Letters to the editor before Wayland Town Election and Town Meeting
Voting for Lewis for Board of Public Works
The town of Wayland needs dedicated, thoughtful residents to serve on its boards and committees if it wants to continue to be a great place to live. Cliff Lewis is one of those dedicated, thoughtful residents.
I served on the Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) committee that Cliff chaired. Working with Cliff on OPEB, I was able to see his thoughtful, reasonable approach to solving a very complex, very long term, and very expensive issue.
The parallels between OPEB and the issues facing the Board of Public Works are clear, especially the recent issue of PFAS in Wayland’s water supply. The PFAS issue is one that could require substantial changes to Wayland’s water supply. Like OPEB, the long-term ramifications are substantial, and action needs to be taken now.
Cliff is the right person to address these kinds of issues. His background, education and professional experience bring an analytical, fact-based thought process to these issues. In my experience, this approach is the best approach to find solutions to the issues and challenges facing the town of Wayland.
I’m voting for Cliff Lewis for the Board of Public Works.
Greenbaum is uniquely qualified for board
I write in support of Sherre Greenbaum’s candidacy for election to the Wayland Board of Public Works. Sherre is uniquely qualified for this position with her depth and scope of knowledge, her legal and business training, and her long history of service to Wayland, including as chair of the Conservation Commission and as chair of the Wayland Wellhead Protection Committee.
I worked with Sherre for three years as one of five members of the Wayland Water Department’s Wellhead Protection Committee, which she chaired and demonstrated excellent organizational and leadership skills. With the four other members, she prioritized achievable goals for the committee’s work, delegated committee member assignments, organized field trips to visit the town’s seven wellfields with the head of the Water Department, brought in an experienced regional wellhead specialist at no cost to the town, and was primary contact with the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in its role as state regulators overseeing community compliance with water regulations and best practices.
After four years of Sherre’s chairmanship and 100 fully documented meetings, she submitted to DEP the committee’s wellhead protection report. It was well received and continues to serve as a model to other Massachusetts communities for their own water protection efforts. The success of this effort was, I believe, largely a result of Sherre’s collaborative and organizational skills.
Sherre’s leadership and dedication to the protection of Wayland’s water supply is further reflected in the amount and quality of Wayland water information generated in producing the wellhead report, which is posted at WaylandWells.org, accessible and useful for background information by town boards, project consultants, residents engaged in projects, and even Wayland Water Division employees.
As a six-year member and chair of the Wayland Conservation Commission, Sherre again parlayed resources and invited input from members and attendees in threading intricate needles of complex environmental, stormwater and land use regulations to arrive at collaborative and defensible solutions for residents. As with our Wellhead Committee, her leadership was always level-headed, goal oriented, resourceful and collaborative.
The present PFAS contamination and “non compliance” designation of Wayland’s potable water supply presents a critical inflection point and challenge to the Board of Public Works, especially accompanied by an urgent need to address local climate mitigation, green energy conversion, infrastructure repair and replacements, and full or partial MWRA water supply transition.
Sherre would bring her extensive knowledge and experience to these decisions if elected.
Weir Meadow Path
A few words …
“Don’t walk around the store with hands in your pockets or they may think you stole something.”
“Don’t put yourself in a situation where you have to deal with the police.”
“Don’t walk around with more than one or two friends ,,, You will look like you are part of a gang.”
“Don’t call too much attention to yourself.”
These are only a few of the phrases we were told as children. Our parents tried their best to protect us from the racial injustice that permeated our everyday living, as people of color. Unfortunately, it felt to us there were many rules to remember as children, but knowing it was for our own good.
In light of the recent Chauvin trial and verdict, we are writing this piece as a reminder to our fellow residents that this is not justice. Though many consider it a win, we have experienced racial injustice and have seen it too many times to feel encouraged.
Though justice was served, in this particular case, we have not seen any legislation for real change, as promised by our current president during his campaign. While we acknowledge that he has not been president for long, the problem of racial and social injustice is the biggest one we face today.
