League of Women Voters of Wellesley invites the public to attend our annual Meet the Candidates Night
March 10th, 2016 at the Wellesley Free Library, Wakelin Room
7:00 PM refreshments
Tributes to retiring officials will be presented and then the 13 Town wide-candidates will make opening statements. Questions to the candidates will follow.
Town Meeting Candidates will have a chance to speak directly with constituents.
Everyone is welcome.
The debate over Wellesley’s move to a more centralized form of town government has headed to the lawns. Driving down Weston Road this morning I noticed at least a dozen “Keep Citizen Voices Strong: Vote No” signs along that stretch (I even spotted a “Ben Carson” sign on one side street). We assume Vote Yes signs will appear soon, if they haven’t already.
The town votes on March 15 on whether to move to a Town Manager-Board of Selectmen form of government. Those for and against the move have laid out their arguments online and in fliers/letters, some of which were handed out at the primary polls this week.
One proponent of the No campaign who contacted us this week pointed to a Boston Globe poll on “Should Wellesley create a position of Town Manager” that she said is misleading in its wording: “few are against a town manager per se, it’s the whole government structure they are setting up that people don’t want – an extreme form of centralization that undermines what has always been a citizen-run democracy that is not even the norm even for town manager governments.” Nevertheless, poll results so far show many more Nos than Yesses based on 920 votes.
A YES vote would change the form of government in Wellesley to a Board of Selectmen-Town Manager system according to the terms of the Special Act and bylaws passed by Special Town Meeting.
John Kasich took the Republican primary in Wellesley, fending off Donald Trump and Marco Rubio, who were roughly even in their share of about 3,600 votes. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton drubbed Bernie Sanders with about 4,000 votes to his 1,800 or so. Jill Stein picked up the only Green Party vote documented. A little under 60% of registered voters went to the polls.
These are the unofficial town results, as hand counted ballots and overseas ballots will be added on Wednesday, but that only amounts to about 30 ballots.
Trump and Clinton were leading in Massachusetts voting overall as of when this post went live a bit after 10pm on Tuesday.
While we haven’t seen any lawn signs pop up yet, the online campaigns for and against Wellesley shifting to a Board of Selectmen-Town Manager form of government have gone live. Gov. Charlie Baker gave his blessing to the plan for a Town Manager, as did Town Meeting, but the change won’t go through unless voters okay it in March.
Some in town have begun receiving letters from the “For Wellesley’s Future: YES to Improve Town Government” group, which is seeking to raise funds and spread the word to vote Yes on Question #1 on March 15 during town-wide elections. The group, on its new website, describes itself as a committee of more than 40 current and former town leaders, with familiar names such as Dave Murphy and Katherine Babson leading the charge as co-chairs. The group argues that it’s time for Wellesley to make a change given the growth in the town’s budget, workforce and more over the past couple of decades. Having a Town Manager in place will “strengthen service delivery to residents by holistically managing municipal operations, creating synergies and increasing cross-department working opportunities.” Increased accountability is a big emphasis of this group.
As this group notes, a rival committee has also formed “and is expected to actively campaign against passage.”
You can learn more about “Save Wellesley Town Government” at its website here. The theme: “Wellesley has a long and proud history of transparent, responsive, effective and efficient small town government, which has made Wellesley a leader in Massachusetts. Let’s keep it that way.” This group encourages you to vote No on Question #1.
Among the topics discussed on this site are “Town Manager and Your Taxes” and a message from the group’s chair, former selectman Don McCauley. As you might recall, several town boards and commissions (Natural Resources Commission, Board of Health, Wellesley Free Library Board of Trustees, etc.) have raised concerns about losing control to a Town Manager. The Save Wellesley Town Government group points out that it isn’t suggesting all the work that has gone into studying changes to Wellesley town government need to go to waste, but it is pushing for what it says would be a greater consensus on what’s best for Wellesley.
Academy-award winning actor Susan Sarandon will be on hand tonight at Wellesley College at 7pm. Best known for films like Dead Man Walking and Thelma and Louise, the activist wants to drum up support for her Democratic candidate of choice, Bernie Sanders. The Presidential Primary election is March 1 in Wellesley (and other places).
The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required, but RSVP’s are strongly encouraged. RSVP does not guarantee admission. Entry will be first come, first served.
