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Supporting Healy, Martyn and Preston for election

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 19, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

I am writing to invite you to join me in my enthusiastic support for Michaiah Healy running for Select Board, Lynette Martyn for School Committee and Jo Anne Preston for Arlington Housing Authority Board.

Each candidate brings skill, dedication, integrity and innovation to her respective role. Collectively, they infuse necessary new blood and fresh ideas for our town, which is evolving both because of changing demographics and a changing world. We cannot hearken back to the past or allow any of our citizens to be marginalized. It will leave Arlington a less desirable place to live for all of us.

Healy is currently chair of our town’s Diversity Task Force, demonstrating leadership, commitment and grace. Though a busy mother of three, she dedicates herself to improving the quality of life in Arlington for all of us. She is exactly the kind of leader to bring depth, perspective and fresh ideas to our Select Board. Martyn is a parent of two APS children and a tireless advocate of support for all kids. She particularly has her eye on narrowing achievement gaps between our low income children and non-low income children. We have an academic divide in Arlington that is really unconscionable. Martyn will rally us to address that with tenacity and compassion. Preston is a current Town Meeting member and former professor who has a deep understanding of the housing issues facing our town. As a member of the Arlington Housing Authority Board, she would be a strong, citizen-centered voice for the residents in AHA housing, many of whose voices are often not often sought out even though the decisions of the housing board impact them so directly.

Importantly, Arlington Fights Racism supports these three candidates. AFR is a group of neighbors dedicated to improving the quality of life in Arlington for all of us. Please join me in supporting Michaiah Healy (Select Board), Lynette Martyn (School Committee) and Jo Anne Preston (Housing Authority Board) in these roles where they will help bring about needed change.

— Sarah Glover, Franklin Street

Michaiah Healy for Select Board

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 19, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

I’m delighted to support Michaiah Healy for Select Board in the Town election on April 4. My social and racial justice work is no secret in Arlington. And I firmly believe that a townwide commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is exactly the medicine we need right now as Arlington Police and Human Rights Commission are reporting a sharp rise in hate crimes, hate speech and harassment for our most marginalized communities. As a proud gay man and joyful Papa of a multicultural family, I can tell you that life for communities of color, refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers, as well as religious minorities and LGBTQ+ folks has never been more challenging.

Michaiah’s election as the first woman of color in our town’s history should be reason enough to support her. But Michaiah is truly exceptional beyond any label or category. I’ve observed her thoughtful and collaborative leadership as chair of our Diversity Task Group where she has created safe space and conversations for innovative and effective programs in diversity, equity and inclusion in our community. Michaiah’s work in Arlington has been built on the idea that we are stronger together when all voices are heard and valued. And she cares deeply about how we govern, and how we treat each other. Michaiah is committed to promoting an atmosphere of respect by adhering to a code of kindness and equity in our public processes and conversations as well as in our personal interactions. May we have more of this please?

And Michaiah has all of the necessary ingredients for intelligent, effective and inclusive leadership on Select Board — she has worked as a pastor, community organizer and now as a Disability Advocate. With B.A. in biological psychology from Tufts and M.A. in counseling with a concentration in mental health from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, Michaiah has the well-developed soft skills in human relations and community building so lacking now in town government.

And it should not go unnoticed that she is a super loving Mom, devoted friend, respected colleague, sought after collaborator, disciplined team member and one of the kindest and most delightful humans one could ever encounter.

Arlington will be extremely well served by Michaiah Healy — please give her one of your two votes for Select Board on April 4.

— Chris DiMeo, Park Avenue

The stellar candidacies of Healy, Martyn and Preston

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 19, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

I am writing to pledge my support for several of the stellar candidates running for office in the upcoming town elections on April 4. Michaiah Healy, who is running for one of the two open Select Board seats, is a compassionate person with a willingness to listen to anyone who wants to approach her or discuss an issue or concern. She will always make sure to carve out time to meet with you. As one of the co-chairs of our town’s Diversity Taskforce Group (DTG), she has extensive experience working on key issues specific to our town in advancing not only diversity, but equity and inclusion. As a member of the Select Board, I think she will deliberate pressing policy issues with fairness and empathy.

Likewise, I am also enthusiastic about Lynette Martyn’s candidacy for the School Committee. Martyn is one of the hardest workers I know in Arlington. She is a determined advocate for those most marginalized in our town — including in our school system. She cares deeply for our students and wants them all to not just succeed, but thrive. I know that if elected, she will not only make sure she gets the job done, but that it is done right, and that the needs of under-privileged students and families most often overlooked by our institutions are well-represented.

