Editor’s Note: On Tuesday, September 17, Voters in District 5 will participate in a preliminary election. There will be three names on the ballot for District 5 City Council. Voters will sect one individual to replace incumbent Dennis Giombetti. SOURCE sent questionnaires to all three candidates. All three candidates returned them. District 5 is comprised of Precincts 8 & 12.
Which pronoun do you prefer? She
Occupation: 25 years in the Corporate World / New career as a REALTOR® at Keller Williams
Years lived in Framingham: 47
Family (optional): Son (age 16) who is a Junior at FHS; Son (age 11) who is a 6 th grader at Fuller. My parents, a retired speech and language pathologist in the Marlborough Public Schools and a retired engineer/business owner/business broker, both also own homes in Framingham.
Municipal experience: 12 years on Town Meeting; was on School Committee during transition from town to city, many years as Chair of the Standing Committee on Public Safety, volunteered for a year at the police station.
In less than 250 words, why should someone vote you to represent them as a City Councilor?
I am a lifelong Framingham resident and homeowner. I attended the Framingham Public Schools K-12 and received my Bachelor’s Degree from FSU. I also studied Community Policing and Criminal Law at WNEU. I started serving my community as a teenager, and I spent 12 years on Town Meeting, with many years as Chair of the Standing Committee on Public Safety. I also served on the School Committee during the transition from town to city. You see me at events, fundraisers, grand openings, ground breakings, meetings, and contributing ideas to our city and improvements to potential developments, even when I’m not a candidate. Our new government is hanging by a thread. Taxes keep rising, traffic keeps worsening, and very few people are willing to step up to serve on various boards. To right the ship, we need to elect those who have been involved long-term, who understands how our government works, and who will be able to DO the job (rather than start learning the job) on DAY 1. I believe my historic perspective and knowledge on the school and municipal side will be critical to help our city achieve great things. I have a friendly rapport with other candidates and individuals across many city departments and committees and will ensure you get prompt access to the help you need when you have an issue. My lifelong passion for Framingham translates to how hard I will work for you. Please vote for Cheryl Gordon on September 17. Thank you.
Political Website or Facebook page link:
Do you support the budget approved by the City Council in June, including the increase for the schools? (yes or no) YES
Would you vote to fund the new police patrolmen’s union contract? (yes or no) YES
Would you vote to override the Mayor’s veto on the appointment ordinance (yes or no) Depends
Should there be a moratorium on apartments in Framingham? (yes or no) Depends
Should the City purchase the Perini Building as its new City Hall? (yes or no) Depends
If yes, what would you do with the Memorial Building in downtown Framingham?
First, I’m saying DEPENDS if it can be done WITHOUT a tax increase/override since we haven’t even yet felt the effects of the Fuller tax increase and there is no way I would support another tax increase right now. If we continue to receive revenue from a tenant on the Franklin Street side of Perini and are no longer paying rent ourselves I wonder if it could be close to neutral in terms of annual cost; it is definitely something worth analysis and consideration. I also would like the city to consider selling unused/under used properties concurrently with this. I would like the Memorial Building to be preserved and used as an arts and community hub – for frequent rentals for concerts, big meetings, educational events, fundraisers. I would also suggest we consider renting out some of the office
space, if that can be done, to also cover the cost of retrofitting Perini to me more accessible to the public.
Which City Council subcommittee would you wish to serve on?
Appointments Subcommittee. Having watched Planning Board and Zoning Board (and other boards) meetings for decades, I think I have a very good understanding of what those roles are and when someone might or might not be a good fit. I think I could ask questions and provide feedback during the interview process to be sure we are choosing individuals who understand the role, have at least a starter sense of conflict of interest laws
(they will get more training once appointed) and are prepared to commit to the length of the term available.
Should City offices close early on Fridays? (yes or no) Summer Yes / Winter No
Do you support longer hours for the Callahan Center? (yes or no) YES!
Should all city notices go out in 3 languages – just like Framingham Public School notices? ( yes or no) YES
QUESTION #1: In your opinion, what is the biggest issue facing the city? How would you go about fixing it as a city councilor?
Taxes. I am very concerned that we keep raising taxes with no regard to the impact to those who worked hard their whole life but are now on fixed incomes and can barely afford their homes, but still haven’t done anything about various issues such as the excessive # of city owned take home vehicles that we allow – these should only be for employees who are regularly responding to emergency situations off-hours. This issue has been ongoing for 20+ years. It’s time to finally get this issue resolved permanently, whether through an ordinance or policy and then move onto other ways we can more responsibly manage taxpayer money. I joined the Framingham Business Association last winter because I was concerned that the city doesn’t do enough to encourage new businesses to come here or grow here which would lessen some of the burden on the residential taxpayers. We have office parks with significant vacant space. Let’s partner with the owners of these buildings and even help them advertise the space! It benefits everyone to fill these vacancies, bring jobs to our city, and it attracts more people to shop in our stores and eat in our restaurants (more $ coming from the meals tax!). I would like Framingham to be more proactive in recruiting companies to move to Framingham! The Economic Development Subcommittee has done some excellent work to loosen
signage rules and I would like to see even more done to make it easier for new businesses to open and existing businesses to grow.
