van Liew said. boss,Van Liew also took exception to last months 76-48 Town Meeting vote to amend the towns recall bylaw,increasing the required signatures from 10 to 15 percent ofthe towns registered voters and increasing the number ofdays to obtain those signatures from 14 to 20, saying it"makes it almost impossible to recall anyone." anyone."The fact that Town Meeting rubber-stamped thechange is indicative of how bad the situation inChelmsford has become after years and years ofbackroom deals," he added. deals,"We will deal with it," Kurland said of the recall election. it,"There are a lot of citizens that do not know what isgoing on and there will be a genuine grass-rootseffort by some citizens to educate them. I takeexception to the fact that Van Liew keeps throwingout the word corruption; there was no corruption. corruption"It is no surprise that he got the signaturesconsidering he paid $70,000 to get mailings out andhire a bunch of people to gather signatures withoutexplaining to people what they are signing," Kurland signing,said, alleging that some signature gatherers told voters theywere gathering signatures to repeal the 9 North Road project. A construction crew works on the office building at 9 North Road in Chelmsford yesterday. Looking on in the background are former Selectman Phil Eliopoulos, right, whose family is developing the project. At left is his sis- ter, Dina Eliopoulos. Sun photo/ Tory Germann
  13. 13. Frances T. McDougallFriday the Thirteenth is a very sad day inChelmsford. It will be interesting to peruse the list FACE BOOK CHATT ER FACEBOOK CHATTER - T he Recall Theof people who signed this petition and ask themfor their reasons. Barb Costello Belanger Wow! There were defi-Frances T. McDougall It is on the Towns web nitely a few selectmen in the past I would have loved tosite. They did make the quota. Now we must pay see recalled but not these. Oh how times are changingfor an election. Sad. Cant wait to see the list.Maria Castro Karafelis I am absolutely Mike Combs I wonder how many signatures theydamazed at how much damage one person can have gotten if Chelmsford hadnt tried to cut the num-do. He must be on cloud nine, figuring that he ber of days allowed, refused photocopies, fought over"won". Let me tell you something Mr., you may the number of petitions, threatened to boycott storeshave won this battle, but the WAR is not over yet. that allowed petition gathering, decided to change the recall rules, and threatened some kind of home busi-Barbara Ward Democracy is not always pretty ness audit of their attorney.and seldom inexpensive. Sometimes we justhave to the whole drill, and it may even be good Im dismayed at the result.for us.Frances T. McDougall I think we all can say in Jeff Hardy Recalls are not for disagreements over is-unison: We will not permit an agent provocateur sues, thats what elections are for. This is just patheticto undermine the democratically established, by and I hope this town finally shows Mr Van Lie andcharter, Town of Chelmsford, MA, USA. As chil- friends, they cannot be bought.......dren of the sires, we will protect our duely estab-lished governmental entity. Mike Combs I wasnt in favor of this recall, but I sup- port the right to recall elected officials even if theyJoanne Bartels Stanway Time to talk to the havent been convicted of a crime. Democracy and thevoters - again. wisdom of the voters is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried.Susan Spiegel Graves We NEED to talk tothe voters but how? Maria Castro Karafelis Very, very sad day inFrances T. McDougall I havent learned what Chelmsford!! What I would like to know is how manythe native language is yet. people actually read the top portion of the recall peti- tion that presented the actual reasoning for the peti-Susan Julian Gates I would like to know why tion, or did they just listen to all the "stories" they wereDaphne Freeman signed. told and actually believed it because they are so un- aware of what is going on in town. But then again, itFrances T. McDougall It is certainly a slap in took close to $70K for him to get those signatures withthe face after this town honored her late husband all the propaganda and mis-statements. Its a shame,by naming a lake and a bike path after him. No all that money could have brought so much good to thegood deed goes unappreciated. town of Chelmsford, but now it is bringing nothing but sadness and stress.Susan Julian Gates Fran, I would say on itsface (joke intended), I agree. I dont know herwell enough to ask her about this, but I sure wish Danielle B. Evans And how about if their signaturesomeone would contact her. gatherers werent being paid $2.00 a signature and☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ werent misleading citizens into signing???? This is a disgusting and shameless use of money!!!!!! Dennis Ready Roy, Want to come on Town Talk next wed. I will let you talk Dennis Jeff Hardy For the record, the Town played by the rules and to say the towns actions may have assisted Tom Christiano Just an FYI. Roy and Laurie