Finally, I am also impressed with Jo Anne Preston, who is running for the Board of the Arlington Housing Authority. Preston. She is a former social worker and tenants rights activist, as well as a current Town Meeting member, and a volunteer with the Council on Aging. She seems to be a resourceful candidate who is obviously dedicated to boosting representation for those who reside in our Town’s affordable housing. I heard her speak recently at a candidate gathering and it was evident she was already laser-focused on improving the lives of AHA tenants and brainstorming concrete plans to achieve her goals.

The candidacies of Michaiah Healy, Lynette Martyn and Jo Anne Preston for Select Board, School Committee and AHA Board respectively, have also motivated me to run for Town Meeting in Precinct 19. When candidates can not only convince you to vote for them, but inspire you to run for offices as well, that is a sure sign of the strength of their campaigns.

— Melanie Brown, Skyline Drive

Lynette Martyn for School Committee

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 19, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

We, Nada El-Newahy and Khaled Aly, write this endorsing Lynette Martin’s running for School Committee in Arlington.

Her main vision is for school system that welcomes, engages and is inclusive for all Arlington families. She wholeheartedly wants to be the catalyst to significant inclusion projects in our town’s school system, and has managed to found the parent-let Diversity and Inclusion groups in Arlington schools.

Even though our school system ranking is generally high, we aren’t doing so well when it comes to our special needs students and services, not when they’re privileged! Despite the fact that special education is a source of crucial services and supports for students with any kind of disabilities, students of color or of any minority group, with disabilities still face significant obstacles that hinders their ability to succeed and flourish in school. Lynette wants to help bridge this gap and to help eliminate any educational segregation they may face, which ultimately improves outcomes for those minority children with disabilities.

What can we do? We can vote for someone who has a passion for positive change. A community is strengthened by how diverse its people are, and we need to see ambitious goals of increasing diversity, inclusion and belonging efforts.

— Khaled Aly and Nada El-Newahy, Hilton Street

In support of Healy, Preston and Martyn

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 12, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

Arlington elections on April 4 are fast approaching. Each time I vote in our local elections, I am reminded on how our form of town government allows for greater resident involvement than other places I have lived. Especially Town Meeting members (TMM) who get to represent their precincts in voting for the articles that are adopted each year. In several elections over the years, I have noticed that there were fewer candidates than open seats (for TMM) in my precinct. This stood out to me as either being due to a lack of people having the interest in serving in town government or there being a lack of recruitment for new TMMs. This year, I see that most precincts have competitive races, not to mention competitive races for all the major offices in town. This greatly encourages me.

I see competitive elections as a sign of more people wanting to get involved in the governing work of our town and to represent the diverse viewpoints of our residents. Some candidates are running in order to continue the work that they have been doing, others are running to shift priorities and give voice to underrepresented viewpoints, and still others are running to say, “I want to get involved too.” I see competitive elections as a healthy part of our democracy, especially when candidates run on the issues that are important to them. When I vote on April 4, I will be voting FOR candidates that stand out to me. I will not be voting AGAINST anyone else running in those races. And for that reason, I plan to vote for Michaiah Healy (healyforselectboard.com) for Select Board (she’s amazing, and yes, I’m biased, but it’s still the truth), Jo Anne Preston for Housing Authority, and Lynette Martyn (Electlynette.com) for School Board.

So, this election day (April 4, if I haven’t said that enough), I encourage everyone to get to know the candidates, know what they stand for, what their priorities are, and why they want your vote. The more you get to know the candidates, the more likely you are to vote FOR someone, and not against their opponent. If you get to know Healy, Preston and Martyn, I think you’ll agree that they are motivated, passionate advocates for our town, our residents, our environment, and our future.

See you on Saturday, April 4!

— Shawn Healy, Howard Street

A fresh voice for the Select Board

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 19, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

Over the last year, I have watched the current Select Board not only ignore but dismiss extensive citizen input on issues affecting our town. We have an opportunity on April 4 for a fresh voice, a citizen-centered voice, who will welcome and respect citizen input into the decision making in our town. That voice is Michaiah Healy. With the complex issues we are dealing with, it is important to embrace a diversity of opinions and be willing to seek creative solutions so that everyone feels equally valued and included. That has not been happening. Michaiah, as a woman of color, is deeply committed to a respectful process that leaves no one out. She is also committed to having Arlington be a safe space for all to participate. She is a creative thinker who believes that sometimes, to do things well, you might need to take more time. She has done an amazing job serving as chair of Envision Arlington’s Diversity Task Group and has built relationships with and worked alongside our town manager, chief of police and others in town leadership. She is a woman with a high standard of integrity who is unafraid to ask difficult questions in order to do things right and to serve all people. She is a courageous leader and tireless researcher who has the insight to ask those questions and to not settle for making decisions until all those questions have been answered. I have complete trust in Michaiah, and it is without hesitation that I support her candidacy for the Select Board. I hope you will vote for her too.

