In Town Report 4 05 2009


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Special Election Report from Tom Christiano, of Politically Incorrect. Good information for all residents before election day, April 7.

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In Town Report 4 05 2009

  1. 1. In-Town Report Election Special 04/05/2009 This week: Back To The Future The Godfather’s forum Shorthand News Hold that Plant Slow Growth? Smart Growth? Reform? Repeal? Mudslinging at the 40B Corral The Final Lap In Closing Cl ick Here for Vide o of the Sign holding activities of Sat. April 4th 2009 by Kevin Zimmerman Sign Holding Photos by: T.Christiano
  2. 2. Chelmsford plans for its future By Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Writer Chelmsford independent Thu Apr 02, 2009 CHELMSFORD - The Master Plan Committee began its 16-month process of updating Chelmsford’s pri- mary planning document by asking residents what they believe works in town and what could be im proved. Although no single issue bubbled to the top at last week’s public hearing, the 76 residents who attended seemed to share a common respect for the school system, cultural and recreational opportunities and the town’s character. “It’s a good place to live. The school systems are excellent. The housing is really diverse. We do have a lot of older homes, which gives it charm,” said Bridge Street resident Peggy Dunn. “And we do have neighborhoods, which are still very friendly. And even though it has grown, it is still a small town.” Key to developing the new master plan, which was last updated in 1996, said Northern Middlesex Coun- cil of Governments consultant Jay Donovan, is to perform a analysis to identify the community’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT). Plenty of residents claimed it was the reputation of the school system that brought them to Chelmsford in the first place. Others praised the town’s respect for history and its efforts to help preserve and pro- mote historic locations throughout the community. The town’s real and perceived housing deals also resonated with some residents. Planning Board member Sue Sullivan said the Chelmsford Housing Authority and its ability to “think out- side of the box” made it one of the town’s top assets. “I think also on housing, we have a diversity,” said Sullivan. “We have a fair amount of senior housing and some multifamily housing scattered throughout town so it’s not all concentrated in just one location.” It was the housing opportunities that brought Tim McIlvenna back to town where he spent his child- hood. “The Chelmsford community is a real deal when it comes to housing costs,” said McIlvenna. “If you look at other communities you can’t touch the kind of home I was able to get here for the kind of pricing that’s of- fered in Chelmsford.” Housing also provided a chance for residents to talk about areas they think Chelmsford needs to improve. When it comes to affordable housing, said Stedman Street resident Debbie Dery, the town appears to be focusing only on apartments for senior citizens. “We don’t have affordable housing for families,” said Dery. “Rather than build three-story buildings that really do not fit into the character of our town, we should use existing houses. Purchase duplexes and turn them into housing for families.” Dery also expressed concern about the number of 40B affordable projects already in town or in the early planning stages. This development, said Dery, has progressed for decades and has brought increased traf- fic and less open space in town. “The town has grown but the character is starting to change,” said Dery. “It’s starting to feel like living in a city.” Which is why this master plan process so important, said Pinewood Road resident Glenn Thoren. It is imperative that the Master Plan committee develops the right vision for what Chelmsford hopes to be for the next 10 to 15 years, said Thoren. “Do you want the town to grow? Then you do one thing. Do you want the town to remain in its current character? Then you do another thing,” said Thoren. “If you don’t get the vision right then you don’t have the foundation on which to build all these other activities.” Master Plan Committee Chairman Jim Lane said the results from last week’s SWOT analysis should be ready in time for the committee’s next hearing on May 6, which will focus on issues affecting the town’s businesses. Kevin Zimmerman can be reached at
  3. 3. What are the S T R E N G T H S of Chelmsford? What are the W E A K N E S S E S of Chelmsford? What are the T H R E A T S to Chelmsford The new Chelmsford Master Plan is under construction to watch the first public forum and get these answers CLICK HERE to go to the Chelmsford Telemedia site for streaming video and click on Chelmsford Vision - Master Plan *********************************************************************** ***************************************************************** Dave Morey The Godfather Ed Roux Sandy Rega Betty Twombly PI Show 3/24 /09 CLICK HERE CLICK HERE CLICK HERE to hear the discussion on the to hear the updates on to hear the discussion on Town Meeting representatives Billboards in Chelmsford the Town Halls accountability For the complete Politically Incorrect show from March 24th CLICK HERE ****************************************** CLICK HERE The Town Annual Report 2008 No Town Meeting Rep should leave home without it
  4. 4. NEWS BRIEFS: Changes in school administration positions By Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Writer Chelmsford Independent Thu Mar 19, 2009 CHELMSFORD - In a move expected to save $200,000, school officials have proposed consolidating some of the department’s top ad- ministration positions. CLICK HERE FOR STORY Chelmsford to receive $1.5 million in stimulus money for school funding By Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Writer Chelmsford Independent Fri Mar 20, 2009 Superintendent Donald Yeoman discussed a budget addendum that would restore 11 positions. Those would include seventh- and eighth- grade teachers at McCarthy, four of the middle schools fifth- and sixth-grade teachers, guidance counselors at the elementary level and two teachers at the high school. CLICK HERE FOR STORY Outrage over MBTA plans for Lowell, Wilmington billboards By Matt Murphy, Posted: 04/01/2009 The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is seeking bids to put 32 new billboards in 19 communities along the state's highways in an effort to raise revenue for the cash-strapped agency. CLICK HERE FOR STORY Chelmsford balks at Nashoba Tech budget increase By Rita Savard, 04/01/2009 CHELMSFORD -- With layoffs and wage freezes hitting home, the Chelmsford Finance Committee has rejected Nashoba Valley Technical High School's request for more money this year. CLICK HERE FOR STORY
  5. 5. Selectmen grant Verizon a license By Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Writer Chelmsford Independent Thu Apr 02, 2009 Verizon agreed to wire the town so all residents could sign on to its fiber optic network, FiOS, by November 2011. CLICK HERE FOR STORY ---------------------------------------------------------------- -WATER DISTRICT MEETINGS COMING UP- 4/6/2009 5:00 PM - East Water Joint meeting with /North & Center Distr. 64 Washington St. - Joint. Quarterly Mtg. 4/6/2009 5:00 PM - Chelmsford Water Joint meeting with /East & North 64 Washington St. 4/6/2009 5:00 PM - North Water Joint meeting with /East & Center District 64 Washington St. 4/6/2009 7:00 PM - North Water District 64 Washington St. ---------------------------------------------------------------- Chelmsford workers' delay of raises called 'admirable' By Rita Savard, 04/03/2009 CHELMSFORD -- As the stalled economy shows no signs of picking up steam, nearly all of the town's unions have Bill Dalton now agreed to stall pay raises for one year. The Board of Selectmen last night voted unanimously to accept new union contracts for Chelmsford firefighters and superior police officers, as well as library, clerical, highway and cemetery workers. The patrolmen's union and the teachers' union are still hammering out details to their new contracts, but town of - ficials said they are confident a similar agreement will emerge. quot;This is not the first time the unions have taken cuts,quot; said Selectman Bill Dalton, whose vote to accept John the contracts was his last before he takes leave of his 15-year seat Tuesday. quot;When it's time to belly up to Kivlan the bar, the employees rise to the task.quot; John Kivlan, president of the firefighters union, said the majority of the 50 members voted in favor of accepting a temporary wage freeze. The condition was one that firefighters offered to the town. quot;We understand what the economic situation of the town is right now,quot; Kivlan said in a phone interview after the board's vote. quot;We'd all be spinning our wheels if we got to the bargaining table and started talking about more money. There isn't any more money to go around.quot; Paul Union cutbacks began in February, when the Highway Department union refused a 2 Cohen percent wage increase and forfeited longevity and workers' compensation pay to save the jobs of two men fac - ing layoffs ollowing midyear budget cuts. At that time, Town Manager Paul Cohen gave two unions the option of a temporary wage freeze to avoid cut - Eric ting jobs, but only the Highway Department accepted, saving the town about $40,000. Dahlberg Two full-time maintenance and facilities workers were not as lucky, losing their jobs after their union voted against taking a pay cut. Selectman Eric Dahlberg called the recent efforts of unions quot;admirable and coura - geous.quot; Selectman Clare Jeannotte added that during a time of fiscal uncertainty, the tempo - rary wage freeze is the best arrangement to avoid locking up either side for an ex - tended period. Clare The Clerical Union also forfeited step increases for one year. Jeannotte In July 2010, pay raises will resume. On average, public employees' wages increase at about 2.5 percent each year, Cohen said. The School Committee was scheduled to meet with the teachers union this morning to discuss teacher contracts.
