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Waltham Town Hall 2009 forums start tonight

Posted by Tom Coakley  October 2, 2009 11:30 AM

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Tonight, some of the most powerful people in Waltham will come together to talk to citizens about how to get things done.

It’s the first in a series of forums to meet the city’s leaders and potential leaders as Election Day approaches.

Dubbed “Waltham Town Hall 2009,’’ the forums are sponsored by, Back Pages Books, WCAC-TV, WATCH, and Cafe on the Common, where the events will be held.

Friday’s forum, 6 to 8 p.m., will feature state Senator Susan Fargo, state Representative Peter Koutoujian, Mayor Jeannette McCarthy, and an aide to Congressman Edward Markey.

Alex Green, owner of Back Pages Books and series organizer, said he doesn’t know who to call about an issue and he knows many feel the same. He hopes the first session will help remedy that. “It should answer the basic question: How does our city interact with the state and the federal government,’’ he said.

The Oct. 7 and 14 sessions will introduce at-large City Council candidates on topics such as education, infrastructure, development, and housing, he said.

In preliminary elections Tuesday, voters trimmed at-large council candidates from 13 to 12. The remaining 12 will compete Nov. 3 for six at-large seats and will be divided between the second and third forums.

The race is shaping up to be contentious. Although incumbents are often thought to have the advantage, relative newcomer Diane LeBlanc won the second highest vote tally among at-large candidates last week, according to unofficial results from the city.

LeBlanc, a first-time candidate, got the second highest number of votes, with 2,322.

LeBlanc is regional administrator for the National Archives.

First-time candidate Anthony Savarese was eliminated, getting 583 votes. Incumbent Councilor and state Representative Thomas Stanley got the most votes.

The fourth forum will feature the four candidates vying for three School Committee seats.

Waltham Town Hall 2009 is held Oct. 2, 7, 14, 23, 6-8 p.m., Cafe on the Common, 677 Main St. The League of Women Voters of Waltham will co-sponsor candidates nights at Waltham High with the Waltham West Suburban Chamber of Commerce. School Committee candidates are Oct. 8, 7:30 p.m. At-large City Council candidates are Oct. 22, 7 p.m. Lisa Kocian can be reached at 508-820-4231 or

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1 comments so far...
  1. I have several questions for tonight I'd like considered:
    1) Waltham was historically a mill town during the industrial revolution similar to Lowell and other Merrimack Valley communities. The Merrimack valley and others are now part of the "river community" that have banned together to request state economic development resources to help rejuvenate their communities. Why did or doesn't Waltham's leaderships join these other communities?

    2) I have repeated experiences that make me wonder, how stakeholder engagement is viewed as part of good governance? The library doesn't have CTV camera on the bike rack and the police need to encourage theft and vandalism reports for bikes. The officer who responded to my $100 lost was clearly irritated by having to complete paper work but you can't manage what you don't track. My bike is my "around town car" - prior to this loss was quicker and cheaper to operate. FYI: FBI estimates 250 bikes an hour are stolen - at $300-500 each - is that really "petty theft"?

    3) Energy conservation require local efforts with cost savings for the city while respecting the environment. I offered complimentary assistance on several occasions but have been ignored or got a "pass". What efforts are being made around a comprehensive jobs and environmental plan? For example there are several waterfalls on the river that could be developed for microhydro power. Why are there no existing communication efforts on the city web site or method for voters to engage the city "leadership"?

    Posted by Melissa - My questions for Friday Oct 2nd meeting October 2, 09 03:09 PM