— Lynette Culverhouse, Draper Avenue

Jo Anne Preston for Housing Authority

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 12, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

I urge your readers to vote for Jo Anne Preston for Housing Authority. I’ve known Jo Anne as a colleague at Brandeis, where she taught sociology and studied the experience of aging, and as a fellow resident of Arlington, where she has been a tireless proponent of fairness, justice, and decency. She’s been an assiduous member of Town Meeting, a tireless volunteer in many Arlington organizations and an Arlington parent deeply active in the school system, especially at Thompson. I was particularly aware of her contributions to the school library when both our children were at Thompson. Jo Anne got me to meet with the students in a session at the library, discussing my own job, and I was very impressed with the way her dynamism made an important community institution work. She’d be a great, tireless, caring, probing member of the Housing Authority, and I urge you to vote for her.

— William Flesch, Brattle Street

Lynette Martyn for School Committee

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 9, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

I write in support of the candidacy of Lynette Martyn for the Arlington School Committee in the upcoming town election on Saturday April 4th. I first met Lynette in the spring of  2018 during a School Committee meeting related to cultural competency. This discussion ultimately led to the formation of the APS Diversity and Inclusion groups (DIGs). These are parent-led groups at each school within the district that work with our school communities and administrators to promote diversity and inclusion in the Arlington Public Schools (APS) in order to create a safe and welcoming learning environment for all of our children. Lynette played the single-most important role in getting these groups established. Her skills in organization and ability to identify and engage dedicated members and parents with a range of specific concerns was instrumental in bringing together a diverse coalition to be part of the DIGs. The concerns ranged from focusing on students with learning disabilities and those who wanted to ensure that students were felt included irrespective of gender, race, ethnicity or religion. Once formed, her focus and commitment have allowed these groups in each school to help ensure that parents are working with school administrators to help all students thrive in APS regardless of their background. I hope she is elected to the School Committee so she can bring her commitment, experience and skills to create an environment of safe learning to all students in Arlington.

— Rajeev Soneja, Mary Street

Diversifying town government is needed now

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 12, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

The town of Arlington has suffered greatly since the racist writings of Lt. Rick Pedrini were published in a statewide police magazine in the fall of 2018. Since then, our town has fractured into groups that are mutually suspicious of each other, the very antithesis of what’s needed for restoring trust in the community. We need to heal our town. We cannot fix a problem unless we acknowledge it exists. And without input from diverse members of the community working as problem solvers, we cannot understand how doing nothing to reach out to targeted community members, or waiting for people to forget, is the wrong approach.

Our town government lacks voices representing marginalized groups which means their viewpoints and needs are under-represented, and often ignored. The town needs to objectively and effectively respond to all forms of hate whether it is published by the police department or displayed at the public schools, which have seen incidents of homophobic, racist and anti-Semitic graffiti. These problems will persist in Arlington if we fail to diversify our town government.

How can the community truly be heard? On April 4, we have an opportunity to elect candidates that have a professional history and proven track record of prioritizing and working to advance the rights and equity of vulnerable and marginalized people in our community. The entire town benefits. Please vote for this group of candidates that fully understands the pain that resulted from the town’s inadequate response to the very clear evidence of racist attitudes in the heart of our police force and who will bring compassion to our town leadership by taking the time to listen to all voices and be creative in satisfying unmet needs. Michaiah Healy is a woman of color who works as a disability advocate, is a community organizer and leads our Diversity Taskforce; she is running to join our Select Board. JoAnne Preston is a former social worker and current Council on Aging volunteer who is in frequent contact with those who live in affordable housing; she is running to be on the housing authority. Lynette Martyn was an active member of the Diversity Taskforce and founded the Diversity and Inclusion Groups in our public schools. These three women are tireless in their commitment to Arlington and will lead with humility and compassion. They deserve our support.

