Vol. III No. 9 5/1/2022
Reader to Reader
Editor's note: We are delighted to report — Andrea found her earring.
Charles Kenny: Consultants Can't Take the Place of Board Due Diligence
When the Board of Health had to deal with a cyanobacterial nuisance on the Bowl a few years ago, the Board formed a citizens' subcommittee. Consisting of people from various lake associations who lived on the lake, as well as Water and Sewer, Con Comm, and BOH members, the committee met regularly and worked hard for months to understand the problem and what we wanted to be done. Only then did we seek a consultant to tell us how do it. It should be noted that a citizens' group works for free.
The Planning Board has used exactly the opposite process. Instead of first forming a representative citizens' group to find out what the town wanted, the PB began by hiring an expensive consultant, a man who had barely, if ever, set foot in Stockbridge, to tell them what he thought needed to be done to change Stockbridge to match his zoning bylaw template from another town. After thousands of dollars, the PB intends to put the preconceived ideas of this stranger before the Town in the form of major bylaw changes, all this during a two-year period of time when most people have been unable to participate in Town government the way they would have liked. As a result, and for other reasons, there really has been no opportunity for equitable public input into the PB's process.
Similarly, the Select Board had hired a consultant, another stranger, to tell us what to do about the intersection. I doubt there is a person in Town who does not have an opinion about what should be done at the intersection, but, even though the SB had promised the discussion would first be given a full public airing, the intersection appeared on the April 12 agenda as a multi-million-dollar warrant item, bundled together with the bridges. I credit SB member Cardillo with the courage to recognize not only that the intersection should not have been bundled with the bridges, but the people had not had a fair chance to weigh in and that they needed a little more time to recover from the stresses of this pandemic before confronting such a controversial discussion. Credit should also go to all those town residents who saw that the SB's having already spent money on a consultant is not an excuse to exclude the people and bypass the democratic process.
Helen Davies: Essential Role of a Free Press
Thank you, Carole, and anyone else contributing to Stockbridge Updates. But perhaps even more important, for working to help keep direct democracy alive in Stockbridge.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to thank "anyone else contributing". They are the excellent photographers — Jay Rhind, Lionel Delevingne, Dana Goedewaagen, Patrick White, and Joan Gallos; Editors — Jack Trowill and Lenore Sundberg; Production — Patrick White, and all the contributors, letter writers, and thousands of readers who keep SU alive and lively.
Jim & Shelley Balfanz: Vote for Vogt and McCaffrey
Dear Stockbridge Updates,
My wife Shelley joins me in writing in support of William Vogt and Roxanne McCaffrey for reelection to the Planning Board and Selectboard, respectively. Bill Vogt has served as chairman during a time when a lot was thrown at the Planning Board and has done a good job of treating each of the items raised in a fair and equitable manner. Roxanne McCaffrey was elected three years ago to the Selectboard and during her term has had to deal with the Town Administrator leaving for another position, working with an interim TA and also being on the board which hired our current outstanding Town Administrator. Roxanne has worked hard to smooth out the angst regarding the Stockbridge Bowl legal situation and has succeeded in getting both sides to sit down and work towards satisfactory solutions.
Both Vogt and McCaffrey have earned the support of Stockbridge voters and Shelley and I hope they will be reelected. Please vote for them this year.
Jim & Shelley Balfanz
Diane & Vernon Reuss: Vote for McCaffrey and Vogt
Our note is to our citizens of Stockbridge — I would like for them to consider once again voting for Roxanne McCaffrey for Select Board and Bill Vogt for Planning Board — we believe that they represent leadership and excellence — we know first-hand due to a few issues with our property here in Glendale and we can say that our results were positive and factual... we are very fortunate to live in a town where our leaders know our by-laws and care about our residents
Diane & Vernon Reuss
Anne Rabinowitz: Vote for Jamie Minacci, Kate Fletcher, Lis Wheeler
I strongly encourage Stockbridge voters to vote for Jamie Minacci for Selectboard. Jamie is locally born and educated. She will bring honesty, integrity, transparency, and openness to town hall. She will listen to the opinions of the citizens and work hard for us. She has the experience required through serving on various town committees.
I also encourage you to vote for Kate Fletcher and Lis Wheeler for Planning Board. Kate has a wealth of historical town knowledge and is very familiar with Planning Board bylaws. Lis has lived in Stockbridge for most of her life, is well aware of the issues facing the town, and will be an asset to the board.
Eric Plakun: Vote for Kate Fletcher
Here is an endorsement for the Stockbridge Updates sent by me as a private citizen.
These are challenging times, with the world's and the nation's social fabric frayed by the impact of the pandemic, the rise of authoritarianism and tribalism, the daunting impact of climate change, growing disparities in health and wealth, and uncivil partisanship growing in discourse and in governance. Stockbridge is not exempt from the impact of these forces, which is why I urge you to join me in supporting Kate Fletcher for reelection to the Stockbridge Planning Board.
