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News

Beacon Hill Roll Call

THE HOUSE AND SENATE: There were no roll calls in the House or Senate last week.

This week, Beacon Hill Roll Call records local representatives’ votes on several of the roll calls from September 13 overriding Gov. Charlie Baker’s cuts of $320 million in spending. A two-thirds vote in both branches is needed in order for a veto to be overridden. The Senate has not yet taken up the vetoes. The House restored an estimated $275 million.

House Democratic leaders say the budget is balanced and that Baker’s cuts were unnecessary and would hurt many people including the sick, seniors, children and minorities.

Gov. Baker and some Republicans say that state revenues are running behind projections and urged the House to wait several weeks to see whether revenues increase and whether restoring the funds makes fiscal sense. Some GOP members said because of the uncertainty, they voted to sustain all of Gov. Baker’s vetoes, even though it meant voting against restoring funding for many good programs they would otherwise have supported.

 

CUT ENTIRE $1 MILLION FOR REACH OUT AND READ PROGRAM PROGRAMS (H 3800)

House 139-13, overrode Gov. Baker’s veto of the entire $1 million in funding for the Reach Out and Read (ROAR) program. ROAR is a national nonprofit group that began in 1989 at Boston Medical Center to address the problem that most pediatricians’ waiting rooms did not have books available to read. Nationally, the group annually distributes 6.5 million books.

The Massachusetts ROAR program trains pediatricians and nurses to advise parents about the importance of reading aloud to their children in order to prepare them for school. The program also funds the purchase of books to give to children who are six months to five years old during their visits to their doctors.Some 254 hospitals and clinics in Massachusetts participate in the program, serving 186,000 children and families.

(A “Yes” vote is for spending the $1 million. A “No” vote is against spending it.)

Rep. Bradley Jones      No

 

$1 MILLION FOR TUFTS VETERINARY SCHOOL (H 3800)

House 122-30, overrode Gov. Baker’s $1 million veto reduction (from $5 million to $4 million) in funding for Tufts Veterinary School in North Grafton. Tufts is the only veterinary school in New England.

The school offers a four-year professional Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree program, three combined DVM/Masters of Science degree programs, and four stand-alone graduate programs.

Its website says that its progressive academic programs, high-quality clinical care services and original research have brought them national and worldwide acclaim.

(A “Yes” vote is for spending the $1 million. A “No” vote is against spending it.)

Rep. Bradley Jones      No

 

$600,000 FOR BOSTON REGIONAL INTELLIGENCE CENTER (H 3800)

House 128-24, overrode Gov. Baker’s $600,000 veto reduction (from $850,000 to $250,000) in funding for the Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC) to upgrade, expand and integrate technology and protocols related to anti-terrorism, anti-crime, anti-gang and emergency response.

According to its website, “Information gathered by the BRIC pinpoints areas of crime, shootings and gang violence, as well as helping to identify major players and ex-offenders returning to neighborhoods.”

(A “Yes” vote is for spending the $600,000. A “No” vote is against spending it.)

Rep. Bradley Jones      No

 

$250,000 FOR CHELSEA SOLDIERS’ HOME (H 3800)

House 142-10, overrode Gov. Baker’s $303,734 veto reduction (from $27,210,690 to $26,906,956) in funding for the maintenance and operation of the Chelsea Soldier’s Home, a Bay State VA Hospital serving veterans.

(A “Yea” vote is for spending the $303,734. A “No” vote is against spending it.)

Rep. Bradley Jones      No

 

HOW LONG WAS LAST WEEK’S SESSION? Beacon Hill Roll Call tracks the length of time that the House and Senate were in session each week. Many legislators say that legislative sessions are only one aspect of the Legislature’s job and that a lot of important work is done outside of the House and Senate chambers. They note that their jobs also involve committee work, research, constituent work and other matters that are important to their districts. Critics say that the Legislature does not meet regularly or long enough to debate and vote in public view on the thousands of pieces of legislation that have been filed. They note that the infrequency and brief length of sessions are misguided and lead to irresponsible late-night sessions and a mad rush to act on dozens of bills in the days immediately preceding the end of an annual session.

During the week of September 18-22, the House met for a total of 23 minutes while the Senate met for a total of 31 minutes.

