FRAMINGHAM – Sylvia Ruiz is voting yes on Tuesday.
Framingham voters will be asked to approve a city form of government on Tuesday, April 4. The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“I am voting yes because I want equal representation for ALL communities and we need to be transparent and not be segregated,” said Ruzi.
She said a city will provide more “opportunities for us to all work together and make the South side visible.”
Currently, Framingham has a Town form of government, with a hired Town Manager, five Selectmen elected at-large, seven School Committee members elected at -large and Town Meeting.
A City form of government would mean a Mayor, an 11-member City Council, with 9 members elected by neighborhoods, and 9 School Committee members, all elected by neighborhoods. Opponent to the charter say the proposed city puts too much power in the hands of the Mayor.
South side residents say too much power is already concentrated north of Route 9.
All five Selectmen live in two Precincts north of Route 9. All seven School Committee members live North of Route 9, but 60% of the students in the Framingham Public Schools live south of Route 9.
“As for representation in Town Meetings for the Hispanic community there really is no voice for us at this moment. How can anyone represent if no one has stepped up to get involved and show the way. It has to start by getting to know the culture and the people and most importantly keeping an open mind,” said Ruiz.
“I think the city will represent our diversity by giving the opportunity to select from each precinct to have a voice. There is an opportunity for the 3rd generation of American/Latinos that have kept their culture who are innovative in reaching and leading this new form of government within the Hispanic community,” said Ruiz.
Noval Alexander lives in the Musterfields neighborhood in precinct 8.
“I believe our current form of town government can no longer support and adequately address the overall needs of my neighborhood because most of the decision making process for this community has become very cumbersome and laborious. We need leadership and a government that has the capability to respond. In addition; I believe most people in Framingham cannot name 1 person who represents their precinct in Town Meeting. The worst part of that is Town Meeting in its current state isn’t a fully representative body because many Precincts south of route 9 are woefully underrepresented with many vacant seats. In my view this is a poor example of a
representative democracy and I believe Framingham can do much better than this.,” said Alexander.
He supports a yes vote as it will bring “equal representation with 9 neighborhood council members as well as 9 school committee members each representing the neighborhoods. This would reflect the will and concerns of the people residing in those neighborhoods.”
“I do not believe the minority population of our community is well represented throughout the branches of government,” said Alexander. “I think there are several reasons; One, most minorities in town are younger and are working class families often parents work 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet. They are more concerned about paying very high rents or mortgages while feeding their families and or their involved with their children’s academic or extracurricular activities outside of school versus getting involved with town politics. Secondly; our minority community comes from many nations and that comes with many potential hurdles to assimilate
to American culture and New England traditions such as language, norms and customs. A lack of mastery of the English language and feeling like a “fish out of water” so to speak can be an intimidating thing which would give anyone pause to not get involved. However, this shouldn’t be confused or misconstrued by others that because of these factors facing our mostly immigrant minority population they aren’t worthy or deserving of a voice or an equal seat at the table of Framingham government.”
Framingham loves to celebrate its diversity, however, the diversity is not reflected in its government leaders, said Maria Gonzalez, who lives near Wilson Elementary School.
Mario Alvarez, who lives in Precinct 18, agrees. That is why he is voting yes for a city.
“Framingham is the epitome of diversity, we have a great mix of racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, geographic, and academic/professional backgrounds. A tremendous amount of people with different opinions, backgrounds (degrees and social experience), religious beliefs, political beliefs, sexual orientations, heritage, and life experience. But yet, many are poorly or not all represented under our current form of government, especially south of Route 9,” said Alvazrez. “This new form of government will give us a better way to be represented, more consice and better accountability for the decisions made.”