District 7 City Council candidate Bill Lynch
District 7 is Precincts 13 and 14
Occupation: Letter Carrier United States Postal Service
Years lived in Framingham: 42
Family (optional): Wife, 1 son
Municipal experience: None
Volunteerism: Being in a Union (and a current Union treasurer), much of my free time is used to lobby congress and senators, as well as helping my brothers and sisters. Going in early, and staying late after working 10 hours doesn’t give me much free time to volunteer.
In less than 100 words, why should someone vote you to represent them as a City Councilor?
I consider myself to be the “Average Joe.” We need some politicians in city hall, but we also need people with fresh ideas, and some different approaches on how to get things done. Often times the needs of the average citizen get lost in red tape. I have no agenda other than wanting a great form of government, and being “The new guy.” I have no affiliations to any group, or any individual. I am not afraid to speak my mind, and to relay the thoughts and concerns of my neighbors.
In less than 100 words, describe your district:
District 7 includes downtown, a large hospital, a High School, Elementary school, a huge library, and the Mt Wayte plaza to name a few. Downtown and Mt Wayte will have a huge impact on the city as a whole. Both MUST thrive and should have the full support of the council and Mayor going forward. We need to work together with the business owners to accomplish goals set by both. The neighborhoods are home to people from Dozens of countries, all have different needs, but the general concern seems to be about safety in the neighborhoods, traffic,and the businesses are being handcuffed from bureaucratic red tape. That needs to end.
Website or Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Lynch4Council/
Election announcement submitted to Framingham Source during the nomination period
Editor’s Note: Candidates were asked to provide one-word answers only
How much would you vote to increase (or decrease) the tax levy in your first year of office? Remain the same as the previous year.
What business is needed in your district? Self Service car wash
What amenity is lacking in your district? Public family friendly open space
Do you support the tax incentives for the new apartments that Town Meeting approved this year? No
Should Framingham become a sanctuary city? No
Would you support the creation of a dog park in Framingham? No
Would you support the construction of a splash pad in Framingham? No
Do you support a split tax rate for businesses and homeowners? Yes
Would you vote for a debt exclusion override to build a new school in Framingham? Yes
Have you endorsed a candidate for mayor? If yes, whom? No
What is your favorite place in Framingham? (just one): Route 9
What is your favorite place in your district? (just one): Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers
Editor’s Note: Candidates were given up to 350 words to answer each question. Answers are copy & pasted into this report.
Question #1: In your opinion, what is the biggest issue facing your district? How would you go about fixing it as a city councilor?
Right now, the biggest issue we have is the development of the Mt. Wayte Plaza. There is an offer on the table to build a couple hundred apartments. I’m not sure if plans will be finalized before we transition to a new form of government, but I hope no final plans are made before then. We need to seriously look into whether or not the property taxes will be able to cover the cost of not only the infrastructure, but we need to explore what impact this will have on our schools, police, fire, surrounding roads, and what impact this will have on our locally owned businesses. A nearby city imposed a penalty tax if the amount of children residing on the property is over and beyond what was originally expected. I think we need to look into something like that. The impact of flooding our school system with hundreds of new children ( Taking into consideration the hundreds of apartments approved for downtown) could cripple the budget, and our schools.
Question #2: The Framingham Public Schools represent more than 50 percent of the total budget for the community. Would you support a level-funded budget, a level service budget, and increase in the school budget or a decrease in the school budget? Why?
There’s no doubt the school budget is big. We need to work with not only the school board, but with the Mayor, and the unions to really get a feel for what’s needed. You can throw all the money in the world to the school budget, but it won’t be enough if it isn’t used right. Without knowing what exactly the concerns of the school personnel are, I really can’t answer as to what we need to do with their budget. But one thing is for sure, our teachers need support. I would not be in favor of taking away anything from the already overburdened teachers.
Question #3: Traffic is a major issue in your district? How will you work with the neighborhood, other city councilors, and the new mayor to solve the problem.
As aggravating as the traffic issue is, we tend to forget the safety side of it. No one wants to wait in traffic, and if there’s a shortcut, someone will take it. This puts the residents (Including children) at risk on the side streets. We no longer live in a society where kids can play in the streets and rely on someone yelling “CAR!”. We could install speed bumps, but that won’t fix the problem. What we need to do is take a look at the light cycles, and an increased police presence at key intersections during rush hour. And we don’t need another costly “Study”. We should have a study on how much money we spent on studies last year, and what we learned from them. You want to know how to change the light cycles for the better? Ask the Mom down the street who travels through that intersection 4 times a day to bring her kids to places. Ask the Domino’s delivery driver, and the business on the corner who watches the traffic build up every day. I’m betting not 1 of them would suggest putting up another set of traffic lights at the intersection of Concord and Clinton, 84 feet away from another set of lights. I’m betting not 1 of them would say that there needs to be another set of lights at the new lifetime fitness on O.C.P. that has a direct negative impact on the already backed up intersection at Speen St.
Question #4: Talk about your vision for downtown Framingham, which is a part of your district.
I want to see more people walking around downtown. There’s so much retail, and so many places to eat and most people don’t even know about them. We need to find a way (Through a Postal mailing like our friends in surrounding towns) to let people know what’s going on. But, that’s a double edged sword. Once we get people downtown, then what? There’s nowhere to park. The space by the old Fabric Place will be gone in the near future, and that just leaves on street parking, which there is not a lot of. I wish I had an answer, I wish I had a magic wand to fix the parking issue, but I don’t. Hopefully as the team of city councilors comes together, we can come up with a plan that will be suitable for the community, and business owners.
