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Deserved? Without A Doubt.
Vanessa Alvarado is someone who cares passionately about the things she believes in, which is a wonderful thing in an individual. But when that individual assumes a non-partisan role as a public servant in municipal government, letting that passion drive every decision to achieve a personal agenda – one that is at odds with many of those she serves – all while disregarding policy, contracts, and the governing document of the Town in the process, well, that individual is not serving the community’s interests at all.
From one of her very first votes against extending the contract of our world-class Town Manager to delaying his annual review by four months thus violating the terms of his contract and Select Board policy, and culminating with the spark of the recall effort, inserting herself into the process for hiring the new police chief, violating her role defined by the Charter, Ms. Alvarado has, at every step, put her agenda above the interests of the entire community. More than anyone in recent memory, she has divided this community with her actions on the Select Board, and that’s saying a lot given some who have served in the past 15 years.
The Charter includes a mechanism for the voters to hold their elected public servants accountable to them every day, not just on election day. The recall process doesn’t specify the transgressions a recall is to address. A year after an election the voters could just wake up one morning and decide they made a terrible mistake and force a recall if they wanted to. That it had never been used before does not mean Ms. Alvarado’s actions do not warrant its use today, and that somehow it is not a “proportional” response to her numerous transgressions. In fact, it says a great deal about her actions that over 2400 people felt they did warrant its use, knowing full well the ramifications of doing so.
You may scoff, with your comments of sour grapes, but the decision to support this recall was not entered into lightly. I know what the consequences could be of doing this. And if you believe this recall is some form of political retribution, I will not be able to change your mind on that. I will remind you, though, that using the recall as political retribution in the future rests solely on the shoulders of those who chose to do that.
And as you contemplate how you’re going to vote, consider this: It’s interesting that Ms. Alvarado’s signs say “Support Vanessa”. They’re not asking you to support what’s best for Reading, they’re asking you to support a person. They could very well have said, “Against The Recall”. Well, I don’t think one person is more important than the whole community. If you want your elected leaders to serve the entire community and all the varied points of view in it, you should vote FOR the recall. And if you do vote to “Support Vanessa” just remember you are voting for one person and point of view to the exclusion of all others, because she has no interest in serving anyone else’s, ensuring the Town conforms to her view of what Reading should be.
The Charter allows the voters to correct a mistake they may have made without having to wait for the end of a term. We should take advantage of that. Vote FOR the recall of Vanessa Alvarado.