Framingham District 5 City Council Candidate: Dennis Giombetti

District 5 City Council candidate Dennis Giombetti

District 5 is Precincts 8 and  12

Editor’s Note: If an answer is blank the candidate did not answer

Age: 67

Years lived in Framingham: Born and raised in Framingham

Occupation: Semi-Retired (over 25 years in High Technology (computer and networking companies as an executive in marketing and strategic partnerships); District Liaison for Senator Karen Spilka (part-time)

Family: Married to Ann Bache Giombetti, One child Abigail, Grade 1 school teacher, Newton, Two grandchildren, Addison 2nd grade Dunning School and 2 year old TJ

Municipal Experience:Board of Selectmen, Past Chair; Framingham Finance Committee; MetroWest Regional Transportation Authority Advisory Board, Past Chair; Framingham Charter Commission; 495 MetroWest Partnership, Past Chair ; Framingham Town Meeting Member; Framingham Cable Advisory Committee, Past Chair; Framingham Community Block Grant Committee; Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization, Framingham’s representative; MetroWest Regional Collaborative , Framingham’s representative, Past Chair

Volunteerism : Resiliency for Life, Framingham High School, Board of Directors; Marian High School, Board of Trustees; Framingham Downtown Renaissance, Board of Trustees; MetroWest Visitors Bureau, Board of Trustees; Danforth Museum, Board of Trustees

In less than 100 words, why should someone vote you to represent them as a City Councilor?

As we transition to our new form of government, it is important to have a Councilor who has a deep understanding of our district and our community.  Our neighborhood deserves a Councilor who has shown a strong commitment, passion and willingness to fight for us, as well as one who understands and has worked on the many important issues that impact our entire community.  My work on neighborhood and community issues will be invaluable in meeting the challenges Framingham will face as we move forward.

As a former Chair and 9 year member of the Board of Selectmen, I bring leadership with a reasonable, thoughtful and balanced, team-oriented approach to problem solving.  I also believe my business experience, educational background, community involvement and accomplishments provide me with the right set of skills to help lead Framingham and our neighborhoods during our government transition… and beyond.

In less than 100 words, describe your district: Besides being the best district, I look at the 5th District as the centerpiece of Framingham. The district is not only the central district in Framingham it is the bridge and main gateway (Union Ave and Concord St.) between north and south Framingham. It rightful place on the council should be the unify influence and I certainly hope to fulfill that role. The district has both a strong residential presence including several apartment complexes as well as many units under the jurisdiction of our outstanding Framingham Housing Authority. There is a strong business presence in our district along Rt 9 and Rt 30. This commercial element brings both convenience and difficulties in traffic and other nuisances. Last but not least the two city gems located in District 5 are Callahan Senior Center and Bowditch Field.

Facebook page: Dennis Giombetti for City Council District 5

 

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? Depends

Do you support Framingham State University’s decision to move commencement to WorcesterNo

What business is needed in your district? Restaurant at Mt Wayte

What amenity is lacking in your district? Splash pad

Do you support keeping Learneds Pond open longer? Yes

Should Framingham become a sanctuary city? Depends,  but I support the current policy of the FPD)

Would you support the creation of a dog park in Framingham? Yes

Would you support the construction of a splash pad in Framingham? Yes

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

Do you support Framingham State purchasing the Maynard Building for its new partnership with Danforth Art?  Yes

What is your favorite place in Framingham? (just one): LaCantina

What is your favorite place in your district? (just one)Bowditch Field

 

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?

 

District 5 is like many other districts in our community, residents seeking a high quality of life in our neighborhoods, superior education, outstanding public safety and municipal services while balancing these needs with an affordable Framingham. I have the experience, strong voice and successful record of accomplishments to help the new government make these critical decisions.

 

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?

As a former Selectman I have in my tenure supported each of the above options in various years. Those decisions were based on the current situation at that time and what I thought best for the entire community. What I have shown is an ability to lead and bring people together to solve problems as I did when as Chair of the Board of Selectmen I called the town’s first Budget Summit to address a $6.9 M school budget gap. We all worked cooperatively to close the gap and went to town meeting with a unified plan that was adopted. This is how I will solve any future issues by finding common ground and working cooperatively across the community

 

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?

 

Traffic is a problem across the community and no one solution fits all of the related traffic problems. I strongly recommended that the new Charter create a Traffic Commission. I called for it because of the widespread nature of the traffic problem and the need to have a focused organization developing strategies and implementable solutions. I would request through the City Council that the Traffic Commission members immediately hold neighborhood meetings and conduct a comprehensive study to assess the traffic situation and potential solutions. I would also ask them to provide a report to the City Council within the first year.

 

QUESTION #4 – What is your view of open space vs economic development in Framingham?

 

In order to keep Framingham a vibrant community we need both. We must take advantage of opportunities that surface such as Millwood Golf Course and find creative ways to maintain critically important open space as well as follow the strategic parts of Framingham’s Open Space Plan We should encourage and help our businesses and seek new businesses to expand in existing business zones. New growth revenue is an essential part of our budget and allows for additional funds for our schools

 

QUESTION #5 – Your district includes Framingham State University. What role should the University play in the community? How will you work with the University to make sure they are community partners with the City of Framingham?

