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5 letters backing Helmuth, Hurd for Select Board

Lenard Diggins of Windsor Street, a member of the Select Board, submitted this letter.

Eric Helmuth       Helmuth


Being in the perhaps unique position of having worked closely with Eric Helmuth, Jennifer Susse, and John Hurd over the course of the last year, I know that all three candidates care immensely about Arlington. Personally, I feel a great sense of gratitude to each of them. I also find myself with strong convictions as to which pair of candidates would be best for Arlington and its Select Board.

Focusing on the positives: working with John and Eric have been experiences that have increased my respect and affection for them. My respect for them has grown, because they are both calm and focused under intense pressure. Especially when there have been disagreements, they both have listened to my concerns along with the concerns of others, and they have helped me become a better person, Town Meeting member and selectman.

Their abilities to consider the needs of others and to care about those who are not like themselves have demonstrated to me how to be a more empathetic person. Their deep knowledge of the town and the issues that it faces as well as those issues that it has faced are invaluable to me as a Town Meeting member and a selectman. Thankfully and unsurprisingly, I am one of many who feel this way about Eric and John.

If John were reelected and Eric elected, I would look forward to working with them as friends and colleagues that I completely trust. They are already the kind of friends that I can count on to give me alternative points of view in ways that are both honest and respectful. I am proud to stand by their sides and to stand up for them, because I know that Arlington is already fortunate to have them both as contributing members of our town.

With them by my side and us supporting each other on the Select Board, I would feel even more confident in and more hopeful for Arlington's future.

This letter to the editor was published Saturday, April 3, 2021.

Dan Dunn of Alpine Street, an interim member of the Select Board, submitted this letter.

I'm voting for Eric Helmuth and John Hurd for Select Board, and I encourage you to vote for them as well.

Arlington is best served by leaders that work together. They don't have to always agree -- the opposite is true. The disagreements are where the improvements are made, where the proposals are made better.

The key is to "disagree without being disagreeable." It's a real talent to be able to make your case, listen, persuade, win or lose, and then move on to the next issue. Both Eric and John have shown me they can work well on a committee where not everyone agrees.  

To see how good Eric is at finding his way through controversy, look at Town Meeting's change to electronic voting ("the clicker"). Town Meeting is one of the longest traditions in town, and it doesn't change often. Eric shepherded the change through early proposal, the moderator, committee, full Town Meeting and finally implementation with town staff. That required a good ear, an ability to persuade, patience and persistence. The result has been higher attendance, greater accountability and more visibility into our town governance.

Since then, Eric has applied the same skills as chair of the Community Preservation Act Committee. The committee has solicited proposals, held hearings, allocated millions of dollars and received approval from Town Meeting. This process is vitally important for the town, as our values are expressed by our budget.

John, as the incumbent, needs less of an introduction. I've served with him for more than three years and found him to be an excellent Select Board member. We certainly did not agree on every issue, but he's a pleasure to work with. He deserves to be re-elected.

I hope you will join me and vote for Eric Helmuth and John Hurd on April 10.  

This letter to the editor was published Saturday, April 3, 2021.

Paul Schlichtman, a Precinct 9 Town Meeting member who also serves on the School Committee, submitted this letter.

In our system of town government, the Select Board is unlike municipal boards elsewhere in the nation. It is an administrative board, an executive board, one that has no legislative function but acts as if it is a board of fractional mayors.

Historically, town meetings made decisions, and they selected some men (it was the 18th century) to oversee the daily business for the town, hence the name Board of Selectmen. In 1920, when Arlington was home to 18,665 residents, we couldn’t fit every registered voter into Town Hall, so our legislative function moved to a 252-member representative Town Meeting. The task of running a town became too great for a part-time board, and Arlington delegated the day-to-day operations in the hands of a town manager in 1953.

The Select Board’s role is to lead the town where it wants to go. Its role is to present explanations and commentary to Town Meeting, and help our citizen legislature to make the best possible decisions for the town. It requires members to work together in concert, sharing the responsibilities of leading the town. We have a five-member board, instead of one mayor, in order to bring different experiences and different constituencies to the table.

