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Letter to the Editor: In Defense of Bonish

Send your election letters to the editor to matthew.schooley@patch.com by Wednesday, April 20.

To The Editor,

In from earlier (this week) she makes several insinuations about my wife, Ginny Bonish, and I'd like to set the record straight.  She implies in her letter that because Ginny and her supporters are out holding signs on a Saturday morning that we're bad parents.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  For the record, Ginny & I cut short our sign-holding last Saturday to attend our son's baseball game who plays for Wilmington High.  Our 'crew' stayed until noon.  After the baseball game we both headed to Marblehead where our youngest son was in a basketball tournament (he had two games there).  Sign-holding is not an indication of being a bad parent - it's a sign of a candidate who has shown leadership and organizational skills to form a well run committee of individuals who believe she is the most qualified candidate.

Ms. O'Mahony next implied that the first thing Ginny did was to go find political allies.  This is simply not true.  Like her candidate, Ginny also did her homework.  She met with many people in town before she decided to run so that she could make an informed decision.  After deciding to run she earned the support of many in town who looked at her education (Boston College grad), her work experience (Tufts University - 19 years), her parental experience (1 graduate of WHS who is currently a sophomore at UMass/Amherst, a senior at WHS who will attend Tufts University in the Fall, and a 6th grader at the Wilmington Middle School), and her volunteerism (3 years on the Wilmington High School Council among other things).  I can honestly say I would be impressed by her qualifications even if she wasn't my wife.

Ms. O'Mahony has her candidate and that's fine.  I wish every election in this town was contested.  But her snide remarks and insinuations have no place in any election, and frankly I'm surprised she has stooped so low since she has never met Ginny.  I would also ask the voters of Wilmington to do their homework.  In addition to looking at one debate where each candidate spoke for less than 20 minutes, you, the voters should check out each candidate's experience and record and ask yourself one question: Which candidate has the best qualifications and experience to help the children of Wilmington?

