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To the Editor:
I want to share why I am voting AGAINST THE RECALL. A recall is both unjustified and the wrong focus for our town.
Here are 3 things that I ask you to think about:
- I have known Vanessa Alvarado, the person being attacked by the proponents of the recall, for more than 5 years. We served together on the Finance Committee as well as on the Select Board. I know Vanessa to be a good person, a person of integrity, a good board member, and a good neighbor. She listens to constituent’s needs, stands up for those in need of support, and makes good, sound decisions. She solicits, listens to, and respects different points of view and incorporates them into her decisions. She is exactly the kind of person that a town would want as a volunteer on the Select Board, willing to roll up her sleeves and work hard FOR the community, and always making a positive difference.
- The recall is not about wrongdoing…it is about politics. The nation is politically polarized. For some reason, Reading is toward the high end of nasty political discourse. Folks that do not like the outcome of Vanessa’s election 2+ years ago, are trying to reverse it. The lead proponent of the recall effort is the person that Vanessa defeated in that election, John Arena. Rather than support and applaud a system that listens to and discusses different points of view, many of the proponents of the recall are using disparaging comments and bullying to try to achieve their political goals. That is not right.
- Elected town board members, volunteers willing to serve the residents of the town, are elected to serve a 3-year term. Each year, at least one seat is up for election on each board, by design. This is the essence of democracy. To try to achieve political change by forcing additional elections comes at a cost to both democracy and to taxpayers. Managing additional election costs the town $20,000-$30,000 according to the Town Clerk. And what message do we send to our volunteer elected officials if they need to fear that advocates of a position may seek to remove them from office at any time if they don’t agree with them? If you don’t want to vote for someone in the next regularly scheduled election, you are free to vote for someone else. Forcing a special election for a political end, especially just months from the regular election, is not the best use of town resources in my opinion.
At the end of the day, all of this is a distraction from what is really important. If the COVID pandemic has taught us anything it is that we need to refocus and take care of each other. We should be helping our neighbors deal with the stress from COVID, social isolation, the recession, high unemployment, and unprecedented school disruption. Neighbors should be helping neighbors. We need to get back to respecting differences of opinion and having civil discussions, even while wearing masks and keeping a safe social distance.
What can you do about this situation? VOTE AGAINST THE RECALL ON SEPTEMBER 1. You can request a mail-in ballot (as I have) or vote early or vote in person. But please vote and vote safely.