  6. 6. By Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Writer Chelmsford Independent Sat Apr 04, 2009 CHELMSFORD - Although it produced the proposed billboard zoning bylaw change, the Planning Board voted 5-to-2 not to recommend its passage at Town Meeting. “I looked at it as a planner,” said Planning Board member Bob Joyce. “You have to take the emotion out of it. Not, does the town need money? Is this something we want? I don’t think it’s appropriate for a town like Chelmsford.” Joyce served on the Billboard Subcommittee that studied whether zoning could be changed to allow billboards. He and subcommittee Chairman George Zaharoolis, along with Planning Board members Sue Sullivan, Ann McGuigan and Chairman Pam Armstrong voted not to recommend the change at Town Meeting in April. Colleen Stansfield, the third member of the Billboard Subcommittee, and Planning Board member Jim Lane cast the two votes to recommend approval of the changes. “My understanding of the request from the Board of Selectmen was to determine if this was plausible and to protect Chelmsford,” said Lane. “Based on that, billboards are a plausible option and this bylaw protects Chelmsford from a land use and zoning perspective.” Zaharoolis agreed the bylaw would protect the town through such requirements as only allowing billboards in three overlay districts -- Oak Hill on Route 3 near Scotty Hollow, Chelmsford High School land along Route 3 and at the Route 3/Interstate 495 interchange. It would also require billboards to be at least 500 feet from a residence and mandate at least 1,000 feet between signs. But for Zahroolis and the other four members who voted not to recommend approval of this article, the question became do billboards fit in Chelmsford? “Any bylaw created has to keep in mind what’s best for the town,” said Zaharoolis. “To me, this is not what I want in town. This is not the character of the town.” Zaharoolis’ suggestion the change might encourage a proliferation of outdoor advertising in town, effectively turning Chelms- ford “into Boston,” was met by derisive laughter from the crowd in the Police Station Community Room Saturday morning. “Fifty or sixty billboards is urban,” said Lane. “This bylaw has been written so the town has control.” Despite a negative vote of confidence from the Planning Board, the issue now moves on to the Board of Selectmen, which meets April 13 to decide if the proposal will be introduced on Town Meeting floor April 27. Kevin Zimmerman can be reached at
  7. 7. POWER PLANT BUZZ Please share with your friends, family, and neighbors. 23 March 2009 Welcome to the many new readers of the update! In an interesting turn of events last week relating to the Billerica power plant proposal, the plant developer ran an ad in the Lowell Sun pro- claiming victory with the EFSB decision to site the plant. And on the next day, also in the Sun, Joe Fitzpatrick, CEO of DG Clean Power, admit- Click here to see the ad that ran in the Sun. Click here to read the article in the Sun. A second article in the Tewksbury Town Crier ted that the plant would likely be delayed for some time due to decreasing demand for power overall and specifically for plants like this one. tary from the other partner in DG Clean Power, Ed Liston. Click here to read the Crier article. quotes ISO-NE’s spokesperson stating that there was far more capacity than demand in the recent ISO-NE auction. There is also commen- In a predictable reaction, the developers of the proposed Brockton power plant tried to stave off suggestions that their project would fall victim to the same set of circumstances. Click here to read their response. The Brockton developers are also finding increased concern being raised by towns surrounding the site, with the Middleboro Board of Selectmen as the latest neighboring body to formally oppose the plant. Click here to read their concerns. For those concerned with these plant proposals, it is critical to point out that decreasing demand has played a large role in their delay. Obvious economic conditions not withstanding, if we continue to reduce demand with conservation and careful utilization of power, then we all stand a greater chance of putting these proposals behind us for good. Stay tuned! Economy has power plant on hold By Chris Camire, 03/31/2009 BILLERICA -- The opening of a natural-gas-fired power plant proposed for North Billerica has been delayed until 2013. Meanwhile, the permit- ting process for a power plant in Uxbridge has been put off for a year. The reason? Dropping demand in electricity across New England. Joseph Fitzpatrick, president and chief executive of DG Clean Power, the company behind both projects, expects the demand for power to in- crease in the coming years. But that may largely depend on a series of factors that has led to this recent drop in demand: a bad economy, conservation efforts and high electricity prices. Independent System Operator-New England, the independent nonprofit corporation that operates the region's power grid, conducts annual, as well as daily, electricity forecasts to determine what kind of power-system infrastructure the region will need. In 2008, electricity consumption decreased by 1.9 percent from the previous year. This year, ISO New England is forecasting that demand will grow, although slowly. CLICK HERE FOR FULL STORY Deslaurier upsets O'Donnell in Billerica selectman's race The Lowell Sun 04/04/2009 BILLERICA --- Finance Committee member Andrew Deslaurier upset five-term Selectman James O'Donnell in Saturday's annual town election. According to unofficial results, Deslaurier took 1,945 votes to O'Donnell's 1,479. ************************************************************************************************************************** ************************************************************************************************************************** ************************************************************************************************************************** Andrew Deslaurier from the start of his campaign made the opposition to the Billerica Power Plant one of his top hot topic issues. O'Donnell a Selectman for 15 years had never come out against the proposed plant but was assumed to be leaning in favor of the project.
  8. 8. 'Slow growth' is no option The Lowell Sun 03/29/2009 By John Edward As reported in The Sun, the Chelmsford Slow Growth Initiative is causing controversy with quot;affordable housing taking center stage.quot; If only that were the truth. The Slow Growth Initiative (SGI) is an outgrowth of the failed repeal Chapter 40B initiative. Originally called the anti-snob zoning law, critics refer to 40B as a developer-welfare program. It is state law designed to increase the supply of afford- able housing. The most recent SGI mass mailing was very critical of Chelmsford officials using words like defeatist, ignorant, and in- sanity. During a subsequent meeting, each selectman felt compelled to defend themselves and town officials using words like distortion, lies, and despicable. Missing in all the rhetoric were words like quot;the need for affordable housing.quot; Chapter 40B established a quota for each town of 10 percent of housing units being affordable. According to the Massa- chusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, 6.8 percent of units in Chelmsford qualify. The SGI claims that if we repealed 40B there would be more affordable housing. They cite Chapter 121B which created housing authorities. However, David Hedison, executive director of the Chelmsford Housing Authority, quot;strongly believesquot; that if Chapter 40B were repealed quot;no affordable housing would be createdquot; in Chelmsford. Critics focus on regulations that allow developers to bypass local planning and control. What gets virtually no attention is the fact that the 40B definition of affordable does not reflect what homeowners and renters can truly afford. Most 40B housing units target households making 80 percent of the area's median income. In the Lowell-Chelmsford area, that is $68,000 for a family of four. Using 2007 Census estimates, about one out of four Chelmsford households make less than the target. More evidence of a severe lack of affordable housing is the 1,400 names on a waiting list for rental assistance in Chelms- ford. Using the average household size for Chelmsford, the list represents 3,500 people in need of affordable housing. Many more in need do not apply or do not qualify. Some people have been on the waiting list since 2003. Families are living in substandard housing and spending too much on housing. People who purchased homes they could barely afford are now losing them. Banks foreclosed on 56 homes in Chelmsford during the past two years, the same number as the previous nine years combined. Orders of Notice to foreclose are still increasing, so the problem is going to get worse. Meanwhile, the Slow Growth Initiative and town officials are arguing over whether we are doing enough to protect Chelmsford's integrity. The SGI actually makes some good points about problems with 40B. They offer alternative ap- proaches. However, it may all get lost in the noise. The Board of Selectmen was appropriately offended by SGI's attacks on town officials. Chelmsford residents were appro- priately offended because a mailing they did not support listed their names. I am also offended by a statement that ap- peared, underlined, in that mailing: quot;Every objective growth study indicates that each additional housing unit built costs the town between $30,000 and $80,000 more than taxes and fees collected.quot; The first offense is the use of the word quot;every.quot; It