— Gwendolyn Wong, Lowell Street

Arlington Fights Racism endorses candidates

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 9, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

I’m writing to ask Arlington residents to please support the slate of candidates endorsed by Arlington Fights Racism in the upcoming election.  Please see https://www.arlingtonfightsracism.com/elections/ for the list of candidates. This is a group of creative, committed people, ready to bring fresh approaches to some of the complex issues facing our town. These issues include how to keep Arlington welcoming to all, by encouraging diversity, protecting our most vulnerable residents, and creating affordable housing options for newcomers and downsizers.  We also need to strengthen our climate resiliency; encourage transparency in our Town government; and make sure that residents’ voices are heard and respected.

This slate of candidates will listen and respond to those voices, and work collaboratively at all levels in town.  Michaiah Healey, candidate for Select Board, has chaired the Diversity Task Force with sensitivity and shown strong leadership when bringing concerns to town leaders.  She will bring input to the Board that is inclusive and citizen-focused. Jo Anne Preston, candidate for Housing Authority, will bring deep knowledge of the housing issues facing the town, through her outreach to those most impacted by housing decisions, and too often ignored.  Lynette Martyn, candidate for School Committee, has a strong track record of leadership on issues related to our schools, and is a coalition builder and creative problem-solver, with a focus on inclusion in our schools. The Town Meeting Member candidates will bring new perspectives to their roles and prioritize the concerns of residents.

This slate of candidates is committed to being the voice of change and inclusion. Please give them your vote on April 4.

Thank you,

Wynelle Evans, Orchard Place

Help Elect Healy, Martyn, and Preston

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 9, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

I write in support of three candidates in our upcoming Town elections–all hard workers and creative problem solvers, who will help us think outside the box about the complex issues facing Arlington today. In recent years, our Town officials have often seemed to me to be stuck in outdated, paternalistic ways of thinking, ill-suited to the challenges presented by an increasingly diverse constituency, and out of touch with current thinking about the ways our thought and behavior patterns reflect biases to which we would not consciously ascribe. As an educator and translator for whom—even after a lifetime of studying and celebrating other cultures–unconscious bias remains an ongoing personal challenge, I think we need leaders who can embrace diversity, articulating and addressing the concerns of all our residents–including people of different races, ethnicities, income levels, genders, sexual preferences, ages, and (dis)abilities.

As Chair of our Diversity Task Group, Michaiah Healy, a candidate for Select Board (healyforselectboard.com-under construction), is a highly regarded participant in Town affairs. A natural leader, whose inslght, compassion and wisdom have earned her the respect and affection of many, if elected she will bring to the Board a consensus builder’s voice that has often been lacking, and an approach to governance that contemplates the needs of all.

Lynette Martyn, a candidate for School Committee, is an accomplished leader and innovator in matters concerning our schools (https://www.electlynette.com). A tireless advocate for diversity and inclusion with a 21st-century perspective on public education, if elected she will work passionately and honestly to ensure that all our children receive the highest quality, most culturally proficient education possible.

Jo Anne Preston, a Town Meeting Member and former professor whose research and teaching skills have greatly enhanced our understanding of the complex housing decisions facing the Town, is running for an Arlington Housing Authority Board seat (website under construction). If elected, she will be a strong, citizen-centered voice for the residents in AHA housing, reaching out to those most impacted by Board decisions and articulating the concerns of neighbors whose needs are often overlooked. 

All these candidates will provide strong leadership, engaging us in new ways; bringing to the table the concerns of voices now seldom heard; and enriching the civic life of Arlington. All three deserve your vote.

Louise B. Popkin, Cliff Street

Martyn brings passion for social justice in run for school seat

Your Arlington

Created: 29 February 2020 | Last Updated: 04 April 2020 | Written by various sources | 

Lynette Martyn, School Committee candidate, 2020 photoMartyn

Lynette Martyn, newly seeking one of three seats on the School Committee, became a familiar voice on social media last year, expressing sharp concerns that Arlington officials take further action to address racist published comments by a town police officer.

Martyn’s passion for social justice has earlier roots. She says on her campaign website: “My vision for Arlington Public Schools (APS) is informed by the mission of the Diversity and Inclusion Groups (DIGs), which I helped found.”

Here are her answers to queries asked of all who take out papers. They have been edited:

Q: In general, why are you seeking this seat?

Running for School Committee was something I had imagined doing in the future, just not this year. My plan this year was to run for Town Meeting. When the School Committee opportunity opened up, I spent weeks identifying and encouraging local activists and leaders who support diversity and inclusion to run, but no one could commit this year. The silver lining was that the more I spoke to others about the importance of this position, the more I realized that I have a voice and a message I want to share with the community, that this is the
role for me and this is the time.