Mon.Sept. 18

House11:05 a.m. to11:17 a.m.

Senate 11:04 a.m. to11:24 a.m.

Tues. Sept. 19

No House session

No Senate session

Wed.Sept. 20

No House session

No Senate session

Thurs.Sept. 21

House11:05 a.m. to11:16 a.m.

Senate 11:02 a.m. to11:13 a.m.

Fri.Sept. 22

No House session

No Senate session

Bob Katzen
welcomes feedback at
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

Neighbor resists pipeline clear-cutting

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As part of its right-of-way vegetation management activities, Kinder Morgan, owner of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, has been clear-cutting trees at will across Lynnfield. Resident Helen Pimental of Durham Drive said Tennessee Gas installed a pipeline in 1952 that runs directly through what became her neighborhood 20 years later. Although she and her neighbors were notified about Kinder Morgan’s plans to take down trees, Pimental said they did not anticipate that extensive clear-cutting would take place.

“We never expected this kind of devastation; it’s going everywhere; it’s going across Lynnfield and into North Reading,” she said, adding that one of her neighbors lost seven trees. “They clear-cut from Durham Drive to Lil’s Way. I don’t think people on the other side of Lynnfield know what’s coming their way.”

Pimental said she has looked to the town for answers. “Somebody should be responsible for it, she said.”

Pimental said she informed the Board of Selectmen about the problem. “The only one who looked into it further was Phil Crawford; I guess he just made phone calls,” she said.

Ultimately, Pimental was informed by Robert Curtin of Town Administrator James Boudreau’s Office that in prior years, other communities tried in vain to contest the actions of pipeline companies. Therefore, there was nothing the town could do for her and her neighbors.

However, Kinder Morgan spokeswoman Sara Hughes maintained that there has been no wrongdoing. “All of the work is being conducted under the terms of the original right-of-way agreements,” she said. “The work being performed along the Tennessee Gas right-of-way includes trimming trees and the occasional removal of trees within the pipeline right-of-way.”

Hughes said vegetation management is merely a routine process to prevent the pipeline from becoming obstructed. “Over the years, the tree canopy extends over the top of the pipeline right-of-way and limits the effectiveness of our aerial patrols, which then necessitates the trimming of trees,” she said. “In addition, trees and large vegetation growing within the easement must also be removed, because the root systems can damage the pipeline coating.”

By Christopher Roberson


 

BCWC continues to get resistance from ConCom

Paul Marchionda, project engineer for the Boston Clear Water Company (BCWC) and Attorney Julie Connolly, counsel for BCWC, quickly found themselves entangled with the Conservation Commission once again.

During the Sept. 19 meeting, Marchionda presented a series of modifications regarding the proposed installation of a septic system as well as inspecting and possibly replacing a water supply line, putting in a walkway, building a vehicle storage area and adding onto the existing distribution building. The modifications included replacing the paved turn-around area with gravel, adding solar panels, having additional clearing around the spring and removing the rain garden.

“We’ve stripped down the project, it’s now a very simple project,” said Marchionda. “It’s really very simplified.”

However, Vice Chairman Donald Gentile disagreed and said more work needs to be done. “I appreciate that you scaled the project back, but I still view it as a very complex project,” he said. “There’s still a lot going on, you’re requesting multiple variances.”

Marchionda responded, saying that each variance is necessary. “We’re not dreaming this stuff up; it doesn’t make it more complex, it just makes it different,” he said.

Although Marchionda disagreed, Chairman Paul Martindale said BCWC is looking to expand its footprint. “It’s an expansion, it’s not just a redevelopment,” he said.

The town’s peer reviewer for the project, William Jones of Linden Engineering Partners, was not at the meeting as the commission bylaws stated that no more than $2,500 can be spent on peer review services.

However, Connolly said that issue does not concern BCWC. “We didn’t write the Lynnfield Environmental Bylaw,” she said.

Tempers flared when abutter John Sievers said that Marchionda had created plans that inaccurately represented his property line. “Marchionda is being disingenuous; every time he draws up a plan, our property line changes,” he said.

“You’re saying things that aren’t true,” said Marchionda. “I’m sorry, he doesn’t know how to read a plan.”

