Q&A With District 5 City Council Candidate Cheryl Gordon

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Cheryl Gordon

Which pronoun do you prefer? she/her 

Occupation: Current/2nd career: Realtor®  Prior career/25 years: Providing support to executives of large local corporations 

Why should voters elect you for District 5 City Councilor: I love Framingham, and as a lifelong, multi-generational resident who has owned my home in District 5 for 24 years, I feel it is my duty to advocate for our residents and give back via local participation. I am prepared for the role of City Councilor, having watched most City Council meetings since inception as a city as well as attending and participating in Zoning Board and Planning Board meetings for decades and having a knowledgeable and historic perspective.

As a mom of two children, one who just graduated from FHS and is attending FSU and one in the 8th grade at Fuller, I care deeply about the quality of education we provide. As a homeowner, I personally feel the pain of water rate and real estate tax increases. As a pragmatist, I aim to ensure that our hard-earned tax dollars are responsibly spent on essential services that directly benefit our residents. As a person with a physical injury that impacts my mobility, I believe the Council needs a voice for true inclusiveness and accessibility. As your councilor, I will embrace the point of representative government and seek resident input on important decisions. 

Political Website or Facebook page link to find more information : https://www.facebook.com/CherylForCityCouncil5 

Describe the City of Framingham in 3 words: Everything Is Here 

Best thing about District 5 is: You can get a public school education, a college education, groceries, haircuts, exercise, go to sporting events, attend classes and social events at the Senior Center, visit playgrounds, go fishing, dine out, go to many different coffee shops. All in or on the edge of District 5! 

District 5 needs someone with the level of knowledge and experience you can only achieve from decades of participating and closely following projects that come before the major boards. We have a lot of work to do post-covid to increase our tax base in order to control tax increases in the coming years, and I am prepared to get started on day 1

Report Card time. What letter grade would you give the Mayor?   

Editor’s Note: If the question is blank the candidate chose not to answer it.

Should the Mayor be required to attend every City Council meeting? (yes or no) NO.

Report Card time: What letter grade would you give the District 5 City Councilor Robert Case? I thank Rob (and his family) for his time and service to our community! 

Participation in government by the City’s 70,000-plus residents is (fabulous, adequate, or lacking) (pick one)?  Lacking 

City of Framingham did an (amazing, adequate, or poor job) (pick one) when it came to the Coronavirus pandemic Adequate 

Should City of Framingham municipal employees be required to get a COVID vaccine? (yes or no) Undecided at this time. Need more data. 

City of Framingham is on (the right track, spinning its wheels, going backwards)   (pick one): Spinning its wheels 

Do you support a split tax rate for businesses and homeowners?  (yes or no) It appears there’s a push by some in the business community to lower commercial taxes and raise residential taxes (moving the needle on the location of the split). I believe based on initial scenarios I’ve seen, this will be unaffordable to many homeowners as it could potentially raise residential taxes by over $1000 a year. As a homeowner, this concerns me. 

Should City offices close early on Fridays? (yes or no) Undecided at this time. Need more data. 

City of Framingham is (ahead of the curve, making progress, or behind its neighboring communities) when it comes to environmental issues Behind the curve 



Framingham has (too many, right amount or too few affordable housing units) (pick one) Too few AFFORDABLE units. There is no place for residents who own a home in Framingham to “downsize” to if the rising taxes and water bills become too much for them and they wish to own something smaller and easier to care for.  They would need to rent a luxury apartment and quickly use up their equity from the sale of their home or move out of the city. 

Do you support in-law apartments in the City of Framingham? (yes or no) I would like to review details on how this will be managed and enforced before I vote on it. I am concerned on how this will be done in the areas such as in our southern precincts where there’s already barely enough parking as it is. I would like to learn more before voting on this. 

Bowditch Field is used (too much, right amount, not enough) (pick one) Not enough. It’s a beautiful site that we heavily invested in the upgrade of and have not used it well. Why are there “Keep off grass” signs on grass that the taxpayers pay for the maintenance of? I would like to suggest we remove those signs and work on securing more events and concerts next spring/summer to raise revenue to cover the upkeep or even the addition of amenities there. 

Route 9 is (past its prime, surviving, booming center of commerce) in Framingham (pick one) Surviving. 

Framingham Public Schools receive (too little, just the right amount, or too much) funding. Just right. 

What City Council subcommittee do you wish to serve on? Economic development, but I think we need to reduce and consolidate the number of committees; there are some that rarely meet and others that meet all the time. I’d like to see this added as an agenda item once the new council is in place since it’s been 4 years since this was discussed. 

The #1 issue I hear from residents in my district – I found that the main topic people wanted to discuss was the Mayoral race. Other topics included taxes and traffic. 

QUESTION #1:  In your opinion, what is the biggest issue facing District 5?   What will you do – specific steps – to fix the issue? 

While I would like to hear from residents on what their greatest concerns are, an obvious issue facing District 5 right now is the nearly daily traffic jam on Route 9 backed up beyond Lockland, sometimes as far as Walmart. We also need much safer crosswalks and lighting at the Rt 9/Prospect Street intersection to make this area safer for pedestrians due to residential properties surrounding this area (in my opinion, it’s one of the least walkable shopping areas).

When we support growth and development (I am excited about the new Whole Foods expansion and the addition of other amenities), we need to plan for safe pedestrian access from every direction. If I am elected, I will ask to have this item added to a council agenda and ask the Council Chair to convene a conversation between our city engineer, state DOT, our public safety division, the Mayor, and our local delegation to come up with specific goals and a timeline for improvements. 

