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Dunn's among 14 letters backing Diggins for Select Board

The following letter is from Dan Dunn of Alpine Street, a retiring Select Board member.

Lenard Diggins, Select Board candidate, 2020Diggins

I'm casting three important votes (by mail!), and I encourage you to do so as well.

Juli Brazile is the best choice for Town Clerk. Juli is a leader, a manager, an organizer, a doer, and, most importantly, a public servant. As chair of Envision Arlington (formerly Vision 2020) she mobilized dozens of volunteers. She will tackle the big issues - like making elections more accessible to everyone - to the small ones - like making it possible to buy your dog license online. She will transform the clerk's office so that it serves the town's residents where they are - be it in person, on the phone, or online.

Len Diggins will make an excellent member of the Select Board. I've gotten to know Len through his work for ACMI and our regular discussions about Select Board issues. His initiative to grow Town Meeting precinct meetings has increased education and involvement, and it's an example of the priorities and leadership that he will bring to the Select Board. His experience in regional transportation oversight will also be valuable as the town grapples with our growing population, both in Arlington and in the region.

Liz Exton is my choice for School Committee. She brings important experience to the group, and perspective and knowledge that the committee will find invaluable. First, she's a parent of students in the Arlington system. Second, she is a teacher in another school system. Her experience as a Town Meeting Member and override campaign activist are also important - she knows both what is possible, and what the limits are.

Finally, I do not live in Precinct 12, but if I did, I would be voting for incumbents Eric Helmuth and Juli Brazile. Eric's qualifications are overwhelming: he was the chair of the group that brought electronic voting to Town Meeting. He's the current chair of the Community Preservation Committee. He is also kind and thoughtful.

Eric and Juli are the target of Arlington Fights Racism (AFR), who nominated a slate of four candidates for the four seats. AFR's stated goals are noble; their endorsement criteria is ostensibly to "increase the diversity of representation." But their choices would lower Town Meeting's diversity and remove highly respected members. Town Meeting will be diminished if Eric and Juli are not returned to their seats.

Good health to all.


This letter was published Thursday, May 21, 2020.


Chris Wilbur of Windsor Street submitted this letter.

Arlington has obviously entered a very challenging time, socially, fiscally, medically, however you want to slice or dice it. With our town election June 6, it's more important than ever to think carefully about how we'll choose new town leadership; and of course, it is even more important to get out and actually vote on Election Day.

I'd like to write briefly in support of Len Diggins for one of the two open Select Board seats. I've known Len for two years. He's actually my neighbor a few houses down. I signed his nomination papers for Town Meeting in 2018. A year later, he encouraged me to run for an open Town Meeting slot; he signed my papers, and I was fortunate to win a three-year term, which has been a great experience for me.

Since then, I've worked closely with Len on various town matters. I've been impressed by him both as a person and as an activist and advocate for the town. His knowledge, friendliness, apparently boundless energy, compassion and commitment are all, in my view, exemplary. He is also more than up to speed with how Arlington and the Select Board work, having attended Select Board meetings regularly in recent years. He already knows and has working relationships with the current SB attendees and other key town officials. He'll hit the ground running.

Len has also impressed me with his responsiveness to new ideas and suggestions. He can be counted on to take one's concerns seriously and knows how to investigate and advance an idea at Town Hall that might otherwise fall through the cracks.

In the unprecedented challenges now facing the town in 2020, we need leaders who think creatively and know how to work effectively and support each other as a team. We also need leaders who want to meet their constituents and hear their stories. I believe Len qualifies superbly on all counts.

I urge everyone to vote, to get involved, and consider supporting Len Diggins for Select Board. Thank you!


This letter was published Monday, June 1, 2020.


Brucie Moulton of Arlington submitted this letter.

I support Len Diggins for a seat on the Arlington Select Board. Over the last several years, I have gotten to know Len through community groups and events. He demonstrates a consistent, high level of engagement with people, processes and issues. A careful and thoughtful listener, he looks for information, ideas and perspectives from many sources, which he applies to problem solving focused on the needs and welfare of his community.