Q: What specific qualifications do you have that support your candidacy?

Since well before my sons started school, I’ve been engaged in fostering diversity and inclusion in the Arlington public schools. In 2018, I founded Arlington’s DIGs, which are active in all of our elementary and middle schools, in order to prepare our children to be successful in an increasingly diverse world. The DIGs run autonomously at each school, providing a space for parents, caregivers, students and educators to collaborate on ways to make our schools safe and welcoming learning spaces for all our children and their families, inclusive of all identities. I am an active member of Arlington’s Diversity Task Group and have served on the Superintendent’s Diversity Advisory Committee for four years. Additionally, I was selected to participate in the initial Arlington High School Building Planning Committee for the rebuild project.My professional background bridges experience in both education and business. I am a certified teacher of English as a foreign language and spent several years in Japan teaching public elementary and junior high school. When I returned, I pursued my MBA with a focus on communications and project management. After a career in finance, I shifted my focus back to what I really loved, education. First, I served as the director of a nonprofit that trains teachers in early childhood literacy, and then I worked at the Harvard School of Public Health as the director of marketing for continuing-education programs. In both of these roles, I reaffirmed my strong belief in data-driven decision making.I believe my experience working with business leaders, administrators, teachers, parents and students will serve the School Committee and our students and families well.

Q: What are the key issues you see facing the School Committee?

Through my work in APS, the most frequent concerns I hear from parents, teachers, and staff are regarding the need to improve transparency and communication, close the disparity gaps, hire and retain diverse staff, and build equitable schools with engaged parents. From Arlington’s older and low-income community members, I hear their very real concern about their rising tax burden to support APS. If elected, I promise to not only continue to listen to these stakeholder groups but to actively pursue policies that address these concerns.The most pressing concern to me is the disparity gap. In the state’s 2019 annual accountability survey, Arlington’s overall score was just 71 percent, and for the subgroup “special education,” we scored only 51 percent – which is last relative to comparable districts. These students include all children with individual education plans and represent 15 percent of the student population. Our economically disadvantaged kids did not fare much better, scoring only 59 percent. Our graduation rates, MCAS scores and student discipline data all show a significant disparity for our students of color, English language learners, economically disadvantaged students, and students with disabilities.

When comparing the experience of black to white students in APS, black students, as a group, not only score lower on MCAS, but are disciplined at a rate 11 times higher. Additionally, the percentage of our student population that identify as people of color is 30 percent. However, less than 10 percent of our educators identify as people of color. In some of our schools containing the highest percentage of students of color, those teacher percentages are closer to 5 percent. It is well researched and documented that kids need to be able to see themselves reflected in their teachers and administrators in order to visualize their own potential. To ensure equal educational outcomes and to address the disparity gaps in our school system, we need to provide our students with role models who can identify with our students’ cultures and experiences. We must do better.

Q: What personal background can you provide?

For fun, I enjoy clamming on the Cape, going to the theater, eating and cooking, making bucket lists, and goofing around with my kids. I spend a lot of time volunteering in the schools and community organizing. While this may not sound like fun to everyone, it is something I thrive on, especially when it involves working with kids.

I love all things Japanese, from sushi and sake to flower arranging and taiko drumming. My family enjoys exploring Menotomy Rocks Park, flying kites at Robbins Farm Park, biking the Minuteman bike trail and grabbing a slice at Otto’s before watching a movie at the Capitol
Theatre.

Some of my favorite Arlington memories include teaching my kids how to swim at the Res, my wedding proposal at Spy Pond, snuggling up and reading with my kids at the Robbins and Fox libraries, dancing with my family at Karen K concerts, and my children’s dedication ceremonies at First Parish church. I love our town. Fun fact: I used to be a licensed New York City tour guide.

Her campaign website at www.electlynette.com 

ACMi profile >>

Opposition

Incumbents for School Committee seeking three-year terms are Bill Hayner and Paul Schlichtman. The third seat is held by an incumbent is Jennifer Susse, who is not seeking reelection.

The other new candidate is Elizabeth Exton.


This news summary was published Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. All potential candidates in the April election have been asked a similar set of questions. All responses received will be edited and published in YourArlington.com.

First-time Select Board hopeful eyes improving inclusion, trust

Your Arlington

Originally Published by Your Arlington (yourarlington.com) onMarch 11, 2020.