knew in this disqusting effort is irresponsible they wouldnt get to say too much on the show this week because Philip and Dick would be on the show together and they had so much to discuss. Roy and Laurie were Brenda Kijanka Plunkett Truly a sad day in fine with that fact as they also wanted to hear what Philip Chelmsford. Where is the "dislike" button. and Dick had to say to each other and to the viewers at home. One of the show panelists insisted, as a condition of coming on the show, that Roy and Laurie were on the Timothy McIlvenna I choose to think of this as an show as well. opportunity. Lets determine how we work together to I didnt "enjoy" talking about these divisive issues on the ensure that rather than run a negative campaign show or asking those questions, however it was inportant against the recall - we run a positive campaign to urge to hear what Philip and Dick had to say. We could easily people to go to the polls to show that we support our have used another hour to discuss this important issue in elected officials, that a small but well funded minority town. cannot overcome the greater electorate, when that electorate is rallying around a basic and fundamental premise about what we value as a community. I am not Nick DeSilvio Folks you all know I like and respect against an individual, or a small group, I am not many of you but I would like to make a request. Can we for/against a building, I am for Chelmsford. Lets make please put two in the hat in this 9 North road discussion. this about much more than what others want to debate, Its destroying our town and we just continue to fuel the let us win a decisive victory, aim for record turnout, and fire. There are so many other issues and victories that count on the voters of Chelmsford being what they are should be discussed but we continue to keep trying to - smart, engaged, and proven to speak loudly when ride this dead horse. Except for this bullcrap recall situa- engaged correctly. I choose Chelmsford. tion, 9 north road is over, the law has spoken, let it go and move on. Lets learn fron this issue for the next time but please, please let it go. Thanks for letting me vent. Dennis Ready I choose Chelmsford
  14. 14. Tom Christiano Hi Nick. I would like nothing better than Brad Marmo Great point Tim, I agree. End of theto not have to talk about 9 North Road on my show. I day, for me at least, this is all about process. 9 Northfound that last show very upsetting and I didnt enjoy Road is what it is today because the Prev Agreementhosting it at all. wasnt air tight and the process allowed what it allowed.The great majority of my shows this season did not talk RVL and Co. were able to pull this off because theabout 9 North Road, as you know. I dont like discussing it process allowed it. These are the bylaws on the books,at all as its a very divisive issue in town. these are the breaks. All we can do, like Tim said, isHowever, when people want to come on my show to dis- fight for what we believe in (Chelmsford) by participat-cuss that North Road issue, and when it will help clarify ing in our existing system (voting).what happened, and when the principals are willing tocome on the show, I have an obigation to let both sides Mary Gregoire I choose Chelmsfordpresent their cases to the viewers at home.Yes, it would have been easier for me to say no to themand discuss all of the other great things going on in our Maria Castro Karafelis Me 3, I choose Chelmsfordtown instead...but to deny that there is this issue in townand to not let the people speak about it if they wish, is justnot the right thing to do. I will let anyone come on my Jodi ONeill I couldnt agree with you more Tim. Illshow to talk about any important issue in town if I feel gladly work on the campaign to support our Selectmen.there are people who want to hear what they have to sayabout that issue. Its just the right thing to do, and Im onlyinterested in doing whats right, not whats easy or fun to Andrew Giannino Chelmsford has always been mytalk about on the show. choice to raise my family and will continue to be just glad I live no where near van looneyNick DeSilvio Tom I am truely sorry if you took offenseto my statement. It was not direrted to you or your show.You are correct and have always been fair but its what I Nick DeSilvio I choose Chelmsford as well.have been telling folks around town who bring this subjectup, let it go, besides Lewny should move. Im not trying tohid from the issue but its over and we all have to let it go. Jennifer Vaughan Almeida I choose ChelmsfordNothing is going to change the building is built, let start to too.all come together and do what this town does best, worktogether to get things accomplished for the betterment ofChelmsford. No we dont have to sing kumbaya. LeighAnn Poehler Sciacca I choose Chelmsford too! Ill gladly work on the campaign to support our se-Tom Christiano Thanks Nick. Im glad your comment lectman as well.wasnt directed at me or my show. As I explained above, Ionly want to do whats right on the show and not justwhats easy. I