Event begins at 7:00 PM
Doors open at 6:30 PM
Wellesley College – Science Center, 277 Lecture Hall
106 Central Street
Wellesley has a long and storied association with Presidents of the United States, starting with George Washington himself.
* As you may know, Washington Street running through the center of town is named after old George, who visited town in in November of 1789 on his Presidential Tour of New England. A plaque mounted on a stone (shown above) marks this historic occasion at Washington Park along the Charles River on River Street.
* President Ulysses Grant visited and stayed over at his cousin’s home at 50 Woodlawn Ave. in 1875 when he was president as well as in 1868 while campaigning (during his earlier visit he addressed a meeting in a park that went on to become Wellesley Hills station).
* President Grover Cleveland, he of the two separated terms as President, stayed at the home of Stephen Simons in the late 1800s on land that is now home to the Wellesley Free Library. As far as I know, neither Grove Street or Cleveland Road in Wellesley are named after him.
* Business and finance whiz Roger Babson, who founded Babson College in 1919 as the Babson Institute, ran for President of the United State in 1940 as the candidate for the National Prohibition Party. According to the Babson College biography of its founder: “Although the church-affiliated party was best known for wanting to outlaw vices such as alcohol, gambling, and narcotics, as well as indecent movies and publications, the party also advocated reducing debt and taxation, conserving natural resources, aiding farmers, and ‘assuring workers and consumers a fair share of industry’s products and profits.’ Although Roger Babson knew his party would not win the election, he felt it was his duty to bring its moral and religious agenda to the nation. Out of a field of eight candidates, Roger Babson followed fourth behind Franklin Roosevelt, Wendell Willkie, and Norman Thomas.”
* In 1969, Hillary D. Rodham, later Clinton, delivered the student commencement speech. Clinton, who was First Lady from 1993 to 2001 and a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination for the 2008 election, was at the time of her commencement speech the President of the Wellesley College Government Association. She paid a visit to Wellesley College in 2007 while on the presidential nominee campaign trail, as seen in this video.
* In 1980, the last debate before the Massachusetts Republican Primary (which was held on March 4th) was at Dana Hall’s Bardwell Auditorium. Wellesley historian Beth Hinchliffe, who attended, says the event wasn’t sponsored by the school, but just happened to be held there. “Two of the participants were Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush — so we got two Presidents in one night then,” she says.
* In 1990, then-First Lady Barbara Bush gave the commencement address at Wellesley College, and brought as her special guest visiting Soviet First Lady Raisa Gorbachev (read the former First Lady’s remarks here).
A couple of other tidbits:
* In 2010, the Babson Executive Conference Center named John Mills as its executive chef. One of his claims to fame: Having cooked for both Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush.
* Nearby in Natick, on Rte. 135 west just past the Natick Roche Bros., stands the Henry Wilson Shoe Shop, commemorating the former Massachusetts senator who served as vice president under Ulysses Grant in the 1870s.
*Wellesley’s Beth Hinchliffe wrote speeches for George H.W. Bush and Wellesley High grad Aneesh Raman just finished a stint writing speeches for President Barack Obama. Also from Wellesley High, Nick Burns worked for the State Department, most recently under George W. Bush’s administration.
(Thanks to Beth Hinchliffe, Josh Dorin as well as Wellesley College and Babson College media relations and archivists for their assistance. Originally posted in 2011.)
Anyone got anything else worth mentioning on this topic? If so, please comment below or send us a note here
This from Town Clerk Kathy Nagle:
Town Meeting Candidates are still needed to fill available seats in Precincts E, F, G. For residents who vote at Fiske, Dana Hall or the Library those are the precincts that still need one or more candidates to fill the available seats. Of course, candidates are welcome to run in any precinct. Candidates must reside in Wellesley, but do not need to be registered voters.
While Democratic Presidential contender Hillary Rodham Clinton is one of Wellesley College’s all-star alums (Class of ’69), it is apparently not a graduation requirement for students to vote for her.
The Washington Post reports that Bernie Sanders, for one, also has supporters at the school, and that those students are letting their opinions be heard, as you can see in this new video posted in advance of next week’s New Hampshire primary.
(Hat tip to reader JF for sharing this info.)