LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Chelmsford Will Not Be Stolen

A letter from Richard McClure.

To the Editor:

 If voters were to believe recent so-called news articles, editorials and letters to the editors, Chelmsford’s recall election is the sole result of a “Boogie Man;” a local resident hell-bent on toppling Chelmsford government as we know it and wreaking havoc upon its citizenry in the process.  The four Selectmen sought to be recalled also lay all the blame (and cost) of the recall election on this “Boogie Man” and, amazingly, continue to claim they have done nothing wrong.

Recall provisions date back to the laws of the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony of 1631, and are found again in the Massachusetts Charter of 1691; they pre-date the United States Constitution by almost 150 years!  Their purpose is clear; to remove a public official from office for failure to perform his/her duties.  The recall petitions signed and the pending recall election are in complete compliance with this 380 year old state recall law; the efforts by the Town Manager and the Selectmen to thwart and trivialize voters’ recall efforts, notwithstanding.

These Selectmen would have readers believe that the “Boogie Man”  “bought” this pending recall election.  These four simply refuse to believe that over 12,000 signatures were obtained from Chelmsford voters demanding the Selectmens’ recall.  The Selectmen allege that the town’s elderly residents “did not understand” what they were signing and that other residents were “duped” into signing recall petitions; such arrogance is insulting.

Each of the four Selectmen are on the record as saying “we didn’t do anything wrong” and “we don’t understand why we are being recalled.”  In addition to the “Boogie Man,” they seek to place blame on Selectmen in office over 30 years ago, a vaguely drafted “Preservation Restriction” and a Land Court judge.   They refuse to acknowledge the following simple facts:

-   a former Selectman represented his father in the purchase of a piece of property (9 North Road) in which the Town of Chelmsford had a direct and substantial interest at the same time;

-  such a scenario is a violation of the State and local ethics laws;

-  the current Town Manager, Paul Cohen, knew of said breach of state and local ethics laws by the former Selectman at the time of the violation and did not report it as required by said laws;

-   at least one of the current selectmen sought to be recalled (Pat Wojtas) learned of the ethics violation while the violating Selectman was still in office and did not report it at the time or seek further investigation;

-  all of the current selectmen (Kurland, Wojtas, Dixon, Hanson and Lane) have subsequently learned of the violation by the former Selectman and the violation by the Town Manager and NONE of them have reported it or otherwise sought an investigation.

 Apparently, the Board of Selectmen and the Town Manager believe this breach of state and local ethics laws, the profiting by a former Selectman and/or his family, as well as the land lost as a result, is no big deal.  As Selectman George Dixon has been quoted “…its only two acres…the town still has over 800.”  Not surprisingly, our ever-vigil state representative, Cory Atkins, is recently quoted as saying "I really don't understand what all the brouhaha is about."  

Mr. Cohen and Mr. Kurland continue to assert that Mr. Eliopoulos’ actions were “entirely above board.”  The same Selectmen, yet again, displayed their contempt of the voters by recently rewarding Mr. Cohen with a raise and early contract extension and renewed the contract of town counsel, Kopelman & Paige.  Such arrogance only rubs salt in an already open wound.  They are in complete and utter denial!

Recall opponents’ primary opposition to such an election is that the cure is worse than the disease and allege that a “nuclear winter” will settle upon Chelmsford and town government, as we know it, will cease to exist if the Selectmen are recalled.  Nothing could be further from the truth; by law, a new election to replace those recalled must be held within 90 days.  This is in perfect timing with the fall state elections and will only cost the town the expense of printing a separate ballot.  The cleansing and healing that will take place following the recall election is the “cure” this town badly needs. 

While I agree that “Chelmsford Cannot Be Bought,” I further submit that the voters will prove on August 2nd that “Chelmsford Will Not Be Stolen.”

Vote YES on August 2nd.