will gladly let people I disagree with come Frances T. McDougall Interesting comments. I es-on the show and present their side of an important issue, pecially like the names of people who click "like" Putsif someone from the other side is also there to present the the views of some "citizens" in a more visible position.other side.The more information we all get about an issue the better.Its not a good idea to bury our heads in the sand and ig- Richard McClure That Fran, doesnt miss a trick! Anore whats going on in our world (thats local, state or na- regular Sherlock Holmes! Now what? post their namestional issues). That doesnt solve any problems and only and addresses?lets them grow and become more difficult to solve lateron. Look at the deficit and national debt for example.As you know, I am not at all in favor of this recall business Richard McClure I choose Chelmsford, too! Thatsand I wish it was never started. I asked Dick McLure a se- why Ill be voting in favor of a "total recall."rious question about that on the show this week and itwas good to hear from him directly as to what he thoughtabout it. Richard McClure One last comment before I goThanks again. double-check my property security/video system, this could be Chelmsfords "best" day since they sent militiaHe-Who ShallNot-BeNamed Sorry, Nick, but the law to Lexington/Concord.has not finished speaking re: 9 North Road; the case isstill alive with a ruling still pending in the Land Court and,no matter what the decision, both parties are ready, will- Nick DeSilvio Dick I truely support your right to voteing and able to appeal... this wont be over for a long, long for a recall but I can also state its a joke to recall andtime. waste all that energy to recall an official for the reasons I have listen to all of these months. Its share stupidityNick DeSilvio Let me put in the best light that I can. but dont take it personal.You can go on forever but its just plan "bullshit". Waste-ing the plantiffs money, the taxpayer money, and courttime with frivolous nonsense is just being disingenuos to Richard McClure None taken, Nick.this community. We as a community have real issues toresolve but no we play around with this trailer trash law-suit. I know you and I agree on somethings but this is justwrong. In the end whats the objective spend as much tax- Rick Mahoney I choose a responsible, accountablepayer dollars as possible so some lawyers can make a and doing the right thing Chelmsford...the voters shallpretty penny(Im not taking a personal shot). Sorry thats decide in the end.just my opinion, no one has to agree.Virginia Chadbourne If the townspeople feel these se- Roy Earley One Town, One Team!lectmen acted wrongly, we could have defeated them in Oh wait a minute thats the motto that didnt work.the next election. I strongly object to wasting $20,000 to$40,000 of our tax money on the special election I choose Chelmsford!processes. I too found that the signature collectors werenot knowledgeable about the issue and on more than one Yeah thats the ticket ;)occasion completely misrepresented the issue to peoplewho very nearly signed. Too few of us were around tospeak up when it happened, we need to fix that beforethe special vote!
  15. 15. A SK THE MANAGERITR:How soon can the town put together a recall election?PAUL COHEN:The recall of elected officers provision of the Town Charter provides that therecall election be held not less than 60 and not more than 90 days after the date that the TownClerk certifies that a sufficient petition has been filed. Therefore, an election would take placebetweenmid-July to mid-August.ITR:When the recall election happens, if one or more selectmen are removed from officewhat happens next?PAUL COHEN:If one or more members of the Board of Selectmen were removed from office, MassachusettsGeneral Laws Chapter 41, Section 10 provides as follows: "If there is a failure to elect or a va-cancy occurs in the office of selectman, the remaining selectmen or selectman may call a spe-cial election to fill the vacancy and shall call such election upon the request in writing of twohundred registered voters of the town, or twenty per cent of the total number of registered vot-ers of the town, whichever number is the lesser; provided, that such request is filed with themor him not less than one hundred days prior to the date of the next annualelection."ITR:How soon after the recall election can the town put together another election to fill thevacant selectmen seats?PAUL COHEN:Another election could be scheduled no sooner than two months after the recall election. Thiswould be in the October/November time period. It is possible that the remainder of the unex-pired terms for seats on the Board of Selectmen may be for as little as 5 months, but no longerthan 17 months.ITR:How much will the recall election & the election to fill the selectmen seats cost thetown?PAUL COHEN:The estimated cost for a recall election is $16,000 - $20,000. The sameestimated cost would apply for an additional election to fill a vacancy(s) on the Board ofSelectmen.