QUESTION #2: Speeding and traffic are top issues for residents. What letter grade would you give the Traffic Commission? How would you make sure residents’ traffic and safety concerns are heard and resolved by the Traffic Commission? 

I think on a basic level we need to get back to having more police visibility around the city, more speed traps, more enforcement of all the laws we keep making, more foot patrols in the areas that warrant it, etc. 




QUESTION #3: District 5 could be nicknamed the Education District. It is home to Framingham State University, MassBay Community College (and the soon to be constructed new MassBay building), the new Fuller Middle School, and McCarthy Elementary School. Both of you served on the Framingham School Committee at one point. What was YOUR biggest accomplishment on the School Committee? How will you support education in Framingham as a City Councilor? Be specific. 

One of the most important things I raised (during a public school committee meeting in November/December, 2017) during my time on the school committee had to do with eliminating sports fees to make sports more accessible to more kids. It was enacted by the next group of committee members after my term ended in December, 2017, but I am proud to have started the ball rolling. We need to also still look at the “other expenses” associated with playing sports which still prevents some children from being able to participate, for example, my son’s lacrosse gear one year cost over $300. That may be out of reach for some kids. 

QUESTION #4: Which vote of the current District 5 City Councilor would you have voted differently on and why? 

I wish I had more time to answer this. I invite residents to contact me to discuss their ideas and mine. 

Editor’s Note: The Q&A was sent to both candidates on Sunday, October 17, with a deadline of 11:59 p.m. on October 23.

QUESTION #5:  The City Council is the legislative branch of government. It creates laws and rules for the City (known as ordinances). What ordinance would you file to improve your district (or city-wide) if elected? Why? 

I wish I had more time to answer this. I invite residents to contact me to discuss their ideas and mine. 

QUESTION #6: The water & sewer enterprise fund is hemorrhaging money according to an independent consultant’s report. What legislation or steps would you put forth to get that fund on firmer financial footing? 

I wish I had more time to answer this. I invite residents to contact me to discuss their ideas and mine. 

QUESTION #7: The Spicer administration did a survey to see how the City should spend more than $25 million in federal pandemic recovery funds. The survey had less than 500 responses from a community of more than 70,000. What is your #1 priority on how to spend the ARPA funds? Why? And how will you get input from your district’s residents on this issue and other key issues if elected? 

I wish I had more time to answer this. I invite residents to contact me to discuss their ideas and mine. 

QUESTION #8: Do you think the City of Framingham is safe? Why or why not? How will you work with the Mayor and the police department to make sure Framingham all residents enjoy a good quality of life? 

I wish I had more time to answer this. I invite residents to contact me to discuss their ideas and mine. 

QUESTION #9: The City Council is responsible for approving the budget that is submitted by the Mayor. The City Council can not increase a budget under the charter, only decrease it. Which city department is underfunded in your opinion? Why? 

I wish I had more time to answer this. I invite residents to contact me to discuss their ideas and mine. 

QUESTION #10:  There have been more than a dozen department heads who have left the Spicer administration since January 2020, including two more departments in the last 90 days. What role do you think the City Council played in the departure? How can the legislative branch support municipal department heads? Give specific examples. 

I wish I had more time to answer this. I invite residents to contact me to discuss their ideas and mine. 

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QUESTION #11:  Several businesses closed during the pandemic. Some that made it into 2021, are still struggling. What legislation or steps can the City Council take to support local businesses in the City of Framingham not only survive but thrive? Be specific. 

I wish I had more time to answer this. I invite residents to contact me to discuss their ideas and mine. 

QUESTION #12: Senior Citizens and Veterans are struggling to afford Framingham. How will you support them and keep the City affordable for them? 

I have a history of being critical of the process, size, and scope of tax overrides/increases. It’s one thing to say you care about Senior Citizens and Veterans but actions speak louder than words. The reference that we hear each time there’s an override usually refers to how many coffees a person has to give up for the betterment of the community. This is not transparent to the taxpayers; the ballot should list the true cost range in a very clear/upfront way (and indicate that it’s based on home value) and call it what it is (a tax increase) so people can vote based on real data, not on coffees or a set figure that may not be correct for everyone. 

QUESTION #13: The Mayor presents a proposal to the 11-member City Council. If elected, how would you evaluate whether or not the project is worthy of your vote? Be specific. 

I wish I had more time to answer this. I invite residents to contact me to discuss their ideas and mine. 

QUESTION #14: Over the last two years, there have been racist acts, anti-semitic incidents, and Hate crimes committed in the City of Framingham. How can Framingham be a more welcoming City for all?  Describe your experience in being a part of or serving an underrepresented segment of the City. What steps will you take to reduce bias and champion diversity and inclusion in Framingham? 

As a Jewish woman who has experienced very direct and specific anti-semetic comments and behaviors, there is no question that we have issues here in Framingham. I do not know the solution, but I know often people are afraid to discuss what they have experienced. As a Councilor, I would like to meet with the Chief Diversity Officer to discuss ways that we can open the lines of communication with residents about their experiences. 

QUESTION #15: There is a marijuana dispensary authorized for District 5. It was the first license awarded by the Spicer administration, but it has yet to open. The City has awarded 6 licenses. Now a request has been made for an additional marijuana license. Would you support it? Why?

 I need to see the details before a decision, but so far it appears that all of these facilities are well run, clean, have beautified the properties, been good neighbors, have not created any traffic issues, and are bringing in much needed revenue for the city. So, based on that, I’d likely be ok with it.

editor

email: editor@FraminghamSource.com call or text at 508-315-7176


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