Vol. IV No. 10 5/15/2023
Reader to Reader
Editor's Note: Stockbridge Updates posted every letter and every candidate's Q&A it received during this election cycle.
To the Editor:
Patrick White knows Stockbridge, the people, the land, the heritage. Rather than promote big scale housing/resort projects, he looks for creative ideas and solutions that match the scale and character of Rockwell's small town. Scale matters here.
Mr. White listens to all sides, including second homeowners, and is not afraid to change his mind. He is sometimes outspoken. I believe that some of our part time homeowners, along with a few full timers looking to make political gains, have responded to him in ways which mischaracterize some of his earnest, occasionally outside the box options and ideas for balance. As we continue shifting to a mostly second hometown, we need his energy to look at the impact of change and new ways to meet it.
Mr. White does not align himself with behind the scenes or personal agendas when it comes to Stockbridge. I believe Ms. McCaffrey disregarded many full and part time taxpaying residents when she apparently contacted the outside developer to return and present the same large- scale housing/resort building project that the town had already declined to support.
Stockbridge has always been a multi-faceted attraction, benefiting the economy of the entire region. It will not do so much longer if becomes an over-built, commercialized parody of itself. The goose that lays the golden eggs will be lost, a concept that some ignore in their quest for more building, ditching our Green Necklace zoning bylaws. Residents will be left holding the bag, with only Rockwell prints to remind of us of our heritage.
This election is about the character of Stockbridge. Mr. White has the fortitude, commitment, and capability to take on the challenges and find solutions, not behind closed doors, but where everyone can see. Saving the heritage, the unique natural beauty, and the disappearing small- town vibe of Stockbridge, while balancing market forces, is the job.
Stockbridge must vote. Not 30 percent, 50 percent. All of us. Re-elect Patrick White. He is a smart and energetic public servant. He loves this town and wears his heart on his sleeve, a big heart. Scale matters.
To the editor:
I am supporting an elected finance committee and here's why.
For nearly two decades the Finance Committee has followed a policy of deferring maintenance for the town's physical resources in favor of keeping taxes somewhere south of what was needed to responsibly maintain them in a timely way. The committee gratified an immediate desire for low taxes at the needlessly high expense of that neglect to future taxpayers. The historic Curtisville and Tuckerman bridges are good examples. These bridges should have been maintained at the cost of a few hundred thousand dollars each, back when the need became known, but a low tax rate was prioritized over taking good care of the people's property and now these bridges must be replaced at a cost of several million each and the originals being consigned to history. The Larrywaug Bridge was allowed to deteriorate to the point where it cost millions to replace and was closed for two years.
With deferred maintenance, equipment falls into disrepair forcing replacement sooner than later at higher prices - as had to be done last year with much of the town's equipment. Working with ill-maintained tools makes it a struggle to provide the services we expect.
Remember "FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD"? Back when John Lindsay presided over Fun City the fun was being financed by deferring maintenance on the city's infrastructure. You know the rest.
If we had the money, would any of us allow our home to deteriorate to the point of dilapidation just so we could avoid the cost of repair? Belonging to the Stockbridge community, the town is in every sense our home. This town has always had the money. Just look around you.
The policy of our Finance Committee epitomizes the expression, "Penny wise and pound foolish." It is the policy of a committee appointed by the same person for the last forty-three years. These appointments are anything but apolitical. They are just very closely held. Current committee members are responsible for the committee's policies and if they are proud of them, let them be their platform when they stand for election.
We need a range of voices, fresh voices, on the Finance Committee. Let's open it up to new ideas and new approaches. Let's see the resume of candidates to help make sure each member is qualified. Let's make the finance committee accountable to the voters.
To the editor:
I am writing to express my support for Patrick White's reelection to the Stockbridge Select Board. He is committed to addressing the complex issues of these changing times as they affect the wellbeing of us all. His diligence, inclusiveness, honesty, and respect for differing points of view promote transparency and citizen engagement in town governance. He also brings with it a good and caring heart for his town, fellow residents, nature, and animals.
If you live in Stockbridge, please vote, this Tuesday, May 16 (or sooner).
It would be funny if it were not so sad: this was a Rest of River meeting to discuss the violation of the Mass Open Meeting Law, and it was audio only and no comments from the public allowed. Click here to listen https://youtube/j8WCZVee39Q
To the Editor:
What's the right thing to do about the Finance Committee (FC)?
