★ LETTERS OF SUPPORT ★
The following letters to the editor by Heather Remoff, Philip Goff, Jane Morgan, Barbara Thornton, Adam MacNeill, Pat Hanlon, Eric Helmuth, Linda Hanson, Cristin Canterbury Bagnall, Steve DeCourcey, Ed Blundell, Carey Theil and Christine A. Dorchak, Amos Meeks, and Jo Almond were submitted to YourArlington.com.
Letter from Heather Remoff
I first met Len when he showed up for a meeting of Envision Arlington’s Fiscal Resources Task Group, not because he was a member, but because he was curious about a topic on our agenda. He cared what we thought. He valued our input.
Curious minds are rare among politicians. Unlike most politicians, Len is not interested in serving himself; he’s interested in serving the public. And he does it well. A truly curious mind is an open mind. Anyone who turns on the news knows that open minds are a vanishing breed. An open mind that is informed by a genuine desire to serve others is a treasure, a truly rare thing in any public sphere.
Len listens, truly listens, to the ideas and opinions of others. He is always open to new ideas and fresh ways of engaging with old problems. He understands the importance of financial sustainability. He cares about our quality of life and the importance of affordable housing. He represents all his constituents. He wants ours to be a town that works for everyone. He values the activism of Arlington’s residents. Just look at the amount of time he devotes to helping our young people feel engaged in the community.
Len didn’t decide to run for office because he had some personal agenda he wanted to impose on the town. He really loves Arlington and the sense of community that defines us. Arlington is fortunate to have someone on our Select Board — Len Diggins — who is deeply committed to all its residents and to all the things that make Arlington such a grand place to call home.
Len isn’t running this campaign for himself; he’s running it for the rest of us. Votes for Len will make winners of everyone who cares about the future of Arlington.
Letter from Philip Goff
I look forward to April 1, when I cast my enthusiastic vote to Len Diggins for the Arlington Select Board. In his first term on the Board, he showed the temperament, passion and awareness of the town’s critical needs to deserve another full term.
Len’s background in transportation policy and planning has been a terrific benefit to the Select Board. He understands regional funding opportunities, pedestrian/bicycle safety issues and what is needed to improve public transit in Arlington. In his first term, he worked closely with the MBTA to mitigate any detrimental changes to bus service, fought hard to incorporate key safety improvements during the Mass. Ave./Appleton intersection redesign process and spearheaded the design competition that brought great ideas to rehabilitate the Broadway corridor.
Len is a vocal advocate for affordable housing and works closely with the town’s planners to ensure a sound rezoning strategy so we can comply with the Legislature’s 2022 MBTA Communities Act. He recognizes that livable communities derive from walkable/bikeable streets served by transit and flanked by diverse housing types, local businesses and mixed-use buildings. If this is one definition of a healthier and more-livable community for you, I urge you to cast your vote for Len Diggins for Select Board.
Letter from Jane Morgan
I am excited to support Len Diggins’s Select Board reelection campaign. Since Len was elected to the Board three years ago, I have had the opportunity to work with him on long-range planning, and we have had many conversations about our mutual support for our schools.
In the spring of 2022, Len participated in mission and visioning work for the Arlington Public Schools. An important stakeholder, Len engaged deeply in the process, and it was clear that he appreciates the hard work of our educators and the challenges that the school system faces.
From this mission and vision work, a strategic plan was developed. This plan is currently out for public comment and is the guiding document for any potential override commitments for the schools. Len is well-positioned to make the critical decisions about when and how to structure the next override to address Arlington’s fiscal deficit as well as to secure the funding necessary to implement the strategic plan.
Having a School Committee and a Select Board that work collaboratively is critical for our students, educators and the whole town. Len is a strong supporter of our schools who also wants to understand the “why” and the “how” of how our school system is working to meet the needs of all students. He genuinely wants to engage with the School Committee and deeply appreciates our work.
As a School Committee member, Len and I serve on the Long Range Planning Committee, a group of stakeholders from across the town and schools who meet several times a year and is an advisory group to the town manager. I have found Len’s contributions to be direct and helpful. He is focused and engages thoughtfully with the other members of the committee. He asks great questions and is consistently open-minded. Len has a deep respect for the voters, taxpayers and residents of Arlington and I am confident that he will serve us and our schools well for another three years.