You can check out Ginny's website at:
http://ginnybonish.web.officelive.com 

Robert Hayes April 20, 2011 at 02:08 AM
From the January 31 School Committee Meeting Minutes: Mr. Robert Hayes asked Mr. Mahoney if he had thoughts on the IPAD program that is being implemented at Burlington High School. Mr. Mahoney stated that the program is in its beginning stages; we work closely with Burlington and they will share feedback with us.
Robert Hayes April 20, 2011 at 02:28 AM
Christine: I agree 100% with everything Leslee has said. She knows her stuff. Mr. Ellis is going to tell her the same thing he told me at the district's last Technology Task Force Meeting when the question was raised -- (1) the current high school DOES NOT have the wireless infrasturcture to handle a 1:1 program and (2) any such plan is on hold until the future of the current building is decided. Having a CIPA-compliant firewall and the likely need for more technicians on staff (with, presumably, 950 students bringing in a laptop -- or something similar) would also need to be part of the discussion. Most importantly, however, would be the necessary "buy-in" from students, parents, teachers, staff and the greater community.
Robert Hayes April 20, 2011 at 03:16 AM
SignHolder: All things considered, I think Ginny did a good job at the debate. I think all current school committee members will attest to the fact that their first debate (or - in my case - 5 minutes talking to a camera) is NOT easy. What Ginny may have been lacking in style, she made up for in substance, especially on the more reasonable questions. The new anti-bullying law IS an unfunded mandate. Keeping special education students in-district when possible; elimination of positions through attrition; and the switch to a new sports conference WILL reduce costs. Her desire to wait for the findings of the Feasibility Study before making up her mind on the high school project makes sense. The School Committee IS transparent in the sense that meeting minutes & agendas are online; the public can speak on the agenda during "delegations" (now called "public comments"; the public can request an agenda item; etc. (I also agree with Mr. Sagal - "transparency" is in the eye of the beholder.) Absolutely, some of these questions caught participants off guard -- health insurance plan design and sick leave buyback come to mind - and answers from ALL candidates on these questions weren't very smooth. I've heard a lot of negative feedback about some of the press's questions. No disrepect as I love all my local news sources, but why are some papers (e.g., Sun, Advocate) invited to ask questions when their reporters don't even bother covering the School Committee meetings?
LocalGuy April 20, 2011 at 10:27 AM
Bob : Thanks for your Agreement with regard to the debate. In future debates, perhaps the school committee can help to direct the media and thereby create a debate that asks questions of the candidates that will reveal how they think about items that will come up in committee. We know that Ginny will be a great addition to the board. I encourage all to get out and vote. Everyone can make a difference in this town. It's just a matter of getting down to the polls and VOTING. More importantly - with regard to my sign holding - I'd also just like to let people know that the key aspect of holding a sign is to lean it on the ground at roughly a 60 degree angle - 45 degrees is too low. The hand wave is critical. The finger point can be a bit intrusive. I prefer to give the "open hand" wave. Two sided signs provide double the exposure for candidates...... gotta run. See you 'round.
J T April 20, 2011 at 12:32 PM
Mr Bonish, I have read Mrs O'Mahony's letter and I have to honestly say that I found your response to be quite strange and somewhat disturbing. Mrs O'Mahony does not imply anything in her letter, that is insulting to anyone, nor does she mentioned any names, yet you are sure that she is speaking about your wife. Why do you think that sir? The letter is about Manny Mulas and her support towards his campaign, that's it. Mrs O'Mahony is one of the nicest people in this town and is involved in many charity organizations that provide help to the needy in this community. I felt your response was mean spirited and hurtful towards Mrs O'Mahony and deserving of an apology. As far as the debate goes, you make a comment that the candidates only spoke for less than 20 minutes each, making it seem like the debate was a farce. Well sir, all the candidates had the same time, were asked the same questions and I can imagine that all had the same stress level being in front of an audience/live TV. Do you think that being in a school committee meeting discussing a $70 million High School will be will be any less stressful? How a candidate performs during these debates, whether it is school committee, or any other office, tells a lot of how they will handle stressful situation when they come up and how they will lead. I think that all voters should watch the debate and watch the candidates discuss the issues. http://vimeo.com/22047698 Not listen to what someone else thinks about them.
John Bonish April 20, 2011 at 02:51 PM
Please re-read my original letter as to why I am sure Ms. O'Mahony is speaking about my wife. I simply can't make it any clearer. If you can’t understand what I am saying then let's just agree to disagree and move on. As far as Ms. O'Mahony being one of the nicest people in town, that may be true - I have heard about her charitable work in town and I commend her for that. I was simply defending my wife as I'm sure you would defend your spouse given a similar circumstance. Ginny Bonish is also one of the nicest people in town who has donated her time, efforts, and money to charity over the years. As for the debate, I NEVER said it was a farce; the word FARCE describing the debate was used in another posting by another person. I simply said that in addition to looking at the debate one should look at all of the candidates' qualifications: their education, work experience, volunteer record in town, and parental experience. I believe that one's 20-year resume is MUCH more important than a debate where each candidate spoke for under 20 minutes. Don't you agree? When you look at Ginny's complete record you should agree that she deserves one of your votes. As to your question about the debate being more stressful than a school committee meeting - I hope you're not serious! I'll simply ask you to read current School Committee member Robert Hayes' post from 11:16 last night to answer that question. He knows firsthand. See Ginny's website at http://ginnybonish.web.officelive.com
Karl Ian Sagal April 20, 2011 at 04:25 PM