Many have wondered why the FC is appointed by the Town Moderator — it isn't always. In Alford and Great Barrington, the FC is elected. In Lenox, the Moderator makes suggestions to the Select Board (SB) and the SB appoints. In Lee, without the Moderator involved, the SB appoints. In short, the 292 towns and 59 cities in Massachusetts each do it differently. "All communities in Massachusetts are required to have a finance committee. Its members may be appointed or elected. When appointed, the appointing authority is usually either the town moderator and or the board of selectmen."
The law says the choice is ours. Today in Stockbridge, the Town Administrator prepares the budget, the SB selects the articles for the Warrant, and FC advises the SB. So, the people decide what makes sense for us going forward. Whatever the outcome, the question should be on the Warrant so, at TM, the people can debate and decide.
Some are concerned the FC will disappear if we switch to voting. That is not true — each current member finishes his or her term and then that seat will be elected. Others worry the FC should be arm's length from SB — no no, they are partners for the good of the town working together, FC advising SB, for best outcome.
IT is no harder to get people to run than to get people to accept when appointed and voting is the democratic way.
Michael Roisman, Petitioner
To the editor:
The Stockbridge Democratic caucus has enthusiastically endorsed Patrick White for Select Board, Dr. John Loiodice for Sewer and Water Commission, and Dr. Elias Lefferman for Board of Health.
We ask you to vote for these three outstanding candidates.
Vote to re-elect Patrick White to the Stockbridge Select Board. Three more years will enable Patrick to finish projects and pursue new ones. He has worked hard and brought new energy, involvement, and ideas to the town. He has done a good job for us, but there is still more to do.
Patrick was raised in Stockbridge and is a graduate of the Plain School and Monument High. He developed a deep love for the community, the natural beauty of the area, its history and its residents. He has a strong desire to give back to the town.
Even before his election to the Select Board, Patrick served on Laurel Hill Association and town committees including the Conservation Commission and the Stockbridge Bowl Stewardship Commission. He volunteered at the Talbot Center and the Botanical Gardens and even drove the harvester on Stockbridge Bowl. He continues to attend and participate in almost every committee meeting and town event. Townspeople know that they can reach out to Patrick and he will listen to their concerns.
Patrick supports citizen participation in and access to all town meetings. He was the only member of the previous Select Board to support last year's citizen petition to require hybrid meetings and he secured the needed equipment for both town meeting rooms. He has worked closely with CTSB to ensure that all town meetings have remote access and can also be watched later.
As chairman, Patrick has proposed a number of actions to benefit town residents, the environment and Stockbridge life. He does not shy away from public comments but also knows when to table an issue.
Visit his website at patrickwhitestockbridge.com to learn more about why he's running, his accomplishments and future goals. Be sure to explore his photo gallery.
Your vote matters. Please vote for the candidates who appear on the ballot as a Democratic Caucus Nominee. Democracy is not a spectator sport.
Editor's note: Anita is chairperson of the Stockbridge Democratic Town Committee.
To the Editor:
We Need Patrick White on Our Select Board
As full-time residents in Stockbridge since 2018, we are new to the pulse of a small town. Of course, we were aware of its cultural charm and natural beauty, but we knew little about the challenges and needs facing the town...until we met Patrick White.
As a long-time resident of Stockbridge, Patrick is passionate about what makes our community special, but is realistic about the problems our community faces.
It is a place —
- where second homeowners out number permanent residents;
- with an aging full-time population and few younger families and children
- where there is a shortage of affordable housing to attract younger people and provide the work force needed to service businesses that the town relies on;
- where rising costs make it hard to keep reasonable taxes;
- with environmental pressures that make it difficult to protect the town's natural beauty;
- where there is a dwindling commercial base.
Patrick has brought fresh ideas and solutions to these problems.
He has served on many Town committees and boards and for the past three years he has served as a Select Person and the chair. As such, he has been instrumental in saving the first generation of Ice Glen Trees; saving the Kampoosa Bog (winner of a State Innovation award); preserving the historic Civil War monument and the Chime Tower; collaborating with surrounding towns to provide lower cost infrastructure; setting up a Trust to create affordable housing; lowering taxes and much more.
Yes, Patrick has ideas, and some have not been universally accepted, but he listens to everyone and strives to strike a balance that is good for everyone.
We need a Select Person with new and fresh ideas for making our town a better place.
We need Patrick. Please vote on Tuesday to re-elect Patrick White for another term.
Ranne and Ray Warner
Editor's note: Ranne is Chair of the Stockbridge Affordable Housing Trust
Photo: Lionel Delevingne
Photo: Lionel Delevingne
Photo: Lionel Delevingne