is not hard to find studies that indicate much lower costs and even net positive benefits of increased housing. As for being quot;objective,quot; how can the American Farmland Trust be considered objective on land-use issues? The Seattle Post-Intelligencer described another SGI source as a slow-growth anti-globalist group. The numbers cited, up to $80,000, are alarming and misleading. The numbers represent capital costs, not annual operat- ing costs. Omitted are some one-time and ongoing revenue streams created by housing. Finally, none of the studies are directly relevant to Chelmsford. The SGI mailing offers strong opposition to high-density housing projects. Ironically, Chelmsford would benefit from a few well-planned and properly zoned higher-density affordable rental developments. They would dramatically lower the number of housing units required to meet 40B requirements. The town's cost per unit would also decrease. One of the studies used by the SGI cites an estimate that multifamily hous- ing has a per-unit cost of 60 percent of single-family homes. Such developments would be very good for businesses in town. Two studies recently conducted in Massachusetts con- clude that restrictive zoning policies have greatly inhibited economic growth in the Commonwealth. Chelmsford has certainly experienced periods of rapid expansion, but the last decade exhibits little evidence of fast growth. Population is down and school enrollment is down. Traffic studies conducted by the Northern Middlesex Council of Governments show no big increase in traffic on Chelmsford roads. Protected open space is stable. Building permits show significant activity but 60 percent of units and 97 percent of permits were for single-family buildings. For those who would repeal 40B, I offer the following analogy. If I had a life-threatening medical condition and my doctor suggested stopping my treatment program, I would ask why. She might say the treatment was not as effective as she would like and there are some manageable side effects. I would insist on having a better program in place before termi- nating a treatment that might be keeping me alive. There is a real need to reform 40B, but an even bigger need for affordable housing. The Slow Growth Initiative says it
  9. 9. wants to promote a sustainable community. However, for a community to be sustainable it has to be affordable. The repeal 40B effort failed. The SGI now wants the town to subvert 40B. Better, we try to manage 40B in a focused effort to produce much-needed housing that is truly affordable. John Edward earned his master's degree at UMass Lowell and is an adjunct professor of economics at Bentley Univer- sity. He lives in Chelmsford. REBUTTAL ʻSlow Growthʼ is ONLY Option The recent opinion piece titled “Slow Growth Is No Option,” defends the same flawed, growth-oriented economic theories that have been thoroughly discredited by recent events. To say slow growth is no option is to say that the only option is rapid, unsustainable growth. This notion is laughable. Rapid growth is not only ecologically unsustainable, it is finan- cially unsustainable. If local communities continue to allow large amounts of high-density, new construction they will go bankrupt. That is not opinion, that is a fact. Virtually all studies show that residential growth costs more money than it generates. This fiscal distress has been clearly demonstrated in the Town of Chelmsford and in many other towns. The economic models touted by Mr. Edward do not work because they donʼt consider external environment or limits to growth. Michael Ferber, a professor at the University of New Hampshire, writes that economists like Mr. Edward have been wrong on virtually every major topic for the last decade. This is due mostly to a reliance on outdated mathematical formulas that do not take current conditions or human factors into account. In 2006, economist David Lereah wrote a book titled “Why the Real Estate Boom Will Not Bust.” He was recently named in Time Magazine as one of the “Top 25 People to Blame for the Financial Crisis.” Billionaire Warren Buffet attributes this total miscalculation to “flawed, history- based models.” He states that economists “blissfully ignored the fact that home prices had recently skyrocketed, loan practices had deteriorated and many buyers had opted for houses they couldnʼt afford.” He goes on to say “too often, Americans have been enamored by [people] using esoteric terms like Beta, Gamma, Sigma and the like…our advice: be- ware of geeks bearing formulas.” The slow growth platform, and the Slow Growth Initiative, advocate for a new eco- nomic model, one that focuses on common sense and sustainability. For most of his article, Mr. Edward argues against successful, sustainable development strategies, justifying the illogic of predatory development with the miniscule number of “arguably affordable” units it produces. The fact is, redevelop- ment would create exponentially more affordable units than the current policy, which focuses solely on new construc- tion. Accordingly, the state housing agency DHCD lavishes taxpayer money on hostile developments that destroy neighborhoods and destabilize entire communities. The bottom line is this: we can no longer rely on flawed historical formulas and failed policies that lead only to fewer services, higher land prices, and a lower quality of life for everyone. Massachusetts currently ranks at the very bottom, 49th, in housing affordability. Current policy has not brought down home prices, and 40B in particular sucks up virtually ALL the Stateʼs affordable housing money, so programs that need funding for truly affordable housing, canʼt get it. For two years the Chelmsford Board of Selectmen has refused to take simple, no-cost steps to curb predatory development. It is time for them to focus on making Chelmsford better, not bigger. -- Craig Chemaly, Director Slow Growth Initiative email: CLICK HERE Criag Chemaly speaks brfore the Board of Selectmen March 2009
  10. 10. From: Eric Dahlberg <> Date: March 19, 2009 10:15:32 PM EDT To: Roy Earley, Tom Christiano Subject: Last night's Billerica ZBA hearing on Aspen Apartments proposal Hi Tom and Roy, Last night I attended the Billerica ZBA's hearing on the Aspen Apartments proposal (672-unit 40B mega-project proposed for Rangeway Road in Billerica). Paul Cohen was also in attendance, as were a number of Chelmsford residents. The purpose of the hearing, which kicked off at 8:00 PM, was to hear reports from various town departments/officials who are in the process of reviewing the proposal. Below are quick and dirty run-downs of the 4 reports I heard: Planning Board Concerned about traffic, water, sewer, parking, school capacity, wetlands, hydrology, population being served. Concerned that this project as proposed does not comply with basic standards of smart growth. Believes that proposal needs careful review by engineering firm. School Department Based on number of students coming from other 40B projects in town (weighing for number of units), Billerica School Dept estimates that project, if built as currently proposed, would add 47 new students to Billerica public schools. Stressed need for covered bus stop, proper street signage and sidewalks around site for children's safety. Department of Public Works Town has capacity to allow project as proposed to connect to water/sewer. Estimates a payment of $660,000 by developer to town for water connection. Estimates a payment of $1.3m (could be significantly higher) by developer to town for sewer connection, which sounds like it would be a major public works project. Conservation Commission No representatives present but report previously submitted and cited by ZBA Chair Lots of concerns because of wetlands. Eager for petitioner to file with ConCom so dialogue can begin. I left at 9:00 PM to attend another appointment. The hearing was still going on when I left - I will get a report on what, if anything, I missed. Eric Chelmsford, Billerica abutters seek more information on Aspen Apartments By Max Bowen/Staff Writer Fri Mar 20, 2009 “A lot of the time, whatʼs built in real life is a lot different than whatʼs shown on renderings,” Hill said. New Jersey-based developer Better Homes first outlined their plans for the 14-building complex in a vacant wooded area on the west side of Rangeway Road on Dec. 3. The proposed project will have three entrances in- cluding an emergency only entryway accessed by a gate on State Street in Chelmsford. Primary access will be a 35-foot wide driveway onto Rangeway Road with a secondary driveway by Curriculum Associates. CLICK HERE FOR STORY **************************************************** From: quot;John Belskisquot; <> Date: April 5, 2009 11:55:46 AM To: quot;Post Messagequot; <> Subject: How were the targets selected? The below link to a recent article raises the questions: What was the selection process?, Who were the decision makers?, Are these existing projects or new entries? I find it interesting that there are some very familiar towns that have been involved in confronting questionable 40B developments.$108-million-to-boost-affordable-rental-housing.html Project funding will support 39 developments in the following communities: Athol, Boston (10 projects), Billerica, Cambridge, Greenfield, Har- wich, Lawrence (2 projects), Longmeadow, Lowell (3 projects), Marshfield, Northampton, Somerville, Townsend, Tyngsboro, Wareham (2 proj- ects), Chelsea (2 projects), Fall River, Gloucester, Leominster, New Bedford, North Andover, Salem, Springfield, Weymouth and Worcester. See detailed list attached. The articles link to does not supply any further details.