Richard P. McClure


Paul E. Cohen July 26, 2011 at 08:20 PM
Attorney McClure, What fall state elections are occuring this year with which the Town could run a simultaneous special election to fill vacancies on the Board of Selectmen?
Stefani Bush July 26, 2011 at 11:41 PM
NONE...there is NO FALL ELECTION. If he can't get that fact straight, how can you sure that he is making accurate statements about what happens to town government should the Selectmen be recalled?
Jean Whiting July 27, 2011 at 12:04 AM
What election? I haven't seen anything about one.
Jean Whiting July 27, 2011 at 12:06 AM
No, Chelmsford will not be stolen... by anyone, no matter how much he spends.
Joanne Stanway July 27, 2011 at 12:21 AM
My response is too long for this comment box. http://chelmsford.patch.com/articles/letter-to-the-editor-we-will-not-stand-for-misinformation
Glenn Thoren July 27, 2011 at 12:53 AM
Mr. McClure it is a sad day when we are subject to the spin and distortion you are sending to your hometown. I have two.questions. why didn't you answer the questions from our selectmen...especially your attempt to.settle this entire issue for $25,000? And are you getting paid by Mr. Van Liew? THAT. should settle a couple issues about veracity.
Virginia Chadbourne July 27, 2011 at 03:51 AM
Mr. McLure also continues to ignore the many reports that the signature-gathers (paid non-residents) were not truthful when requesting residents to sign the petitions. I was personally accosted (yes, I said accosted!) at least twice, receiving different explanations of the petition each time - and NONE spoke of recalling selectmen or reasons why selectmen should be recalled. I was urged to sign in support of affordable housing and to preserve open space.
Brian Reidy July 27, 2011 at 10:32 AM
Oh I forgot, one paid policital consultant, that doesn't even live in Chelmsford!
Krista Perry July 27, 2011 at 02:21 PM
Just a reminder that all comments must be made with truthful first and last names. All comments that do not comply with the terms of use will be removed. For more on the terms please visit chelmsford.patch.com/terms.
Krista Perry July 27, 2011 at 02:31 PM
You do need to add both your first and last name to your username to comment. To do this, when you log in click on your name in the top right corner. Click on "edit profile" to the left and you should be able to add it.
Mike Combs July 27, 2011 at 05:59 PM
Based on my research into minutes from the FD/DPW and BOS meetings during the time period, I believe McClure is correct on the five facts in his bulleted list. Voters will have to decide for themselves if this is reason enough for a recall. With the exception of Wojtas, none of these Selectmen were on the Board during the period that Eliopoulos negotiated to buy the land for his father while withholding information from Chelmsford. I think their failure to take action to protect 9 North Road or investigate Eliopoulos is akin to voting not to issue a liquor license to the Meat House. While I disagree with the Selectmen on this, it's a political decision that some people will agree with and some will disagree with. And ultimately, in my opinion, it's not the kind of action or failure to act that justifies recall.
Jean Whiting July 28, 2011 at 07:05 PM
This morning I discovered one of McLure/Kimball/s diatribes on my door. Our condo complex has a sign at the entrance prohibiting solicitation, but McLure, who didn't know that as a Town employee he couldn't sue the Town (!) apparently can't read our sign! This is the third time Van Liewn/McLure/Kimball hired hands have been escorted from our condo complex by police after distributing their detestable mail. The final straw on this person's back was the picture on the front page of a Muslim prostrated in prayer to God--beside an admonition not to "hide our heads". Tasteless!
Mike Combs July 28, 2011 at 08:01 PM
I'd like to set aside the recall for a minute and ask about the police removal of people for distributing flyers. Isn't going door-to-door distributing a political message a protected activity?
Joanne Stanway July 28, 2011 at 08:13 PM
You cannot leaflet at a condo association where it is posted that it is against the regulations. The two women from Dracut were asked by police to leave.
Mike Combs July 28, 2011 at 08:31 PM
I'm not sure if condo regulations trump constitutional first amendment rights. It seems similar to me to the right to leaflet or collect signatures on the private property of a shopping center.
Krista Perry July 28, 2011 at 08:48 PM
Mike, I removed that comment since you found it offensive. I accidentally removed yours too - ugh, sorry, will try to get that one back.


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