FRAMINGHAM – A letter addressed to Mayor Spicer dated November 19, 2020, written by a Framingham resident, Mr. Martin Quitt, appeared in the Framingham Source as a Letter to the Editor. The following is a response to Mr. Quitt’s letter, also addressed to Mayor Spicer, but sent to the Editor of the digital news platform.
Dear Mayor Spicer,
I am writing to respond to the letter sent to you by Mr. Quitt and also published in the Framingham Source. The opinion section of the Source has titled the letter “A Disproportionate Amount of Social Service Expansion Has Targeted Framingham.”
In my estimation, Mr. Quitt’s letter is sloppily researched and misstates the facts in order to justify his thesis.
Perhaps most troubling, however, is what I consider to be the author’s attempt to wrap himself in the cloak of respectability, responsibility and adherence to progressive community values. Again, in my impression, this “cloak” is threadbare and an illusion. Less than two paragraphs down,
his true colors emerge when he postulates his early life experience in Framingham as a grounding for his opinions.
In wishing for the illusionary Framingham of his youth, Mr. Quitt reveals his true character. Perhaps this is the most disheartening aspect of having to read this letter. It feels like a blatant attempt to reopen wounds that were closed more than a decade ago. Why the author raises them now is an open question.
Let me start by refuting many of Mr. Quitt’s statements.
- Advocates is a New York-based corporation. Advocates was actually formed by a group of community residents involved with what was then Trinity Mental
Health (a state partnership mental health clinic) in the 1980’s. It was formed to create housing for individuals with mental health disabilities. Their original offices were located on the second floor of 126 Union Avenue. The clinic operated on the first floor of 126 Union, next door at 132 Union and around the corner at 9 Lexington Street. Over the last 35 years, Advocates has grown to be a regional, best-in-class behavioral healthcare provider of services.
- SMOC Owns 56 Properties in Framingham. That number is wrong.
- Mr. Quitt makes the unstated assertion that SMOC pays no property taxes in Framingham. That assertion is inaccurate. SMOC pays property taxes on a number of properties it owns in Framingham.
- Mr. Quitt correctly states that the current Board President of SMOC lives in Wayland, implying that this validates his thesis. What Mr. Quitt fails to state is that, from 1986 until 2018, the Board Presidency was held by a Framingham resident. Further, that currently, the Board Vice President, Treasurer and
Clerk are Framingham residents. Another Framingham resident serves on the Executive Committee.
- Mr. Quitt fails to provide any of the background or history of SMOC. He was provided with material that articulated and addressed SMOC’s founding in 1965 by a
group of Framingham residents along with residents of surrounding communities to address the impact of poverty on urban and suburban settings. Our roots
were, and always will be, in Framingham. We will always be Framingham based.
- Mr. Quitt does not bother to mention that, over the past five years, SMOC has sold ten of its Framingham properties to either first time homebuyers or small
business owners. We did so because we have made a strategic decision in acquiring part of the Dennison Complex, 228 Main Street and the Suburban Athletic
Club that we would reduce the overall number of properties that the organization owns in Framingham. I would also mention that many of the properties owned by SMOC have been owned for three decades or more. This means that we are continually making investments in these properties. Currently, it is easy to see these investments being made in the four properties we own on Union Avenue, the gateway into the downtown area.
- Mr. Quitt conveniently seems to forget that Framingham is an urban center with a population in excess of 70,000 people. It’s been an urban center. It was an
urban center when Mr. Quitt was growing up here. The difference between now and that time in the past is that there are no more industrial bases (Dennison
Manufacturing, General Motors) providing good-paying jobs.
Perhaps many of the residents currently living in Mr. Quitt’s childhood neighborhood arrived here from either countries or US territories where English was not the native language. This does not mean that the hopes and dreams of the current residents are somehow different or less honorable than his.
I want to end this refutation on a positive note. After all, we are in the midst of a horrendous pandemic during what has to be one of the most divisive times in this country’s history. Why the writer has to air out his petty grievances in a harmful, hurtful manner at a time like this is beyond me.
In closing, I’d like to give a shout-out to the many people in this community who have come together to meet this crisis. Here I speak of our Mayor and her staff, our elected officials starting with Sen. Spilka, our Health Director and his nurses, our newly-appointed Chief of Police (congratulations) and his officers, the heads of our local foundations, our religious leaders like Rev. Lloyd, our education leaders like President Javier Cevallos, community leaders like Anna Cross. I know I am leaving out many names, but here is the intent of the message. SMOC is proud to work in partnership with everybody in this
community to keep it safe and to help peoples’ lives be sustained and enriched.
Jim Cuddy Executive Director of SMOC