Vol. IV No. 9 5/1/2023
Reader to Reader
This is a reply to the recent letter from Joseph Newberg regarding the Finance Committee, an advisory body to the Select Board. We have had the same elected Moderator appointing, and in some cases abruptly unappointing, members without public input for more than 40 years. The system is hardly a hallmark of democracy, and it seems people are concerned.
As I recall, the FC wrote its own "Report to the Town" in 2020, apparently without notice to the Select Board, and before warrant articles had been fully reviewed and made public by the SB. Its rather dire predictions seemed to be seeking to influence town opinion ahead of the election and the Town Meeting. The Select Board acted as the "watchdog" over its FC advisors in this case after the SB Chair learned of the report.
It's not always easy to fill these positions, but that is an issue whether we elect them or not. The current group of appointees appears competent but not exactly apolitical, in my opinion, though an apolitical group might be a tall order in any community. Having the Select Board fill vacancies is no more political than having the Moderator do so, with the added plus of have our top three elected officials debate the appointments in light of their generally closer familiarity with the full range of issues facing the community.
Voting is still an act of self-governance. There is nothing radical about it. It undermines only authoritarian rule. I am concerned about the difficulties of filling these FC positions, but this is a problem either way.
It's not easy to make appointing the Finance Committee look more like democracy than voting for it. I'm not sure that Mr. Newberg has succeeded.
To the Editor:
The 8 Town Regional School District Planning Board's latest update is attached. The board and its subcommittees are meeting frequently to develop a regional school district agreement and recommendations on how costs could be assessed across the eight towns. If the proposed merger and agreement are approved by the board, the 8 towns will vote at special town meetings this fall.
Timeline: The 8 Town board is targeting late May/early June for a vote on a recommendation on the proposed merger and a proposed regional agreement. If the board votes in favor of merger, that recommendation would be put before the voters at special town meetings to be held this fall to allow for additional community education and outreach.
Please let us know if you have any questions. Thank you for your ongoing coverage in Stockbridge Updates.
GET THE FACTS. BE INFORMED. YOU DECIDE.
RSDPB Community Outreach
To the Editor:
As a Berkshire native, I have known Patrick White (incumbent Select Board Member currently running for re-election) for nearly 50 years. Yesterday, Patrick posted a heartfelt video on Facebook and YouTube outlining why he is running again for the same position. I listened to the whole clip, and I'm compelled to share that I'm proud of who Patrick has become, what he stands for, what he's accomplished, but most importantly, I'm proud of his outlook and dreams for Stockbridge. Although I do not live in Stockbridge, I am a second homeowner in the Berkshires, I firmly believe he is exactly what Stockbridge needs right now in leadership. Patrick is deeply committed, hardworking and as honest as they come. Keep up the great work Pat!
To the Editor:
Since the town of Stockbridge was formed three Select board members have collectively represented the wishes of our town. This process has worked well, as the three members need to discuss and agree on important projects, expenditures and other items that will affect all residents.
The election this May will result in a continuation of the effort for all three selectboard members to agree on what will take place in our town and that is the reason why I and my wife are voting for Roxanne McCaffrey.
During her previous term as one of our representatives, Roxanne worked with her fellow members, and did not try to "shove her personal agenda down the throats" of her fellow members, or our town.
Roxanne McCaffrey knows that it takes all three members to decide what is best for Stockbridge, and while something may take a little longer to accomplish, she understands that this is how it has, and should continue to work for our town.
This is why we are voting for her this year. It is time to return to having our selectboard working TOGETHER for the best interests of Stockbridge.
Please join us in voting FOR Roxanne McCaffrey.
Jim & Shelley Balfanz
Editor's note: With a three-member Select Board, it only takes two votes to pass or quash any measure with the exception of a vote on a special permit which does require 3 votes to pass.
To the Editor:
I am writing to endorse Patrick White for the Stockbridge Select Board. While I am no longer a resident, I lived in Stockbridge for eighteen years and also served on the ZBA in town. I am no stranger to the workings of the town and view the community with great fondness and esteem. My good friends there can attest to this.
The good folks of Stockbridge are very fortunate to have Patrick working for them. I can testify to his commitment to both preserving those qualities that make Stockbridge unique, as well as pursuing innovative solutions to contemporary challenges. His is an expansive view of the community, reaching out to locals, second home owners, shop keepers, nonprofits, and all the various interests that make up Stockbridge today. He does his homework and due diligence. He walks into meetings prepared in all ways: to propose ideas, to listen, to find compromise, to find solutions. When facing adversity, his response is thoughtful, measured and even conciliatory when called for. am now a member of the Select Board in neighboring Lee. I have come to rely upon my friend, Patrick, for his consul, his experience, his wisdom, and his innovative thinking when pondering issues where we share common cause. He is a reliable resource who has my deepest respect.
I encourage my Stockbridge neighbors and friends to support Patrick White in his quest to continue serving you. He has earned his place at that table.
To the Editor:
I strongly endorse Patrick White who is running for re-election as a Stockbridge Selectman. As the former Race Director of the Josh Billings Triathlon I found Patrick to be incredibly helpful and supportive of the race. While dealing with new logistics for the Josh over the past few years, I often turned to Patrick for advice on Stockbridge rules and regulations and was grateful for his advice in aligning me with the best contacts on the town boards and town departments. I knew I could count on Patrick to help the Josh Billings navigate and resolve complex town issues. Patrick's desire to help and his skills as an organizer make him very qualified to continue as a Town of Stockbridge Selectman.
I support Patrick White for re-election, and I hope you will give him your vote on May 16.
Dear Stockbridge Updates readers:
I'm supporting Patrick White for Stockbridge Board of Selectmen.