Letter from Barbara Thornton
Over the years I have known Len, he has consistently approached his engagement with work on behalf of the town with curiosity, with dedication and with a clear vision of what Arlington might need to thrive in the future.
He spent years behind ACMi’s cameras, recording a wide range of Arlington meetings, whether it was a discussion on vocational education, senior services or Select Board meetings — as a volunteer, he was there to listen and learn about our town.
When he became a Select Board member, his curiosity and dedication continued. In addition to attending to the normal items of business coming before the Select Board, he is actively involved in finding long-term solutions to concerns about parking, transportation, housing affordability, trees, open space and environmental sustainability. He helped create a committee for young people to have an active voice in addressing town issues.
Len Diggins is not “resting on his laurels” for his previous work for the town. He does not see this as a seat he deserves because of his prior service. He is actively looking into the future to understand what Arlington’s children, families and older residents will need in 10, 20 or 30 years. And he has already started to make our town ready for the future.
Dear reader, I hope you will give one of your two votes for Select Board to Lenard Diggins.
Letter from Adam MacNeill
When Len first ran for Select Board three years ago, I was overjoyed to support him based on his genuine dedication to civic engagement, thoughtful approach to town issues and hardworking nature. I am even happier to re-up that endorsement today, as Len has proven to be as much of a driving force for improvement as I could have imagined.
As a member of the Select Board, Len has invigorated town efforts to facilitate communication to, from, and with the community; done an excellent job steering the town through tumultuous times of Covid and staff turnover; and been a consistently great vote across issues.
I urge you to vote for Len Diggins for reelection to our Select Board.
Letter from Pat Hanlon
I am looking forward to casting my vote to reelect Len Diggins to the Select Board on April 1.
Len is a unique public servant. No one is quite like him when it comes to curiosity – and the ability to bring to bear a variety of perspectives on important issues. Len loves to listen. He does not so much think outside the box as reject the very idea of a box. At the same time he is deeply grounded in values, the importance of housing and transportation to a healthy community, a welcoming of diverse ways of living, a deep understanding of climate change and resiliency, and above all a commitment to democracy.
No one has contributed more to Arlington democracy than Len has. Five years ago, we had lively precinct meetings… in one or two precincts. Thanks in large part to Len, precinct meetings have become a vibrant part of our community’s discussion of local issues. Len strongly promoted precinct meetings before his election three years ago, and he has not stopped. When the pandemic struck, he helped bring them online. Just as he sees everything from multiple perspectives, he wants to invite all of us to engage in a broad reflection as well. For Len, democracy leads to innovation, sound policy, and broad commitment to the welfare of the community.
I met Len at candidates night, the year I was first elected to Town Meeting. Len was the only one who came. We talked for more than an hour. I remember thinking afterwards that that was a remarkable person. In the years since, Len has become a remarkable member of the Select Board, and a friend. It will be a pleasure to vote for him again.
Letter from Eric Helmuth
I am enthusiastically voting to reelect Len Diggins to Select Board. I’ve had the privilege of serving with Len on the board for the past two years. He has earned my respect for his hard work, intelligence and passion for a local government that welcomes and engages all residents.
Len is a collaborative leader. He approaches problems and decisions with creativity, curiosity and genuine openness to different points of view. He listens, will change his mind in response to persuasive new information or perspectives, and doesn’t care about getting the credit.
A passion for civic engagement shines through in all of Len’s work on the board. He understands that government works best when ordinary people from all walks of life and points of view have a real stake and are truly welcomed to get involved, and he has worked hard to create new avenues of resident involvement.
Len brings his experience and thoughtfulness to many of the challenges facing Arlington, but I especially value his knowledgeable work on housing policy and on sustainable transportation and transit — intersecting issues that are crucial to making our community and our planet a good place to live for everyone. But whatever the issue in front of us, I can count on Len to help the Board consider all the options and come to a good decision.