In my own experience of more than 2 decades on the Board in years past, I learned the importance of town representation by experienced, thoughtful, individuals who know, understand, and follow our local zoning bylaws, and who are committed to the Purpose stated in the bylaws of "Orderly growth at a deliberate pace."
In her ten years on the Board, Kate has consistently served the citizens of Stockbridge well by holding in mind the dangers of one-dimensional thinking about development. Textured and nuanced thinking is required to balance the need for growth with the need to preserve the bucolic, small town essence of Stockbridge. Kate understands that one definition of an environmentalist is someone who built their house last year — and hence someone who wants no more growth. She recognizes that the town needs new citizens, new businesses, and growth to prosper, but that we should achieve that without killing the goose that laid the proverbial golden egg that Stockbridge is. Once it's gone, we cannot get it back.
Please join me in casting your vote for knowledgeable, experienced, leadership untarnished by partisan invective. Please support Kate Fletcher for reelection to the Stockbridge Planning Board.
Eric M. Plakun
Susan Laidlaw: Vote for Kate Fletcher
I am hoping you will find a place for this endorsement.
Stockbridge Update is very informative — Thanks for all your efforts
I enthusiastically endorse Kate Fletcher for a position on the planning board in Stockbridge.
Kate, who is a lifelong resident here, has a proven reputation as a well-regarded and dedicated volunteer in the town over several years. Most recently, Kate has served two terms working on planning board. She understands the complexities and need for continuity as the town moves forward in this time of many changes.
I had the good fortune to engage with Kate when her knowledge and advice was sought on a matter concerning speed limits on Yale Hill. Kate was diligent, proactive, and fluent in regulations and laws on both a town and state level. Her knowledge and involvement played an important role in educating the residents of Yale Hill behind this cause, and steering us towards next steps. Throughout our communication it was evident that Kate cares about the town, and its people-residents and visitors alike.
Maureen O'Hanlon & Ken Krentsa: Vote for Lis Wheeler for Planning Board
To Carole Owens:
We have known Lis Wheeler since we moved full time to Stockbridge about 20 years ago. She is a long-term resident of Stockbridge and always involved and concerned about preserving the town and its unique essence.
She works well with others and has sat on many boards wanting to contribute her talents to the groups she is involved with.
Her career as a real estate agent has served her well in becoming more involved with different parts of our community and has a good understanding of the future concerns of our community while respecting its past.
We think that Lis would do a fine job on the Planning Board and would give her time and energy graciously to the town of Stockbridge.
Maureen O'Hanlon and Ken Krentsa
Mike Pelle & Laura Flint: Vote for Minacci for SB, Fletcher and Wheeler for PB
We strongly support Jamie Minacci for Stockbridge Select Board, Kate Fletcher for a third term on the Planning Board, and Elisabeth Danish Wheeler in her bid to join Kate on that Board.
Why? For us, the old saw that sunlight is the best disinfectant rings true.
Stockbridge residents are wise. Give us the straight facts and we'll make good decisions.
Hide the facts, deny us access, and how can we know what's true? We can't.
Jamie Minacci is running for transparency in town government, something we've noticed is too often missing.
One example: during COVID, residents enjoyed the benefit of Zoom access to town board meetings. This allowed everyone to participate fully by seeing, hearing and contributing when none of us could be present in person. We see no downside and only positives to continuing this real time participation by residents. Yes, CTSB provides a crucial service by recording proceedings and airing them later. Unfortunately, this doesn't allow for interaction while meetings are in progress; Zoom does.
Jamie Minacci wants an informed public, and will promote access, civil discussion of varied opinions, and inclusion rather than exclusion.
Jamie is a Berkshire native who serves on the Conservation Commission and chairs the Stockbridge Bowl Commission and supports affordable housing and other efforts to build our community.
Kate Fletcher has earned another term on the Planning Board. She offers an ideal blend of education (Masters' Degree in Public Policy) and experience (Zoning Review Committee chair; key contributor to Stockbridge Bowl regulations, among others). Given current developmental pressures, Kate's deep knowledge of town By-Laws is a critical asset. Kate will consider the needs of those who live and work in Stockbridge as well as the essential character of our village.
Lis Danish Wheeler is no newcomer to Stockbridge, having lived here for most of her life. She is a Trustee of the Laurel Hill Association and has chosen to fulfill her dream of living and raising her family here. Lis aims to provide others with the same opportunity, by exploring options for affordable housing for people of all ages. She will also work to protect the town's unique character- its history, community and environment.
Please vote on May 17 for these qualified candidates as well as for incumbent Terri Iemolini (Town Clerk), and Dr. John Liodice, candidate for Board of Health.
