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Gold is wrong about Candaras

Date: 2/6/2012

The negative assessment and comments made by Longmeadow Select Board Chairperson Mark Gold regarding Sen. Gale Candaras’ support of his community’s efforts to recover from the October snowstorm do not tell the whole story. I have worked with Mr. Gold as a member of our Regional Boards of Selectmen and I respect his efforts to do what is best for his community and our region. But I will likewise defend Sen. Candaras as a legislator who, in the aftermath of the storm, went to work for her constituents.

I wish to dispel any notion that Sen. Candaras has not supported or was not visible in her district after the storm. Sen. Candaras visited the shelter at Birchland Park Middle School. She met with residents, town officials and representatives of National Grid during her visit. She attended the [Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities] public hearing regarding National Grid’s response in East Longmeadow in December and offered testimony that was insightful, direct and in the best interests of her constituents. She attended a public forum with National Grid held in January in East Longmeadow and met with residents before and after. (It should be noted that aides to Reps. Puppolo and Ashe attended the hearing and forum.) In the article, Mr. Saunders reports the senator was indeed in Longmeadow after the storm and visited the shelter there. I will not dispute Mr. Gold’s assertion that the senator has not been in Longmeadow, but would ask that he consider Mr. Saunder’s explanation that the senator’s presence may not have been personally known by him. The article states that the senator plans to meet with the Select Board in the future and I would encourage my colleagues to have that discussion if they feel it would be worthwhile.

Sen. Candaras understands the magnitude of the damage the October snowstorm caused. To think otherwise is folly. No citizen of Western Massachusetts could have an opinion that the storm was an ordinary event. The speed of clean-up efforts, whether in Longmeadow or East Longmeadow, was not a result of the storm being only a mild nuisance – which the senator knows it was not – but rather the result of the hard work done by those in the field. And, while each community had to make hard choices on how to attack the massive clean-ups, I’m proud to acknowledge that the funding Sen. Candaras is fighting for to help East Longmeadow with paying its costs, while no less important than that of Longmeadow and others, is indeed less than that of others in her district; and is the direct result of the hard working men and women of the East Longmeadow Department of Public Works. My hat goes off to them and their families for their dedication and sacrifice. I am in awe of how quickly they restored order in town and at a fraction of the cost of our neighboring communities. Our town owes them all a great deal.

James D. Driscoll

Chairman, Board of Selectmen

East Longmeadow

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