Created: 11 March 2020 | Last Updated: 04 April 2020 | Written by various sources |

Michaiah Healy, Select Board candidate, 2020 photoHealy

Michaiah Healy aims to be part of town history. She is the first female candidate of color to seek a Select Board seat.

Two three-year seats are open for the April 4 election after Dan Dunn declined to seek reelection. Vying for them in addition to Healy are Diane Mahon and Lenard Diggins.

In general, why are you seeking this seat?

Arlington is a special place for me. It’s where I’ve spent most of my adult years and where my husband and I have chosen to raise our family. I care about how we govern, work and treat one another here.

I am running because I want to be a culturally accessible representative to residents who aren’t always represented in the hearing room or on committees — and because I believe I can help move forward dialogue and policies that support the issues affecting us all and especially, our most marginalized and disenfranchised residents.

What specific qualifications do you have that support your candidacy?

My leadership through Envision Arlington’s Diversity Task Group has allowed me to build relationships with a large cross section of town residents; with department leaders within the town and our schools; with APS parent groups; and with various commissioners. I have developed a reputation for being thoughtful and honest, and for working with others on different sides of controversial issues; most recently, I accepted an invitation to the stakeholders table, to interview candidates for the position of chief of police.

My work experience in the area of organizational health and development has enabled me to help with the issues we face in Arlington today — in particular, the need for building public trust and improving communication with town residents. I hope to go on applying my skills in that area in service to the town. My commitment to working collaboratively and to legitimizing the concerns of different parties to a conflict; and my ability to use new information in a search for common ground provides me with a unique skill set for Select Board at this point in time for Arlington.

Through my professional and civic-engagement work, I have developed a substantial professional network in federal, state and neighboring government municipalities. This will be an asset as the Select Board works with its regional partners — for instance, in addressing the impacts of storm-water and CSO discharge into Alewife Brook; or more generally, in deepening our understanding of the issues that concern us and finding precedents for new policies or programs we may want to create.

What are the key issues you see facing the Select Board?

In the coming year, zoning and economic growth, the development of affordable-housing units; greater public engagement; and continuing our work in the area of diversity, inclusion and equity, will be high priorities for the board.

How would you address all of them?

Empty storefronts are not very attractive, and yet Arlington is doing great work through capital projects to make Arlington stores more attractive and sidewalks more accessible to access local businesses. I think it is going to take a creative and collaborative effort — including work with the Arts Council, local artist and theater groups, and increasing grass-roots efforts to support local and small businesses along the transportation corridors in Arlington.

Affordable housing is a regional issue and as many have said, increasing supply won’t solve all our problems in Arlington. The HCA, Tenants Associations, AHA, ARFRR and Equitable Arlington have experience in grass-roots work with residents, and I’d like to see us explore the areas of rent control and improving tenants’ rights. I’d like us to learn more about how to increase the attractiveness for property owners in making more units affordable, and lifting property-owner restrictions to allow for more affordable-housing units or accessory dwelling units.

The Select Board in its fiscal 2019 annual goals has been working on enhancing its presence and public profile outside of chambers, monitoring its own effectiveness through increased reporting and improved communication with the public and updating its policy handbooks as to public-communication investigations and implementation of community engagement. I’d be excited to work with other members of the Select Board in developing the Citizens Academy mentioned in the board and town manager goals, which focuses on engaging residents in town government.

Because of the changing demographic in Arlington, the Select Board should look for opportunities to increase its public exposure and outreach, perhaps a monthly Saturday morning coffee hour, similar to the ones held by the AHRC, School Committee and our state delegation.

I would like to see a communications and social-media policy as part of the town’s code of conduct, so that incidents resulting from hateful speech and/or writings, like the one that has so stunned and harmed the community and Police Department for over a year now, will never happen again.

Community trust is earned through positive exposure and by placing regard for injured parties front and center in civic life. This year, the Arlington Fights Racism group has reached out to the town to co-sponsor community forums in that area within our town, and it will be important for the Select Board to meet residents in spaces where the latter feel comfortable, in order to carry the important work of rebuilding public trust within the community.

Earlier this year, the town manager enlisted the National League of Cities to begin training the board, department heads and other staff members in strategies for normalizing conversation about race and bias; measuring race and bias in the workplace and bringing about change where necessary. As the Select Board updates its policy handbooks, I would submit a proposal for including an annual cultural competency training for all Arlington’s elected and appointed officials, as part of their continuing education and professional development. I would be looking for other policy areas where we can promote equity in various forms.