  16. 16. ITR:According to the recall bylaw an official who is removed from office via recall can not beappointed to public office for 1 year. But can they run for the open selectmen seat in aelected race?PAUL COHEN:An election official who is removed from office via recall can seek election to any office in town.Therefore, if a member of the Board of Selectmen were to be recalled, that member could seekelection to an open seat on the Board of Selectmen.ITR:When the selectmen recall goes forward could the named selectmen resign the seat andthen run for the same seat in an election to fill the seat?There by eliminating the cost of the recall election and only forcing one election onthe town instead of two?PAUL COHEN:Yes, however, the members would not be required to run for the same seat/unexpired term.ITR:If all 4 selectmen get recalled in the election, there would not be a quorum.How would that affect the conducting of business at the BOS for the 60 to 90 daysit would take to have an election to fill the vacant seats?PAUL COHEN:In the event that there were to be less than a quorum of less than three of the five-memberBoard of Selectmen, the remaining member(s) would only be able to perform ministerial func-tions of the Board. For example, the one or two members would be able to schedule a specialelection to fill the vacancies on the Board of Selectmen, approve the issuance of one-day liquorlicenses, etc. Such a short-handed Board would not be able to issue debt, make appointmentsof town officials, develop policy, or conduct other executive functions.ITR:It has been reported that Roland Van Liew has spent over $70,000 on the recall so far.How much has the town spent so far on the recall?PAUL COHEN:The Town is invoiced by Town Counsel on a monthly basis. I have not received the invoice forAprils legal services. Therefore, I do not have a total cost that the Town has incurred regardingthe recall effort.ITR:Would you accept an invitation to appear on Tom Christianos Politically Incorrectopposite Roland Van Liew ?PAUL COHEN:I have never declined an invitation to appear on Toms show. I have expressed to Tom my willing-ness to appear on his show at any time, with anyone, without qualifications, to discuss any matterpertaining to the Town.
  17. 17. POLITICALLY INCORRECTwith TOM CHRISTIANOPolitically Incorrect  taped on May 10, 2011, with (l to r) Dick McClure, Laurie Myers, TC, Roy "Scoop" Earley & Philip Eliopoulos.The new Politically Incorrect TV Show, with Philip Eliopoulos, DickMcClure, Laurie Myers and Roy "Scoop" Earley This was a very interesting and informative show. I cant say I "enjoyed" hosting this show, however I had to ask the tough questions that many people in town want to hear the answers to.Tom “TC” Christiano CLICK  HERE
  18. 18. I n - To w n R e p o r t presents9 North Road:The Inside ScoopThe Drawbacks : It looked smaller on paperThe Plus side : When your inside you won’t feel Claustrophobic CLICK  HERE
  19. 19. TOWN TALKwith Dennis Ready and Mary Gregoire Selectman Jim Lane talks with Dennis and Mary about the Recall, Town Meeting, the In-Town Report & Open Space CLICK HERE for clip Dennis talks with Mary about the Recall,CLICK Roland Van Liew and Tom Christiano’s Politically Incorrect with Richard McClure and Philip EliopoulosHEREforclipSelectman Jon Kurland talks with Dennisand Mary about the Recall, Roland Van Liew CLICKand about the “fight for Chelmsford’s soul” HERE for clip
  20. 20. WHOSE “CHEATING” WHO?This recall is cheating Chelmsford out of having a board of Selectmenwho are unable to focus on our numerous town issues.It is cheating Chelmsford by casting the town in a negative light to thesurrounding communities.It is cheating Chelmsford by scaring good people away from publicservice because they may end up on the wrong side of an issue and besubjected to harrassment of a rich resident who cant stand anyonewho doesnt agree with him.It is cheating Chelmsford by potentially damaging the towns reputationas a wonderful place to live which could possibly affect home salesduring the busiest time of year for real estate transactions.It is cheating Chelmsford residents who will have to pay for an specialelection when a regular election process could have determinedwhether residents are truly unhappy with any or all of these elected offi-cials.I am also dismayed at the result - how on earth did it get this far? Mary Gregoire - Town Meeting Rep Precinct 9