One trial is not enough. One verdict is not enough. One life lost is too many.
As a child growing up in the inner city, Abner experienced the toxicity of the relationship between the police and certain communities of color. Yet, he also witnessed the police help the community through sports tournaments, outreach programs and field trips to amusement parks.
To be clear, this is by no means an attack on police officers. We value their work and what they do for our communities and our family. However, we need to acknowledge that we can all do better.
We are blessed to live in a progressive community that has accepted us with open arms, as if we were friends since our kindergarten days. We have a child with special needs and when he was pre-school aged, we had a scary incident at home. The Wayland Police Department provided immediate and compassionate assistance to ensure our son was safe. The next day, Officer Fitzpatrick stopped by our house, just to check in on our son.
This is just one of the many examples of times we have felt safe and supported in our community. Though we are very happy with our community, we need to do more.
It is important to feel safe, fight for justice, and have diverse voices feel heard. A diverse perspective, such as ours as Latinos, can greatly enrich the vision for our community. Minorities in this town are underrepresented, especially in our town government. While often comfortable in the bubble we live in, we must remember there are people out there who are not as fortunate as we are. For example, most of Abner’s family lives in the inner city and are a constant reminder (to us) that social classism and racial inequalities are still the reality for our country.
In closing, though Chauvin was found guilty, there remains a void. That void, as one of many voids throughout the history of this country, are the “don’ts” that kids of color face trying to ensure they remain safe. That void is also in the lives of those touched by George Floyd and will never be filled. That void, for many of us, is a stark reminder of how much room we have left to grow.
If anyone would like to discuss this piece or our personal experiences in further detail, please reach out to us through abnerbruno.com.
Nora and Abner Bruno Jr.
Cliff Lewis is a stellar candidate!
Sometimes a community is fortunate enough to have someone come along with the perfect credentials to address a series of crises. Wayland is indeed fortunate to have Cliff Lewis serving on the Board of Public Works, and we can all be grateful that he is willing to serve an additional term to address some very large challenges. (In this brief article, I will address only two.)
Cliff has a degree as a chemical engineer. He was also a very successful entrepreneur, starting his own instrumentation business which grew over a 25-year period to include 50 employees. He is also a chartered financial analyst. The budget for the Department of Public Works is watched closely, and it actually went down this past year!
Cliff also used his financial skill to assist the town a few years ago when it became evident that Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) were not being properly funded. Cliff became chair of an OPEB Advisory Committee. He worked with a group that had differing ideas but he ultimately was able to help them find the right solutions. (OPEB is now fully funded and barely a mention when the budget is discussed at town meeting.)
1. PFAS concentrations in the Happy Hollow well area: Cliff is part of the team looking into isolating and treating this source using removal technologies including carbon filtration, ion exchange, reverse osmosis, polymer sand absorption and more. Also under consideration is a full or partial conversion to MWRA water supplies or drilling new wells.
2. Seventeen acres of the old landfill: Cliff came up with a plan for “Seventeen Uses for Seventeen Acres.” Please see his website (electcliffordlewis.com) for practical uses that could greatly enhance this property.
Please vote for Cliff Lewis on May 11, so that his incredible credentials can continue to be put to work to very much benefit the town.
Cast your vote for Grieco for committee
I had the pleasure to serve on the Wayland School Committee with Ellen Grieco from 2013 to 2016. While working together as members, we tackled many challenging and, at times, contentious issues. Ellen is an incumbent candidate this year and I strongly endorse her re-election.
Ellen is an astute listener and devoted public servant. Her deliberative and reasoned approach has assisted the Wayland School Committee in making the right calls and avoiding the pitfalls.
In 2008, the Wayland School Committee made a wildly unpopular call — citing a declining enrollment — and closed Wayland’s beloved Loker School. Class sizes at the remaining two elementary schools ballooned and far exceeded district guidelines.