Len practices community engagement locally, in Arlington, as well as at the regional level. His long-term, very active engagement with Arlington Community Media inc, as well as his more recent work with Town Meeting and Envision Arlington, give him a close-up understanding of many town issues. His regional perspective derives in part from serving as past chair of the MBTA’s Rider Oversight Committee and as current chair of the Regional Transportation Advisory Council (Boston Regional Metropolitan Planning Organization). Transportation solutions are critical to individual and community economic well-being and to achieving Arlington’s net zero by 2050 goal.

At any time, bringing this kind of dual perspective on our community -- close-up and big picture -- is a valuable asset in a Select Board member. It will be especially valuable when every community, and our state as a whole, must adapt to the wide-ranging impacts of the pandemic.

On two occasions, I have had the pleasure of brainstorming local solutions with Len. One related to an idea for filling in the “last-mile” gaps between home and public transit. Another concerned ways to engage more student and adult residents in town issues. Both conversations were substantive and productive. I came away both times with a lasting and positive sense of Len’s engagement with community issues, his readiness to participate in planning and action, and also his qualities as a human being. He will serve Arlington well.

Please be sure to vote, by mail or on Election Day, June 6.


This letter was published Monday, May 25, 2020.


Submitting this letter were Laura Wiener and Josh Lobel of Jason Street. He is a Precinct 8 Town Meeting member.

We are pleased to support Len Diggins for the Select Board. Laura worked with Len on the Regional Transportation Advisory Council for two years and also collaborated with him on a forum on autonomous vehicles. It was a pleasure to work with him in this capacity as he always brought creativity and a lot of positive energy to the tasks at hand.

Len has a “complete-streets” perspective on transportation -- one that serves everyone -- transit riders, pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers. Transportation is critical to the success of a community, and Arlington is fortunate to have many options. Len's understanding of the complexity of the transportation system and its many challenges will serve us all well. And that was all pre-Covid-19. A creative, informed player in this area will be even more critical in the near future.

Josh has worked with Len as a Town Meeting member and was impressed with his townwide contributions to encouraging neighborhood precinct meetings through Envision Arlington. This was no surprise, as fostering ongoing communication is also one of Len’s passions.

We also feel that his experience assisting with the broadcasting of the Select Board meetings for the last five years makes him well positioned to understand the many complex issues facing the board. His attitude and expertise should complement the other members well.

We think he will be a great addition to Arlington’s Select Board and urge you to cast one of your two votes for Len.


This letter was published Monday, May 18, 2020.


Charlotte Milan of Bellevue Road submitted this letter.

I write today in enthusiastic support of Len Diggins as a candidate for Select Board.

Len and I know each other through volunteering at Arlington Community Media, Inc. (ACMi). The local cable-access studio is a great place to hang out if you want to know what’s going on around town and what people really care about. Len’s time spent at ACMi places him in the center of information access.

ACMi is also a welcoming community resource where you never know who is going to walk in the door and what they are going to ask for. Len is a natural asset in this setting, where he demonstrates attentive listening skills and a genuine warm willingness to be helpful.

Len has held a variety of roles during his time at ACMi, requiring broad skills such as attention to detail, fast learning and collaboration. These are skills necessary for effective leadership in our town. At heart, providing the public access to information is what drives Len’s desire to work at ACMi, demonstrated by the programs he gets involved with.

In addition to a regular gig filming Select Board meetings, Len produces coverage of the Chamber of Commerce Women’s Networking Breakfast, and initiated a program highlighting local artists. I find particularly helpful his series on home repair and maintenance, a project in collaboration with Wanamaker Hardware store. Giving voice to a variety of interests is the hallmark of Len’s time at ACMi.

I trust in Len’s communication skills, breadth of experiences, and deep commitment to the ideals of democratic participation and access to information. I invite everyone to join me in helping vote Len into one of the most important leadership roles in our community. Please vote on June 6.


