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Letter to Editor in Support of Barry Berman:
I am a Precinct 3 Town Meeting member, resident of Reading since 2000, and parent of two children in Reading Public Schools. I am writing to express my support for the re-election of Barry Berman to the Select Board. The Select Board, like all town boards, benefits from a range of perspectives and voices, both old and new, but also needs a steady, experienced, and moderate leader like Barry Berman. During Barry’s tenure on the Select Board, I have watched many meetings where his sound judgment, municipal knowledge, practical ideas, respectful leadership, and solid personal character have been a moderating and thoughtful influence over a Select Board that has at times seemed to be floundering and bickering. The following are just a few of the key reasons I am voting for Barry Berman and why I hope you will join me in voting for him on April 2, 2019:
INSTITUTIONAL WISDOM: If you watch as many Select Board meetings as I have, you will observe that the Select Board is heavily dependent on Barry’s solid knowledge of how the Select Board is supposed to run, how it can efficiently and fairly oversee other boards and committees under its jurisdiction, and how it can best leverage the cooperative and productive relationship it has with the town manager. Barry is the only candidate running who has this direct experience.
WILLING TO FACE PROBLEMS HEAD ON AND FIX THEM: In both the survey he helped create and in the many discussions after the first failed override, Barry was willing to admit where the town boards might have made mistakes or misjudged priorities, so he drove the effort to learn from those mistakes.
ALWAYS SEEKS THE BEST INTERESTS OF READING: Barry is willing to take a stand on issues that are not always popular with all segments of the community, when he feels they are for the good of the town. For example, he had long been a lone voice in support of a split tax rate, which is understandably unpopular with our business community, but Barry has also balanced that by trying, when the split tax passed, to keep the impact as modest as possible, where others might have wanted to go further. Also, in areas such as considering human rights resolutions and other issues where views in town can be divided, Barry has shown an ability to try to get to Yes and bring the sides together and reach a workable, fair compromise.
GOES ABOVE AND BEYOND: During his years as a Select Board member, I have seen how Barry goes the extra mile for the town of Reading, and not just during election season. Barry attended and participated at nearly every school committee meeting during the planning of both overrides, to help ensure that the Select Board understood school budget concerns. He has stayed on top of community development and 40B issues, from the first proposal to ongoing construction, and he does this not just directly in Reading but for any developments/plans that impact Reading. He also takes a strong interest in the youth of our community, and those of us in Scouting appreciate how he seeks out opportunities, on his own time, to attend and help honor Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts who achieved the highest awards in their organizations.
I note that one other candidate has stated a hope to be the “compass” for the Select Board. In my opinion, our Select Board already has a moderate and fair moral compass in Barry Berman. Please join me in voting for him on April 2, 2019.