Thankfully, Ellen got elected and voted to reverse that decision, restoring the excellence in education enjoyed by today’s K-5 student population.
Ellen has been on the right side of recent issues, too, and deserves kudos and recognition for pushing back on proposed changes that were not sufficiently vetted when considering the impact on Wayland’s students, teachers and families. She also called for a prompt and safe return to in-person learning — early on and consistently — while closely monitoring evolving data.
Ellen’s decisions are rooted in her experience as both a well-versed policymaker and mom of two Wayland Public Schools students, a current sophomore at Wayland High School and a 2019 graduate. She cares deeply about student outcomes and has demonstrated the dedication necessary to address future endeavors and challenges with a truly independent voice of reason.
Please join me on Tuesday, May 11, in supporting Ellen Grieco for Wayland School Committee.
Enthusiastic ‘yes’ for building renovation
When I heard that the white storefront across the street from Hannah Williams Playground was historic, I was shocked. Its current look is pretty non-descript and drab, so the idea that the exterior could be refurbished to an earlier historic beauty for only $125,000 is intriguing.
Cochituate is a historic area with very little to show for that history, so making such improvements for a reasonable amount makes sense.
The building is privately owned, and this makes it a less common recipient of public Community Preservation Act money. But the owner has been a longtime commercial taxpayer, and the rents he receives for the building make it unlikely that he can accomplish such a renovation on his own, though he will contribute substantially.
We have the chance to reveal this building’s historic beauty in an area of town that could sorely use such an enhancement. This is a public good that everyone, whether they patronize the businesses or not, can enjoy just by walking or driving by.
I believe we have a responsibility for the stewardship of our town’s history, and this is an exciting opportunity to do so. It will get a very enthusiastic “yes” vote from me at Town Meeting, and I hope others will feel the same.
Happy Hollow Road
A climate emergency
For any one of us who has read even a bit of the world’s leading scientists’ report on climate change, it is impossible to put out of our minds the dangers we have created for ourselves and future generations. From increasingly catastrophic weather to massive numbers of displaced climate refugees, from the spread of new diseases to economic disruptions, the tepid response by our governments has turned what could have been a manageable problem into an emergency.
On May 15 at Town Meeting, Wayland has the chance to join the 2,000 municipalities around the globe (including our neighbors in Acton, Natick, Newton, Boston, Worcester, and a growing number of local cities and towns) that have made significant commitments to addressing the climate crisis.
Article 19, for which I am the lead petitioner, asks us to declare a climate emergency and to create a plan to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions town-wide by 50% to 75% by the year 2030.
The 50% benchmark was recently adopted by the Massachusetts Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker and is the number being used by President Joe Biden for a national minimum.
Does it matter what our small town does? Does it make, as Steve Jobs put it, a ding in the universe?
According to Wall Street hot shot Gary Hamel, when you “tackle problems above your pay grade that defy easy answers, problems bigger than you,” you make a disproportionate impact. He’s right. When we show what Wayland can do, we set an example for other towns.
It was only a few years ago that Hoboken, New Jersey, became the first municipality in the U.S. to join the worldwide movement, and that opened the door to others that might have been skeptical of the impact local governments can make.
I remember hearing about the pandemic for the first time and assuming it would be an inconvenience for a few weeks or possibly a couple of months. If COVID-19 was our “pop quiz,” the climate crisis is our final exam. The crisis is not new, but our acknowledgment of it is, as we awaken from a period of not only ignorance but orchestrated disinformation from the fossil fuel industry and its allies that has left us with precious little time to make the difference we must in order to avoid the most serious consequences.
The usual response to very bad news is either to pretend the problem doesn’t exist or to panic. The truth is that we can still make a meaningful difference and that a thoughtful, focused effort can get us there. The phenomenal work of Wayland’s Energy and Climate Committee is already doing that, and the two resolutions they are bringing will make a huge difference in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that our town produces both as a municipality and as a collection of residences and businesses.