  11. 11. Chelmsford and the Election Secti on: Chelmsford race roiled by mailing The Lowell Sun 03/29/2009 By Rita Savard CHELMSFORD -- As the six-man race for the Board of Selectmen enters the final stages of the campaign, an anti-40B mailing has ignited a level of controversy -- and contradictions -- that has one candidate clearly upset. Donald Van Dyne said a mass mailing sent last week by the Coalition to Repeal 40B was quot;full of liesquot; when writing that the state Inspector General's office named him quot;as a participant in a 40B land-flip scheme.quot; A review of official records by The Sun appears to support Van Dyne's contention. Donald Van Dyne Land or property flipping happens when property is purchased and quickly resold for a large profit. In 2007, the Inspector General's office released findings from an audit of Sumner Cheney Condo- miniums, a 40B project in Reading. Sumner Cheney was among 10 40B projects examined by the state, in which developers were suspected of hiding excess profits. pant in a land-flip scheme. In fact, the IG's report said Van Dyne made an quot;arms lengthquot; (not re- While Van Dyne's name is listed in the Inspector General's report, he was not cited as a partici- lated to the other party) transaction in acquiring the Reading parcel from Rangeway Farms, LLC . It was Rangeway's manager, Rocco Scippa, who the Inspector General's office reported as quot;earn- ing more than what (he) should have earned on the resale.quot; quot;I believe the Coalition owes the town of Chelmsford an apology for spreading false information,quot; said Van Dyne, adding that he was targeted by the anti-40B organization because he's the only candidate who advocates amending the affordable housing law instead of scrapping it. spector General's report, but couldn't remember it because he's quot;been through so many.quot; John Belskis, chairman of the Coalition to Repeal 40B, told a Sun reporter Thursday that he quot;probablyquot; looked at the In- quot;I rely on the local (Chelmsford) membership to do their work properly,quot; Belskis said, adding that he couldn't re- member who provided him with the information on Chelmsford candidates. Craig Chemaly, director of the Chelmsford Slow Growth Initiative (SGI), a nonprofit group also committed to repealing 40B, said SGI gave Belskis a copy of the IG's report. Chemaly said SGI didn't write the letter slamming Van Dyne, but after reading it, he doesn't see a problem with the wording. quot;You can say (Van Dyne) didn't flip the land,quot; Chemaly said. quot;But he was involved on multi- ple levels.quot; Craig Chemaly Van Dyne paid the town of Reading $17,000 after the Citizens' Housing and Planning Association informed the town it was still owed profits from the Sumner Cheney project. Reading Town Manager Peter Hechenbleikner said quot;getting the developer to do what they were supposed to do was really problematic.quot; Reading town officials told Van Dyne it was clear from CHAPA's audit that the town was entitled to money for its afford- able housing trust fund that it never received from the Sumner Cheney project. Van Dyne disagreed, Hechenbleikner said. quot;they quickly paid approximately $17,000,quot; Hechenbleikner said. When the Reading town manager told Van Dyne the town was going to pursue an investigation into surplus land profits,
  12. 12. Van Dyne said the problems stemmed from the original owner, Schippa, who was cited in the IG's report. Van Dyne said once he confirmed a miscalculation in funds, he paid the money, even though he was under no obligation. Chelmsford Housing Authority Director David Hedison praised Van Dyne's 40B project in Chelmsford, calling the units ment that quot;everyone involved was happy with.quot; on Glen Avenue a model 40B project in which the builder worked closely with town officials and abutters on a develop- Glen Avenue 40B complex Belskis said it's common for the Coalition to endorse candidates in local elections throughout the state. quot;We do this in a number of towns to get members interested in serving on their Boards of Selectmen so that there are people elected who understand the issues of 40B, and represent in a way that doesn't negatively impact cities and towns,quot; Belskis said. John An earlier mass mailing by SGI in February, which slammed town officials for rubber-stamp- Belskis ing 40B projects in Chelmsford, inspired two candidates -- Jim Murray and Steven Roberts -- to enter this year's race. When asked if the Coalition targeted Van Dyne because of his involvement in developing 40Bs, Belskis said quot;that could be part of it.quot; In the same mailing, the Coalition to Repeal 40B endorses another developer for Chelmsford selectman, George Dixon. In the past, Dixon worked for Rangeway Farms, LLC -- the same company probed for land-flipping under the Reading 40B audit. Jack McCarthy, a spokesman for the Inspector General's office, said Dixon was never a part of its investigation. Dixon, he worked for Rangeway, but was quot;never involved with a 40B or associated with a 40B.quot; who lists himself as a developer for Rangeway Farms, LLC in the 2002 Chelmsford High School Alumni Directory, said Scippa, the Rangeway owner, said Dixon mainly helped him develop the Swanson Meadows Golf Course in Billerica, which was not a 40B project. Scippa added that the Inspector General's report was quot;laughable,quot; because his company did nothing illegal. quot;Last I looked we live in a capitalist country,quot; Scippa said. quot;It's how I support my children and my life, hoping to make profits from my business.quot; Dixon said he was unaware that Rangeway Farms was audited by the Inspector General's office. quot;I don't pay attention to that stuff,quot; Dixon said. quot;They (IG's office) were taking shots at every- body.quot; George Dixon
  13. 13. Chelmsford selectman candidate vows lawsuit if land-flip charge not retracted By Rita Savard, 04/01/2009 Van Dyne...says mailing claims false CHELMSFORD -- Saying an anti-40B group tried to derail his campaign, selectman candidate Donald Van Dyne is pushing forward on a lawsuit. After a mailing that singled out Van Dyne for allegedly participating in a land-flip scheme was sent to about 1,400 Chelmsford homes, the sender -- the Coalition to Repeal 40B -- has refused to mail a retrac- tion. quot;This is not about my position of reform and their position of repeal,quot; Van Dyne said yesterday. quot;That allows for healthy debate. But when you go through and bash individuals, you just don't call some- one something derogatory because you disagree with their position.quot; The quot;something derogatoryquot; is land flipping -- a term used when property is purchased and quickly resold for a profit. When the coalition linked Van Dyne to such a deal, Van Dyne said not only was the informa- tion false, but it was intended quot;to bring me down in this election.quot; John Belskis, chairman of the Coalition to Repeal 40B, stands by the mailing, adding that if Van Dyne wants to pursue legal action, quot;that's his prerogative.quot; quot;There wasn't anything in the letter that wasn't based on facts,quot; Belskis said. quot;I don't see this as a solid case, but more as harassment of John Belskis.quot; Massachusetts Chapter 40B, enacted in 1969, allows developers with qualified projects to bypass certain local permitting requirements, allowing them to build higher-density developments in return for providing affordable housing. The letter by the Coalition to Repeal 40B was a political mailing, endorsing candidates for two open seats on the Board of Selectmen, George Dixon and Jim Murray. The coalition also highlighted Van Dyne's 40B affordable-housing developments. He has built two 40Bs, a project in Reading and another on Glen Avenue in Chelmsford. quot;We think you should be aware that Mr. Van Dyne was named in one of the inspector general's re- ports as a participant in a 40B land flip in Reading,quot; the coalition wrote in the mailing. In 2007, the state Inspector General's Office released findings from an audit of Sumner Cheney Condo- miniums, a 40B project in Reading. Sumner Cheney was among 10 40B projects examined by the state, in which developers were suspected of hiding excess profits. While Van Dyne's name is listed several times in the report, the Inspector General's Office told The Sun that Van Dyne was not cited as a participant in a land-flip scheme, but was listed as the developer who purchased the parcel from its original owner, Rocco Scippa. It was Scippa who was mentioned in the inspector general's report as quot;earning more than what (he) should have earned on the resale.quot; In the end, Van Dyne, who built the project, paid the town of Reading $17,000 after the Citizens' Housing and Planning Association informed the town it was still owed profits from the Sumner Cheney project. Reading Town Manager Peter Hechenbleikner said dealing with Van Dyne was problematic. Years after the asso- ciation's findings, the Inspector General's Office did report that Reading should have received hundreds of thou- sands more on the project. But when Reading accepted $17,000 from Van Dyne, it also accepted an agreement to waive any future litigation regarding profits.