This letter was published Sunday, May 17, 2020.


Melissa Laube of Langley Road submitted this letter.

I am writing in support of Len Diggins’ candidacy for Select Board. I have come to know Len through our work as members of the Arlington Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC).

Len stands out as an idea generator, making the connections between a broad vision of transportation and quality of life in Arlington. He also has been a diligent, knowledgeable and energetic participant in TAC studies responding to neighborhood concerns about traffic safety, congestion, the environment and community life.

Most of all, Len is open, thoughtful, and considerate in his dealings with everyone. I know he will give caring consideration to all the people in Arlington, and bring a unique combination of energy, skill and dedication to the town as an invaluable member of the Select Board.


This letter was published Sunday, May 17, 2020.


Sharon Grossman, a Precinct 8 Town Meeting candidate, submitted this letter.

I am writing in strong support of Len Diggins, candidate for Select Board. During the time I have gotten to know Len, he has impressed me with his humility, quick intellect and ability to debate an issue with respect and an open mind.

His approach is to listen intently, consider all sides and form his own opinions, based on this input. Len’s empathy for others was seen in his decision to suspend his campaign at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, understanding that residents needed to care for themselves and their loved ones. This is the kind of person we need on Arlington’s Select Board.

To round out Len’s candidacy, he is highly qualified. Len has a background in data analysis, and deep knowledge of transportation, sustainability and housing issues. In addition, his commitment to civic engagement through his volunteer work in Arlington and the region makes him unique in this race. Because Len attends every Select Board meeting due to his work over the past five years as a videographer for ACMi, he will hit the ground running on his first day as a Select Board member since he has been following every issue that has come before the board. For more information on Len’s candidacy, please go to his website, www.digginsforselectboard.com.

Len Diggins is who we need during these extraordinary times to help continue to bring our town together as we weather the coming months. By the third week in May, every registered voter expects to receive a postcard from the Town of Arlington and, when returned, voters will be mailed a ballot so that individuals who choose to vote without going to a polling location may do so. Polls will also be open on Election Day on Saturday, June 6. Please join me in voting for Len Diggins for Arlington Select Board on or before June 6.


This letter was published Saturday, May 16, 2020.


 Elaine Shea of Lincoln Street submitted this letter. 

I endorse Len Diggins for Select Board. I am impressed by his kindness and his character. He is a great listener, more interested in wanting to know your concerns, rather than promoting his. He is a man of integrity, who walks his talk to do what he can to enrich our Arlington community. Len is a man of commitment. Anyone who would volunteer to record the Select Board meetings for five years is committed to the importance of town governance.

Connections are important to Len. I love that he wants to create a Youth Advisory Council to engage young people in the workings of the town. He has been very involved with Envision Arlington, encouraging more collaboration between various boards and members. His desire to work for stronger neighborhood connections, will enhance the well-being of our town. I am delighted that he is committed to resolving important issues of social inequality, which will strengthen our connections to each other.

I believe Arlington will be well served with Len Diggins as the new member of our Select Board. I support him enthusiastically.


This letter was published Friday, May 15, 2020.


Adria Arch of Arlington submitted this letter.

I am delighted to endorse Len Diggins for Select Board.

Len has so many strengths, interests and achievements that make him an outstanding candidate, but I’ve known Len primarily through my interactions as an artist and arts and culture leader in Arlington. Len contacted me in 2014 to interview me for a cable program about local artists that he hosted for ACMi. I was so impressed with the very fact that there was someone in Arlington who was interested enough in our local arts and culture scene to document it with a regular program.

Len also video-documented Chairful Where You Sit and then Storefront Stories, some of the public art events with which I was involved.

I was thrilled to hear that Len is running for Select Board, knowing about his commitment to our thriving local arts and culture scene. We need more Select Board members with strong support for arts and culture, and a true understanding of its importance to the town as not only an economic driver but as a way to enrich lives and bring together a diverse community such as Arlington. A community that preserves and supports arts and culture demonstrates to its young people that skill, creativity and expression is valued.

