Social and Political Commentary

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At Pine Banks, "the means justify the ends"

... the other side of that five million dollar coin ...

from Parks Councilman Myron F, Dittmer, Jr.

To the editor of the Melrose Mirror:

A Response to Joe Sullivan’s Article “The City’s Five Million Dollar Switch”

I have read Joe’s article dated Sept. 6, 2013, and although, I agree with most of what Joe describes, some of
his points are misleading. I wish to present another viewpoint on this important discussion as he described in his recent article.

I fully agree with Joe’s last sentence in his article, “Passing legislation should not be based on secret
agreements between our Mayor and Aldermen.” Sadly, Mayor Dolan has a habit of doing things like this beyond the public view. A recent example of this is when he secretly allowed 5 aldermen to join the GIC health system at a cost of about $60,000 to the citizens of Melrose without ever a formal vote or public discussion even though the Board of Aldermen technically work part time. What’s even more disturbing is to think that he did not even deem it necessary to bring this before the public for their input or
opinion.

However, once the major field project and plans for Melrose and Pine Banks were fully disclosed, there were
countless meetings for the citizens of Melrose and Malden to attend and actively participate in the decision-making process and to voice their opinions for and against. Both Joe and I were active participants of this process during many months of these
meetings.

Other areas of agreement concern the neglected needs at Mount Hood Memorial Park, where there have been major
deterioration of cookout areas and hiking trails throughout the park although some upgrades to the trails have been made within past year or two. Other areas of improvement needed concern the lack of vandal-proof benches and picnic tables which would encourage more citizen use of the park.

However, points of disagreement I have with Joe’s article are as follows:

Joe points out that the 5.2 million dollars the city spent on fields at Melrose High School fields and Pine
Banks was not spent wisely and that the track team “came out on the short end of the deal”, since they do not have stands or shower facilities at the new track at Pine Banks. This is a phony issue given that the track team now for the first time in its history has a collegiate-sanctioned track with which to compete with other towns and cities! From all reports, the Melrose track team loves using this new professional track and so do the parents who enjoy watching the games from their lawn chairs!

Joe neglects to point out that the Melrose Park Commission was going to spend about 5-6 million dollars to build
one small soccer field at Mount Hood Park which would have destroyed 10 acres of parkland before the Mayor stepped in to provide an alternate plan. This alternate plan prevented the destruction of parkland, allowed a collegiate-level track and field facility and new softball complex at Pine Banks, as well as an overhaul of the baseball and football fields at Melrose High School. How could anyone disagree with the decision to move ahead with this project given the benefit to both communities,
no tax dollars used, saving parkland, and an effective use of Mount Hood monies?

Unlike Joe, I believe that this deal may be one example where the means justify the ends!

Myron F, Dittmer, Jr.
93 Altamont Avenue
Melrose, MA 02176
Tele: 7810665-8172



October 4, 2013




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