Question #5: What is your view of open space vs economic development for your district? Do you have the same view for the City of Framingham?
We need to STOP BUILDING for a minute and take a look at where we are, where we want to go, and what we need to get there. Saying yes yes yes (and here’s a tax break) to anyone who wants to build something, needs to stop. We need to start saying NO if what’s proposed doesn’t fit into what the long term plans. We need to start taking care of the people that already live here, instead of taking care of the people who aren’t even here yet..
Question #6: Do you think your district is safe? How will you work with Police to make sure residents in your neighborhood feel safe?
As I stated earlier, people taking shortcuts to avoid a backed up intersection is a real problem. I think an increased police presence during rush hour would help. I would like to see more interaction involving Police and neighborhood residences. The Police have a tough job, there’s no arguing that. Working with the Chief, and the force, we could come up with a plan that would be beneficial to everyone. I used to see Police on bikes. I don’t see much of that anymore.
Question #7: As a City Councilor how will you support the businesses in your district?
We need to relax the crazy bylaws that prevent them from advertising. The sign bylaws need addressing immediately.
Question #8: Do you think Framingham is family friendly? Why or why not? What would you do to do make the community more inviting to families?
This starts in the community. Lets face it, some people (dare I say most) just want to be left alone. But for those that want to get out, and meet their neighbors, there needs to be a way for that to happen. I haven’t seen a block party in forever. Remember those? They were fun! I’m not sure what would happen if I walked into the town hall right now, and said I needed a permit for a block party, but I’m sure by the time the paperwork was filled out, and meeting after meeting was conducted, I would be too frustrated to have it. But maybe under this new form of government, that would be possible.
Question #9: In the last 18 months, the Danforth museum and art school was evicted from its home of decades, the Framingham Artists Guild had to find a new home, and recently dozens of artists including the Fountain Street Fine Arts gallery have left Framingham. How would you support the arts in Framingham as a city councilor?
I wish I had a good answer here. Actually, I wish I had ANY answer here, but I don’t. I am probably the last guy on the planet who understands the arts. But you know what? I know that this is hugely important to a LOT of people, and I will work with whoever I need to to accommodate the artists. Just because I (on a personal level) have no interest in a particular subject, doesn’t mean I don’t care about it. You see, I’m not a politician. A politician would have you believe that I’m interested in the arts. I believe in honesty and integrity. If I don’t know enough about something, I’ll tell you. I wont lie to you…ever. Luckily there will be almost a dozen other city council members that can collaborate about this.
Question #10: How will you make sure that residents in your neighborhood have a voice in the new City of Framingham, if elected? Give specifics.
For several years, I was a union President. I was the voice for over 200 people. People who couldn’t, or didn’t know how to speak up for themselves. With a district of over 6,000 people, getting everyone to stand up for something is…well…impossible. But for those that DO want a say in what goes on, I will hold (at least) 1 monthly meeting where anyone can meet me face to face to discuss whatever is on their mind. The role of a city council member should be to relay the voices and concerns of the community. It isn’t about having the city councilor walking into City Hall with their own agenda.
Question #11: How will you get residents in your neighborhood more involved in their community? Give specifics.
Here’s another honesty test…I don’t think I (or anyone) can get someone more involved if they don’t WANT to be involved. You can’t force people to get involved. This isn’t the old days where everyone knew everyone on their street and we slept with unlocked doors. However, if someone WANTS to get involved, my door is always open. Call me, lets meet at my new favorite coffee place (Sofa Cafe) and come up with something that will work. As a letter carrier, I’ve walked the streets. I’ve met a LOT of people who just want a safe place to live, with some good neighbors. Being a letter carrier is kind of a neat job. When you get to know people on the route, and you talk to them every day, you can see that someone on Clark street want’s the same thing the guy over on Lawrence street wants. The trick is…to introduce them to one another. I am not able to do that as a mailman, but maybe I can as a city councilor.
Question #12: Framingham is a community of full of social, economic and cultural diversity. What can you do as a councilor to not only represent your district but to the bring the nine districts together as one City?
We need people to realize that the city is a business. And WE ( the residents ) are the CEO of this business. If the business fails, WE fail. WE pay the ultimate price (Literally via taxes). WE run this city, and WE have to run it as a team. Each district has different needs, WE have to realize that. Not every district is going to get what they need every time. But WE should be getting what WE need as a whole, to run this business. Tough choices will have to be made, that’s for sure. We’re going to have to start saying NO sometimes to ensure the greater good of the city. Lets face it, if the new form of government screws up, we vote them out. But guess what, we still have to pay the price. I believe with my background of representing people, I am the most qualified candidate for this position of City Council for District 7. I can’t stress enough how important it is for the new form of government to get off on the right foot. The first year will be the toughest for sure. If you vote for me, you can count on me to be honest with you. That’s the only way I know how to earn peoples respect. I want to EARN your vote and your respect. Some of my *politically bad* answers should show you that I’m kind of an honest guy. I’d rather lose an election by being me, than win an election by being something I’m not. Vote Bill Lynch on September 26th, and again on November 7th. Thank you.