  14. 14. Van Dyne said any gross miscalculation stemmed from the original landowner, not him. Belskis said the coalition's mailings do carry some weight. Last weekend in Duxbury, a four-term member on the Board of Selectmen who advocated 40B in his positions was defeated easily and replaced. quot;There's an atmosphere in these towns where people are not sympathetic to politicians who are ac- tively supporting 40B,quot; Belskis said. Van Dyne, who is also the current vice chairman of the Finance Committee, demanded that Belskis print a retraction and issue an apology to the people of Chelmsford for distorting the facts. Van Dyne wanted the retraction mailed to all households that received the land-flip letter. In the wake of the Coalition's refusal, Van Dyne said his attorney was drafting a formal complaint, the first step in pursuing legal action. Craig Chemaly, director of the Chelmsford Slow Growth Initiative, a nonprofit group also committed to repealing 40B, said the group gave Belskis a copy of the inspector general's report. Chemaly said his group stands by all claims in the coalition's letter. quot;Just because I didn't agree with repeal, the coalition used that as a reason to come after me,quot; Van Dyne said, adding that the coalition took its eye off the ball. quot;The real issues facing the town now are greater than 40B,quot; Van Dyne said. quot;We still need to ad- dress the town's fiscal concerns. I have the education, skill and experience to do that.quot; VIDEO TIME CAPSULE John Belskis on Politically Incorrect April 2007 CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO
  15. 15. D a Mr. Edito Candidate says 40B does not work Wed Mar 18, 2009 CHELMSFORD - To the Editor: The 40B law is broken and needs to be fixed. In conjunction with working for this at the state level, we need to take immediate action at the local level. We cannot wait and hope things get better. I have proposed using the Local Initiative Project (LIP) to defeat undesirable 40B projects and increase local control. LIP is part of the 40B law, and has been substantially weakened by recent changes in the regulations. However, it’s the only tool we have currently. We cannot give developers a “free ticket right to the ZBA.” As selectman, I will frustrate all efforts by unsavory developers intent on looting our town resources. I will require: One, all 40B projects, unless presented by the Chelmsford Housing Authority or similar, must be a LIP. Projects must be a marriage between our town, the applicant, the state and, most importantly, the abutters. It cannot be a hostile 40B pretending to be a LIP. It must follow the original spirit of the LIP. Two, all 40B projects must be consistent with the affordable housing plan adopted in 2005. To this end, we should have a by-law that gives the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) the teeth to require developers to follow that plan. Further, the Board of Selectmen (BOS) must have the political fortitude to challenge developers and send the message we will NOT tolerate “HOSTILE” 40Bs. While the LIP process still exists in name, it is the BOS’s responsibility to inject life into the LIP and stand tall against hostile developers. I’m the only candidate with a plan to challenge 40B projects within the current law and I bring the unique advantage of experience with this issue. I represented a company that built a LIP in Chelmsford. We worked with the community, and after approval we took extra steps to work with abutters – including giving residents money to make neighborhood improvements and hosting a neighborhood party after project completion. For clarification: During a recent debate, I was unclear about the Hillside Gardens project. My point - To get lower-density projects, we want the developer to want to work with the community. If the process becomes too complicated it could cause the developer to become hostile. We need to fix 40B. I’m fully in favor of reform. We also need to work now on the solution in our community. Donald Van Dyne Brentwood Road Candidate for Board of Selectmen Rebuttal to candidate's letter Wed Mar 25, 2009 CHELMSFORD - To the Editor: I significantly disagree with some of the comments made in a letter submitted to the editor by my fellow Board of Selectman candidate Donald Van Dyne, on March 19. He states that the Local Initiative Project (LIP) can “defeat undesirable 40B projects and increase local control” and that “it’s the only tool we currently have.” This is not true. A LIP cannot “defeat” a 40B project; it is simply a process in place today to allow Selectmen to com- ment on a 40B proposal, however, a developer does not have to go before the Board of Selectmen under the recently revised State 40B law. In addition, there are multiple other laws in place such as the 40R and 40S, which allow for “smarter growth” and even more local control. Mr. Van Dyne continues by stating “I will require: One, all 40B projects, unless presented by the Chelmsford Housing Authority or similar, must be a LIP.” As a selectman, under Massachusetts State law, he does not have the authority to do this. He then states that all 40B projects “must be consistent with the affordable housing plan adopted in 2005.” He cannot require this either. The 40B law takes away local control so there is no way to ensure that a project will meet any affordable housing plan adopted by the town of Chelmsford. Mr. Van Dyne finally states that he is “the only candidate with a plan to challenge 40B projects within the current law.” I also disagree with this statement. He is simply the only candidate against the repeal of 40B. Furthermore, his only plans to combat 40Bs are to promote 40B LIPs. I have stated in multiple debates that there are other ways for the Board of Selectmen to take action against “hostile” 40B projects. This in- cludes everything from requiring environmental impact studies on current 40B projects (which could help to identify any flaws in the devel- opment early on), all the way up to implementing our own 40R housing zones. The town of Chelmsford needs a selectman candidate who will not just do “business as usual,” but will continuously explore alternative avenues for change. Matthew Hanson Wedgewood Drive Candidate for Board of Selectmen
  16. 16. Q & A with the Selectmen Candidates quot;WHY SHOULD I VOTE FOR YOU ?quot; Candidate for Board of Selectmen Jim Murray Why should I vote for you? A leader leads by example, never asking his crew to do something he would not do. The team understands they will accomplish far more working together rather than as individuals and it still takes a natural born leader to pull them in the right direction. This is the quality of character I possess which separates me from the other candidates. I will not make promises I can not keep, but I will never back down on the drive to repeal the 40B law. I will not allow our assessors to tax our seniors unfairly. I will champion all school issues as our children are our future. I will work to lower our health care costs with full regard to the dignity of those who worked for our town. I will work to implement the long term master plan, as we should not allow every blip on the radar to alter our course in history. I will work for each and every member of my community and will be available at any time to answer questions, tackle the issues and provide in- telligent solutions. A vote for Jim Murray is a vote for creative problem solving, fiscal responsibility, strong leadership Jim and a brighter future for the community of Chelmsford. It is now up to the people to make the right Murray choice. Candidate for Board of Selectmen Sean Scanlon Why should I vote for you? Over the past month and a half or so, I have often been asked – “Sean, why are you running for Selectman?” Even over debate questions from other candidates, I often found this question to be the most difficult because I didn’t think people would believe me when I told them that I just want to serve. The more I searched for a reason, the more the answer stared me in the face. I believe each of us has a calling in life – a purpose that draws us to our professions, or passions. I have come to realize that my passion is for serving others, and that is the reason I am running for Selectman. In the year following September 11, 2001, I stepped forward to serve four years in the military, and earned the Defense Meritorious Service Medal for my leadership in Afghanistan. I was also a Mission Commander for a team of nine airmen supporting the evacuation of U.S. Citizens from the 2006 war in Lebanon. I have learned on the fly to adapt to challenging leadership situations, and I am not afraid of stepping for- ward to do my part in the face of difficult times. When I introduced myself at the Board of Selectmen Meeting on February 23rd, I told you that I am not a candidate running for personal or political gain. Throughout my campaign, I’ve not danced around a controversial issue. I have always spoken my mind because I want you to vote for me because of who I am, what I represent, and the experience I would bring to the job – not because I told you what you wanted to hear. I pledge to analyze each issue in detail and make decisions that draw upon facts and are in Chelmsford’s best interest, even in the face of adversity. I would carry the core values of military officership to the po- sition of selectman should you elect me: Integrity, Service, Excellence: I refuse to settle for anything less. I ask that you vote for me because I know I have the energy to work tirelessly for you. I was awarded Student of the Year from Chelmsford High School upon graduating in 1998 because I understood how to juggle multiple activities while maintaining ac- ademic standards. You need a Selectman who can successfully balance life’s responsibilities with those of serving. Whether writ- ing grant requests for public safety initiatives, lobbying for one unified representative at the state house, fighting tax increases, or building consensus on issues (like 40B and Chapter 70) that trouble others beyond our borders, I am intent on prioritizing and executing a plan with purpose. In closing, I ask that you vote for me because I have a vested interest in the long term health of our community. I grew up in Chelmsford and chose to return because, simply, I think it is a great place to live. I value the opportunities our town offered me, and I want those same chances for my son Christopher and the rest of our growing families. I offer the perspective of someone who grew up in town, but has also witnessed solutions to some of our current problems while living in other parts of the country and the world. Your vote April 7th will help me help our town. Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions at 978-888-1905 or If you are passionate about serving Chelmsford as I am, please consider getting involved with my cam- paign. For more information, visit my website at I have dedicated my life to Sean the service and protection of our nation. I ask for one of your two votes on April 7th so that I may Scanlon serve you now as your Selectman.