  21. 21. How Can Parents Explain Bin Ladens Death? How do you talk to kids about terrorism? By Krista Perry 5/4/11 www,chelmsford.patch.comMoms Talk is a feature on Chelmsford Patch that is part of a new initiative on our Patch sites to reach out to moms and families.Each week in Moms Talk, our Moms Council of experts and smart moms take your questions, give advice and share solutions.Moms Talk will also be the place to drop in for a talk about the latest parenting hot topic. If you have a question for our council, e-mail it How have you talked to your kids, if at all, about Osama bin Ladens death and what that means for the country and forthe world? What is the best way to approach the talking to kids about this? How did you talk to your kids about 9/11? What weretheir reactions?Vivian Merrill: My kids were 6 and 1 when 9/11 occurred, so we didn’t have a big discussion about what happened with them. Sadly, foryounger kids watching it on TV, it probably wasn’t that different than the destruction seen in other parts of the world, or many movies parentswatch. The war in the Middle East has been going on their entire lives. Although we agree Bin Laden had it coming, it took a very long time.Many people directly affected by 9/11 admit Bin Laden’s death doesn’t really give them a lot in closure.Several of Bin Laden’s kids and wives didn’t even like him-a concept rare in this country, but probably common and accepted in certain partsof the world. Unfortunately, a lot of people did like Bin Laden, or at least believed in him, and they will gladly take his place. Those are the onessomebody should be watching, if one knows where they are. I agree the American people do not know half of what the government is doing toprotect its interests, and an event like this makes you focus on all the things a government is responsible for."I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplieshate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars…”Don’t know who said this, but it appeared in a Facebook post I came across this morning, along with a comment about American bloodlust,which a lot of people feel this country is entitled to. This country is so involved with other countries’ problems that many people feel it’s notpaying attention to what’s going on within itself. People are angry everywhere, and doing what they feel they need to in order to survive.That’s a world-wide situation all by itself.Does Bin Laden’s death give us a new hope? I’m not getting that feeling, but I suppose time will tell. We as a country need something to behopeful for. Neither of my kids mentioned anything last night, so for us it was pretty much just another day, with some big news thrown in be-tween the homework, fixing supper and feeding the horse and dogs. Just a blip in the radar, which we have no control over. The war is notover, it’s just changed a little.Rachel McElligott: My kids are too young to understand September 11th so I havent had to discuss this with them yet. They are still able tolive a carefree kid existence. In many ways I feel lucky I havent had to cross this bridge yet. I often think about how I will be able to explain tothem the pain and heartbreak that was experienced during that awful time. I hope I will be able to teach them about the great strength andcourage that was also shown by so many.I think explaining to your children about how scary and hard life can be, is tough on any parent. I know I try very hard to protect my childrenfrom outside events and influences.My advice as a parent, would be to be honest and tell them as much as you feel comfortable with sharing.
  22. 22. After long wait, Route 3 sound barriers on the way in Chelmsford By Chris Camire, 04/29/2011 www.lowellsun.comBOSTON -- Colin Fretwell was at work when his cellphone rang about 5:45 Wednesday afternoon.He answered. Gov. Deval Patrick was on the line.Patrick, who was in a meeting with state Rep. Jim Arciero, D-Westford, had just committed to funding a long-soughtsound barrier between Twiss Road and Route 3 in Fretwells North Chelmsford neighborhood.Fretwell and his wife, Paula, have been at the center of a decade-long struggle to get a sound barrier built in their neigh-borhood. Arciero asked Patrick to tell Fretwell the good news personally."I was extremely impressed because he didnt have to do that," said Fretwell. that,"He has bigger things to do." do.Of course, Twiss Road residents have been promised that the project would be done before. Even before the expansionof Route 3 began, Chelmsford residents and state and local officials had been pushing to buffer the rumble of speedingtraffic near Exit 33.In 2007, area lawmakers secured funding for the project. The money never materialized.This time is different, said Arciero.Patrick sent a letter Wednesday to Arciero and Reps. Cory Atkins, D-Concord, Tom Golden, D-Lowell, and David Nangle,D-Lowell, as well as Sen. Susan Fargo, D-Lincoln, assuring them that the project will be completed this year.The Massachusetts Department of Transportation plans to advertise the project on May 7, and expects to begin construc-tion by the early fall. If all goes as planned, construction should be completed by the end of the year."As you know, there are differences of opinion about whether the noise thresholds for such projectshave been met in this case," wrote Patrick in the letter. "However, in a close call, I believe