Every tax is a pay cut.  Every tax cut is a pay raise.
Citizens for Limited Taxation

Eight is more than enough Friday, January 21, 2005
Rob Haneisen 508-626-3882 Metrowest Daily News
Two years ago, Town Meeting passed a new bylaw to increase the number of candidates needed to trigger a preliminary election.  They also passed a bylaw that increased the number of signatures required on nomination papers from a measly 5 to a more respectable 50.

I applauded both moves because increasing the number of candidates lessened the chance of a preliminary election which never inspired voter interest and usually cost the town about $25,000.

But do we really want eight candidates on one ballot for two open seats on the Board of Selectmen?  Well, Framingham voters, that's what you get.

And it's not like you are getting a crew of seasoned candidates seriously pursuing the Board of Selectmen.  What we have in this race are collections of candidates with single-minded agendas.


Jeff Buck and Jim Rizoli - Both men have doggedly been on a quest to have the town do something about illegal immigrants.  They have nearly harassed the Board with complaints about the numbers of illegal Brazilians living downtown and have a local cable access show dedicated to the subject.  Buck plans to head to the Mexican border this Spring to help with a militia-like operation to stop illegals from entering the country.  He may call himself a patriot but some might perceive him to be an extremist.

Ellen LaRose and Steve Hakar - Call this the anti-development team.  Both have been vocal opponents to various developments in town.  Hakar has been on a tear about the Danforth Farms project in Saxonville and LaRose was a point person fighting both the Archstone project and the Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly project, both in Nobscot.  In addition, she is a Government Study Committee member.

Dennis Paulsen - He's mad at the town about parking tickets after changes were made to his street.  Other than that, very little is known about him.

Harold Wolfe - If you are not an extreme fiscal conservative and don't have serious problems with Town Manager George King then Hollerin' Harold is against you.  Despite his ultra-critic label, Wolfe, to his credit, is an equal opportunity offender:  His criticism runs the full gamut of town issues.

Dennis Giambetti and John Stasik - A finance committee member (Giambetti) and former state representative (Stasik) that are being backed by the same folks who would have re-elected Chris Ross and Esther Hopkins.  Some may call this the status quo ticket.  That might not be fair to Giambetti and Stasik who have their own skills sets to bring to the board but they will not be taking the 'vote for change' track.  The only person they may criticize, other than their opponents is Selectman Ginger Esty.

Two people missing in this fracas-in-the-making:  Larry Marsh and Dave Norton.  Marsh dropped out of the Planning Board last year in a move that many believed was setting up a run at selectman.  Marsh's business background as a small businesses consultant would have been a welcome addition to the selectman's race.  Norton, the former ZBA chairman, was an on and off again character who was on and off of the ZBA but at least he has a proven track record of service to the town.

One has to think that Giambetti and Stasik are the clear front runners but having eight people on a ballot when only 10-12 percent of the town's registered voters will actually cast ballots complicates handicapping this race.  Essentially, it opens the door for a dark horse to slip in under the wire.

Who has the best chance of pulling an upset?  Probably LaRose.  She's 1-1 in her fights against developers.  She was part of the effort that sent Archstone packing (though the real muscle there was the fact that Framingham edged over the 10 percent affordable housing threshold, thus eliminating a Chapter 40B loophole) but she played the NIMBY role perfectly in the JCHE battle which was lost when the ZBA approved the project that will give housing to 150 seniors.

LaRose has the edge because she is actively courting Esty.  Esty does not have the political clout she had as recently as two years ago.  She lost to a write-in candidate in a state rep. race which goes to show that her sometimes abrasive and personal attacks against King can backfire.  Still, Esty has a solid core of supporters who like her yearning for the good ole days more so than her expertise on water and sewer issues.

Another hint that LaRose could pull an upset?  Look at her campaign buttons.  One slogan reads:  Remember the Past.  Vote for the Future.

For the disgruntled that lament what Framingham has become - rather than admire how the town has rolled with the times - perhaps LaRose gets your vote.

Send comments to: hjw2001@gmail.com