  17. 17. Candidate for Board of Selectmen Donald Van Dyne Why should I vote for you? I consider myself to be more of an administrator than a politician. I have been trained, educated and have the proven local government leadership experience to do what is in the best interest of our town. I make decisions (budget, licenses, policy and housing) based on reason, not on what is politically advantageous. My recommendations to balancing revenues and expenditures and consequently the level of service our town delivers is based on years of training, hours of study- ing issues and further supported by a Masters degree in Urban and Financial Management from the American University in Washington DC. At times not everyone will agree with me on positions I believe to be in the best interest of our Don town. But that is okay. That is what makes our town a stronger community; we have open dia- Van Dyne log and consider the different sides of an issue. Once we have vetted a topic, made a decision and implemented policy as a community we will wipe the slate clean and start anew on the next issue. I will always look forward to working with any and all members of our community on the many issues we face. I will al- ways support the decision of policy making and encourage the participation of the residents of Chelmsford. Most importantly, we will keep an open flow of communication and ideas and work together to make Chelmsford great. This is my philosophy towards the delivery of efficient and fair governance. Especially at the local level, government should be by the people and for the people. This demands respect, honesty, and transparency. These are the values I have reflected in my many years of service to the Town of Chelmsford as a member and current Vice Chairman of the Finance Committee, a mem- ber of the Capital Planning Committee, the Charter Review Committee, Solid Waste Recycling Committee, and as a Town Meeting Representative. On April 7th you have a choice and your vote will make a difference. A vote for Donald Van Dyne is vote for an honest leader. Four key reasons: First, I want to unite this town. We can do anything if we work together. Second, I'll work hard to find cre- ative ways to protect the services like fire, police, schools and libraries. Also, I can help us get a fair hearing from the state house. A lot of our problems are due to state mandates and funding issues. Fourth, I want to lead Chelmsford to be an example to the state on alternative energy and conservation. Candidate for Board of Selectmen George Dixon Why should I vote for you? These are tough times for Chelmsford and everywhere. But since the earliest days of the USA, we've stood united been able to do things against long odds. I don't have all the answers and probably nobody does. But in Chelmsford, you can bet that some- body does. We have a lot of really smart people here who love this town. We need a town government that listens to people. If we really listen and we welcome their ideas and skills, we can get through anything and make this a better town for all of us. If I'm elected my first priority will be to improve communication and cooperation between the town departments, and between the town government and the residents. Email is great but an email address on our website isn't how you improve communication. You improve it by hearing people and not ignoring what they're telling you. We have important services that protect our neighbors and our children. I'm not running to figure out how to slash those. I'm running to protect those. As a volunteer serving on the boards of The Paul Center, the Greater Lowell Boys and Girls Club, and the Chelmsford Alumni Association, I've created and chaired a lot of fundraisers. We need creative ways to raise money and put volunteers to work to protect the town our fathers gave us, and I have some experience bringing people together for that. George We need cooperation from the state on a lot of issues, including Chapter 70 funding and 40B Dixon
  18. 18. developments, but other things too. I've worked on the campaigns of a lot of our local legislators, I was named Distinguished Democrat of the Year, and I graduated from a 6-week Citizens Legislative Seminar at the State House. I can't make promises about what they will or won't do but I can help us get a fair hearing from them. Finally, I want to see how we can bring in grant money to start some alternative energy projects here, like wind power or solar, and get cooperation from businesses that are looking for places for pilot projects. Energy costs are going to go back up and tech- nology costs are coming down. We can invest now to get control over this part of our budget. My family has lived in this town for four generations. I'm running because I love this town, and like my father showed me, you give back to your home. I won't be taking orders from anyone, and I won't be trying to give orders, I'll get things done by lis- tening and pulling people together. I respectfully ask for one of two votes on April 7th. Candidate for Board of Selectmen Matt Hanson Why should I vote for you? I have a clear vision of why I am running, what the position entails, and how I will be an asset to the Board of Selectman (BOS). Having attended many meetings and public forums throughout Chelmsford, I have gained a thorough understanding of the workings of our town government. I am an active Town Meeting Rep (TMR) who has worked with residents on various issues facing the town ranging from leaf collection and snow plowing, to issues such as taxation, 40B, and the proposed Aggregate In- dustries expansion. Throughout my experiences as an active TMR, I have identified things that I would do differently on the BOS. Being accessi- ble and responsive to residents, while being a TMR and working on many issues facing Chelmsford, allowed me to see first- hand how valuable this was. I felt that my ability and willingness to work closely with residents would help me be an effective Selectman. After taking a proactive approach to many issues here in Chelmsford, as well as at the Statehouse, I want to bring that same proactive attitude to the BOS. I have seen how issues such as the Billerica power plant, 40B, and Chapter 70 have affected our town. If a surrounding town is building a 40B on the border of Chelmsford, or a power plant that will have potentially dangerous effects to our air and water, I will not wait for them to ask our opinion. I will research the proposals and take the ini- tiative to pick up the phone and start the dialogue positioning our towns concerns immediately. I will lobby our state representatives tirelessly to ensure that the Town of Chelmsford receives fair representation at the state level. I have done this in the past, and I will continue to do this as a member of the BOS. Matt Hanson I have a deep understanding of the economic climate in which our town is currently operating. I spend a great deal of time speaking with our legislators and attending forums on the financial situa- tion at the Statehouse and issues of local development. I will be receiving my BA in Political Science from UMass Lowell in May and I am currently working towards my Masters Degree in Regional Economic and Social Development. It is important for me to stress exactly what that means and why it would be valuable as a member of the BOS. Politics and science are two words that don’t seem like they belong together, but for me, Political Science is the study of what policies work, and most importantly, why. I have always been a very objective person and my experience working with intricate political issues has helped me to develop an understanding of the processes involved in making those decisions. In September 2008 when I announced my candidacy; I did so because I saw the need for change and believed that my political platform supports that need. I will always be accessible, take a proactive and objective approach to every situation, and exercise fiscal discipline. I have a strong desire to give back to the town where I have lived my entire life. I believe the best way for me to do that is as a member of the Board of Selectman. I respectfully ask for one of your two votes on Election Day, Tuesday, April 07, 2009. Regards, Matt Hanson
  19. 19. Candidate for Board of Selectmen Steve Roberts Why should I vote for you? I am an Engineer by trade for over 10 years. I have a strong analytical and technical background as a result. I have been a manager of a soft- ware engineering team with members in Europe, Asia & here in Massachusetts. I have led these teams in trouble-shooting problems with computer systems in our world’s leading financial & healthcare institutions. Outside of work, I was a project lead for a Tsunami Relief project in 2005 that was charted to rebuild 45 fishing villages in South East India. I worked cross-timezone and cultures to design sustainable living environments that would withstand future weather events. At home, I have been an active member of the Chelmsford Open Space Stewardship, leading efforts to clean-up, protect & promote our open space properties. I represent a generation that will jump into our political process with a renewed outlook on Chelmsford’s future. It is part of my nature as an engineer to want input and to take in all sides of a problem, but to also make sound decisions and move forward. As Selectman for Chelmsford, I will reach out to my fellow residents and listen, but stand up & lead our town through these difficult times. What differentiates me from my fellow candidates is my upbringing in a small town, a town similar to what Steve Chelmsford was not that long ago. I am at a point in my professional career where I have been faced with diffi- Roberts cult challenges. I have restructured organizations to meet the economic challenges that I have faced. I have done this with integrity and consideration for all sides. We face a difficult path ahead in town and we need a leader who will have the experience in making difficult decisions, but the compassion for the hometown values that were instilled on me at an early age. We need a leader who reaches out to every resident, not just the small percent who are active in our town government and associations. Together we will build a vision for the community that we can pass on to future generations. Please do the first part in this by voting on Tuesday. ****************************************** The Candidates speak on 40B CLICK HERE The Candidates speak on Billboards The Candidates CLICK speak HERE on Aggregate Industries CLICK HERE
