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Mass wants big box store, new jobs, to tackle opioid problem

GREENFIELD — At-large Town Council candidate Isaac Mass says getting a big box store built, economic development and creating jobs, and the opioid problem, are the three biggest issues facing the town over the next three years.

“We need to get a big box store here in Greenfield to create new jobs,” said Mass, 37, of Linden Avenue.

Mass said Greenfield’s diverse population needs an affordable place to shop.

He said as a town councilor he would spend more time working on ways to attract businesses, rather than passing ordinances that might block development, like a plastic bag ban.

“I do not apologize for being for growth in Greenfield,” said Mass. “We need to expand the tax base through economic development, not through raising property taxes.”

Mass said if he were to work on an ordinance, it would be to keep traffic violation fees, like speeding and other minor offenses, in Greenfield to be used for operating the town.

The former town councilor, who served four terms previously — two as a precinct councilor and two as an at-large councilor — said his qualifications for the position include his time spent on the Council, where he chaired its Ways and Means and Economic Development committees, his time as a member of the town’s Planning Board and Board of License Commissioners, and several other local and state committees.

“I am a lawyer with a law office in downtown Greenfield,” said Mass. “I am married to a teacher and have three daughters who are attending Greenfield public schools.”

Mass said he would work cooperatively with people of all political views if elected. He said he would listen to everyone, but when a vast majority expressed a certain point of view, would feel an obligation to represent them.

Mass said he would make sure people never feel marginalized so they become frustrated, discouraged or intimidated.

He said his motivation for running for town councilor again is many townspeople asking him to do so.

“I left five years ago,” said Mass. “I thought it was time for new blood and fresh ideas.”

Mass said many of the people sitting on the council today ran unopposed or were appointed, so there was no mandate for those people to serve.

“They aren’t obligated to anyone,” said Mass. “That will change in this election.”

Mass said he would encourage economic development and try to help to create jobs by continuing to offer businesses incentives to come to Greenfield.

He said he would not put up roadblocks by considering passing an ordinance, for instance, like one banning plastic bags. A Greenfield resident recently brought such an ordinance before the Town Council and it chose not to take any action at this point.

Mass said the town also has to tackle the opioid addiction problem.

“I don’t have the answers, but I think the town should hire a part-time person in the Health Department to do outreach and connect with other resources,” he said.

Mass said his opponent’s idea to re-open a teen center is a good one. He said he would also like to see the town re-establish a youth commission.

Mass said he is not in favor of the town adopting the Community Preservation Act, because he said it will cost taxpayers even more each year. The CPA allows communities to charge a local surtax on property to spend on recreation, housing and historic preservation.

“We have one of the highest tax rates in the state,” said Mass. “I don’t want to see more burden put on our residents.”

Mass said he doesn’t believe party affiliation should be part of local politics because it is the issues that are important and how a candidate votes on them, not which political party they belong to.

“I have a track record and have been endorsed by people from different political parties,” said Mass, who is a Republican. “What’s important is that people I’ve represented in the past and people who I’ve worked with know me and know I don’t look at Greenfield’s issues with party eyes.”

Mass said he thinks the only town department that is underfunded is the Health Department and that is because of the enormous job it has ahead with the opioid problem.

“I think we need to put our efforts there right now,” he said. “I’d like to see a splash park and dog park and skate park, but we have to deal with other issues, too.”

He said if the town and its leaders stay focused, they can do everything, but they have to prioritize.

Mass said if elected, he will make sure that if he should vote to reject an appointment or reappointment to a town board, everyone will know why.

“I think the Council has to have an extraordinary reason for rejecting a mayoral appointee,” he said. “We have a lot of vacancies and I think we need to appreciate the people who are volunteering, not snipe at them.”

Mass was rejected late last year when the mayor tried to appoint him to the Planning Board. He said all appointments and reappointments should be based on merit.

Mass said he would like to see the part of the town’s charter that allows town councilors to vote themselves a raise be stricken.

“I don’t think it’s even in the spirit of our charter,” he said.

Mass said he would like to return to the Council to serve his community and have the opportunity to do what he believes is best for Greenfield.

Town elections will be held Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Guiding Star Grange Hall, 401 Chapman St.


Wisnewski wants teen service restored, larger senior center and new master plan implemented

Thursday, June 5, 2014

GREENFIELD — Town Council President Mark Wisnewski, who is running for re-election this year, says implementing the town’s new sustainable master plan, restoring teen services and finding a bigger space for seniors are three of the most important issues facing the town over the next three years. Wisnewski, 49, of Montague City Road, said after serving the council previously as … 0

I disagree Naumkeag13. Big box stores generate traffic, which will help local businesses. Right now, that traffic is leaving Greenfield to shop in Hadley or Keene because we have no affordable options in Greenfield. That traffic is shopping, having dinner, and enjoying entertainment options in those other areas instead of Greenfield. In regards to the wages, most of the workers are young kids or 2nd jobs for people. Management positions pay a decent wage for those looking to advance. And only profits leave the area. Wages paid to workers stay here. Taxes paid to the state and town stay here. And many box stores donate substantial amounts of money to local programs, such as Greenfield Home Depot's recent generous donation to the Greenfield Minor League baseball program. Greenfield needs a discount retailer in town. We need the tax revenues. We need the jobs. We need the attraction.

Big box stores have a negative effect on local businesses. This has proven to be destructive to other Massachusetts towns' local businesses. They provide low wage jobs, and money leaves the area. Not good for the region, retaining its local character: and certainly not good for businesses in Greenfield.

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