[Ed note: My Southborough accepts signed letters to the editor submitted by Southborough residents. Letters may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.]
To the Editor:
Tonight is the first night of our Annual Town meeting. There are many important issues to be discussed and voted upon, and I encourage everyone to come out, listen to the issues, debate and vote. This is pure democracy at its best and your active participation in our town is encouraged and appreciated.
I’m back from my Army mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo and it’s great to be home. It was an amazing mission to a truly challenging place. I was proud to represent our Country and Town. I, along with 5 other military officers from each branch of service, helped train approximately 3,000 Congolese soldiers on subjects ranging from the Law of Armed Conflict, Human Rights and Gender Violence. I know we did a lot of good, and left those soldiers and that place better than we found it. You can and should be proud of the work your military does to help make our world a better and safer place to live.
While I was out of the country I understand some controversy was generated regarding election signs. I was sad to see the commentary about mine, especially when I knew and confirmed that there was no time restriction. My supporters and I started things when we did in large measure due to all the upcoming travel I needed to do. I was especially dismayed to see that all the misguided controversy started with a posting by someone using an alias. That person was critical of my signs and indicated he had left me a voicemail alerting me to that concern, likely in an effort to have me take my signs down. I only received one voicemail in that regard, and it was not from an alias, but rather, from Mr. Parry. So it was the pen of Mr. Parry who started all of the controversy, and it was he who was misinformed, and then through his posting using an alias, he misinformed others. He then had the audacity to post under his own name and concluded his post saying “It is not fair to pick on Mr. Kolenda when he is out of the country” and “please lay off a person who is not even here to respond.” Well I am here, and I do want to respond.
This is not about politics. It is about the truth. I have done nothing wrong, nothing other than serve my family, my town and my country, and all my supporters wanted to do before I left was put a sign in their own lawn. Mr. Parry, through an alias, started this by taking the low road, then under his own name tried to take the high road. It is not acceptable behavior for anyone, especially one who seeks to assume a position of significant authority in our Town. Governing is serious business that requires serious people. People who are committed to doing what is right for the entirety of our town, not their own personal agenda. I’m confident that the good people of Southborough are now seeing this more and more.
There has been a lot of discussion about the pending Main Street construction project, as there should be, but Mr. Parry continues to bemoan ‘State rules’ and ‘State funding’ and a ‘State plan.’ Well who is the State? It’s you and me and everyone else who lives in Southborough, State of Massachusetts. It’s our plan, and we will continue to work with our consultant and the people of Southborough, including through a new Working Group your Board is seeking to establish, to ensure that it’s the very best plan possible. Asphalt does not last forever, drainage does not last forever. With increased traffic comes the increased responsibility to move that traffic more efficiently and more safely through our town. New sidewalks and bike paths would also be welcome additions, and would enhance public safety. I believe responsible leadership does not vote in favor of an article at Town Meeting that will likely result in us losing almost $6,000,000 without making an effort to achieve a consensus on the design. If Mr. Parry’s articles pass, what then? Where is that money going to come from? It will come from the pockets of each and every taxpayer in our town, and it may come at the expense of doing other things, such as a new, much needed public safety building. Mr. Parry, who a mere few months ago aggressively urged me to support undergrounding as part of this project, now, with undergrounding removed, is completely against the project.
Mr. Parry, in a bizarre statement at one of our public meetings, misinformed the public and accused me of offering him $10,000 of your money to fund his article. Not only was that patently untrue, it is reflective of someone who cannot separate fact from fiction. Mr. Parry has no hesitation in threatening and belittling people to achieve his objective. I am aware of multiple groups and individuals he has attempted to strong arm to get his way. He even threatened me during a phone call that if I did not support his articles he would come out fully against me during my re-election. Well, I don’t respond to threats and these issues will not be resolved through threats and intimidation. I’ve served in a forward area in Iraq and I’ve been to the Democratic Republic of Congo, categorized by our government as Designated Receipt of Hostile Fire/Imminent Danger Area. Mr. Parry’s threats and hostile approach do not intimidate me as I will always do what I think best for the entirety of the town I love.
Chairman, Southborough Board of Selectman