Pay attention to what Bedford candidates are saying

To the Editor:

In just a matter of days, Bedford voters will go to the polls on March 11 to decide the outcome of the 2014 town election.

Is it a monumental election? It is if you want to see better roads in Bedford, since the approval or defeat of the $30 million road bond will dictate when and how our roads will be improved. And it is if you believe that our growing town needs an expanded fire department to better respond to our growing population’s medical needs.

Other than those two big issues, there’s not a heck of a lot that we can do about significantly affecting what will happen in Bedford during 2014. And that includes affecting how much money will be spent by the Bedford School District. There’s mounting displeasure by a growing number of residents of all ages who believe that school spending has reached a breaking point, and who are enraged over another big increase in our taxes due to the proposed school budget.

But even if the proposed budget is defeated at the polls, the automatically activated default budget does not reduce school spending by much. If the resulting budget cuts are selected by prioritizing “needs” over “wants,” there is no danger that the quality of Bedford education will be diminished.

So that leaves us with the selection of candidates who will be elected, most notably, the candidates who will be picked to fill two openings on the Town Council and two on the School Board. Each of those two governmental bodies have a candidate who is seeking re-election – Chris Bandazian to the Council, Bill Foote to the School Board. Both men have done a good job in their respective seats, so it’s likely that voters will return them.

So, that leaves a three-way race for the remaining School Board seat, and a three-way race for that on the Town Council. One of the council candidates, David Coles, is a complete mystery man to most of us since he has remained invisible and silent, and did not participate in any available forums for candidates to introduce themselves and their views to Bedford voters. Thus for all intents and purposes, we can choose one of two candidates for Town Council – Jim Aguiar or Matt Philips – and one of three candidates for School Board – Aaron Day, Bill Kassler or Jen DeAngelis.

While the candidates themselves have not engaged in any “dirty politics”, things nevertheless have gotten nasty in Bedford as their motivations have been questioned,and their political philosophies have been slammed. The Town Election is nonpartisan, thus we should not consider political affiliations when casting our votes. What we must do, however, is carefully listen to the words of candidates with regard to their views on the subjects that they will face and deliberate if elected.

I, for one, am extremely concerned about candidate views on how my taxpayer dollars will be spent. I listen carefully to learn if they are unabashed supporters of the status quo, or if they are genuinely willing to poke below the surface of things to discover how many noncritical “wants” are being satisfied to the detriment of not fixing other truly critical “needs” of our whole town.

I am especially interested in not electing a cheerleader to our School Board who seems incapable of actually lowering our school taxes, but instead thinks that all school spending is sacrosanct and absolutely necessary.

I urge Bedford voters to hear and to analyze the words of the candidates and to vote for those who will protect our wallets. I urge you to filter out purported negatives being circulated about some candidates, and to instead focus on whether or not they have the potential to eventually price you out of Bedford.

KATHY BENUCK

Bedford