 

Framingham State University has played and will continue to play an important role in our community. At the very core it provides the lifeblood for the educational training of our teachers, and many of our residents, whether that is through continuing education programs or their degree programs. In more recent years FSU has become real partners in their community building efforts, as they did with Ashland in partnering on the Warren Center or in Framingham with their proposal to merge with Danforth Museum to take over a struggle community asset. As an abutter to the University I and my neighbors have had issues with FSU. But I have developed as a neighbor and as a former Selectman with each of the University Presidents an ongoing respectful relationship and dialogue Therefore when skirmish occur as it did with student parking on the neighborhood streets or expansion of their athletic field a mutually respectful relationship allows for the opportunity to find workable solutions as we did on both of these issues.

 

QUESTION #6 – Your district also includes Bowditch Field? Do you think the facility is underused or overused? If under used, what type of events do you see at Bowditch?

 

I do believe Bowditch is underutilized. We invested several millions of dollars to renovate the facility with the understanding that the facility would be used more often. While I would not support a constant use of the facility for new events since that would have significant neighborhood impacts I would support more family fun events like MetroFest and occasional weekend sports tournament play that could also help support our local businesses. I would ask the Mayor through the city council for a strategic marketing plan for the Bowditch Field that took into account the potential uses with limited neighborhood impacts.

 

QUESTION #7 – Your district also includes the Callahan Center. Framingham has a large percentage of those over the age of 55. How will you make sure seniors have access to the center and its programming? How will you work with the mayor and the rest of the Council to support the senior community in Framingham?

 

The very seniors who do not or can not drive are the very seniors who need the programming and social contact that is provided by Callahan. I think there is an opportunity to work with the MWRTA and other transportation entities to develop better transportation opportunities for our seniors to gain access to Callahan. This would be particularly true for our seniors that live in our senior housing facilities.  As I said earlier, affordability is a very critical component to supporting our senior community across town.

 

QUESTION #8 -Do you think Framingham is a safe community? Why or why not? How will you work with the mayor and the police department to make sure Framingham has a good quality of life?

I think Framingham is an overall safe community, but we do have parts of our community that are less safe and secure. As a Selectman I fought for more police officers and more police presence. I believe strongly that people have to be safe and they need to feel safe. I would like to hold neighborhood meeting within my district, as I have in the past, in which various city departments attend to speak with residents about concerns and receive their feedback. I will continue to advocate for a police force that has the necessary resources and will work with both my fellow councilors and the Mayor to that end as I did with my fellow Selectmen and Town Managers.

 

 

QUESTION #9 – Describe your role as city council with the business community in your district and in the City of Framingham.

 

 

 

QUESTION #10 – Do you think Framingham is family friendly? Why or why not? What would you do to do make the community more inviting to families? What can be done in your district?

 

I think Framingham is family friendly but we certainly can do more. We do have a very good Park and Recreation Dept that manages a very good network of parks across the community especially Cushing Park. I am proud to have played a role in the development of the children’s playground at Cushing. We do have rich and diverse set of programs through the schools, library, park and recreation and our many cultural organizations that are focused toward families. As I said above there is an opportunity with Bowditch Field to hold larger events focused on families. There have been some great suggestions from residents over the last year that would improve our family friendliness, i.e., splash pad, July 4th fireworks, parade and keeping our swimming ponds open longer in the season. I would certainly look into these suggestions.

 

QUESTION #11 – 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 have been a strong supporter of the arts in Framingham. I am saddened by the recent developments and actions that have seemed to be indifferent to our arts and cultural communities. I currently serve on the Danforth Museum and the MetroWest Tourism Bureau Boards of Trustees and have helped the Performing Arts Center in several ways.  So I do understand the importance that the arts and culture is to the richness of our community and to to our economic engine. We, as a vibrant city, need to actively engage our arts community and build strategic relationships with them. For a healthy relationship is important to both the city and the arts.

 

QUESTION #12 – How will you make sure that residents in your neighborhood have a voice in the new City of Framingham, if elected? Give specifics.

 

I have said that the core strength of the new charter is the district representation that it created. People who have never been represented or had no voice in our government now will be represented. In addition, with districts there is an opportunity to have a bottoms-up, grassroots government rather than the tops down government that has been primarily in existence for many years. I believe the real power of this government will be in the districts because the closest official to the residents will be your district councilor. As I demonstrated as a Selectman, residents will have easy access to me. I will help form neighborhood associations, organize neighborhood meetings and hold regular office hours.

 

QUESTION #13 – How will you get residents in your neighborhood more involved in their community? Give specifics.

 

Within districts there is an opportunity to have a bottoms-up, grassroots government rather than the tops down government that has been primarily in existence for many years. I believe the real power of this government will be in the districts because the closest official to the residents will be your district councilor. As I demonstrated as a Selectman residents will have easy access to me. I will help form neighborhood associations, organize neighborhood meetings and hold regular office hours.  

 

QUESTION #14 – 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?

 

As someone who represented the entire town as a Selectman and as someone who was born and raised in Framingham I have acquired a rather deep understand of my district as well as the entire community. I also know many people across the entire Framingham. These experiences will afford the opportunity to have an understanding and appreciation for the issues that are confronting other districts and are the concerns of other councilors. This along with my listening skills will in-turn allow me to build working relationships with my fellow councilors.

 

Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: editor@FraminghamSource.com Phone: 508-315-7176

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