Both of their resolutions (one for Community Choice Aggregation of electricity and the other for solar panels at Loker School) also save us money. Together, these three articles can help get us on our way to making the kind of difference that inspires continued change at all levels of government and among us as individual residents and business owners.
Please come to Town Meeting on May 15, and please vote in favor of articles 17 to 19.
Greenbaum would make terrific addition to board
I have been a resident of the town of Wayland for 29 years. I served on the Zoning Board, including being chairman, for about seven years, and both of my children are graduates of the Wayland Public Schools.
I have known Sherre Greenbaum for many years, beginning when we were classmates at BC Law School. For all of the years that I have known Sherre, she has always been a principled, intelligent and hard-working person in whatever activity she engages herself.
Over the years, Sherre has dedicated herself to working in the interest of the residents of Wayland. She has worked diligently and tirelessly as both a public official on the Conservation Commission for a number of years, and as a citizen, advocating for issues always in the public interest.
In addition, she is a talented attorney who understands the workings of state and local government and who can navigate through the numerous and complicated environmental laws that are in effect.
Sherre will make a terrific addition to the Board of Public Works, particularly at this time in which we have serious issues regarding the quality of our water supply and the need to repurpose our landfill.
Please join me on May 11 in voting for Sherre Greenbaum for a position on the Board of Public Works.
Supporting Martin for selectman
I write to support Carol Martin, candidate for selectman in Wayland. Carol shares views of mine regarding a sustainable financial future for the town. We have both resided here for several decades and are increasingly concerned with Wayland’s growing tax burden and the apparent lack of attention this topic receives.
Carol Martin appreciates the need for good services, recreational facilities and education, but at a sustainable cost and growth rate.
I am certain she will work diligently to address this issue, so important to many Wayland residents and the future of the town.
Michael J. Miller
Grieco and Steinberg are right choice for committee
I am writing in support of Ellen Grieco and Kathie Steinberg for re-election to the School Committee. I have watched Ellen and Kathie work tirelessly for our students during their time on the committee, particularly during the pandemic. They understand the commitment required is well beyond the weekly meeting. Their experience in the schools and on the School Committee make them the right choice.
Ellen and Kathie care about the whole student, and in all that they do, they have our students’ best interests at the forefront.
These next few years bring unique challenges and opportunities to our schools as we address the fallout of the pandemic, transition to new district leadership with a new superintendent, and care for our capital assets. Ellen and Kathie have the knowledge and understanding of the Wayland schools that is needed to successfully navigate this challenging transition.
Please join me in voting for Ellen Grieco and Kathie Steinberg on May 11. They are the right choice for Wayland’s School Committee.
Endorsement for Abner Bruno
We are writing to express our support for Abner Bruno in his efforts to be elected to the Wayland Board of Public Works.
We’ve known Abner and his wife Nora since they moved to Wayland in 2012. We met at The Children’s Way when our daughters were in preschool together. Our friendship has continued through Loker School and now at Wayland Middle School.
Both Abner and Nora have been active in the community and have volunteered their time at numerous school events and activities. Abner is someone we respect. He is honorable and will take the necessary steps to ensure that Wayland town government answers any questions or meets any needs.
Abner’s background as an operations analyst with expertise in analyzing, studying and diagnosing processes makes him a great fit for the Board of Public Works. He is looking to address important issues such as the elevated PFAS as well as green initiatives. He is also a Latino and minorities are underrepresented in our town government.
If elected, he will selflessly devote his time and energy, serve all of the residents of our town, and make a real contribution through his service on the Board of Public Works.
He is the only candidate we want for the role. Please join us in casting your vote for Abner Bruno on or before May 11. For more information please visit AbnerBruno.com. Thank you!
Christopher and Daria Greeley
Full-throated support for Bruno
I write today to voice my full-throated support to elect Abner Bruno to the Board of Public Works.
