Editor’s Note: If the answer is blank, the candidate chose not to answer
Framingham Mayoral Candidate Mark Tilden
Years lived in Framingham: 31
Which City District Do You Live In: 3
Family (optional): Wife, 2 daughters 26 and 29
Municipal experience: None
Volunteerism: Coaching: Little league, FUSC soccer, TBA basketball
Website or Facebook page link: www.MarkTilden.com, and www.facebook.com/MarkTildenForMayor/
Editor’s Note: Candidates were asked to provide one-word answers only
What is your favorite place in Framingham? (just one): Millwood
How much would you vote to increase (or decrease) the tax levy in your first year of office? Zero
Do you support a split tax rate for businesses and homeowners? Yes
Apartments in Framingham — Too many, just right, not enough? Too many
Should City Hall remain in downtown Framingham? No
Does Framingham need an arts center? Yes
Would you support the creation of a dog park in Framingham? Yes
Does Framingham need a town pool, a splash pad, or neither? Pool
Name one business that Framingham needs: Seafood restaurant
Describe Framingham in one word: Distressed
Mayoral Candidates discuss:
1) Making Framingham more Family-Friendly
2) Saving the arts in Framingham
3) Fixing the traffic congestion in Framingham
Editor’s Note: Candidates were given up to 350 words to answer each question. Answers are copy & pasted into this report.
QUESTION #1 – 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?
Level service budget. Level funded gives people the impression that there are no budget cuts. But many programs always increase in price such as health coverage, and fuel and electricity costs. Level service at least gives the students the same opportunities as the prior year, however an increase in costs is unavoidable.
QUESTION #2 – Framingham is home to Framingham State University and MassBay Community College. How will you work with these two schools to make sure they are community partners with the City of Framingham? Would you support a tuition free program for Framingham students, like the City of Boston initiative?
Urge the two schools’ Public Policy departments to start internship programs for service in City Hall and work in various city departments. Students gain experience, the City benefits from motivated workers at low cost. Have students in the Education program to tutor grade school students (after all, Framingham State was once a teacher’s college). Have both schools start a shuttle program for commuting students to reduce traffic. I would not support a tuition free program; the schools can’t
afford the loss in revenue and alternative sources just don’t exist. Meeting the costs or tuition and books is a struggle certainly. But if students are investing more in their education than just time and sweat, then they will commit themselves to completing their degree programs that much more.
QUESTION #3 – Do you feel there is waste in the Framingham municipal budget? If so, please site specific areas where you would reduce funding. In creating your budget, where would you want to spend more money? Give examples.
Energy costs are a major drain on the budget. The city should convert all lighting fixtures in its schools, offices and other municipal buildings from costly incandescent and fluorescent to energy saving LED fixtures. Eversource offers commercial users a large subsidy to switch, the city should negotiate its own
deal; the savings start immediately and the cost of the changeover is made up in relatively short time.
Water/sewer costs could go down if the City switched its faucets, toilets and showerheads, to low flow fixtures.
QUESTION #4 – Discuss your vision for Framingham for economic-development. Be specific with properties like Nobscot Plaza, Saxonville lumber yard, Mt. Wayte Plaza, downtown Framingham, the Golden Triangle and Tech Park.
In downtown create an overlay district to ease up on zoning restrictions, relax permitting and show flexibility in enforcing regulations. Send the message to would be investors that we’ll work with them and not suffocate them with red tape. Attract businesses such as popular sit down restaurants and cutting edge retailers that will draw lots of shoppers or diners from all parts of Framingham and neighboring towns.
Imagine a Jack’s Abby type brew pub on Waverly Street; it could turn this part of the marathon route around.
Lean on indifferent absentee owners of zombie strip malls such as Nobscot and School Street (State Lumber) to clean up, landscape and market their properties for retail users. If the retail spaces Pinefield can manage to stay filled, there’s no reason for these to remain vacant. If the owners stubbornly refuse, impose a blight tax on them and use the money for tax relief for seniors struggling to keep their homes. Mt. Wayte presents the difficult choice of accepting housing or leaving it in its rotted condition for another ten years.
We prefer more housing down town, however the residents are starving for anything new. At least they get a new restaurant. The tech park could use more dining options for its many especially young work force. A sit down restaurant or two or a brew pub could bring some much needed night time activity to this area.
QUESTION #5 – Does Framingham have a racial and economic equity problem in your opinion? If yes, how would you address it as a mayor.
Income inequality is a problem in Framingham. More economic development means more employment. Widespread opportunity for all residents of Framingham to move up the ladder. Creating a lively downtown with an active nightlife will bring citizens of all races together.
don’t believe a racial problem exists among our young people. The schools have always fostered an atmosphere of racial inclusion and interaction. Our youth sports programs enable children all backgrounds to participate in team competition and build friendships that last forever.
QUESTION #6 – How would you make Framingham more green? Outline the steps you would take in your 4-years.
If economically feasible, convert city owned vehicles to non-carbon based fuels, switch lighting from fluorescent and incandescent to LED fixtures. Water saving devices on plumbing fixtures in the schools and municipal buildings.
Less food waste in school cafeterias.
Encourage (but not force) store owners to switch from plastic bags to paper.
Set up water bottle filling stations in the schools and town hall to reduce reliance on disposable water bottles.
QUESTION #7 – The biggest problem facing Framingham that no one talks much about is: _________________ And I would address it by: _____________
The biggest problem facing Framingham that no one talk about much is neighboring communities not helping out enough to alleviate homelessness, domestic violence, drug abuse and other societal ills.
And I would address it by: Reaching out to town officials and police departments and persuade them to do their fair share. Exert whatever
leverage our city can on these towns, such as re-negotiating Intermunicipal Agreements such as that with
Ashland over transport of sewage through Framingham sewer lines.
QUESTION #8 What would you accomplish in your first 100 days? Be specific.
Work with police chief and District Court judges to get ICE agents out of our community.
Assemble a group of real estate professionals such as commercial brokers, landlords, developers, lenders, attorneys, city planners to share ideas and insights into how we lean on stubborn owners to improve vacant strip malls.
Propose legislation through the city council to pass a blight tax.
Hire people as legislative lobbyists, liaisons to get money from Beacon Hill for our schools.