Mike Pelle and Laura Flint, Stockbridge
John Hart: Vote for Jamie Minacci
To the Editor of Stockbridge Updates
I am writing to support Jamie Minacci who is running for a seat on the Stockbridge Select Board.
Jamie is a member of our Conservation Commission upon which I sit and a welcomed one at that. She has studied our charge and more importantly has listened and asked the questions that need to be asked when applicants come before us.
I have been impressed by her determination to protect and preserve Stockbridge's natural resources as well as the character of the town I grew up in.
To say Stockbridge is "unique" is an understatement. Jamie grew up in our unique area and has watched as other communities around us have fallen victim to too rapid change and too much growth. She understands our uniqueness and why it should be preserved.
Jamie has been Chair of the Stockbridge Bowl Stewardship Committee. She experienced the pressures of serving our Town, witnessed the pressures on Stockbridge for growth, and realized the need always to be open and transparent with the people who live here. As a result she was motivated to run for Select Board to assure how we move forward.
I have been around this town for many years. Yes, I have bobbed up and down in town meetings in the past because I saw our voters being bamboozled by the language of the articles and actions of selectboards put before us at town meeting. It appears my bobbing has done some good and voters in town now more closely scrutinize what all our town representatives put before us. I believe Stockbridge Updates has become the resulting "transparency" we have needed for many years.
Transparency is only one factor in our town government. Other issues are: development; chemicals in our lake; protecting the character of town; the ability of our residents to pay their taxes while assessed values skyrocket, and finding ways to welcome and offer housing to the younger generation.
It is my belief that given the opportunity Jamie Minacci will work hard for everyone in our town and do whatever she can to preserve, protect, support, and manage the growth of Stockbridge.
One more thing: she will listen to all who live here and represent their interests. Vote for her, you deserve her vigilance now.
Carl Sprague: Vote for Kate Fletcher for Planning Board
Dear Stockbridge Updates,
I urge everyone to vote for Kate Fletcher to continue her service on the Stockbridge Planning Board. Kate has demonstrated expertise and patience throughout her present term. Her thorough knowledge of the Town's planning laws is genuine asset to the board. Her degree in public policy from the University of Massachusetts informs her thoughtful approach toward the future of Stockbridge. Kate has lived here all her life, and she deeply understands what Stockbridge is and what it should be.
Sincerely, Carl Sprague
Robert Flower: Vote for Lis Wheeler
I am writing in support of Lis Wheeler's candidacy for the Stockbridge Planning Board.
Lis has deep roots in Stockbridge and currently lives in the family home that she visited weekends and summers as a child. She appreciates what makes Stockbridge such an attractive and desirable town and understands the potential development issues that threaten our environment and quality of life.
Lis will bring a balanced approach and employ careful consideration to our zoning laws, a thoughtful attention towards the protection of our historic structures and remain dedicated to conserve the natural beauty of Stockbridge for the future. Good luck Lis! Best Bobby
Former Stockbridge Selectman
Nick Peck: Vote for the Democratic Candidates
More support for Democratic Candidates for high offices in Stockbridge!
I want to thank Kate Fletcher and Jamie Minacci for all their hard work for the town. And I wish them victory in the upcoming town elections.
Sincerely, Nick Peck
Maggie Dillon Katz: Vote for Lis Wheeler for Planning Board
Thanks for all you do to keep us informed about Stockbridge.
Attached please find my endorsement Letter for Lis Danish Wheeler for Planning Board.
Years ago, when I first met Lis Danish Wheeler, my husband and I were deciding which town to live in, so I asked Lis where she lived. "Stockbridge" she said, "I love Stockbridge!" I didn't know then we would become neighbors and also work colleagues. What I know about Lis is that her life experience, desire to help others, and give back to Stockbridge make her an excellent choice for The Stockbridge Planning Board. Why? Lis is good at big picture planning, while also strong at detail. She has a quiet determination to get things done collaboratively. A good listener, she is kind and handles conflicts with grace. I've watched her find solutions that focus on the best outcome for the whole community. Lis has a passion for "keeping the beauty of Stockbridge alive," and what makes Stockbridge unique in terms of its community, historic village, and attractiveness to visitors and newcomers. She believes in "following the zoning laws in place while reviewing what needs adjustment." She is a Trustee of the Laurel Hill Association whose mission "is to improve the quality of life and of the environment in the town of Stockbridge." Most recently, she brought our community together to clean up Stockbridge as the Earth Day Coordinator. She cares about finding a way forward for our community, planning ways to find or create hosing that is affordable for our oldest and younger community members. She will work to ensure that Stockbridge maintains a vibrant community for all ages that also supports emergency and fire services and our cultural and historic heritage. Be assured, Lis will work hard to preserve the beauty of Stockbridge, both past and present, while foreseeing the future needs of our town with everyone's best interests in mind.
Margaret (Maggie) Dillon Katz
Naumkeag view from the back yard. Photo: Patrick White