I am lucky enough to have known Abner — in various contexts — for a number of years. My children attend Loker School with Abner’s children, enabling me to see him as an involved and hands-on parent and school supporter.
I’ve seen Abner around town — at volunteer events, town meetings and recreational events — where his passion and dedication to Wayland and its families are apparent. And I am lucky enough to work with Abner at Tripadvisor, where his focus on detail, strategic thinking and ability to work in partnership with anyone make him one of the most sought-after employees to team up with on financial and accounting matters.
Knowing what an intelligent, passionate, kind and collaborative person Abner is enables me to say, without hesitation, that he would be a fantastic member of the Board of Public Works.
Abner’s focus on details and his desire to bring people together to achieve a common goal are the types of characteristics that we should all be seeking in those willing to serve public office, and Abner has them in abundance.
We are lucky to live in a town where great candidates like Abner are willing to volunteer their time for all of us. So please join me and vote for Abner Bruno for the Board of Public Works on May 11.
Support article to enhance Cochituate Village
We write to offer our support for Article 28 at the upcoming Wayland Town Meeting, designating Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds to rehabilitate the storefront area located at 70-74 Main St. in Cochituate.
Many may not know this, but these buildings are the last remaining commercial structures from an earlier period in the history of Cochituate, and offer pedestrians something typical to New England villages and largely lost in Wayland — the opportunity to access shops directly from a sidewalk.
In recent years, the property has grown a bit tired, but with the proposed design improvements, we have a unique opportunity to preserve and beautify a piece of our local history.
The modest amount of CPA funding, combined with a commitment from the owner of the property to invest his own funds as well as accept a Preservation Restriction requiring that the improvements be maintained for the next 30 years, makes this a good investment for our town.
The design planned for the façade, which faces Hannah Williams Park, is historically correct, and will greatly improve the appearance of an area that is well traveled and highly visible.
And while the projects are different, the fact that CPA funds were used in recent years to restore the town clock on the abutting Methodist Church steeple makes this project feel like a natural continuation of the investment we made at that time.
Our family has lived in Cochituate for many years, and we are grateful to have raised our kids here. This is a neighborhood where kids and families can get out and walk — to the town beach, the ballfield, the playground, a neighborhood church, or to get a pizza or coffee with a friend.
70-74 Main St. is a small area of storefront, but it is highly visible and deserving of our collective attention. We are convinced that making the investment to restore the historic façade at 70-74 Main St. will enhance the village area, and represents a good example of “community preservation.”
Please join us in supporting Article 28 at Town Meeting.
Dan and Sue Ponsetto
Proud to support Polizzotti for committee
I am proud to support Jessica Polizzotti for a position on the Wayland School Committee.
I first met Jessica when her daughter was a student at my dance studio in Natick many years ago. Our paths crossed with many student activities, including many hours of us sitting on the sidelines of a baseball field where we inevitably talk about our wonderful community.
I have three kids in the Wayland Public Schools system. Jessica knows firsthand the value of public schools and her leadership is the kind of creativity we need as we create budgets and policies, and evaluate the students’ and staff’s needs post-COVID. She has a deep sense of empathy and the natural ability to put herself in another’s place, whether it is as a parent, student or teacher. This comes from her background as a teacher and her dedication to pro bono advocacy work.
I believe Jessica will be a strong voice on the School Committee. With kids in the school system, Jessica is close to the everyday issues and challenges that parents, students and teachers experience. Jessica’s strong listening skills, dedication and involvement in the community make her a wonderful candidate as we navigate our students’ academic and social recovery.
I applaud anyone who is graciously volunteering time for our community and the school system we love and we want to continue to see grow.
Martin is uniquely qualified to be selectman
When I think of the qualities needed to be a member of the Board of Selectmen, they include intelligence, financial acuity, personality, empathy and good judgment. Nobody is more uniquely qualified than our neighbor Carol Martin.