What personal background can you provide?

My first introduction to Arlington occurred 15 years ago, when my husband proposed to me on an inlet of Spy Pond Park. After we married, we moved into a family friend’s home on Mott Street in East Arlington, where we lived until the owner sold the property. After a few years in Belmont, we chose to return to Arlington, where we’ve been renting for the past 7 1/2 years, to raise our twins and 3-year-old.

See Healy’s web presence, on Facebook >>  or here >>

ACMi profile >>


This news summary was published Wednesday, March 11. All candidates in the April election have been asked a similar set of questions. All responses received will be edited and published on YourArlington.com

Town Election: Most candidates tape ACMi profiles

Your Arlington

Originally Published by Your Arlington (yourarlington.com) on April 6, 2020.

UPDATED, April 4: The annual town election in 2020 has been rescheduled for Saturday, June 6, and polls will be open that day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., unless this schedule changes again in the light of the coronavirus.

Arlington vote logo

ACMi (Arlington Community Media) has published links to interviews with most town election candidates, See them here:

Select Board: Michaiah Healy >>
Select Board: Diane Mahon >>
Select Board: Lenard Diggins >> [Coming, but not yet available]
School Committee: Elizabeth Exton >>
School Committee: Bill Hayner >>
School Committee: Lynette Martyn >>
School Committee: Paul Schlichtman >>
Town Clerk: Patty Sawtelle >>
Town Clerk: Juliana Brazile >>
Town Clerk: Janice Weber: No interview listed
Board of Assessors: Errol Tashjian >>
Board of Assessors: Mary Winstanley O’Connor >>
Housing Authority: Jo Anne Preston >>
Housing Authority: Joe Daly: No interview listed 

Town Meeting candidate statements

Envision Arlington and the League of Women Voters collaborated on a first for Arlington — an online repository for Town Meeting candidate statements. They are available here >>

Candidates’ night was to be held in Town Hall Auditorium on Wednesday, March 25, but it has been canceled.  

We are Arlington

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 12, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

“You know you can’t win.”

You didn’t grow up here. Your name doesn’t sound like ours. You didn’t go to the right schools. Your kids don’t look like you. The “right” people don’t know you. You’re not like the “right” people. You’re not like us.

“What are you trying to accomplish?”

You know who makes the rules. You know who runs things. They’re not giving that up. They’re not letting you in.

“Why are you trying to change things?”

———

We, the members and candidates representing Arlington Fights Racism, believe in a fairer, more inclusive, more respectful Arlington, the town we love. We, who are running for town-wide offices and Town Meeting seats, seek a town government that is racially diverse, gender diverse, age diverse.

Longtime participants and first-time activists, we will be introducing ourselves and asking for your votes. A knock at the door, a conversation over coffee, we have a message to share:

We are Arlington. We are the “by the people.” We want your voices with ours in the making of a better Arlington.

Please see our website arlingtonfightsracism.com for details of our support for townwide candidates (Michaiah Healy, Select Board; Lynette Martyn, School Committee; Jo Anne Preston, Housing Authority) and Town Meeting members.

— Michael Ruderman, Alton Street, candidate for re-election to Town Meeting in Precinct 9

Michaiah Healy for Select Board

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 12, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

As a Town Meeting member, I have seen that members of Town Meeting and the Select Board are thoughtful people working towards Arlington’s best interest. I have also seen that there are many voices in Arlington who are rarely heard in Town Hall. Arlington will be a better community and a better place to live if everyone is brought to the table. It is for this reason I enthusiastically support the candidacy of Michaiah Healy for Select Board.

I have known Michaiah for many years and have been increasingly impressed by her leadership, wisdom and ability to build consensus. In her role as co-chair of Envision Arlington’s Diversity Task Group, Michaiah actively worked to bring new voices into town hall. She has listened to and advocated for the inclusion of all viewpoints as she has worked with town leadership including the members of the Select Board and the town manager. She has the wisdom and patience to find creative solutions to the complicated issues facing our town.

As a member of the Select Board, Michaiah will bring a new breadth of understanding of the needs, hopes and fears of our community to town leadership.

— Rebecca Persson, Fremont Street

Supporting Jo Anne Preston for Housing Authority Board

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 12, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

Supporting Jo Anne Preston for Housing Authority Board

As retired and long-term residents and renters in Arlington, we support Jo Anne Preston for the Arlington Housing Authority Board.

