Michaiah Healy, Select Board candidate, 2020 photoHealy

Arlington Fights Racism issues own statement

UPDATED, May 9: Michaiah Healy, a candidate for Select Board endorsed by Arlington Fights Racism, has issued a public statement distancing her from the actions of another candidate the group backs. The group has issued its own statement on Facebook. You can read it full below.

"Many of us received a campaign letter in the mail that had the appearance of a letter coming from the Town of Arlington concerning important voter information about absentee ballots," she wrote May 7. "The letter was in fact a letter from a campaign for School Committee and enclosed was a brochure of endorsements for town candidates supporting the platform of Arlington Fights Racism (AFR).

"The labeling was misleading and troublesome, and I have followed up in private conversations with the candidate who took responsibility for this decision. I had private conversations with this candidate as well as members of the steering committee of AFR to correct the perceptions caused by this error.

"Because the enclosed AFR brochure mentioned an endorsement of my campaign, I want to explicitly say that I was not involved, nor do I agree with this decision to use a misleading return address label."

'Independent campaign'

"While I so value the friendships that I've made with many new candidates I’ve met through the organization of AFR, I want to make clear that I am running an independent campaign and am endorsed by many groups and individuals with varying political leanings. I am so proud of this."

Healy's statement does not name the candidate, but it is Lynette Martyn. At the May 4 Select Board meeting, Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine expressed "consternation" because the mailing appeared to have come from the town. He made clear that it had not.

The envelope used for the return address has Martyn's home with this heading: "Time Sensitive Materials: Absent Voting Info." The two fliers inside make reference to where to find voting information, but they primarily promote her campaign.

Martyn has admitted to her error on her campaign Facebook site.  YourArlington asked her to comment in more detail. She has not reponded to those questions. Instead, she has promised a statement from AFR to address the matter.

Values equity, inclusion

Healy's statement continues: "My campaign message and values have consistently been about equity, inclusion, and hearing perspectives on various issues -- this is the reason that I chose to run for office. My platform developed from a shared desire heard from town officials, town department leaders, and residents each calling for civility and respect. I believe that I am well qualified, fair-minded, and have the trust of this community to help lead us forward on existing issues and new challenges as a member of the Select Board.

"I strongly encourage folks to learn about all of the candidates and the offices they are seeking and the leadership they want to take in improving the town. ACMi and the League of Women Voters are great resources for candidate profiles, debates for the contested offices, (the Select Board debate is scheduled May 12 and will be aired at a later date).

"Despite being busy people, candidates are putting in a massive amount of thought and energy into reaching out to voters." She invited the public to a brief "meet Michaiah meeting" set for Saturday, May 16, at 8 p.m. to share and hear concerns. To find out how to participate, she requests the public to Facebook-message her

She concludes the statement: "I hope to earn one of your two votes for a seat on the Select Board in the June 6th election."

Healy is among three candidates seeking one of two seats. The other candidates are Diane Mahon and Lenard Diggins.

AFR statement

Melanie Brown, cochair of the steering committee, released this statement about 3 p.m. May 8:Arlington Fights Racism logo

"The Arlington Fights Racism steering committee would like to take a moment to say that, while our priority is to the town's marginalized citizens, we welcome participation of the entire Arlington community.

"We want to use this time to acknowledge recent events. We, too, were upset by the mistake Lynette Martyn made in mislabeling a campaign mailing she posted on our behalf. Still, we appreciate that her apology was tendered quickly, sincerely, and without prompting (https://bit.ly/3fyBq5t). We also want to recognize our part in this, of having placed the burden of this task on a single person, without also providing her the formal procedures and support needed to answer all contingencies. We apologize to all for the confusion and disruption caused by this error. More importantly, we apologize to our candidates, for distracting from your campaigns.

"Our community group formed in response to local racist and hate-filled writings. Through our work, we observed the roles that institutional racism, lack of representation and transparency have played in our town. For that reason, we decided to focus our efforts on building a grassroots election movement, with the goal of increasing diversity and representation at all levels of town government, to help our town grow into one that is truly welcoming and inclusive for all.

"Our group supports 36 candidates for Town Meeting across 18 precincts, many of whom represent our town’s marginalized communities. These candidates are members of the larger AFR community -- including several members of our steering committee, and others who volunteered to support our Inclusion platform. We also opted to endorse three candidates for town-wide office, including two who are not members of our group, but who share our vision of a more inclusive and welcoming Arlington. While these candidates share our core vision for an inclusive Arlington, they remain individuals; each has their own beliefs, goals, and priorities for our town. Regardless of your opinion of us, we trust that the voters of Arlington will make the effort to meet, evaluate, and measure these candidates for their own individual merits."

Preston's statement

Jo Anne Preston, a candidate for the Arlington Housing Authority board and Precinct 9 Town Meeting member, provided this statement May 8:

Jo Anne Preston, Housing Authority candidatePreston

"In the June 6 town election, I am running for a seat on the Arlington Housing Authority Board. While I had nothing to do with the addressing of the misleading envelope that has disturbed so many, and asked that my name not be included in the flier that was enclosed (and it wasn’t included), nevertheless, I feel I need to write this note for clarification.

"Many people with different opinions on various political topics have supported my campaign to run for a seat on the Arlington Housing Authority Board. They share my interest in and concern for the welfare of our very low-income residents and believe that there should be well-run and well-maintained low-cost housing for those in need. Arlington Fights Racism also shared this concern and had included me in their endorsements yet my campaign remains independent of any group.

"The Arlington Housing Authority provides low-cost housing for many Arlington residents. As we are an aging society with housing costs soaring, the importance of affordable housing for those who have worked hard their entire lives could not be greater. I plan to work hard to ensure that senior housing provides all that is necessary and life-enhancing for its residents.

"It is Arlington parents with service and other low-wage jobs that allow us to receive medical services, Uber rides, childcare, clean homes and meals in restaurants. They also need low-cost and safe housing that the Arlington Housing Authority can provide so their children will prosper, especially in our schools.

"I hope that Arlington residents can now return to educating themselves about the merits of the candidates. Sadly, they can’t do this in person, but they can rely on the excellent coverage by ACMi, YourArlington and the multiple candidates’ websites referenced by the media."

March 11, 2020: First-time Select Board hopeful eyes improving inclusion, trust

This news summary was published Friday, May 8, 2020, and updated, to add a clarifying sentence and add a statement from AFR, as well as on May 9, to add Preston's statement.