After the Sustainable Watertown meeting last night I specifically asked John Donohue, Councilor-at-Large, what his position was on the project. He answered. 'I'm for bringing the right economic project into the town." I replied, "We're all for that. Where do you stand on this project?" He repeated this ambiguous mantra once again. This is not good enough. After this conversation I decided last night to run as a write-in candidate for Town Councilor-at-Large.
The Walmart plan has been made public as of last night's Sustainable Watertown meeting. WatertownWalmart even has a website announcing all the wonderful benefits of Walmart coming to town. My feeling as a twelve year Watertown resident is that the effect that this development would have on this community is outrageously negative. Traffic, crime, the killing off of local businesses, big box poor quality goods, minimum wage jobs is just the beginning of my opposition to this idea. Property values will decline for all residential properties near this development. Watertown will thus lose tax revenue in the future because of it. Watertown needs development. It needs the right kind of development that if retail, attracts local residents, not the thousands who will come from miles away causing a traffic nightmare at the Square. Watertown, with it's four square miles of land is not big enough to handle the overwhelming impact this project would unleash. I would like to see development that does not create a huge impact, perhaps light, green technology-based industry that provides well paying jobs and serves to improve not only this community but the future of our quality of life here, as well.
Susan Falkoff spoke out against the Walmart plan. Cecilia Lenk spoke against it. I spoke with Tony Polomba today and he is against this plan. Mark Sideris confirmed in an email last night that he was opposed. I spoke with Angie Kounelis by phone today and she will not take a public stand until the proposal is formal. That's not good enough. I say, if you're too afraid to take a position, then withdraw from the race. After my conversation with Donohue I concluded that his evasiveness suggested that he is FOR this terrible proposal. I also spoke by phone today with Steve Corbett and he declared his support for Walmart in Watertown. Since there is no one running against these two incumbents I request that citizens of Watertown do not vote for Donohue or Corbett. We don't need to wait until the issue is formally on the table, by then it may be too late! The issue is absolutely clear right here and right now. I officially declare myself a write-in candidate for Town Councilor-at-Large:
Mike Mandel 124 Maplewood Street Watertown 02472
Write-ins should include name and address. I've put mine out right here.
I have lived in Watertown for twelve years. I make my living as an educator and as an artist. I have a B.A.(1968) from California State University, Northridge (known then as Valley State College). I have a Masters in Fine Arts (1973) from the San Francisco Art Institute. I teach at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Studio Program at Tufts University. My artwork is in numerous public museum collections throughout the world. My public art career has enabled me to work with communities all across the United States from California and Washington to New York and Florida to create art in public spaces that enhances the quality of life in these communities. My interest as an artist in public is to engage ideas of history, culture, myth, geography, politics, and neighborhoods, and translate these intertwined stories into a voice accessible to a community. I believe my experience as an artist working in the public sphere gives me a valued perspective on the position of Town Councilor.