May 172015

As someone who participates and pays attention to town politics, I am often asked by my friends and neighbors to give my opinion. Many of these friends are extremely busy with kids, sports, work, etc. This is a fact of life in a community such as ours and time to read listen and talk is sometimes better used to help with homework or coach your kids team.

For those who would like to include my view of the upcoming election, I offer it here.

As most are aware, we are in the midst of an unprecedented period of discord among the Board of Selectmen. This has caused many to be disheartened and will likely make good people think twice before volunteering for town government. Along with the volunteer issue, I think it has been divisive between neighbors and has slowed the path to progress. The purveyor of this discord is Jack Petropolous. Jack is a very capable and intelligent man and I appreciate his many gifts and efforts to point out when things are not right. What I have a problem with is his ability to work with a team to correct deficiencies without rancor. The permit fees for The Groton School is a perfect example. Great point which all agreed needed to be fixed, but going to the Planning board to highlight it was not effective or considerate to his fellow board members.

There was also the issue of the Blood Farm permit fees. This was a thought that was consistent with the consensus that residents wanted to support the rebuilding of the meat market and processing plant. This unnecessarily turned into a feud about open meeting law, when a more amicable solution would have been more appropriate.

Lastly the most recent events of emails between Art Campbell and Jack highlighted by the PIR request [From Selectman Peter Cunningham — Ed.] have shown that a relationship exists which is uncomfortable for me as a resident and voter. My take is that Jack is not comfortable being a minority opinion and he has used the media to spin a narrative that promotes his agenda. This is not conducive on a five-member board, especially if the press chooses to provide unbalanced commentary. Four corners sewer is an example of this. The information coming from the press on this issue has been extremely biased preceding a town wide vote. My conversations with many people in town suggest that a focus on the current businesses in the area is irrelevant to the issue. the real issue is what would that type of infrastructure contribute to the future of the town. Town meeting approved a zoning change that discourages certain types and sizes of businesses from locating downtown. The sewer project is as much about protecting our downtown from inappropriate businesses as it is providing a broader tax base.

For these and many other reasons I am supporting George Barringer for Selectman. He has a long history of service to the town and he has a history of working with others in a respectful and cooperative way. Please join me in support of George.

Tim Svarczkopf