After a well-attended Board vote by our required 60% majority, Brookline PAX ( http://brooklinepax.org ), now a 56-year old liberal/progressive group, endorses the following in the contested races for the May 8th election.
First, the OVERRIDE (and debt exclusion) ballot questions are no-brainer-needed for our town’s most important “industry,” magnet, cultural core— and kids. While we seriously regret the tax impact, especially on fixed-income seniors, and urge more relief for them, there’s no real choice here. Nay-sayers professing governmental waste are simply politically pandering.
For SELECT BOARD MEMBERS, we heartily endorse Nancy Heller and Bernard Greene for re-election. While we, like anyone, have disagreed with each on an occasional decision, they have overall been excellent SBM’s, central to recently having Brookline’s most progressive executive branch since 1988. We know them both very well, each having toiled long, hard and thoughtfully in service to Brookline, and each having the progressive values — and talents for leadership and collaboration—that we’ll need for the next few years.
Both are ready for, and actively leading in supporting the Override, each being well-suited to answer exaggerated anti-tax arguments that minimize our schools’ needs and/or alternately ignore our town’s long-run fiscal needs. Nancy brings to those challenges her long School Committee tenure and 30 years as Town Meeting Member (TMM), including as active member of the Green Caucus. Bernard, a 13-year TMM, has tirelessly served on numerous committees -- e.g. revamping police procedures, the SB’s representative on the Diversity Commission (which he helped create).
For SCHOOL COMMITTEE, as we have for the last two elections, we continue to believe it needs a shake-up, a new culture of progressive leadership that’s far more willing to listen to the community, including parents, teachers and students, to be more respectful to teachers’ unions, and to stand up to neo-conservative education trends that are frankly hostile to public education and our public educators. We need more SC Members who are willing to forcefully speak out in disagreement with administrators, with each other, and with failed state education policy -- including over-testing and excessive data collection, standardization of curriculum, and privatization schemes; and are willing to stop being overly hamstrung by the statewide education reform bill of 1988 that disempowered SC’s. We sincerely believe that the policies of the recent SC’s, regardless of how “well-intentioned” have been many members, have been jeopardizing the excellence of Brookline’s public schools.
PAX joined then-new Alliance for Brookline Schools in 2016 (www.ourbrooklineschools.org/ ); but our concerns pre-date it. This year, we and the Alliance have three excellent new candidates, whose experience and skills complement each other
• Jennifer Monopoli is a parent of two Brookline school students (Lawrence and Lincoln), a 15-year public school teacher (now in Newton), and sorely-needed fresh face in Brookline;
• David Pearlman, is a near life-long Brookline resident, current TMM, proud product of our Public Schools, and son of an immigrant Spanish mother and first generation American father, now a child welfare attorney; and,
• Jim Swaim is a long time Brookline resident whose children went to Brookline schools, and a retired teacher and principal: teacher at Devotion (as was his wife), Vice Principal at Pierce, Principal at Lawrence, and Principal of Cabot School in Newton.
For more on each, and the Alliance, see its website (above). Please vote on May 8th for all of the above.
Marty Rosenthal & Neil Gordon, Brookline PAX Co-Chairs