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I am a 10 year resident of Reading; I am a husband, a parent, your neighbor. During that time I enjoyed volunteering for our town by serving two terms on the Reading ZBA, one as Chair. I ran unsuccessfully for the Select Board, I am a town meeting member, and a member of the Reading Rotary Club, doing good in and around Reading. I am human, I make mistakes and learn from them. Sound familiar these days? Does that make you like me any more or any less? You see, I am a town volunteer, of the same ilk that Ms. Alvarado as recently as Monday affirmed will be victimized by the town-wide recall petition.
That preamble is meant to illustrate both the hypocrisy and sense of déjà vu that I felt after reading Ms. Alvarado’s recent articles and other residents’ letters and seeing the divisiveness in our Town surrounding the Recall and election on 9/1. I will not sling mud, I will not cast aspersions, for many of these letter writers and commenters on both sides are my neighbors, my fellow Town Meeting Members, and our kids play together at school (or used to before COVID). In particular, I am concerned that any Reading residents are surprised by the conduct and temperament displayed by Ms. Alvarado, the same temperament, conduct, and vitriol that conjures my own memories as a town volunteer that Ms. Alvarado attacked unfairly. Not once, but twice. Yes, Ms. Alvarado has a history of attacking town volunteers. I would like to shed some bright light on this and a few of the other inaccuracies I have heard or read.
You see, my integrity and my volunteer service in Reading were both very cavalierly called into serious question, without any basis in fact, by Ms. Alvarado during her election campaign over two years ago. I responded to this uncalled for attack with my own response in The Reading Post, dated March 22, 2018, and entitled “Wrong, Below the Belt and Divisive”. Here is the link , and I encourage you to read this two-year-old post. The similarities to present-day are astounding, and they inform my concern over how some can blindly overlook the many shortcomings that precipitated this recall effort. She was not suitable for the job she was elected for even when she was campaigning, and nothing has changed.
In addition to listing her resume and personal particulars, she and her supporters now try to convince all who would listen that the recall would not just be an attack on her and her elected office, but of ALL volunteers in Reading, when she herself spearheaded an attack on volunteers during her campaign and more recently when calling a colleague, and admittedly a dear friend and current candidate John Halsey, a liar. Is this not hypocritical, not to mention a clear violation of Select Board policies?
We then have the Charter reasons for the recall. Some have tried to play them out as a political attack, sour grapes, and unfair. My reasons for supporting the recall are fact-based, experiential, and as far from political as you can get. Why? Because you see, I have the same letter next to my name on the town voters list as Ms. Alvarado and most of her supporters. Why don’t I fall in line like the rest of my political compatriots? Because while I support many of the party platforms at the state and federal level I believe at the town level, we need what is best for our residents, we need law and order, we need experience, and we need unification. I do not believe Ms. Alvarado meets any of those criteria.
Rather than go down the litany of facts that we can all read for ourselves that led to the recall petition, allow me to share some further facts showing the hypocrisy. We could all see the writing on the wall when Ms. Alvarado lawyered up, and filed a baseless challenge to this “attack” on Reading volunteers and her in particular. Rather than step down, she chose a bold delay tactic, that cost tens of thousands of dollars in legal and other fees to the town and counting. Then – poof – it all went away. But there were many scars left in the wake of that calculated delay tactic. She allowed her attorney to baselessly attack her fellow residents. And me (again). This time it was my signature on the petition – thereby irresponsibly accusing a licensed MA attorney of perpetrating a fraud in a certified government document – when my signature appears in the public record on my own town nomination papers and every ZBA decision I signed while I was Chair. Wait, attacking another resident’s livelihood? Hearing from clients and peers about the negative impact such mere allegations may have? Now, where have I heard those scenarios before? Well for starters see the above link, and then read or watch any of the against the recall information. Again, hypocrisy.
With the current world pandemic causing all kinds of chaos with our families and our way of living, I agree that we all have to stick together (while keeping apart) and offer support where we can. In a good faith attempt and as a measure of support to both the people of Reading and Ms. Alvarado, I would offer her, as I would do to my own clients, a word of practical advice: maybe being on the Select Board is not for you? Maybe it is not the “be-all and end-all” given family, work, and other pressing concerns listed in various social media posts? I don’t think anyone with eyes and ears would fail to notice some shortcomings in temperament, some concerted efforts to insert her agenda over the written laws and procedures that govern, after all just read the transcripts or watch the video. I don’t think anyone would fault Ms. Alvarado for making a decision to walk away. There are plenty of other ways to give back to the community, to volunteer, to use our talents and skills, perhaps that comes with less pressure. I for one have found them most rewarding.
I am but one voice in our town, but I and the residents of Reading know that it has to end so that we can heal and focus forward. I believe that the recall is in the best interest of Reading and that John Halsey can help to restore unity and practicality to the current instability. Ms. Alvarado will no doubt look back on it and know that it was the right choice and that our residents ended the hypocrisy when we had the chance.
I encourage all my fellow residents to vote as safely as they choose on or before 9/1 and to join me and your neighbors by voting for the recall and for John Halsey to fill the vacancy.
TMM Precinct 8
Old Mill Lane