the decision case,should go in favor of your constituents." constituents.The project is expected to cost $7 million. It will be funded with MassHighway road and bridge money.The Route 3 North expansion widened lanes in both directions and removed vegetation between the two lanes. Severalneighborhoods did receive sound protection, but the one in question was always on the cusp of qualifying under statestandards.Patrick visited Twiss Road resident Mary Tiano in 2006 when he was running for governor. He said the conditions wereoutrageous and that something had to be done.The Fretwells are hoping that come next summer, they will be able to open their windows at night without being awak-ened by the rumble of a passing tractor-trailer."Weve waited 11 years come September, so another few months isnt going to make a whole lot of dif -ference," said Paula Fretwell. "Were hoping and praying it will be done."ference, done.There are about 40 homes in the neighborhood -- which consists of Twiss Road, Leedberg Street, Main Street and Water-ford Place -- that could benefit from the sound barrier.Colin Fretwell said some people may wonder why he and his wife would put up with noise from the highway for a decade,rather than move. He said their home has sentimental value."My wife was born in the house we live in, and weve lived there for 30 years, so theres more than justmonetary value," he said. value,The Fretwells credit Atkins, Golden, Nangle, Fargo, as well as former state Rep. Geoff Hall, D-Westford, for trying to getthe project off the ground. The couple recently reached out to Arciero, who represents their district, to see if he could help.Arciero arranged a meeting with Patrick. The rest is history."This has been a priority of mine," said Arciero. "After the widening of Route 3, there has been an in -creased amount of noise pollution for the residents in that area." area.
  23. 23. Spring Town Meeting 2011 Reps reject stabilization fund By Monica Jimenez / Wicked Local Chelmsford GateHouse News Service Apr 26, 2011 www.wickedlocal.comChelmsford —Chelmsford Town Meeting representatives rejected a proposed stabilization fund for Nashoba Technical High SchoolMonday night after a heated debate about the school district’s spending.The vote was close – 55 in favor, 74 against. Newcomers to the debate lined up to ask questions alongside longstandingproponents and opponents of the vocational schools revolving funds.Nashoba Tech Business Manager Jeanne Savoie and Superintendent Judith Klimkiewicz fielded questions from a dozenChelmsford residents after the article was presented. Klimkiewicz, who arrived late, explained she had been at Groton’sTown Meeting to support the same article, where it passed.Chelmsford resident and Nashoba Tech School Committee member Sam Poulten repeated arguments made to Chelms-ford town officials, pointing out the district does put revolving fund money back into the schools and merely has excessbecause it spends well. Besides, Poulten said, that excess is invariably used up, as it will be this time around when stateand federal funds dry up.“Do we want to spend money for the sake of spending it?” Poulten asked. it?“Or do we want to put it away and save it?”Chelmsford resident and former School Committee chairman Kathy Duffett barraged Savoie with questions about the sur-plus in the district’s existing revolving accounts, drawing rebuke from new moderator Richard DeFreitas. Refusing to letup, Duffett insisted the excesses in the existing revolving funds should be addressed before a new fund is created.Precinct representatives were asked to raise their tickets again after voting against the article -- the numbers were closeenough for several reps to request a recount.Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved Farming, electronic voting, Heart Pond articles passd By Monica Jimenez / Wicked Local Chelmsford GateHouse News Service May 06, 2011 www.wickedlocal.comChelmsford —Several heavy-hitting articles were passed at the two final Town Meeting sessions this past week, including a recall bylawamendment and Community Preservation Committee fund appropriations for repairs to the town clock and the steeplehousing it. A few articles presented on Thursday and Monday generated less discussion, but are likely to improve thetown in important ways.Electronic votingRepresentatives approved an article to amend Chelmsford’s charter and appropriate $10,000 to purchase an electronictally and display system and use it for voting at Town Meeting.The electronic voting system would involve individually recording the votes of precinct representatives via handheld key-pads with buttons for “yes,” “no,” and “abstain.” With the help of Microsoft PowerPoint, the votes would be projected ontoa screen at the front of the hall and verified by representatives before being archived online for general access.The current method of raising one’s ticket for “yea” and