I've known Patrick White for more than 5 years — as a fellow Laurel Hill Board Trustee, Treasurer of the Waldorf School where Patrick works part-time, and a fellow volunteer to manage the Town's Municipal Vulnerability Program (climate change impacts in Stockbridge).
Patrick is caring, competent and hard-working. He values and cherishes the Stockbridge community - people, businesses, special cultural institutions, history, and environment.
Patrick attends numerous neighborhood meetings to listen and discuss residents' (mostly part-time) concerns. He is a strong proponent for ways to ensure that seniors can remain in their homes. He initiated the effort to save the old growth hemlocks in Ice Glen. He volunteered to operate the weed harvester on Stockbridge Bowl.
Patrick works conscientiously to bring people together to face problems and work on important issues. During his tenure as Selectman, he successfully proposed an increase in the occupancy tax to decrease property taxes. This year, his budget review and recommendations to the Finance Committee will result in lower tax assessments. Even when things don't go his way, Patrick is a gentleman.
I appreciate that Patrick values and practices transparency in government. He attends so many board and committee meetings — to ensure he is aware of the issues and accomplishments of dedicated community volunteers. He acts ethically and respects the Open Meeting Law. He championed efforts to ensure that public meetings are available both in person and on zoom so that all full and part-time residents can participate. He is available every day, all day to respond to issues - large and small. I have never seen Patrick more happy than when he has helped someone with a problem.
Be it a 'Woof-a-thon' on Stockbridge Bowl, a picnic for the Town sponsored by Laurel Hill Association and Stockbridge Bowl Association, or a Stockbridge tradition like the Memorial Day and Veterans Day Parades, Patrick loves bringing people together.
May 16 is election day in Stockbridge — Please vote.
Good Afternoon to All,
My name is Robert T. Leverett. Below are some of my credits.
- Cofounder of the Native Tree Society
- County coordinator for the Old-Growth Forest Network.
- Senior advisor to American Forests on the National Champion Tree Program
- Coauthor of the Sierra Guide to Ancient Forests of the Northeast
- Chair of Massachusetts DCR's Forest Reserves Science Advisory Committee
- Cofounder and President, Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
I'd like to call to your attention to the leadership role of Patrick White, Chair, Board of Selectmen for Stockbridge, in championing the old growth in Ice Glen and securing recognition and getting treatment for the ancient hemlocks and mature white ash trees there. As you all may know, the Glen is a priceless ecological relic of forests past with historical ties to the Mohican Nation and even literary figures like Herman Melville. Over the years, we've carefully mapped out the areas of old growth and mature second growth and I will attest that both are exceptional natural resources of which we can be proud. However, our remaining isolated forested gems like Ice Glen don't protect themselves. They are always vulnerable to direct and indirect negative influences, often of human origin. Alien invasives like the hemlock wooley adelgid, elongate hemlock scale, and the emerald ash borer and native pests like hemlock looper represented terminal threats to the Glen's trees that have lived between 200 and 400 years. Treating them was not an option, but we needed a leader, and Patrick White rose to the occasion.
Over the course of 30 years, I've taken many groups and individuals through the Glen on interpretive walks. Also while gathering data, e.g. measuring a tree, people have stopped and inquired to what I was seeing or doing. When I explained to them what a special forest Ice Glen possessed, I could see their faces light up and often one or more would state that they always knew the place was truly special. But then came the insect pests and the days were numbered for those ancient trees. Time to save them was limited. A leader was needed and Patrick White proved to be that person. All of us who value these original forest remnants are grateful to Patrick and want to call everyone's attention to his leadership in saving the ancient trees of the Glen.
Best to all of you, Bob Leverett
I am pleased to endorse Patrick White for a second term on the Stockbridge Select Board.
He's proven himself to be an effective advocate for Stockbridge and its residents. It does not matter whether you are a year-rounder or a second-home owner, own a grand house or rent a modest apartment, Patrick treats you with respect and listens to your suggestions for how to improve the town. Whether he agrees with you or not, he seeks everyone's opinion ... and values it.
Patrick White is probably the most enthusiastic and energetic guy I know, devoted to sustaining and improving our town. He combines broad knowledge of local bylaws with innovative thinking to explore new opportunities for Stockbridge. He's open-minded, courageous, and genuinely cares about other people ... without prejudice.
Patrick has worked selflessly for our town, proven his commitment to protect our environment and preserve open spaces, and deserves to be re-elected to the Select Board on May 16th.
My experience working in local government for over thirty years makes me realize that few, if any proposals that come before committees are acceptable to everyone.
Nonetheless, we elect our representatives because we expect them to make an effort. We expect them to put forth ideas to improve our communities, invite and field the criticisms and pushback, and have the courage and perseverance to return with the original idea improved through the dialogue.
During these three most difficult pandemic years, Chairman of the Stockbridge Selectboard Patrick White has shown himself to be one of those elected officials whom you can count on to do just that. He is indefatigable; he is smart, and he will listen to you. Vote for Patrick White.
To Stockbridge Updates Readers:
Please consider voting Patrick White for reelection to the Stockbridge Select Board.
Patrick is a forward thinker, a spirited planner, and is engaged with all the town's residents as well as all the town's boards and employees. He is in tune with the Town's needs on a daily basis.
As a Selectperson, he is present, approachable, reactive, responsive, and accountable in his daily duties on the Stockbridge Select Board.
I am confident that Stockbridge is in good hands and will continue moving forward positively into the future with Patrick reelection for another 3-year term.
To the Editor:
I'll be voting for Patrick White for Select Board. He has shown that he represents the voters of Stockbridge and has their best interests when decisions are required. When a subject comes before the board that requires him to recuse himself, he does so, unlike his opponent who didn't and only recused herself after the town counsel suggested it.
Photo: Jay Rhind