Most recently, Carol has faithfully served Wayland on the Finance Committee for more than nine years, including terms as chairwoman and vice-chairwoman. She has brought considerable stability to the financial well-being of the town commensurably.
I have seen Carol in action. She listens attentively and deliberates with careful consideration about the matters at hand, keeping the best interests of residents in balance with the best interests of the town.
Carol has also served on other committees and endeavors. She knows deeply about the high-level functions of the town, as well as the needs and wants of the residents.
Please join me in voting for Carol Martin for selectman on or before Tuesday, May 11.
Vote ‘yes’ to help revitalize Cochituate
I support the revitalization of Cochituate, and I’m voting “yes” on Article 28 to preserve and restore 70-74 Main St.
When my family moved to this region in 2014, we knew that whatever town we settled in would have a tall order to fill. We were coming from a suburb of Philadelphia that was often compared to the fictional Mayberry. Even though the town was set among plenty of nearby strip malls and big-box retailers, its Main Street was packed with thriving, independent, locally-owned shops and restaurants. Always-busy sidewalks throughout town encouraged residents to walk to their destinations. And the highlight of a packed calendar of year-round community- and local business-sponsored events was fireworks on the Fourth of July held over the town’s baseball fields.
Our neighbors were a blend of blue collar and white collar workers, and they represented all ages and stages of life, from young singles and growing families, to empty nesters and retirees.
Here in Wayland, we were drawn to Cochituate by the potential we saw. It’s the most walkable part of Wayland, and we appreciate being able to go to the banks, dry cleaner, post office, and Donelan’s Market without getting into a car. There are playgrounds and parks, the beach is nearby, and schools and daycares are within easy walking or biking distance.
However, over the past several years, our hopeful anticipation of more to come has faded. Where are the small, independent shops — the bookstores, yoga studios or eco-friendly markets that we find in adjacent towns? Why are there so many empty storefronts in this bustling part of our community, when there are so many conscientious consumers in this town who make an effort to buy local and small? Can I be the only person here who yearns for Wayland’s own version of Rose Apothecary?
Cochituate is a village in Wayland with a history that is little remembered by its residents, probably because there are few reminders of it remaining for us to see. The village’s historic cluster of Victorian homes — both grand and modest — grew up around the Bent Shoe Factory, which stood where Starbucks is now.
Sadly, the factory and many of the older homes have been torn down, but many others are lovingly cared for by their current owners. Other homes (mine included) might be called works in progress, and yet others badly need attention.
Likewise, the few surviving remainders of Cochituate’s commercial district, including the building that houses 70-74 Main St., are suffering. A series of outdated renovations has left the building with little curb appeal, yet anyone who looks skyward will see the corbels that ornament the building’s original roofline, giving a hint of its historic character.
Archival photos and modern renderings reproducing the building’s original façade show evenly spaced, historically appropriate Victorian sash windows in the upper floor and large shop windows with welcoming doorways on the street level. One can imagine the attractive, sunny commercial spaces — in a prime, highly visible location — that will appeal to small business owners looking to cultivate a charming, small-town aesthetic for their shop.
The recent expansion of the intersection at Rtes. 30 and 27 came with handsome new signals and Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant curbs. It helps reduce traffic congestion to an extent, but with it came a subtle but pervasive message that Cochituate is a place to get through, not to stop and stay awhile. I’d like to see that change, but I don’t think it will happen without our community making an investment to encourage both residents and business owners to make improvements that will contribute to both the beauty and vitality of our small corner of town.
I support the renovation of 70-74 Main St., and I will be voting “yes” on Article 28 at Town Meeting on May 15. I believe that investing in the preservation and restoration of one of our village’s few remaining historic commercial properties will make Cochituate a more attractive destination for small businesses and consumers alike. I strongly believe that one good investment will spark interest and further investment in revitalizing the community.
Yes, I want to live in my own little Mayberry again, and I think that, with a little help, Cochituate can get well on its way to being that place.