Arlington would be both smart and fortunate to return Len to the Select Board. Please join me in voting to reelect him on Saturday, April 1.
Letter from Linda Hanson
I look forward to casting my vote to reelect Len Diggins to the Select Board in the upcoming town election on April 1. Len is committed to understanding issues from all perspectives and 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.
Last year, when I was looking for support for the Fair Share Amendment, Len showed up. He came to our Arlington canvass kickoff and spoke about how we need to do more to shore up the public infrastructure that is the foundation of our economy — transportation and public education. He even read out a Haiku that he penned for the occasion, showing his penchant to use creative outlets to make points. Len went the extra mile when he responded to a request from the Fair Share campaign to reach out to a member of the Select Board in Hull to give him advice on how to garner support for Question #1 among his constituents.
Another thing I admire about Len is his belief that we are all better off when we have access to diverse points of view. I co-lead a reproductive justice organization based in Arlington. In the past we have applied for and been denied a booth at Town Day. This past year, Len worked closely with fellow Select Board member John Hurd and Deputy Town Manager Jim Feeney to advocate for making the event more inclusive and welcoming to more groups.
Len believes that this stance allowed the town to avoid unnecessary controversy and in the process gain from the participation of these new groups. The community was able to interact with more points of view as a result of this process. I can tell you that many people stopped by our booth and told us how happy (and surprised) they were to see us there.
I look forward to having Len on the Select Board for another three years so he can continue to support meaningful policies and broaden the conversation in town.
Letter from Cristin Canterbury Bagnall
I am supporting Len Diggins for reelection to the Select Board because of the creativity, pragmatism and optimism he brings to solving problems; the empathy and curiosity he brings to the interests and concerns of Arlington’s varied and passionate citizenry; and the extraordinary work ethic he brings to applying those qualities as a Select Board member.
As a member of Arlington’s Commission for Arts and Culture, I’ve been able to observe firsthand Len’s enthusiastic engagement with the community. The way that he turns what he learns, through that engagement, into innovative thinking and creative solutions is well-suited to a community with so many passionately engaged citizens. His energy for process and his openness to new voices are inspiring and rare, especially from someone in a leadership role.
Len believes that intractable problems can be solved, he listens to all the points of view, and he finds solutions. I can’t wait to see what he will accomplish in a second term.
Letter from Steve DeCourcey
I write in support of Len Diggins for reelection to the Select Board.
I have had the pleasure of serving with Len since he was elected to the board in June 2020. Since that time, he has been a valued colleague who works tirelessly to make Arlington a better community. I have also been impressed by Len’s willingness to ask questions of those appearing before the board so that we are better informed during our deliberations.
As part of our Select Board duties, we often form subcommittees, where two members address specific matters and make recommendations to the full Board. Len and I worked together during the initial stages of the town manager search process. We continue to serve together on the overnight parking pilot subcommittee and as the board’s designees to the Long Range Planning Committee.
Through these collaborations, Len has demonstrated time and again his readiness to address challenges and make constructive recommendations. In addition, Len has been a leader in encouraging public input through community forums he has led as part of our subcommittee work. In several of these forums, Len has taken extra time to ensure that all persons present are heard. He has also encouraged follow-up from participants so that when we make decisions, it is with the most complete information available.
Please join me in casting one of your two votes for Len Diggins.
Letter from Ed Blundell
Local elections make a real difference in our day-to-day lives. All of us here in Arlington have our next chance to be heard on April 1, a Saturday, by getting out and voting. Two seats on the Select Board are in play, and there are three people running, so it is important that voters do their part to review the candidate’s positions and get to the polls.
From my perspective, I see and recommend one clear choice and that is to reelect Len Diggins to the Select Board. I retired here in 2021 and have the background of being a mayor back in New York state for 10 years. And, being a bit of a policy wonk, I have closely followed the Arlington Select Board via their Zoom meetings. I see in Len Diggins what every town leadership group needs: a committed, active and open-minded board member who puts in the time and the work. Elected officials serve the people, and Len clearly works hard for the people of Arlington.
Len is just finishing his first term and has already had a positive impact on Arlington. I’ve also met and spoken to Len, and I know he has the energy and time to continue working for Arlington…plus he has great ideas for the future of the town.
