★ ISSUES and GOALS ★
Develop a Strategic Plan for Responsibly Increasing New Growth
Ideally this would be done through a Town Meeting Study Committee. Alternatively, it could be a Long Range Planning Committee initiative. I will be pushing to make this happen either way, or perhaps through another mechanism, in order to ensure that we plan for growth in the town as responsibly and sustainably as possible, with robust community engagement.
Provide More Support for Our Employees
Our town staff are vital to making Arlington the community that it is and as good as it is! Though nearly all of the town’s employees report to either the Town Manager or the School Superintendent, the Select Board can create and improve policies to make Arlington a more attractive employer with a supportive and welcoming work environment. Recruiting, hiring, retaining, and promoting individuals who serve our town well is critical.
Continue to Work on Implementing Sustainability Plans and Strategies
I am eager to continue to work with businesses, residents, and the Town Manager to make Mass Ave. safer for cyclists and pedestrians and support efforts to reduce the use of fossil fuels for heating and cooling our homes and town buildings.
Launch the Young Arlington Collaborative
Town Meeting voted for it and the Attorney General gave her approval, so now’s the time to populate the Young Arlington Collaborative (YAC) and get it launched. The Select Board (SB) provides the administrative staff for the YAC, and I’m happy to be the liaison from the SB to the YAC.
Assist with Creating Envision Arlington 2.0
Envision Arlington is at a crossroads. As the Select Board’s liaison to the Envision Arlington Advisory Board, I want to continue contributing to the process of reimagining Envision Arlington so that it can serve a greater purpose in the ongoing process of refining, evaluating, and achieving our goals.
Len is thoughtful and very skilled at bringing community together. He is open to hearing from residents and helpful in finding solutions!~ Nora Mann, TMM
Our Budget, Our Values
We all know that there is no free lunch! Either we pay for what we need or we pay the consequences of not having what we need. One of the challenges of budgeting is to ensure that we address the needs of as many residents as possible while making sure that voters understand our town finances, budgeting process, and what decisions we face as a town. If we can generate enough new growth, we can forgo, or at least minimize, the need for overrides. Nonetheless, it’s critically important to begin having regular conversations with as many community members as possible to reach the broadest consensus regarding what we collectively value and the costs of acting on our values. It will take time and effort to do this, but we have the structure and the tools to do it in an inclusive and engaging manner.
Len provides inclusive and innovative leadership for our community.~ Bill Gardiner
Transportation and Housing
As it becomes clearer regionally and locally, the issues of transportation and housing go hand in hand. The way that land is utilized is a function of the transportation network in which it is embedded. Fewer people and goods can move along a single-lane road than can move along a 4-lane road, than can move along the same 4-lane road that has effective, reliable public transit and curb management.
Good transit options can make housing more affordable to a wider array of people. Given the amount of movement among the nearly 100 towns and cities in the Boston Metropolitan Region, good transit requires regional cooperation. That regional cooperation can also lead to more abundant and affordable housing along corridors best suited to accommodate more people and businesses.
In my three years on the Select Board, I’ve been re-elected three times as the Chair of the Regional Transportation Advisory Council (RTAC) for the Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization, which programs over $2 billion of federal surface transportation projects over 20-year time spans. I have established positive and effective relationships with many members of this Council as well as with the Central Transportation Planning staff. With the knowledge that I’ve gained, I understand what we can accomplish and how we can work effectively to get infrastructure projects done in a way that makes other municipalities continue respecting Arlington and viewing the town as a good partner.
Len is committed to understanding issues from all perspectives and to including the community in the conversation. He is a big believer in civic engagement and empowering others to share their voice and make a difference.~ Linda Hanson, former TMM
Sustainability, Resiliency, Civic Engagement, and Community Building
I recognize that if we make community-building our primary focus, we will get more civic engagement along with a more sustainable and resilient community. As I’ve worked on increasing civic engagement through promoting precinct meetings and organizing forums through Envision Arlington’s Civic Engagement Group, I’ve become more convinced that the next step in the process is to create connections among residents by offering opportunities to meet and interact without having an explicit focus on civic engagement. Through working with groups such as the Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture and FoodLink, I see the incredible opportunities that we have in our town to promote activities that help create a greater sense of belonging.
When people feel that they belong to a place and are part of a group, they naturally have a desire to become more engaged. A more connected and engaged community is more sustainable because it is also more resilient. Increased engagement takes time and effort in order to provide everyone who wants to offer input the opportunity to do so. While it may take additional time to build the widest possible consensus, the process of working through our differences helps foster connections and empathy. Stronger bonds and connections can prove particularly helpful when we are faced with unexpected challenges and crises.
In order to live in a more sustainable manner, we are going to have to adapt, but we must consider our ideas and plans through an equity prism. If we have built a vibrant, connected community, we are more likely to ensure inclusive participation and more equitable outcomes for all.
One of Len’s greatest qualities is his willingness to engage in discussions, whether he initially disagrees with you or not. He listens, provides feedback and is open to incorporating others’ thoughts and ideas with his own. That’s the kind of person we need to continue on the Select Board.~ Sharon Grossman, TMM