  20. 20. A fool and his money are soon elected. - WILL ROGERS Recession sees fewer campaign donations in Chelmsford race By Rita Savard, 03/31/2009 CHELMSFORD -- The recession has people thinking about a lot of things. Donating to political campaigns isn't one of them. That's evident in Chelmsford where several candidates running for selectman are loaning themselves money just to do some basic campaign- ing. Candidate Steven Roberts spent more than $1,000 out of his own pocket to help pay for bulk mailings and yard signs. quot;Mailing is a big and expensive part of campaigning, but it helps reach those people who you might not get to meet knocking on doors,quot; Roberts said. quot;It's about making people aware of who you are when they head to the polls.quot; Candidate George Dixon, who was weighing whether he'll need to put $800 of his own cash into another mailing yesterday, said he doesn't feel comfortable asking his friends and neighbors for money. quot;No one has any money right now,quot; Dixon said. quot;It's humbling enough that people are willing to donate their own time to help you get elected.quot; All six candidates vying for two open seats on the board agreed that in a crippled economy, volunteers can outweigh the value of a dollar. Even simple campaigning isn't cheap, said Ken Hanson, a member of the Committee to Elect Matthew Hanson. Just one mailing to 15 percent of the town's registered voters -- about 3,501, out of 23,246 total -- can add up to more than $2,000 with the cost of postcards and stamps. Hanson, as well as candidate Sean Scanlon have each spent more than they raised as of March 30, according to campaign finance reports due in the town clerk's office yesterday by 4 p.m. quot;Our volunteers really saved us,quot; said Nancy Scanlon, Sean Scanlon's wife and campaign volunteer. quot;The hours they've put in are priceless when you think about all the work involved.quot; From standing outside and holding signs to knocking on doors, Nancy Scanlon, who is pregnant with the couple's second child, said getting out a message that's effective yet cost-efficient is the way to go. Don Van Dyne spent Saturday holding campaign signs in Chelmsford Center with his daughter, Maggie-Molloy, 7. quot;Money is tough for most people,quot; Van Dyne said. quot;I've been getting by with a strong base of support from family, friends and neighbors just contributing time to get the message out there. That's what it's all about. I'd rather have their support than their money.quot; Candidate Jim Murray was the only candidate who missed yesterday's deadline for filing a campaign finance report. Late filing can result in fines of $10 a day for the oversight, according to state campaign laws. Town Clerk Betty Delaney said she allows for a little wiggle room before referring late candidates to the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance, which issues the fines. Murray said he's raised less than $300, and estimates that he's probably invested the same. Murray said he's putting most of his money into a mass mailing, with a small donation going toward a group of bagpipers called The Bunker Hill Pipe Band. The band, which has opened up for the DropKick Murphys, drew a crowd in Chelmsford Center last weekend. Murray will bring them back this Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. quot;I don't think you have to throw a bunch of money at a campaign to make it work,quot; he said. quot;It's about leg work, and I've got a lot of good people behind me.quot; Campaign finance reports are public record and available for viewing at the town clerk's office, 50 Billerica Road. Politics has become so expensive that it takes a lot of money even to be defeated. - WILL ROGERS
  21. 21. “I donʼt make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.” - WILL ROGERS Chelmsford Selectmenʼs Race Profiles written by Rita Savard Hanson: I'll have state experience The Lowell Sun 03/28/2009 CHELMSFORD -- Matthew Hanson said he has something to offer that his challengers do not -- a view from the Statehouse. After completing his bachelor's degree in political science this May, Hanson is slated to begin interning for newly elected state Rep. Jim Arciero, D-Westford. quot;I'll be dealing with issues affecting Chelmsford every day at the state level,quot; Hanson said. quot;Hopefully that will come back to the town in very helpful ways, whether it's a new money-saving grant or having the ear of all of our state reps.quot; On April 7, Hanson hopes his dedication and commitment to making Chelmsford an even better place to live will win over voters for one of two open selectman seats. The only college student in this year's race, 20-year-old Hanson says his age has advantages. quot;My studies revolve around politics and civic life,quot; he says. quot;Because I don't have a family of my own right now, I have all of my time and en- ergy to devote to serving the town of Chelmsford, and that's something I'm very passionate about.quot; For the past few years, Hanson has spent his free time watching and attending meetings for the Board of Selectmen and School Commit- tee. His penchant for politics led him to run for an open Town Meeting Representative seat last year, which he won. Since that time, he's played an active role in a number of issues affecting Chelmsford, including Aggregate Industries attempt to expand its asphalt plant on Lit- tleton Road. While Hanson is hesitant to criticize the current Board of Selectmen, he has said at a recent debate that the board should have pushed harder against the plant. If elected, Hanson said one of his priorities will be helping the town preserve the same public-education programs he benefited from. quot;Since the town's revenues have declined, there have been substantial cuts to education and public safety,quot; he says. quot;Besides fighting for more local aid, I would be in favor of asking the town's highest-paid public employees, as well as the unions to take a temporary wage freeze.quot; Times in town are so tough, Hanson says, that the School Department cut bottled water out of the nurse's office. quot;When you get to the point where kids can't have water on hand to take their medicine, something needs to be done,quot; he says. Although he is young, Hanson says his education has prepared him for public service, giving him a leg up on some of his older challengers. quot;Because of my age, I'm enthusiastic, energetic and motivated,quot; he says. quot;I'm not afraid of taking a proactive approach to get the job done.quot;
  22. 22. Murray wants 40B abolished The Lowell Sun Updated: 03/28/2009 CHELMSFORD -- Knocking down the state's 40B affordable housing law was Jim Murray's sole reason for entering the selectman's race. During debates, opponents have charged Murray with being a one-issue candidate. But whether it's finding better affordable housing solutions, boosting the local economy or balancing the budget, Murray says he's committed to making all of the issues Chelmsford faces a top priority if elected to one of two open seats on April 7. quot;The time has come for a changing of the guard and a new crew to provide leadership direction to the people of our community,quot; Murray said. quot;I will bring to the office of selectman independent thinking, creative problem-solving, a clarity of purpose and a vision for the future.quot; Calling 40B quot;a monster devouring small-town character,quot; Murray believes there's a better way to bring affordable housing into town and plans to launch a regional effort for repealing the law. quot;As a licensed construction supervisor, I know it costs two to three times as much to rehabilitate an older building than to construct a new one on the same footprint,quot; he says. Murray is also in favor of using foreclosed homes for affordable housing stock to possibly help shelter some of the town's 1,400 residents now on a seven-to-10 year waiting list for affordable housing. Murray has also called the Chelmsford Board of Assessors' decision to tax mobile homes quot;excessive.quot; Last year, all 254 trailers in the park were assessed at $30,000 each. Murray said those estimates are off for many park residents, including Joan Linehan, who purchased her unit in 1961 at $6,000. Chelmsford is the first community in the commonwealth to assess homes on wheels like permanent homes with founda- tions. The unprecedented lawsuit is pending in court. quot;I have a real problem with our assessor going after our seniors who are on fixed incomes and whose property values are nowhere near the $30,000 proposed,quot; he said. quot;I wonder if our legal bill will reflect what we may have gained in revenue. I doubt it.quot; Murray has owned and operated a Christmas tree farm in Maine since 1975. As a small-business owner, Murray says he understands the life and challenges of Chelmsford's small businesses, including making payroll, hiring help and paying suppliers in a bad economy. He opposes tax classification. He said his training and service in the U.S. Navy Seabees helped shape his life and hone his leadership skills. While in the Seabees, Murray was an engineering aide, helping to construct a 10,000-foot runway in the Indian Ocean. quot;I know how to think independently, but I also know how to work well with my team until our goal is completed,quot; Murray said. quot;If elected, I will offer bold solutions and bring a lifetime of experience to the Board of Selectmen.quot; Roberts vows communication The Lowell Sun 03/28/2009 CHELMSFORD -- Steve Roberts may be a newcomer to Chelmsford, but says he's no stranger when it comes to small-town appeal -- and pol- itics. quot;Both my parents were teachers in Monson, a small town in western, Massachusetts,quot; Roberts says. quot;But in the 1970s, their town faced budget cuts very much like the ones we're facing now in Chelmsford.quot; Tough fiscal times prompted deep cuts in his hometown's public schools. Roberts says he won't sit by and watch the same happen in Chelmsford. If elected to one of two open seats on the Board of Selectmen, he says his mission will be fighting to preserve quality levels of public safety and education. quot;I chose to settle in Chelmsford because of the town's preserved New England character and history, and its affordable housing compared to neighboring communities,quot; Roberts says. quot;These are qualities that cannot be compromised, even in difficult economic times.quot; Part of keeping Chelmsford a great place to live, means nurturing a vibrant local economy, Roberts adds. His own parents left teaching to start a small printing business in the 1970s. Thirty years later, it's still thriving. quot;Small businesses are the economic engine of a community,quot; he says. quot;That's why I believe the town's uniform tax rate shouldn't be changed.quot; Roberts says communication between residents and town officials is key to bringing real change to Chelmsford. That's why he says his first motion would be to form committees in each neighborhood. Neighborhood committees could take any issues and concerns to selectmen so the board can work more effectively on carrying out the will of voters. quot;Having that level of communication would be a great way to engage with different neighborhoods and take the needs of those residents to other town boards and committees, and to our state reps,quot; Roberts says. quot;Someone needs to be there in the middle to connect the dots and drive the effort. I'd like to be that person for my community.quot;