We need to be sure that Arlington keeps its forward momentum, and Len Diggins will help do that. So, please mark your calendars and be sure to vote on April 1 or vote during one of the early voting periods … and vote to keep Len Diggins on the Select Board.
Letter from Carey Theil and Christine A. Dorchak
On April 1, we will be voting for John Leone and Len Diggins for Select Board. Although we care about many issues that impact the local community, we primarily support candidates that have the strongest record on animal welfare. For us, this is not only a way to fight for a set of policies we care about, it’s also a barometer on a candidate’s overall character and desire to serve others.
Although there are a handful of local elected officials who have been apathetic, or even hostile, to animal welfare, our local delegation has generally led on issues such as wildlife protection, companion animal welfare and restricting the use of poisons. We’re grateful for the support of dedicated public servants such as Sean Garballey, Dave Rogers, Eric Helmuth, John Hurd, Paul Schlictman, Elaine Crowder, Elizabeth Dray and Jordan Weinstein.
Regarding the candidates up for election this year, John Leone not only helped pass a warrant article to restrict the use of poisons in 2022; he has made animal welfare a priority in his campaign agenda, highlighting the need for wildlife preservation, poisons restrictions and a local-animal control officer.
Similarly, Len Diggins helped last year pass a warrant article to restrict poisons in our community, and was an important resource to local citizens as we worked with Town Manager Sandy Pooler to adopt a ban on second-generation ant-coagulant rodenticides on town land. Mr. Diggins also confirmed that a controversial petting zoo would not return to Town Day, after animal cruelty incidents occurred in other jurisdictions.
Arlington cares deeply about animal welfare. Thanks to the hard work of courageous volunteers, we are leading a statewide fight against the poisons that kill our wildlife. It’s crucial that we have elected officials that are on the same page, and provide necessary support to this grass-roots movement.
Letter from Amos Meeks
I am writing this letter to express my wholehearted support for Lenard Diggins in his bid for reelection to the Arlington Select Board. As a resident of the same precinct as Len, I add that he also serves as one of my Town Meeting representatives. Through all of my interactions with him, I have only ever seen him demonstrate an unwavering commitment to our community.
Over the years, I have consistently been impressed by Len’s passion for the Town of Arlington. He has been a strong advocate for environmental issues, such as supporting the fossil-fuel ban bylaw in 2020. This demonstrates Len’s deep concern for the health and sustainability of our town, as well as his dedication to preserving our environment for future generations. His leadership in this area showcases his forward-thinking approach and his ability to address pressing issues that affect us all.
Furthermore, Len has been a tireless supporter of progressive social issues, including advocating for the recognition of domestic partnerships involving more than two people. His commitment to fostering an inclusive and compassionate community speaks to his character and aligns with the values that make Arlington a vibrant and welcoming place to live. It is with great enthusiasm that I endorse Lenard Diggins for reelection to the Arlington Select Board. I firmly believe that his continued service will be invaluable in shaping a bright future for our town.
Letter from Jo Almond
Hello Arlington! My name is Jo and I am a high schooler here in Arlington.
A lot of young people nowadays are very frustrated with our politicians, feeling they don’t listen to us or care enough about what we want for our own futures. However, when I have worked with Len, I have found him to completely defy this stereotype. I worked with Len on one of his projects, the Young Arlington Collaborative, a committee of Arlington’s town government that will be made up of youth and young adults.
As soon as I joined the planning zoom, I realized that this was a space unlike most others I had been in: one where the young people were encouraged to run the whole ship! Len was there to support us and to help us with the more technical aspects of proposal-writing, but he emphasized again and again during those meetings that we, the young people, should make the decisions, because this was a committee for us. The freedom that us young people had during those meetings to explore what we really did want, has directly led to me being more confident in my activism and political organizing — I believe in myself more because of Len’s encouragement, guidance, and genuine humility and generosity. Most of all, it is Len’s willingness to use his position to raise up other voices, rather than always his own, that makes him the best candidate this town will see for a long, long time. So please, vote, for Len Diggins for Select Board!