I’m home, enveloped by the warm embrace of our caring friends, our family and our wonderful town. I can’t thank all of you enough for the sincere cards, letters, telephone calls, flowers, food, transportation and other help. Having a heart attack and a series of invasive surgeries is not much fun, but you, all of you, have made it bearable.
My recovery will continue to be slow, which is all right, because I’m not planning to run the Boston Marathon this spring or any other spring for that matter. I don’t expect to take a very active part in our forthcoming election and I may not be able to take part in our next Town Meeting either.
That doesn’t mean that I’ve lost interest in the election or in town government. It just means that I can’t do anything stressful for a while. I’m concerned about the madness surrounding this election. Massachusetts is working its way out of trouble. Our educational system is one of the best in our nation, and our employment rate is better than some other states and is getting better and better, too. I don’t want to lose the people who have made this possible and replace them with a bunch of amateurs.
In particular, I don’t want to lose Sen. Karen Spilka or Rep. Tom Sannicandro or Congressman Jim McGovern. They have served us very, very well. We can’t afford to lose them.
MetroWest Daily News reporter Kendall Hatch wrote about Sannicandro and his opponent, candidate David Mercer, in the Oct. 12 edition of the newspaper. As I read about their interviews, it was obvious to me that Mercer does not have anywhere near the background that Sannicandro had six years ago, when he first ran for this office.
Now Sannicandro has had an additional six years of good hands-on valuable experience as our representative. He’s been a very effective representative too. I can’t imagine any responsible voter who would want to replace him with someone with little or no real background.
If you haven’t read the Oct. 12 newspaper, I hope that you will now. In addition to describing the programs that he is working on, you will see how careful Sannicandro is and you will see his thinking process at work. He never “shoots from the hip”. He takes time to think first, aim carefully and fire accurately. I’ve discussed various problems with Sannicandro from time to time and I’ve never ceased to be amazed by the volume of details that he takes into consideration, while seeking a solution to a problem.
For those of you who insist that our current fiscal problems are the fault of our incumbents, I suggest that you write letters to those whom you want to replace. Tell them what they have done wrong and what you expect their opponents to do instead. Then set your letters aside for a day or two. Open your letters and reread them. Ask yourself if they still make sense. If they don’t make sense, tear them up and vote for the incumbent.
Election Day is Nov. 2, and while we’re all preparing for that important event, we need to be careful that we do not neglect other town business. For example, our selectmen’s meeting next week is on Wednesday, Oct. 27. At that meeting, our selectmen will have a hearing on a proposed BYOB policy.
Would you like to “bring your own booze” to Ashland restaurants that could have a BYOB license for $750? That license would allow your waiter or waitress to furnish you with a clean glass and pour your drinks from your bottle for you. If you like the idea, be sure to attend the selectmen’s meeting. If you don’t like the idea, please, oh please, attend the meeting too.
As you may have guessed, my objection is the same objection that I’ve voiced for several years now: We already have too many places in Ashland that serve alcohol. I have called for a moratorium on liquor licenses time and time again. I don’t think anyone listens to me, or maybe they listen and agree with me, but fail to act. BYOB licenses are another form of a liquor license. Some people seem to think that beer and wine are not alcoholic beverages, but they contain alcohol and do as much damage as hard liquor.
So regardless of what the alcoholic beverages are called or the licenses are called, we have too many places in Ashland that serve alcohol. We don’t need any more. We need a moratorium right now, effective immediately. So with that in mind, please go to the selectmen’s meeting on Oct 27 and try to put a stop to the BYOB policy proposal.
There will be another important hearing, held one day earlier by our Board of Health, at the Town Hall at 7 p.m. This meeting is directly related to the health and wellbeing of our most valuable residents – namely, our children. Our Board of Health is proposing new and improved pesticide regulations. I have read them. They are detailed and based upon the best information available at this time. I think the best way to encourage you to attend this meeting is to quote the purpose of the regulations from the latest draft copy of their proposed regulation.
“The Board of Health has determined that:
All pesticides are toxic to some degree and the commonplace, widespread use of pesticides is both a major environmental problem and a public health issue;
All citizens, and in particular children, as well as other inhabitants of our natural environment, have a right to protection from exposure to hazardous chemicals and pesticides in particular;
A balanced and healthy ecosystem is vital to the health of the town and its citizens; and as such is also in need of protection from exposure to hazardous chemicals and pesticides;
When an activity raises threats of harm to the environment or human health, precautionary measures should be taken, even if some cause and effect relationships are not yet fully established;
It is in the best interest of public health to eliminate the use of toxic pesticides on Town-owned land, ponds and waterway; to encourage the reduction and elimination of the use of toxic pesticides on private property; and to introduce and promote natural, organic cultural and management practices to prevent and, when necessary, control pest problems on Town-owned land.
Accordingly, these Organic Pest Management Regulations are created (1) to protect the public health by restricting the use of hazardous chemicals and pesticides on Town-owned land (2) to guarantee the right of the residents of the town of Ashland the safe use of public land, (3) to encourage the reduction and elimination of the use of toxic pesticides on private property.”
Please take part in this hearing at the Town Hall at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 26.
(Martin Shapiro of Ashland writes a weekly column for the TAB.)