Abutter William O’Brien said the number and nature of the requested variances is too much. “These variances should not be allowed,” he said. “If you give an inch, a yard will be taken; this organization cannot be trusted without oversight.”

Kenneth Burnham, superintendent of the Lynnfield Center Water Protection District, asked Marchionda why the Water Protection District was not shown on the plan when that is exactly where the project is located.

Marchionda said the plan is exclusive to BCWC and does not involve Burnham’s operation in any way. “We’re not doing anything with the Water Protection District,” he said.

The hearing will be continued at the commission’s next meeting on Oct. 17.

In other news, Town Counsel Thomas Mullen said the $2,500 limit for peer review services is “ridiculously low” and suggested removing it from the bylaws. He said, “Many, many communities have adopted something like this.” The commission agreed and voted unanimously to make the change.

By Christopher Roberson


   

Seniors weigh in on Community Survey

In their responses on Lynnfield’s Community Survey, the town’s senior citizens made two things abundantly clear: They are resistant to change and want do everything possible to protect the town’s history.

“The seniors see the Town of Lynnfield as their legacy. They’re way in favor of protecting historic resources,” said Planning Board Vice Chairman Heather Sievers during the Sept. 13 Board of Selectmen meeting.

When asked about switching from an Open Town Meeting to a Representative Town Meeting, 84.9 percent of the senior respondents said they would not favor such a change. “They won’t even consider it, don’t even talk to them again about it,” said Sievers.

The question about adding two more members to the Board of Selectmen yielded closer results with 51.8 percent saying yes, 42.8 percent saying no and 6.7 percent having no opinion.

In response to the question about adopting the Community Preservation Act (CPA), Sievers said the yes and no columns were relatively close once again with 62.2 percent in favor of the CPA. “The Community Preservation Act could support the things they’re interested in,” she said, adding that historic preservation is an accepted CPA expense.

Although seniors indicated that they support renovating and repurposing, Sievers said any new developments, including those that are mixed-use and could bolster the town’s tax revenue, are out of the question. “They are opposed to spending money on new development,” she said.

Sievers said the cost of living in Lynnfield has been felt by the senior population in that it has evolved into a town that is best suited for the wealthy. “The seniors feel this loss of economic diversity a great deal,” she said.

In other news, the board voted unanimously to name Arthur Bourque as the first recipient of the Daniel Townsend Award for Excellence. Chairman Christopher Barrett said that in addition to being a four-term selectman, Bourque coached Lynnfield Youth Soccer for more than 25 years, was named Citizen of The Year in 2014 by the Lynnfield Rotary Club and assisted in developing MarketStreet Lynnfield. Bourque was also a State Trooper from 1971 to 1991 and served in the National Guard for 11 years.

“This is someone who has dedicated his time not only to the town, but to the State of Massachusetts,” said Barrett.

Vice Chairman Richard Dalton said Bourque was by far the top choice for the award. “While we have a lot of great people in this community, no one comes close to what Arthur has done over the years,” he said. “He is absolutely the best choice in my mind.”

Michael Griffin, chairman of the Personnel Board, was also on hand to present the final set of revisions regarding the town’s Prohibitive Conduct policies.

Although the selectmen did not have any questions, resident Kenneth MacNulty of Merrow Road took issue with the Sick Buyback Policy. “I have concerns about it on several levels,” he said. “Sick time, as a concept, is really a form of insurance against loss of income if somebody’s sick and unable to work.”

Therefore, MacNulty said, the town should only pay employees for sick time that is used. “At some point, you’ve got to put a stake in the ground,” he said.

In response, Dalton said it would not be fair to have different Sick Time policies for union and non-union employees. “It’s a matter of equity,” he said.

The board will vote on the revised personnel policies at its Sept. 25 meeting.

Regarding a possible Rail Trail connection with North Reading, Dalton raised concerns about the Mission Statement of Lynnfield’s Recreational PATH Committee, saying the statement implies that it is an advocacy group.

Selectman Philip Crawford said it was never intended for the committee to focus exclusively on the Rail Trail. Rather, he said the group also needs to devote time to other recreational prospects such as a dog park.

“We certainly have a Mission Statement that they need to follow,” he said.

By Christopher Roberson


 

LHS Hockey Team Hosts Annual Car Wash Fundraiser

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