I know and like all three candidates for the Select Board, and we are fortunate we can’t make a bad choice, but I am convinced the H and H team of Helmuth and Hurd is the best choice for Arlington in this month’s annual town election.

Eric Helmuth has the heart and soul of an excellent local official. He embodies the ethic of helping to lead the town where it wants to go, as he led the effort to bring electronic voting to Town Meeting. He brought folks together to amend our bylaws to permit the use of electronic voting, and worked tirelessly to bring the necessary technology to Town Hall. This is not a trivial achievement; it makes all 252 Town Meeting members responsive and accountable to voters. Voters can now study the votes of their representatives and make judgments based on their record, which leads to better decisions.

John Hurd is an attorney, with a small practice in Arlington Center. He looks at himself as a small-business owner and has worked to make our business districts viable. He has worked on traffic and parking issues in my Arlington Center neighborhood, building consensus for thoughtful policy that supports a thriving community. He is a Dallin School parent, with a commitment to our schools that included his leadership in funding a new Arlington High School. While he is a young parent, his family has a long record of service to Arlington, which gives him tremendous credibility communicating with long-time residents who made Arlington the welcoming place we have come to love.

Meanwhile, the School Committee race is uncontested, but Jane Morgan and Jeff Thielman are good friends and outstanding colleagues. They have earned your vote of confidence.

Local elections have the most influence on our day-to-day lives. Election Day is Saturday, April 10. You can find voting information at and candidate information on the League of Women Voters’ website, Please take the time to learn about the candidates and participate in shaping our town’s future.

This letter to the editor was published Thursday, April 1, 2021.

Stephen W. DeCourcey of Cheswick Road, a member of the Arlington Select Board, submitted this letter.

Arlington is fortunate to have three Select Board candidates who care deeply about our community. I write to recommend two of the candidates, John Hurd and Eric Helmuth, for
election this year.

I have served with John since 2019 and have seen firsthand the valuable contributions he has made to the Select Board. Over the past year, John has done an excellent job leading the board as its chairman. He has run meetings fairly and has been a leader in calling for positive change in our community. Within our subcommittee work together, John listens to residents and offers productive solutions to address their concerns. Finally, as a local business owner and the parent of two children in the Arlington Public Schools, John brings valuable perspectives to our work on the board.

I have known Eric since I first met him in 2013 following one of his first presentations regarding the implementation of electronic voting for Town Meeting. What struck me about Eric was his patience in building consensus for changes that many Town Meeting members were at first reluctant to embrace. Following the implementation of a pilot program, Eric led the discussion
in Town Meeting for full electronic voting in 2014, and we have never looked back. He has brought the same type of consensus building in his role on the town’s Community Preservation
Act Committee. Eric’s approach will be of great benefit to the Select Board and the town.

Please join me in voting for John Hurd for re-election and Eric Helmuth for election to the Select Board.

This opinion column was published Sunday, March 28, 2021.This letter to the editor was published Monday, March 29, 2021.

Kim and Mike Cayer of Newport Street, Arlington, submitted this letter.

We are writing to support Eric Helmuth and John Hurd for the two seats on the Arlington Select Board. Eric and John have both shown a true passion for the Town of Arlington and giving back to their community.

As the parents of three young adults who went through the Arlington public school system and longtime residents involved in the community, we are grateful for their commitment to our town.

We know Eric not only through his important work as a Town Meeting member and chair of Arlington’s Community Preservation Act, but also as a neighbor. His knowledge of how the town functions, coupled with his commitment to local action on such critical issues as climate change and affordable housing, will be a huge asset to Arlington.

Having known John and his family for years, we have been impressed by his time on the Select Board, including his critical work with the Arlington High School rebuild and the override required to make that long-needed project a reality. We know John will continue moving the projects forward that make Arlington the special place that it is.

We hope you will join us in casting your votes for Eric and John on April 10 (or before, if there is early voting).

This letter to the editor was published Monday, March 8, 2021.

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