QUESTION #2: In your opinion, what is the biggest issue facing your district? How would you go about fixing it as a city councilor?
Traffic! These District 5 areas create a daily issue for everyone: Union Ave, Flagg Drive, Rt 9 from 126 to Prospect, and Franklin St/Mt Wayte (where the new mixed use development AND Mass Bay Building is being built). I think we need to get our new Traffic Commission into high gear to address
issues in a more pro-active way. I also think we need to be more careful with detours so that we aren’t detouring people into even worse traffic areas. When I was the Chair of the Standing Committee on Public Safety, I served as the liaison to the Traffic & Roadway Safety Committee and
actively participated and contributed to those meetings. If elected to Council, I would be at those meetings to represent District 5 whenever a district issue is on the agenda.
QUESTION #3: 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 some areas of Framingham are safer than others (and it’s not a clear cut north/south or east/west situation, although there are some south side areas that desperately need more city support such as Burkis Square!), but in addition to hiring more officers and putting more officers back on the road from other office positions, I would like to see Framingham put more cameras around the community so the dispatch center is able to monitor activity in areas that have less patrols. We could involve all of the wifi providers that do business in the area to help us establish pricing, look at the highest police activity areas – determine a list of problem areas or desirable locations– and then prepare an RFP to see whether this is a suitable and affordable option to enhance safety. I regularly review the police log to get a sense of what is happening in our neighborhoods, and I notice the police department spends significant time doing “compliance checks” at various religious establishments, and I wonder if some of that could be alleviated by adding city owned cameras angled at some of
those facilities, especially ones that aren’t centrally located. We also have several stores that perpetually call the police for shoplifters or seem to have frequent false alarms. I believe we need to study what this costs us and make sure we are properly charging fees for alarms that exceed the allowable # which can offset the cost of the excessive needs of the business. I would work with my fellow councilors, police department, and the Mayor to brainstorm the most cost effective ways to enhance security around our city.
QUESTION #4: Traffic is one of the top issues of residents. Is the Traffic Commission making a difference in Framingham? Why or Why not?
I think they are trying, but we need a fully operational commission and to fill vacancies much faster.
QUESTION #5: What ordinance would you file to improve your district (or city-wide) if elected? Why?
I haven’t decided on which ordinance I would first file.
QUESTION #6: Which department in the municipal government is the best-run department in the City of Framingham? Why do you feel that way?
Fire Department. I have always had a great respect for our Fire Department! They do an amazing job! All hard work, no drama!
QUESTION #7: The executive branch and the legislative branches of government in the City of Framingham is the Mayor and the 11-member City Council. Give 3 specific ways the two branches of government can work collaboratively to improve the City for its residents and/or business owners.
Be more respectful to one another at meetings, even when dealing with stressful or controversial situations. The best way to collaborate is to first establish mutual respect and agree that everyone has the goal of making Framingham successful! I would like to see the mayor and council chair have a more interactive and friendly rapport so that ideas can be honestly discussed in advance for advice – going both ways – to make the idea more collaborative and more likely to have broad support.
I am the only candidate in District 5 who is NOT on a slate (the mayor’s slate or anti-mayor slate), and I will treat every idea or situation that comes before the council with untainted neutrality and render my opinion without any undertone of being expected to vote with a slate. I will instead
vote based on what is best for MY DISTRICT. My only objective is to find middle ground, build consensus, and give my constituents top notch support and service.
I think the city should make more effort to notify residents about the time, location, and opportunity for public participation at meetings. Such a small number of residents attend the council meetings. Without public participation, the council and mayor is essentially operating in a vacuum. If elected, I will post on my Facebook page every Council meeting date and agenda for my constituents. The council recently started putting their meetings on Facebook live, but even more can and should be done to keep the public apprised of what their government is doing.
QUESTION #8: City Council Chair Dennis Giombetti represents District 5 currently. Would you seek to be chair of the Council if elected?
NO. I have no interest in chairing the council. I am very excited about
the possibility of being able to SERVE and REPRESENT district 5 residents, and I would much rather devote my full attention to the district!
QUESTION #9: Which vote by the City Council, since January 2017, has made a difference in the City? Why?
I was disappointed in the moratorium and delay in approving recreational marijuana establishments because it delayed the revenue, which we desperately need, but I’m glad this is moving forward now.
QUESTION #10: Should the Framingham City Council have its own attorney? Why?
MAYBE. Our taxes keep rising. We have a City Solicitor (Lawyer/Law Firm) and should better manage the utilization of the legal services we already have. I am however looking forward to learning more about the Council’s projected legal needs and what the potential cost would be if this option was pursued.
QUESTION #11? How would you make Framingham a more environmentally-friendly or GREEN city? Give 3 specific examples.
Stop buying very non fuel efficient cars whenever possible – only buy trucks and SUVs when a certain list of criteria for the need for them has been met and certified by 3 levels of approval.
The City could partner with MWRTA to expand routes even more. Give incentives such as coupons to those who choose to use public transportation (paid for by local corporations who have retail operations in our city – win/win/win).
Have the Farmer’s Market rotate around the city, including different times of day, to encourage families to buy local produce instead of buying product that’s shipped in.