Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Help realize this billboard:

During the month of May, we propose to put up a 10' x 22' billboard on the corner of Arsenal and Irving Street, to voice the strong opposition against Walmart's plan of building another big box store in this neighborhood.

Walmart has signed a lease with the property owner and their proposal is expected to be presented to the Town Council, Planning Department and Zoning Board soon. This billboard will send a strong message of community opposition.

Contribute through our indiegogo fundraising site using paypal or your credit card, or send us a check or cash, whatever amount you can, every contribution counts. If we raise more than the necessary $2,500 which would cover production and rental costs for one month, the extra funds will be used to extend the duration of the project into June and July.

If you want to participate in making the project come to life, please donate, and forward the link to your friends.

(If you have any questions about our payment options, please send us an email:

The design has already been approved by ClearChannel.




Continue the Fight

For a donation of $5 (or more) order your red sign from Sustainable Watertown today !



Recount Results

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Today's recount has brought closure to the Town Council election.

Recognizing the threat to the character of our town posed by a Walmart in the very center of our town, and recognizing that our own Town officials, Councilors, who are supposed to provide leadership and vision, were either in favor of this proposal or just wouldn't say, I embarked on an improbable two week, write-in candidacy for Town Council. And whether I lost by 91 votes or 89 votes, as in today's final tally; the surprising number of people whose votes were counted for me 1,358, is a strong statement that Watertown does not want to become just an offramp for a "made-in-China" outlet store. By the way, the recount enabled us to identify that there were an additional 56 intended votes for me that were erroneously positioned in the wrong category on the ballot, or were disqualified for a variety of other reasons, making this election even closer than the final vote totals suggest.

This town has a four hundred year heritage, and if nothing else, my candidacy has proven that in a time of crisis there are those among us who will step forward, stand up, and give voice to the will of the people.

But why a recount? We realized it would be improbable to make up 91 votes. But of course, it was unbelievable that in two weeks that I almost won the election outright. We only filed for a recount with the advice and encouragement of our supporters. Because a write-in election is different. Voters have to do so much more to register their vote, writing in my name, or placing a sticker in the right place. During the vote count there's a lot of interpretation of voter intent. So our commitment for the recount was to make sure that every vote got counted. That what this was all about, ensuring that the vote count was accurate, that the election was valid. I believe that I owed that to everyone who became energized and inspired by my willingness to stand up and make a difference. I thank all of the people who made that extra effort to vote for me. I am grateful to all of the volunteers who were with me campaigning, petitioning, observing the election and the recount. Thank you all.

The message of this election is very clear: "Walmart: Get out of Town" Had there been one more week for my campaign there would now be a different composition to the Town Council and an additional strong voice willing to stand up and fight. The effort to keep our town free of this despicable big box fiasco has really just started. I urge every concerned citizen who wants to preserve the Watertown that we love, to build a future that is intelligent and visionary, I urge all to contact Sustainable Watertown, and engage directly in the coming fight. Let there be a sea of red lawn signs, "No Walmart", on every house in every block of this town. No matter what precinct we live in, we will all be affected by the traffic, the crime, the blight to our neighborhoods, the decrease in property values. We citizens of Watertown can participate in creating a future that is so much brighter than miles of parking lot lights. We are brighter than that. Together we will meet this crisis and we will win.

Mike Mandel




Letter to Supporters

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hello everyone,

It was announced yesterday that the recount for Town Councilor-at-Large will take place at the Library on Thursday, December 1, beginning at 9AM. I write to you today because I need your help. I will need to have (10) ten observers at the recount during the day and possibly into the evening. The good news is that no one needs to be there the entire time, we can have people take different shifts to cover it all. The recount will be completed within one day. The last recount in 2007 took 12 hours. I'm hoping that this one doesn't. But it's interesting to note that Stephen Corbett also filed for a recount. Therefore, he will have 10 people stationed at the counting tables, questioning our ballots. It's now even more important that we gather enough people to be present during the process.

