Advocacy group outlines ‘progressive blueprint’ for Greenfield ahead of November mayoral election

By JULIAN MENDOZA

Staff Writer

Published: 07-09-2023 3:04 PM

GREENFIELD — With the city at what many would consider a political and cultural crossroads, members of the Progressive Blueprint for Greenfield, an independent advocacy group, took to the Greenfield Common on Saturday to communicate their mission to the public.

The group staffed an information table beginning at 10 a.m. to “establish avenues for the public to be actively, collaboratively involved in developing policy and budget priorities,” as described in their platform statement. Convened by members of Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution (FCCPR) and the Greenfield People’s Budget, the policy platform is “aimed at making Greenfield more affordable, inclusive and responsive to its residents’ needs and concerns” and looks to address “serious problems with city leadership, especially the mayor, the chief of police, certain members of the School Committee and the chair of the Board of Assessors.”

“The idea of the [Progressive Blueprint for Greenfield] is that we want to have some continuity and … some institutional memory about what has happened and what needs to happen,” said organizer Jon Magee. “I’m part of the Greenfield People’s Budget and our whole message from the beginning was that we want to have some kind of process for people in the community to say what they want and to get it. This is kind of a down payment on that. It’s the first effort to really start sending the power in the other direction: from the bottom up instead of the top down.”

“Since switching to a mayoral system in Greenfield, many people feel there has been less democracy,” added organizer Dave Cohen. “Before, the Selectboard would make decisions and they would have to do that in public. People could come at them and talk to them, but now, with the mayoral system, decisions are made behind closed doors, which has led to many problems in Greenfield since then.”

In their statement, the advocacy group calls for improved funding for Greenfield schools, a reassessment of what types of calls police respond to, development of a plan to make Greenfield a more affordable place to live and a collaboration with residents to ensure a thorough environmental cleanup of the former Lunt Silversmiths facility on Federal Street, among other proposals.

“No real progress is possible without basic changes to our city government,” the platform statement reads. “Greenfield deserves honesty, integrity and humility from its elected officials. We need our government working in our collective public interest.”

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

My Turn: Biden’s record and accomplishments are extremely positive
Athol principal selected as superintendent for Erving School Union 28
CDC considers dropping 5-day COVID isolation rule as local hospitals bring back mask requirements
Former Greenfield Police Chief Haigh: ‘I am forced to say goodbye’
Wilder Homestead restoration in Buckland moves to next phase with help from glass artist
Adding up the losses at Red Fire Farm: $1M in damages includes barn full of supplies and memories

Currently, the Progressive Blueprint for Greenfield “is really about leading with policy and proposals,” rather than endorsing any particular political candidate in advance of the Nov. 7 election, Magee clarified. He noted that the group will field public input over the coming months through methods including door-to-door interactions, as well as have candidates fill out a questionnaire to express their views on “a range of issues.” Afterward, upon consideration of this input, the group may decide to make specific endorsements, Magee concluded.

Nomination papers to run for mayor are still available at the City Clerk’s Office. The deadline to return papers with the required number of signatures from registered voters — in the case of mayor, 100 signatures are needed — is Tuesday, July 25, by 5 p.m.

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-930-4231 or jmendoza@recorder.com.

]]>