Letter: Reading We Are Better Than This!

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To the editor:

Having labored in the vineyard of our town affairs for four decades, I have seen our town from many perspectives.

For the most part, our town sets a high standard of civility and respect. We are a community of neighbors and friends allowed to express our views without acrimony or fear of verbal attack.

From time to time, however, a dark cloud forms, usually the result of an emotional issue which understandably stirs passion. Once the emotions are tempered by time and a sense of reason we return to the town we have always been and surely wish to remain.

First, let me state that I support the election of Andy Friedman to the select board. He has over the last three years served the town well, and his efforts have resulted in what many believe to be some refreshing changes to the board.

Let me be clear, I have not always agreed with him. Disagreement is a healthy component in the process of governance. 

His statement at the select board meeting in early February was a cause of concern and displeasure. It was very shocking to those of us who know him because it was so out of character for the Andy we know. He has owned up to this and sincerely apologized, who among us has not said something we immediately regretted, sometimes even to those we love.

I am from a family that included a loving uncle who was a Boston police officer ( injured on duty) and a cousin who became chief of police in a city on the south shore.

David Clark is the fifth police chief in my Reading life. Three of the five I directly worked with and I was involved in the selection of one. The last two were classmates at RMHS with one of my daughters. (I am getting old)

My support of and admiration for the Reading police has been and remains unwavering.

I understand the reaction and dismay of those who still bristle from that meeting.
What I find hard to understand is the dark rhetoric and insulting tone that some have taken ln response, which seems to include attacks on the political beliefs of others who dare to disagree with any of their views or might suggest there might be a different way to approach a problem.

There is not, on either side a liberal or conservative conspiracy. There are only free people expressing their views.

Lets divorce ourselves, in this town, from the politics crippling other levels of our nation and govern ourselves as friends and neighbors building and sustaining our community together.

Let’s move on and reelect Andy Friedman to our select board.

Reading we are better than this!

Thank You

Russ Graham
Maple Ridge Road

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