Selectboard logo, May 20, 2019
'How do we evaluate success?'

        -- Len Diggins

The Select Board on March 28 supported Town Meeting articles aiming to increase diversity in town representation, to limit poisons in managing pests and improve notice to neighbors when the town schedules noisy work. Here is a summary about the basics:

 Article 75: Resolution/commitment to increase diversity in town appointments

 Elizabeth Dray, a Precinct 8 meeting member and chief proponent, called the citizen article "another tool" to help improve town efforts toward diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). She said that a DEI audit, with 14 group chairs responding, said common thread is to want more diverse boards. Barriers to that goal include a lack of development pipeline for recruits. "There is no easy answer," she said. "Arlington is taking steps, but progress is slow."

Board member Len Diggins, who moved positive action, said that, with a 2-percent black population in town, should the town seek more African Americans above that percentage or have broader goal? "How do we evaluate success?" he asked.

Speaking on Zoom with emblems of activism behind her, Dray responded that she'd like to see boards with a wider variety of representation beyond race. For example, those addressing housing issues should include renters along with home owners. She included expanding the reach to gender diversity.

Watch the ACMi video of the April DEI update:

Board member John Hurd supported the article, saying it reflects what the diversity efforts that the town is engaged in.

Board member Eric Helmuth noted the additional help hired for DEI Director Jillian Harvey, who he said "made a persuasive case" for them.

Chair Steve DeCourcey thanks Dray for working with Town Council Doug Heim to craft the article as a resolution.

Member Diane Mahon had no comment.

The board voted to support Article 75, 5-0.

Article 18: Bylaw amendment/phase out of certain toxic rodenticides on public/private property, with reporting requirement and public education, considered with Article 77: Resolution/establishing an integrated pest-management policy for town land, prohibitions and public education about rodenticide hazards

Presenting the citizen article were Elaine Crowder, a Precinct 19 meeting member with a record of battling rats in her neighborhood, and Carey Theil, who has been involved in animal-welfare issues.

The article seeks a town policy prohibiting the use of some rodenticides on town properties, including second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides, called SGARs

Theil noted the death in town of an eaglet and other wildlife linked to these compounds. He said the proponents aim to work with town manager on the issue.

Crowder showed photos and charts, providing examples of how SGARS are used.

Heim warned that the article courts questioning from the attorney general, whose office must approve all articles that Town Meeting passes.

Speaking as a resident, John Sanbonmatsu supported the measure, calling use of chemicals a last resort.

Adam Carace, a company owner representing the New England Pest Management Association, defended pest firms, calling rats a public-health concern, causing many plagues throughout history.

Laura Kiesel, a journalist with a MA in natural-resources management, said no data demonstrates the effectiveness of anticoagulants. 

Hurd offered support and hesitancy. DeCourcey said he was unsure the issue should be handled via a bylaw.

The board voted, 5-0, to advance both articles, with revision to language.

Rodent-control webinar titled "Oh Rats," conducted last week, is available to view online. To view it and learn more, click here >> 

Article 15: Bylaw amendment/noise abatement

A hearing for the citizen article by Paul Schlichtman was held March 7 and tabled. Read a summary here >> 

The board returned to the article following language changes about notice to neighbors affected.

Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine said the suggested language includes notifying those 500 feet from a project two days in advance.

Schlichtman said he can work with town on the matter. He said that noise from unannounced town work that wakes him up in middle of night "frightening."

The board voted, 5-0, to support the measure.

In related business

Also supported March 28, 5-0, was revolving funds (27). 

The board voted no action, 5-0, on insurance costs (14, a citizen article brought by Andrew Fisher).

Article 47 (endorsing Parking Benefit District expense) was tabled to March 30, 5-0.

Under final votes, these articles were held for further discussion:

  • 8: Bylaw amendment/civilian police advisory commission;
  • 12: Bylaw amendment/single-use plastic water bottle regulation; and
  • 19: Vote/street name -- "Magliozzi Boulevard."
Moving ahead

The following articles advanced:

  • 6: Bylaw amendment/ updating human rights commission bylaw;
  • 9: Bylaw amendment/achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from town facilities consistent with the town of Arlington's net-zero action plan;
  • 11: Bylaw amendment/domestic partnerships;
  • 17: Bylaw amendment/conversion of gas station dispensing pumps to self-service operation;
  • 20: Vote/code enforcement;
  • 22: Vote/establishment of town committee to examine budgetary impact of overnight parking; 
  • 25 Home-rule legislation/early voting to town elections;
  • 26 Endorsement of CDBG application; and 
  • 73 Resolution/true net-zero opt-in code for cities and towns.
  • The session was the second held in hybrid format (in-person and Zoom) since the recent relaxing of rules during the pandemic that limited access to meeting after March 2020.
Watch the ACMi video of the March 28 Select Board meeting:


 Watch the whole March 21 board meeting on ACMi:

March 22, 2022: Proposal seeking further limits to gas-powered leaf blowers advances

This news summary was published Monday, April 4, 2022. A summary of the March 30 Select Board meeting will be published separately.