Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A great day

This was the beginning of what was an amazing day last week. It's fitting that Dave Sullivan is in the photo because he was the first one to tell me that I won, around 8:30 that night. The other lady is my wonderful mom, of course.

Thank you to everyone who made my campaign possible. Ed Downey, Nicole LaChapelle, Kevin Smith, John Boulais, Mary Ellen Smith, Deb Kozikowski, Mayor Tautznik, Dan Meade, Dave Sullivan, Peg Leitl (and all my Meals on Wheels friends) Michael Siciliano, Matt Cullen, Kathranne Knight, Danny, Lila, Gabe, Juliet, Nevia, and June. Also the wonderful citizens of Easthampton that I met along the way-Hutch, Billy Henderson, Mary Evans, Professor Eipper from the Lathrop community, Evelyn and so many other people whose names I can't remember but will always be grateful to. It was a wonderful campaign and I am very excited to get started in January.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mary Evans, knitter extraordinaire

I met Mary Evans at Cliffview the other day and she invited me to her knitting group that meets every Wednesday at the Easthampton Community Center. I expected a nice little knitting group, but I had no idea the staggering productivity of these women, most from Easthampton, though also from Westhampton and Southampton. Mary showed me boxes of scarves, mittens, sweaters, blankets, and little apron like bags that fit around walkers. Each box was neatly organized and labelled: "Cancer," "Schools," "Veterans," etc. If anyone walks into the Community Center, they can come away with a cozy pair of mittens or brightly colored scarf if they need them.

This is the sort of thing that makes a town great. Good for Mary Evans (I think she said she is 93, very beautiful, I might add) and all these women doing this invisible work that makes life a little better for people. I am going back next week and asked if I can take some photos, so stay tuned!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mayoral forum at Williston

The forum last night held at Williston's chapel last night was impressive because all the candidates were passionate, well-prepared and articulate. It says a lot that there are such talented people who want to be the Mayor of Easthampton.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I miss the bears!

The streets are lonelier without the bears. I looked forward to seeing them every day when I drove through town, happy each time I saw people walking around them, looking at them, smiling. It was such a great project-a great example of citizen initiative.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Dredging Nashawannuck Pond

It's amazing what is being done to Nashawannuck pond, and I guess it's been long-overdue. Because it's man-made, sediment had built up and the danger is that it would become very shallow over time and eventually disappear. These workers, from Charter Environmental are putting some sort of compost material made out of cranberries (among other things) into the walls of the pond.

At a fundraiser for Mayor Mike last night (with Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray) at the Apollo Grill and a gentleman I met said there used to be a bridge between the pond and Nonotuck park and that as kids they would swim in the pond.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Why am I running for City Council?

Tonight I have a little "meet and greet" at Nicole LaChapelle's house and the last couple of nights I have stayed awake thinking about what I want to say. I spoke with her early this morning, while she was at work, and she said, "Keep it simple. Who are you? Why do you want to run?"

Last one first: Why am I running for City Council?

One of my favorite mayors in America is Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark. He often says, "Democracy is not a spectator sport," and I like that a lot. Action is the antidote for despair, for alienation, for feeling powerless. There are a lot of things that make life tough for most of us, but getting involved, reaching out, finding out what is positive always makes us a little happier.

I'm running because this town represents what has made America great-making things. And we are still making things here-just look at the fantastic bear project and all the amazing artists here. When so many people have been leaving small towns for a long time now, Easthampton's population has grown. I think the future belongs to towns like this that have found a way to transition from an mainly industrial town to a creative, local economy. I see no reason, with our manufacturing infrastructure and skilled labor force why we wouldn't be a great place to attract green business. So I want to build on what has been done by the great work of our local government and throw my hat into the ring with my ideas and perspective.

Second: Who am I?

I grew up in Brookline, MA and had an unusual upbringing. My parents were Macrobiotic and we had many people who lived with us from all over the world who came to the East Coast to study Macrobiotics. I was often ashamed of my upbringing, especially in school, where it is painful to be different at all. Because we were vegetarians (among other things) some kids from school put a bloody steak inside my desk that soaked my school papers. I became pretty shy, somewhat natural for young girls, but also because how we were living was pretty different from the rest of people I knew. It was only later when I found out how many people felt exactly the same way.

But I loved all the people growing up and it was quite fascinating. I loved being home more than anything because there was so much going on and such interesting people. I studied English literature at UMass Amherst and stayed in the area because I ended up building my business here.

My father was very political and I often remember political conversations at the dining room table. My mother is incredibly kind and always invited people who didn't have places to go for Thanksgiving and Christmas. About ten years ago I started really becoming interested in politics and public service. I felt the way I did when I was growing up, stimulated, excited, eager to make a difference. Public service connects you to the rest of humanity, better than no one, less than no one. It is part of my personal family legacy as well as part of all of our history as human beings and Americans.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Park Hill Road

This is the first day of a blog I'm creating for my run as City Councilor at large in Easthampton, Massachusetts. It's rainy and gray, but the leaves are turning brilliant shades of orange, red and gold.

Yesterday I was on Park Hill Road and went to the farm stand there located on some of the most beautiful land in Easthampton. I talked to Elaine Hartley, who started the farm about 2 years ago with her husband, Russell. She said that there were 1000 acres in that area that are in an agricultural trust and that Easthampton "made it very easy," to buy and maintain the farm. She was talking about creating an "agricultural commission" which I greatly encourage.

When Elaine and Russell first moved to Easthampton (I think she said it was in 2006), they watched a City Council meeting in which the councilors gave awards to two officers who had peacefully disarmed someone with a gun. They were so impressed and turned to each other and said, "This is the way a town should be."