keeping it down for “nay” makes it hard to keep track of who votedfor what. But the electronic voting system – already used at the State House and, starting this past April, in the town ofWayland – would clearly provide this information to everyone inside and outside the hall.Town Manager Paul Cohen predicted the system would help Town Meetings go more quickly and smoothly, as well asmake the meetings more transparent and the representatives more accountable to the citizens who elected them.The system could also serve to check attendance at Town Meeting and survey large crowds at public hearings.Right to Farm bylawChelmsford has joined the ranks of Massachusetts towns with a Right to Farm bylaw. The Chelmsford Agricultural Com-mission proposed the law, which affirms support for local agriculture particularly in the case of farmer-abutter disputes.“There is a long, proud tradition of farming in Chelmsford,” said local attorney Doug Hausler, who spoke on behalf ofthe Agricultural Commission on Thursday.Hausler said farmers sometimes find themselves in conflict with abutters over activities like fertilizing fields, which createsan odor. Expecting a more typical suburban atmosphere, neighbors to farms occasionally complain of the “nuisance” andeven “abuse” they put up with.
  24. 24. “This law would shift the burden,” Hausler said. “As a community, we say the activities of farmers take burdenprecedence over the nuisance suffered by abutters.” abutters.Representatives proved curious about who in town qualifies as a farmer. The answer given at Town Meeting was that peo-ple tending animals or crops on at least two acres are usually considered farmers, as opposed to people raising chickensor vegetable gardens in their backyards. Agricultural Commission members estimated Chelmsford is home to more than 10farms.A fire safety provision, which regulates farm burning, was added to the bylaw. Representatives also accepted an amend-ment changing how to notify people moving into houses near farms. The method originally proposed was handing home-buyers a paper notice informing them agricultural activities would be going on in the neighborhood. Now, a notice must bepublished annually in at least two newspapers.Heart Pond preservationA CPC appropriation to combat invasive weeds at Heart Pond was approved Monday night after a conversational detourabout boating on the pond.Precinct 1 Rep Patrick Hayes complained it’s unfair for residents to fund the weed treatment when they aren’t allowed touse the public boat ramp at the pond, especially because boats often introduce invasive weed species into the ecosystem.“I find it egregious we can’t use the boat ramp, but I see people boating on the pond all day. It’s for aselect few,” Hayes said. few,Precinct 5 Rep Paul Eriksen agreed.“People should be allowed to use the pond to its fullest capacity,” Eriksen said. capacity,President Mark Schmeizl of the Heart Pond Association, which applied for the CPC appropriation, said anyone can boat onthe pond using a canoe or kayak, which can be carried across the beach.Precinct 8 Rep and Board of Health Director Richard Day brought the discussion back to the article at hand.“I’ve monitored this pond for 30 years and watched it change from a nice, well-ecologically-balancedpond to the overgrowth it is today,” Day said. today,Now that the Heart Pond article has passed at Town Meeting, the war against the weeds will begin this month and continuewith a second treatment in early June.Schmeizl said several species of invasive vegetation – curly leaf pond weed, fanwort, purple loosestrife and algae – havegrown dramatically in number over the summer. It will cost about $25,000 to treat the pond.Copyright 2011 Chelmsford Independent. Some rights reserved Recalls to get tougher in town By Rita Savard, 04/29/2011 www.lowellsun.comCHELMSFORD -- After a two-and-a-half-hour marathon, Town Meeting approved changes to recalling elected officials.Under the new amendment, a petitioner trying to remove an elected official from office must obtain signatures from 15 per-cent of the towns registered voters, instead of 10 percent. The petitioner will also have 20 days to gather signatures, in-creased from 14 days.The measure passed with 76 voting in favor, and 48 opposed.The article launched the second night of Town Meeting, with representatives wrestling over several proposed amend-ments, including bringing the issue to a townwide vote. But only one amendment to the article, brought forward by KarenDeDonato, was approved.DeDonato proposed the 90-day rule to launch a recall on a newly elected official be changed to one year after the electiondate.Representatives opposed to the article said changing the bylaw would make it almost impossible to recall elected officials."What were doing here is saying, we dont want voters to have a chance to recall," said Brian Latina. recall,Currently, 25 signatures are required