Please stand with me to vote for Len Diggins for Select Board.


This letter was published Friday, May 15, 2020.


Ben Rudick of Webcowet Road, Arlington, submitted this letter.

As the founder of Arlington Neighbors for More Neighbors, a Facebook group that advocates for a future where housing is abundant, secure and affordable to all, I write in support of Len Diggins for Select Board.

We face a severe and growing housing crisis in Arlington. The cost of owning or renting a home in Arlington has increased dramatically over the last 20 years. This is to be expected: Boston's economy has been red hot (Covid-19 notwithstanding), creating tens of thousands of well-paying jobs and we effectively stopped adding to the housing supply in the 1980s.

The consequences are increasingly evident: We're becoming a richer, less inclusive, less diverse town. We're on the path of "business as usual," perhaps adding a few dozen more units here or there, but nothing compared to the scale of the need.

Len Diggins understands the housing issue and the need for significant change to address it. He doesn't have a silver-bullet solution (not that such a thing exists), but he's deeply aware of the issue and is passionately searching for answers. He understands that Arlington needs to grow, and that it must change physically if we are to preserve our diverse community and inclusive values.

Furthermore, he has tremendous experience in and vision for improving our transportation systems, having served on a variety of local and region-wide committees and planning bodies. This is essential if we are going to increase our housing stock.

Please join me in voting for Len Diggins on June 6. A form to print out an absentee ballot is available on the town's website. 


This letter was published Monday, May 11, 2020.


Steve Revilak of 111 Sunnyside Ave. wrote this letter:

I got to know Len Diggins through Town Meeting (we're both meeting members), and through his Envision Arlington work to organize precinct meetings every spring and fall.  If you're not from New England, Town Meeting is a strange creature; Len wanted to help residents learn about how town government works, and encourage dialog between residents and their Town Meeting members.  He's fond of saying "in a local government, the government is us," and really understands the value in getting people to come together, collaborate and find common ground.

But the thing that really impresses me about Len: He's a total transportation geek.  He serves on the MBTA Rider Oversight Committee and is a member of the Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization's Regional Transportation Advisory Council -- a group that manages a $2 billion budget for 20 years of transit improvements.  Len can talk in great detail about transit-system capacity, the importance of bus yards, opportunities and challenges that will come with autonomous vehicles, and the need to make roadways safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

Arlington is part of the traffic-congested metro Boston area, and I think it's critically important to have someone on the Select Board with extensive knowledge of the regional transit system, and a solid understanding of how to improve it.  Transit matters and a better regional transit system will be better for Arlington, too. This is why I have a busload of support for Len Diggins, and I hope you'll consider giving him one of your Select Board votes April 4.


This letter was published Monday, March 9.


The following letter is from Patrick Hanlon of 20 Park St. and Catherine Farrell of 76 Park St.:

February is reassuring.  Days grow longer; cardinals are calling; crocuses are appearing. It’s time to prepare for another local election in Arlington. 

We are delighted to put in a word for Select Board candidate Len Diggins. Len is among the most decent, dedicated, thoughtful and open people we know. 

But that is not all.

Len has worked tirelessly to bring town government home to the people of Arlington. He has promoted precinct meetings everywhere to establish a two-way channel of communication between residents and Town Meeting members. He has also dedicated himself to ACMi, our community television station, which provides a vital link between Arlington residents and their government.  Len is determined to bring the town closer to us.  

Beyond process, Len is an expert in transportation issues. Our region has world-class congestion. Some of the worst traffic nightmares in Boston occur right here in Arlington. We need members of the Select Board who really get transportation issues. Nobody fits that bill better than Len. 

Len has a vision of Arlington. He stresses inclusiveness in his approach to all kinds of issues, including housing -- an especially important issue. Arlington is failing to provide adequate housing for low and moderate-income residents. But that is just the beginning. Affordable housing is not enough. We must provide options for seniors who love Arlington but need to say goodbye to the larger houses in which they raised their families. 