  23. 23. For the past nine years, Roberts has worked for the largest information-storage company based in Massachusetts. During most of his tenure, he's led research and development teams in trouble-shooting software problems for some of the world's leading financial institutions and health-care companies. Think of it like this: If your online banking goes haywire, a hospital's patient database freezes up, or a major league baseball team runs into a technical glitch when airing those game replays, Roberts' team finds a way to fix it fast. He says his leadership skills have coordinated organizations across time zones, cultures and under tight deadlines. Dixon vows to get answers The Lowell Sun 03/28/2009 CHELMSFORD -- In tough fiscal times, George Dixon says a strong leader should be able to open doors, get answers and stop at nothing to get funding. As the candidate who's spent the most years in Chelmsford, 62-year-old Dixon says fundraising is something he knows a lot about. Dixon says experience coupled with his connections on Beacon Hill is why voters should choose him on April 7 for one of two open seats on the Board of Selectmen. quot;I know how to get together and raise money when money is tight,quot; says Dixon, who has served on several fundraising committees over the years, including the Greater Lowell Boys and Girls Club and Camp Paul in Chelmsford (a summer camp for children with special needs). But probably his biggest project was spearheading the committee that helped raise more than $23,000 to erect a memorial to Chelmsford's Vietnam War veterans. The memorial, built in 2006, sits on the common in North Chelmsford. Dixon also founded his own charity, Caring Friends, to raise money for various organizations that fight Alzheimer's and breast cancer, diseases which afflicted both his parents and his wife. If elected, Dixon says his priorities will be working with all town boards and committees toward common goals. quot;It's important that the people believe their government is working for them, and cares about their wants and needs,quot; he says. quot;I'm a hard worker who is not afraid to take a stand to defend the integrity and character of our town, and I expect to be held accountable for my decisions.quot; Exploring more alternative energy sources, including solar panels for municipal buildings, is another approach that Dixon believes can save the town money. He's also interested in pursing more quot;creativequot; ways to put more money back into Chelmsford's operating budget, including a proposal to put three billboards up in town. quot;As long as it doesn't affect the integrity of the town, I'd support it,quot; Dixon says. Dixon is also an avid golfer, who has organized many golf tournaments as fundraisers, and is proud of the golf awards he's won with his son, including the 1994 State Father-Son Championship. quot;I don't claim to have all the answers,quot; Dixon says. quot;But I do know that I can be a driving force to get the answers.quot; Van Dyne: I can crunch numbers The Lowell Sun 03/28/2009 CHELMSFORD -- Donald Van Dyne says the crippled economy prompted his run for office. The Finance Committee member says he's the only candidate with real experience balancing a municipal budget. Van Dyne hopes a familiarity with town government will win him one of two open seats on the Board of Selectmen April 7. quot;I'm uniquely qualified,quot; he says. quot;I've already worked with all of the town's department heads, finance directors and the town manager on the budget.quot; If elected, Van Dyne says his priorities will be promoting economic development, favoring redevelopment over new development and continu- ing to rebalance Chelmsford's Chapter 70 state education aid. Van Dyne was the first resident in town to pull nomination papers for the board. quot;Now more than ever, the town needs to tread carefully with it comes to finances,quot; he says. quot;I'm about numbers and right now it's all about numbers.quot;
  24. 24. Van Dyne has a master's degree in urban financial management from the American University in Washington. Besides serving on the Finance Committee, he also served on the Capital Planning Committee, the Solid Waste and Recycling Committee, the Charter Review Committee, and was a Town Meeting representative for Precinct 6 for three years. Van Dyne is the only candidate opposed to a repeal of the state's 40B affordable housing law. Instead of scrapping the law and starting over from scratch, Van Dyne believes the current law should be amended. Repealing the law, he says, could actually make things worse in Chelms- ford. quot;The state could come back and cut local aid completely, which has been talked about before, or strip the town from having any say at all over affordable housing projects,quot; Van Dyne said. Helping to build 40B projects in the past, including Glen Isle in Chelmsford, Van Dyne says sticking to a LIP process (Local Initiative Project), would guide developers, abutters and town officials to creating projects that work for Chelmsford. Van Dyne says his experience if property management also qualifies him as a leader willing and able to market the town's industrial and commercial strengths to attract business and bolster tax revenue. Van Dyne supports asking the town's top paid employees to take pay cuts as a way to reduce town expenses and set an example for unions. quot;We need to be able to meet with the unions and understand where they're coming from,quot; Van Dyne says. quot;And they need to know where we are financially. For years it was like people thought there was a money tree hiding in a closet in Town Hall. There isn't and we need to establish Scanlon eyes prioritization truths.quot; The Lowell Sun 03/28/2009 CHELMSFORD -- When it comes to leadership, Sean Scanlon says he knows about making tough decisions under fire. As a former commander supporting U.S. Air Force special operations, Scanlon says prioritizing and completing missions is his strong suit. quot;I don't believe in leaving a job unfinished,quot; Scanlon says, which is why he hopes to land Chelmsford's vote for one of two open seats on the Board of Selectmen. After graduating Chelmsford High School in 1998, Scanlon earned a bachelor's in history from UMass Amherst in 2002. He was commis- sioned in the Air Force the same year. While in the Air Force, Scanlon was assigned to three different states and served overseas, both in Europe and Afghanistan, where he sup- ported strategic planning and delivered supplies to Afghan refugees. His service in the military gave him another perspective on hardships and making quick decisions on extreme deadlines. When deployed to Cyprus, Scanlon was a commander of an intelligence unit that supported Air Force missions. It was his job to prioritize which mission was going to be a highest threat and then put a guy on it. quot;Knowing the decisions you make affect more than just yourself, the guy you never met in the field taking fire, those are the decisions that weigh on you after,quot; Scanlon says. quot;It's very important to make decisions that best serve everyone involved.quot; That's the reason that prompted his run for the Board of Selectmen. quot;If you think something should be done, it's not always right to look around for someone else to do it,quot; he says. Scanlon, who continues to serve as a captain in the Air National Guard, said when people often think of the military, they think of discipline. But one thing that often gets overlooked, he ads, is the experience of working with a broad range of people from different backgrounds and skill sets. quot;We can all relate to having that one annoying co-worker at the office,quot; he laughs. quot;But at the end of the day, you have to work with that person to reach a broader goal. So you focus on the things you do have in common. And when you work at that it's funny, because most of the time you learn that you have more in common with that person that you thought.quot; If elected, Scanlon says his focus will looking for more other means to saving money besides hacking further into public safety and education. One approach he's brought up in debates has been to look at advertising on school buses as a way of eliminating school bus fees. quot;I will push for policy not because it's expedient, or the hot-button issue of the day, but because it's in the best interest of Chelmsford today and tomorrow.quot; Chelmsford Independent Q & A Click on the Candidate to read what they had to say ... *********************************************************************************************************** Q & A with Jim Murray Q & A with Steve Roberts Q &A with-Sean-Scanlon Q & A with George Dixon Q & A with Donald Van Dyne Q & A with Matthew Hanson
  25. 25. And a pitch from some of the other Candidates from around town ... QUESTION: By default you will win your election bid. But why should I actually vote for you and not just leave the ballot blank? Dear Chelmsford Voters, Leaving the a ballot blank is like leaving things the way they are. It means you are satisfied with the performance of the School Administration and the School Committee. Leaving it blank is telling everyone that the millions of dollars that are spent in our school district are being spent correctly and no improvements are needed. As I have mentioned on many occa- sions during the campaign the definition of insanity is quot;keep doing things the same way and expect different resultsquot;. There needs to be some common sense thinking brought back into our school district and a sense that what the taxpayers have given us is a gift so we should spend it wisely and effectively. We must always live within our means. A different approach needs to be examined for our school administration to move productively into the future. Bringing some business minded ideas and structure to the school district will foster new energy which will attract new found involvement by parents and taxpayer alike. A clear 3 - 5 year plan is critical for the success of any organization, so this will be a critical requirement in my first 3 months as a committee member. Adding a sense of responsibility to the administration is also critical to the development of a positive relationship between the taxpayers, parents, school administration, school committee, and other parts of town government. The impression is the Nick schools have distanced themselves from the town, parents, and the taxpayers. This has to end, DeSilvio there are so many human assets in this town that need to be utilized and I'm sure that can hap- pen, it will be our job on the SC to just ask for that help. I hope on election day you cast a vote for fresh, new common sense approach to doing business and by casting a vote for Nick DeSilvio I promise you that your voice will always be heard. Blank ballot = leaving things the way they are, A vote cast for Nick DeSilvio = new common sense thinking. Thank you for the opportunity. CLICK HERE Respectfully, CLICK HERE for Nickʼs appearance at for Nickʼs appearance Nick DeSilvio the League of Women Voters on Town Talk with Debate Dennis Ready Hello Roy, Thank you for the question and the opportunity to respond to you. I would respectfully ask that you cast your vote for me based on my performance during my first 3 years as a Planning Board member. During my first 3 years I have not been afraid to ask the tough questions and be an active S. George member of the Planning Board. I have served as the clerk, the Planning Board representative to Zaharoolis Northern Middlesex Council of Governments [NMCOG], the chair of the billboard sub committee, and I am one of two Planning Board members to serve on the Master Plan committee. In addition, I worked with NMCOG to complete a Drum Hill Master Plan study. These responsibilities show the efforts that I have put forward as a 1st year Planning Board member. I have worked very hard to be an active member of Chelmsford’s Planning Board and look forward in continuing to serve as a Planning Board member. Your vote would recognized the efforts that I have put forward as a member of the Planning Board. Therefore, I respectfully ask that on April 7th, 2009, you cast your vote for S. George Zaharoolis candidate for Planning Board. Sincerely, S. George Zaharoolis