from each of the towns nine voter precincts to jumpstart the recall process. Once theinitial signatures are certified by the Town Clerks Office, the petitioner must then obtain additional signatures from 10 per-cent of the towns registered voters, or about 2,400 names.Last nights vote raises the requirement to about 3,545 names.Supporters of the new bylaw said recalling anyone from office is serious business, and should require more signatures.If an egregious act is committed that warrants a recall, Glenn Thoren said people "will stand in line" to sign such a peti- linetion.The towns first recall effort in history was launched last fall by resident Roland Van Liew, who tried to oust two members ofthe Planning Board. That attempt failed, but Van Liew is currently in the process of trying to recall Selectmen Matt Hanson,Jon Kurland, George Dixon and Pat Wojtas.Van Liew is accusing the officials of failing to uphold the law by not taking an alleged violation of a preservation restriction
  25. 25. on a 9 North Road building project to court.Town Meeting also approved spending $10,000 on an electronic voting and display system. Town Manager Paul Cohensaid the $10,000 system would create a public record of individual votes for the first time in town history.Besides transparency, Cohen said electronic voting would also help move Town Meeting along at a steadier pace, eliminat-ing the need for manual head counts during votes that are too close to call by a show of raised tickets.In addition, voters passed a Right-to-Farm Bylaw. The measure gives added protection to farmers in the event of potentialproperty disputes.Developed by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation,the Right-to-Farm bylaw was enacted in the 1980s to help prevent farmers operations from being shut down by neighborswho considered them a nuisance.Town Meeting will wrap up at 7:30 p.m. Monday, when representatives tackle the final two warrant articles, including re-pairs to the 169-year-old town clock and the steeple of First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church, in which the clock sits. Town Meeting approves CPC funds for church Town Meeting approved spending Community Preservation Committee funds to fix the steeple and clock at the First Parish Unitarian Church. Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Reporter • Mon, May 02, 2011 www.chelmsfordmassnews.comAlthough it appeared the debate on using Community Preservation Funds for work at First Parish UnitarianChurch would turn into another marathon debate, a majority of Town Meeting representatives approvedboth in less than two hours Monday night.Throughout the debate and question period, proponents and opponents of using CPC funding argued whythey saw it as either a good move or instead a bad precedent in town."This is a road we should not go down," said Town Meeting Representative Paul Rigazio. down,The church receives $50,000 in rent from two cellular providers which use the antenna in the steeple, saidRigazio. He believes the church should use that money to mend its structure."The first requirement of a landlord is to take care of the building. They should have donethat," said Rigazio. "They had the money."that, money.He would prefer the town fix the clock inside the steeple then sell the clock to the church of $1.Some representatives argued that because the town owns the clock located inside the steeple; it makes nosense to spend money on fixing the clock and not the steeple."We have one iconic clock and it is a steeple clock and steeple clocks have to live in asteeple," said Town Meeting Representative Pat Magnell. "Not fixing it means in the future thesteeple,problem only becomes worst." worst.More importantly, said Magnell, First Parish sits smack in the middle of the towns Center Historic Districtand should be protected."The clock sits in a steeple that overlooks Town Common," she said. "I would like to win one Common,for historic preservation in the Common area." area.CPC Chairman, and First Parish Church member, Bob Morse presented the two articles as a viable use forhistoric preservation money."CPC money has been used a couple of dozen times in the state for churches," said Morse. churches,"This is not ground-breaking. And this has a clear public benefit." benefit.For Town Meeting Representative George Kalos the benefit to the historic church is on par with money ap-proved last year to fix the North and Old town halls."We spent $5 million (on the town halls) and they are asking for 7 percent of that to fixwhat was the original town hall." hall.Under Article 23, CPC funding totaling $66,810 will be used to fix the steeple, to replace the clocks roofand to replace broken and missing slates on the church’s roof. First Parish would match CPC funding tocover the total estimated cost of $133,620.Article 22 will use $96,424 of CPC funding to fix the towns clock housed in the steeple.