We also need to give opportunities to young people starting on their careers who are searching for a child-friendly community. Housing is a broad problem for which one cannot take a narrow view. Arlington prides itself on being welcoming, and now we need to make ourselves into the welcoming community we aspire to be. 

Arlington faces many other issues, from sustainability to commercial development. We trust Len to address these thoughtfully and with our collective interests at heart. 

We would like to say that Len would fight for us. But he will do something better than that.  Len has always been the model of civility. He knows that the way to get things done in Arlington is to roll one’s sleeves up and work together, with respect, understanding, and good will. What we need is engagement. That is what Len will bring us.

We need Len on the Select Board and are proud to support him.


This letter was published Monday, March 9.


Submitting the following letter were Christa Kelleher of 153 Medford St. and Greg Dennis of 19 Wheaton Road:

In a presidential election year with so much at stake for the nation, we should not forget that local neighborhoods and communities are the building blocks of our democracy. Municipal government is at its best when it encourages residents to come together and address issues in a transparent, collaborative and inclusive manner.

It follows that electing leaders who prioritize civic engagement is vital to solving thorny local issues and strengthening communities.It is for this reason, among others, that we support Len Diggins for Arlington Select Board.

Len has the values, experience and vision to motivate Arlington residents to become more connected to our town.

He will work hard to create innovative ways to engage all of Arlington’s residents to learn about what matters to them, as he has in the past. In his volunteer role at Arlington Community Media, Len has applied his skills in media and technology to inform our community about town government.

He also played a big role coordinating many of the town precinct meetings held last year across Arlington, which functioned to both educate residents about Town Meeting and facilitate dialogue at the neighborhood level.Arlington has many significant issues to tackle in the coming years, such as the need for affordable- and inclusive-housing options, livable and sustainable ways of getting around, and regional solutions to our climate crisis.

Len understands that resolving these will require bringing residents with different viewpoints to the table to identify the points of divergence and find common ground. As a Select Board member, Len’s inclusive and welcoming approach to problem solving will serve our town well. We enthusiastically support his candidacy and encourage you to cast a vote for Len Diggins at our town election on Saturday, April 4.


This letter was published Sunday, March 8.


Theodore Peluso, a Precinct 6 Town meeting member, wrote this letter to the editor:

​Arlington is a great place to live and is among the highest-rated towns in the Boston area and even nationally for towns its size. There are ratings of towns by different agencies and Arlington scores very high for livability and schools. Why is that?

To me, who has lived here for more than 10 years and been active in town committees and with Town Meeting, a big part of that has to do with town and school district leadership, along with many dedicated residents who love this town and dedicate their time to it through volunteering and town activities.

So how else do I know Arlington is great? Well, over an almost 60-year marriage, my wife and I have lived in three different states and in nine locations.

Plus, I spent a 36-year career as an outside auditor for clients including several municipalities. Then I worked for a major city in Westchester County, N.Y., as its interim financial executive for one year and then for six years as a city employee serving in a consulting capacity.

And now there is an opening for a new member of the Select Board. I am supporting and voting for Len Diggins. His election will continue and even enhance that terrific Select Board leadership.

I checked it out. If you go onto Len’s website -- www.digginsforselectboard.com -- you will see his credentials for the position as a very active and dedicated volunteer. You will also note that his candidacy has been endorsed by many knowledgeable town leaders and residents, quite a few whom I know and whose opinions I fully respect.

I’ve observed Len at different meetings and seen the great results of his volunteer activities. But I also needed to check him out myself. I met with Len, one on one, for a lengthy and meaningful talk. In my opinion, Len is absolutely the right person to become our new Select Board member. I encourage you to vote for Len on Saturday, April 4.


This letter was published Wednesday, March 4.

Town of Arlington to LGBTQIA+ students: You belong
 

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