I will need to give a written list of my representatives to the Town Clerk prior to the recount. So I am today sending out requests to all of you that have supported my campaign and who wish to participate to let me know if you can commit to serving as my representative during the recount. We have determined that there should be three shifts that one may sign up for:

9:00 AM - 1:00 PM,
1:00 PM - 6:00 PM
6:00 PM - end

There will be a lunch break, and perhaps a dinner break, but as of today, Clerk Flynn could not identify these times. If you would like to participate please let me know. We are also looking for attorneys to be present. If you are an attorney, or have a friend who is one, and wants to participate, let me know. But it is not necessary to be one. What's most important is that you are able to speak with a strong voice to make sure that all votes that were cast for me are counted. Since many of you work during the day it will be a priority to find people who can volunteer for either of the "day shifts."

My interest in the recount process is to make sure that every vote is counted correctly. As many people have pointed out to me, we have already won this election by bringing the issue of Walmart front and center and requiring the Town Council to take notice. This is the final stage of the election process, but certainly not the end of our shared commitment to build a better Watertown by way of intelligent planning and creating a vision for our future. I invite you to share with me the experience of working toward this future by participating in the recount process.

Many thanks,





Press Release: Request for a Recount

Thursday, November 17, 2011


In last week's election Watertown voters made a resounding statement by writing my name on the ballot to keep Walmart out of our town. This issue brought together so many people from different backgrounds, young families and seniors, people who have been in Watertown for generations and who recognize the rich history and character of our community, along with people who have come here more recently because of the unique quality of life that Watertown offers to us all. My candidacy has served as an instrument for our collective voice that want a Watertown that will build and grow with an intelligent and comprehensive plan for economic development. We will settle for nothing less than that to ensure our town's future.

Today, Thursday, November 17, I have presented 12 petitions (one from each precinct) to the Watertown Town Clerk to request a hand recount of the votes that I received for Town Councilor-at-Large. Because my candidacy was a write-in campaign, there may have been inaccuracies. Therefore it is important to count the ballots by hand.

Town Clerk John Flynn has stated that the recount would be accomplished within a day. We feel that we owe that to all of our supporters and volunteers, and especially to everyone who voted for me and are opposed to a Walmart store in the center of our town. We want to make sure every vote is counted that voices that message.

Mike Mandel



Press Release: Election Results

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


My write-in candidacy for Town Council, predicated on keeping Walmart out, in just two weeks came within 91 votes of a winning town council election. This is an incredible feat. It shows that even with all the built-in impediments to winning a write-in, that we have the power to succeed in creating the kind of town we want to live in. If we would had another week we might have led the race entirely.

This was a great victory in so many ways: My decision to run required the formerly unopposed candidates to actually take a stand on Walmart (or in the case of many, to publicly state that they had no stand to take). We created a real election in the course of two weeks. 54 people volunteered to help on the campaign. We distributed 5000 postcards over the weekend. The Teacher's Union volunteered to include us in their phone bank effort for School Committee candidates. Sustainable Watertown endorsed my candidacy. We published letters in the Tab and Patch. My wife, Chantal, designed a website for the campaign and worked to make it full of information with updates every day, a resource that no candidate in this election could match. We got a crowd of people to come to the library and view "Walmart: The High Cost of Low Price" and I'm sure we convinced many people that traffic is not the only reason to oppose Walmart in Watertown.

In two weeks, all because of the great work and the determination of so many Watertown citizens, we came up only 91 votes short of creating a miraculous write-in election victory. We built on the momentum that Sustainable Watertown has started and we have our victory in putting the Walmart issue front and center. The fight to keep Walmart out of Watertown has really just begun with this election performance. We've made a powerful statement. And we will keep making that statement at every public forum, whether at the Planning Commission, the Zoning Commission, or the Town Council. We are all in this fight to save the Watertown that we know from becoming just another offramp for an outrageous big box store that will severely impact the surrounding neighborhood, which by the way is the center of town!

Chantal and I feel like we've made so many new friends in these past two weeks, and to our volunteers and to our voters: we are so proud to have worked with you. We feel that we were just an instrument to carry this message that we all feel so strongly about. Thank you all for this victory of ours. A victory not only of votes, but of community. We sent a strong message on Tuesday to Walmart and also to our Town Councilors as to what kind of town we all want, and what kind of leadership we want, as we move ahead to create a better Watertown.

Congratulations to everyone who participated in the election on all sides.

Mike Mandel