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Letter to the Editor: Danvers' Selectmen Race

"Noble Intention, Poor Engagement," a letter from Danvers resident Scott James.

To the editor:

Danvers is facing a Town election in which we have a contested race for Selectman. Bill Clark and Gardner Trask, the incumbents are facing a challenge by Richard Bettencourt.

Running for any elected office is a noble undertaking. Competition is healthy and choice is good, but it appears this new candidate has thrown his hat in the ring with minimal background, no easily definable positions, and no specific agenda. How am I as a voter supposed to make an informed decision?  Where are the debates or position statements?

Mr. Bettencourt’s primary qualification seems to be name recognition. On his web page he answers a self-posed “why am I running” question by a lengthy paragraph dedicated to name dropping 6 family members who have served their communities.

He notes there are “tough economic hurdles” to face, yet he offers no specifics to what should be changed. He does not propose a single budget adjustment. As a matter of fact, he has not sat in on any of the four Selectman’s budget meetings in the past three weeks. How can you comment on a budget you have never seen?

He suggests that his desire to serve is “strong” since he came to town 6 years ago, yet he has never served on a town board or commission. He has never even sought office as a Town Meeting Member.  And as far as I or my neighbors can tell, he has never attended a Town Meeting or Selectman’s Meeting.

And most telling; how can I be convinced his commitment to Danvers is “strong” when according to State election records Mr. Bettencourt has not voted once in the May elections for the past five years? Participation in our democracy is a right fought for by and guaranteed many greater than I.

The role of Selectman should not be a “learn-on-the-job” position. (We have tried that on the Presidential Level)  Mr. Bettencourt, if you want to get involved, I applaud that. Start with serving on a board, a commission, or as a town meeting member. Learn about the job you want. Go to Selectman’s meetings. Read the budget. Take a public stand. Speak in a debate. And the most effective way you can help effect the town is to actually exercise your rights and vote in a Town election.

Signed.

Scott James

helen burns April 06, 2012 at 12:46 PM
You are incorrect to state that the posted comments are in any way related to the candidate's professional or personal background - they are a response to information he posted. Whatever scrutiny he has been subjected to is in regard to his qualifications to represent our town. Until your comment the discussion was constructive - your final comment regarding the character and background of "the other selectmen" is inappropriate and un-constructive. "Give the guy a chance"...we are voting for someone who holds the future of Danvers and the best interests of it's residents' in his/her hands.
Keith Lucy April 06, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Helen - This whole letter is inappropriate and un-constructive. The two incumbents have a long record of service to the Town. Why not submit a letter highlighting that work instead of spending time putting together a letter bashing the opposition? This is precisely the kind of trash that makes people stay home, both on election day and when it comes to volunteering.
Denise D. April 09, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Rick, do you have any literature? Any position papers? door hangers? anything? I can't find anything on your web site, and there have been no updates for days? Who is on your campaign team? Who are you affiliated with? I need details to make an informed decision.
Danvers Resident April 24, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Why are people so quick to criticize? Why do some of the residents of Danvers feel that it is okay to call people names? "carpetbagger" "emperor" "You either have a huge ego or are a put-up candidate" I'm sorry, but I would discipline my child for behaving in such a manor. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but really, name-calling? Not very constructive. Isn't there a reason that public offices are up for election or re-election?
Doug April 24, 2012 at 04:05 PM
The author is a good friend of Gardner Trask and I would have liked to have seen some full disclosure of that fact in his letter. His time would have been better served composing a good letter of recommendation for his friend rather than a poison pen diatribe. I will vote for Mr. Bettencourt BECAUSE he is not one of the good old boys and may bring a fresh perspective to the board like Mr. Lucy has during his tenure on the board. Sometimes not being a "townie" is a good quality.

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