Mr. Tinsley has pledged in writing to be a good listener and responsive to residents, yes even to those who may be angry and unhappy. He and his teammate come across with a more personal appeal, referring to Brookfield as “home”, not some reference in a magazine. I believe his willingness to translate into simple language some of the more complex matters we face would be welcome by many residents and help encourage more community participation. His team player/coach approach stands in contrast to the authoritarian model of his opponents. He sees his role as multi-tasking, evaluating all the issues facing our town, not just the Four Corners area. For example, he has spoken about expanding the focus of commercial improvement along the entire Route 7 corridor, at the same time helping existing small businesses survive and prosper. A humility and acknowledgement that he doesn’t have all the answers is a refreshing change from the current leadership, and his commitment that his leadership will involve more than taxes, spending and debt can only help to more easily energize our Town moving forward.
On the other hand, the incumbent Selectmen have often demonstrated a disappointing and bewildering arrogance and self-righteousness. Despite our town residents several times rejecting charter changes, they went ahead and pushed for another vote (which costs us money!), and were again soundly defeated, indicating either a disconnection from, or unwillingness to listen to, their neighbors. While they talk about engaging the community, they make no real effort to do so. At the town meeting in May, Mr. Lasser invited residents to come to the follow-up meeting “not with platitudes but with specific proposals” to reduce the budget; when that happened, he reacted with unprofessionalism and a temperament not befitting a town leader. The Board of Finance reduction, which he continues to criticize, was one of the reasons the Town is credited with good budgetary restraints; incredibly Mr. Lasser then has the chutzpah to take credit for the positive press. It is also interesting that this team trumpets a number one rating from one magazine while hiding from a number 27 rating from another magazine closer to home. With respect to the Four Corners, they want to highlight the $100 million investment, but fail to mention that those are four huge apartment complexes, only one of which has a small amount of commercial space. Where is the village center of “shops, restaurants, and other amenities”?
With respect to the Board of Finance, both Steve Dunn and Jeffrey Rossi have acquitted themselves well in their introductions to town residents. They can bring some new fresh ideas, bolstered by former veterans of the Board. The real mistake was not having Irv Agaard on the ballot, as he was one member who continually showed not only a great work ethic but a willingness to listen to all sides. The Board of Assessment Appeals needs to have Jim Thomas elected, as he pledged to explain to residents the decisions that are made, something the current Board has refused to do the last two years. For the Zoning Commission, Ryan Blessey has demonstrated a deep knowledge of zoning rules and regulations, a willingness and respectful courtesy in allowing residents to participate, and a friendly persuasiveness in pushing his fellow commissioners to complete their homework in preparing for decision-making. Current alternates on this Board Mara Frankel and John Varda have been impressive with their work ethic, an openness to listen to all sides, as well as being willing to give residents their time outside of the formal meeting; they deserve your vote. Finally, I believe the Board of Education can be bolstered by newcomer Steve Harding, with his enthusiasm and desire to have students enjoy a similar great experience that he had in our school system. He can be anchored with veteran Harold Shaker, who can help maintain the intangible qualities of integrity and professionalism, as well as basic skills, all the while assisting the expansion of technology.
Your neighbor, Rich Saluga