We witnessed Jo Anne Preston at public town meetings where she addressed our mutual interests regarding affordable housing and proposed changes to existing rental communities. Jo Anne’s preparedness, articulation and professionalism at these meetings not only expressed our concerns but also gave a voice to those seldom heard and whose needs are often overlooked.

Jo Anne could bring grant writing expertise to the Arlington Housing Authority. She successfully wrote grants for the Thompson School library.

Additionally, the Community Preservation Act program did not receive any applications for affordable housing this year. As a result, they have $700,000 in surplus funds. Jo Anne Preston’s knowledge and experience as well as her innovative problem solving would enhance that program’s use of funding for affordable housing.

Jo Anne’s concern for safety issues could give tenants better access to the community and leave them feeling less isolated. Furthermore, her desire for better communication with residents would address their multi-faceted needs.

JoAnne Preston’s education, depth and breath of knowledge and expertise as well as her compassion and strong desire to improve the lives of residents will make her an excellent addition to the board. We fully support Jo Anne Preston for Arlington Housing Authority Board.

— Anne Keefe, Broadway; Claire Odom, River Street

Meet the Candidates, Virtually

Join us at an upcoming virtual Meet-the-Candidate event – any Thursday at 8PM or Sunday at noon, beginning Thursday, April 16th and running till the election. These events will highlight AFR-endorsed candidates as well as feature candidates that have signed onto our platform. Simple and germ-free!

Its easy: just click https://zoom.us/j/4552565189 to connect on Thursdays at 8PM or Sundays at noon.

Detailed instructions to connect to the Zoom Meeting:
(including phone option for people who don’t have Internet accessibility):

  1. With video: Using a browser visit https://zoom.us/j/4552565189 After a brief wait click “join from your browser”, once it appears* enter your name and click “Join”; then “Join Audio by Computer”.
  2. By phone (sound only, no video): Dial 1-669-900-9128 then dial the meeting id, “455-256-5189” and the “#” key; you do not need a participant id, so when asked, just press “#” again. Please mute your phone, when not commenting or asking a question.

*Note: If the “join” option doesn’t pop, try clicking “download & run Zoom”. If you do not wish to download the Zoom app, click “Cancel” (if a window pops up), then “download here” or “click here”, and “Cancel” again. If you have Zoom installed on your computer the meeting id is, “455-256-5189”

Join us for a Virtual Meet-the-Candidate experience:

Video Chat or Dial-in with town meeting, and select School Committee, Select Board and Housing Authority candidates. These events are open to everyone but we will highlight town meeting member candidates at different events.

Its easy: just click to visit Zoom and you will be connected. Simple and germ-free!

These virtual events are in place of previously scheduled in-person gatherings.

The following town meeting member (TMM) candidates have been invited to join the events as follows: (TMM participants may shift and dates may be added)

Sat, 3/14 11:00 am – noon
Precincts 10 & 16
TMM Candidates Sanjay Newton (P10) and Chris Dimeo (P16), Brooks Harrelson (P16), Sandra Mostajo(P16) to participate

Sun, 3/15 8:00 – 9:00 pm
Precincts 1 & 3
TMM Candidates Nada Fouad El-Newahy (P1), Paul Jordan (P3), Asia Kepka (P1), Khaled Mhoktar (P1) and Rebecca Persson (P1) to participate

Wed, 3/18 8:00 – 9:00 pm
Precinct 14
TMM Candidates Wynelle Evans, Guillermo Samuel-Hamlin, Shawn Healy, and Mark Rosenthal to participate

Thu, 3/19 8:00 – 9:00 pm
Precinct 12
TMM Candidates Robin Bergman, Lynette Martyn, Caroline Murray, and Sanjay Vakil to participate

Fri, 3/20 8:00 – 9:00 pm
Precinct 14
TMM Candidate Xavid Pretzer to participate

Sat, 3/21 11:00 – noon
Precinct 4
TMM Candidate Silvia Dominguez to participate

Sat, 3/21 8:00 – 9:00 pm
Precinct 19 & 21
TMM Candidates Melanie Brown (P19), Elaine Crowder (19) and Jordan Weinstein (P21) to participate

Sun, 3/22 8:00 – 9:00 pm
Precinct 5 & 7
TMM Candidate Brian McMurray to participate

Thu, 3/26 8:00 – 9:00 pm
Precinct 8
TMM Candidates Heather Barber, Bill Berkowitz, and Elizabeth Dray to participate

NOTE VIRTUAL TIMES REPLACE THE SCHEDULED IN-PERSON EVENTS