In simple response to Mr. Hayes' comment about the reporter for the cryer. I believe that she was a valid questioner, and she covers Wilmington well for the Cryer, mostly the selectmen meetings, and not so much the School Committee, and I think this is because she is on the Tewksbury School Committee. There are also a series of questions running in the Cryer for weeks now, asking both Selectmen candidates and School Committee Candidates about ongoing topics. Also, I believe that none of the people on the pannel for the press wrote their own stories about that debate. I can see how it would be awkward to be on the pannel and then report about it. I do not like to see these discussions diminish themselves into throwing accusations around. All of my fellow candidates are (or at least seem to me) to be intelligent, caring citizens and parents, and the choice that voters make will not be so much on avoiding the person who cannot do the job, but much more on choosing the person who will best represent their views and interests. Let's keep it positive. Lastly, on the new school being more wireless than the old school, Wow! All that equipment is added hardware. The old school is just as wireless as any other building in town. Wireless means without wires. What we are really talking about are small transmitters (routers, modems) and the infrastructure to make it all work. The capacity to make connections to 900+ computers at the same time is the expensive part
Karl Ian Sagal April 20, 2011 at 04:31 PM
The capacity to make connections to 900+ computers, with security, at the same time is the expensive part, as well as the ability to have them be PRODUCTIVE. It is not enough to simply have the capacity, it also is important to have the expense be worth the investment, but adding new tools and capacities to the curriculum. I believe this is an area worthy of investigating, but it is a completely separate topic from the building of a new building, or adding onto the old, in my opinion. That kind of technology is far more than simply more hardware, it requires staffing, time, and a coordinated vision. I would love to see this concept continue to develop.
Wellcare Chiropractic Center April 20, 2011 at 05:15 PM
Just a grammatical edit to my reply: the word I meant to use was moot not mute. - LQ
Robert Hayes April 21, 2011 at 04:22 AM
Mr. Sagal: You’ve attended the same amount of School Committee Meetings in the past two months than all four papers have combined in the past year. If I’m off, I’m not off by much. Don’t your dare get me in trouble with Jayne Miller! (Just joking) For the record, I was not referring to the Wilmington Town Crier (or the Wilmington Patch) when I wrote “why are some papers (e.g., Sun, Advocate) invited to ask questions when their reporters don’t even bother covering the School Committee meetings?” I know Jayne Miller quite well – I am an admirer of her work on the Tewksbury School Committee (I work in Tewksbury and, for that matter, follow most of Wilmington’s neighboring school committees); I have discussed school committee issues with her on numerous occasions; and I even had lunch with her at the Massachusetts Association of School Committee’s Annual Conference. To the extent that an elected official and a reporter can be “friends,” I consider her a “friend.” (Must mean she’s doing a good job as a reporter or I’m just that naive!) I know the Tewksbury School Committee regularly meets on the same night & time as the Wilmington School Committee. Given her background, I couldn’t think of any local reporter MORE qualified to ask questions to school committee candidates than Jayne Miller. Despite missing the meetings, she still covers the committee by reviewing minutes, conducting interviews, and (I presume) watching replays.
Karl Ian Sagal April 21, 2011 at 12:08 PM
Mr. Hayes, I am glad we see eye to eye on Jayne, and while I did not want to mention her by name, I felt the need to rise to her defense from your blanket criticism of the press in general. In reality, I understand your comments, do not substantially disagree, but wanted to cull Jayne from the crowd. I am also glad that we can keep this at a cool, conversational tone, as opposed to some of the negative vitriol that has become so common. It is a pleasure to converse with someone who is capable, as well as one who contributed so positively to our community. Thank you for your service, and good luck into the future. In recap, Jayne=good. All the others= ? Well, they're on their own. Some rise, some fall, but all on their own merit. Karl Sagal
Manny Mulas April 21, 2011 at 04:18 PM
Over the past few weeks, I along with my two girls, wife Sarah and supporters have been working hard to reach out to voters via the internet, flyers, phones and face to face. I am humbled by the amount of support that I have received from the people of this great town. I enjoyed the debate, writing responses to questions, and meeting new people, I also enjoyed meeting all the candidates, I have the upmost respect for all of them. I ask all of you not to get caught up in the nonsense that has been posted over the past few days. Those of you who have posted negative comments in this and other threads, should be ashamed, it has no place in education. Please dont forget to vote on April 23rd for the candidate that YOU feel is most qualified. Form your own opinion. I am thankful that we have 5 qualified candidates that are willing take time out of their busy lives to volunteer to serve the town of Wilmington, which I absolutely love. Do your homework,learn about the candidates, read the answers to the questions in the Crier, and watch the debate http://vimeo.com/22047698 to form your own opinion of who you should vote for. The fact that we have this kind of community involvement is what I love about this town, and that's why I decided to run for School committee. We all live in this small community, lets focus on the positive.
LocalGuy April 21, 2011 at 11:10 PM
Manny, First I say ......Wow..."there you go again "with the watch the debate. Enough. Secondly, who are you to judge commentary as being "negative" or "positive" ? Comments made within this open forum are opinions. That's what commentary is. Dictionary.com defines opinion as follows : "A belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty." For you to suggest than anyone that comments in an open public forum should be "ashamed" is a bit alarming. I would never be ashamed of my opinions. Your judgments about commentary are your opinions and certainly you're entitled to your own opinions, but to suggest that anyone should be "ashamed" is a bit too much......... in my opinion !
Michael April 22, 2011 at 02:59 AM
SignHolder, I agree with Mr. Mulas. People need to view the debate. Why don’t you want people to view the debate? The debate is our best opportunity to see the candidates answering questions about the topics of the schools and school committee. I also agree with Mr. Mulas regarding the negative comments. People posting negative comments should be ashamed. That’s what makes his candidacy so refreshing and why he has the support of so many parents with children in the schools. Negative comments are not necessary. It is important for candidates and their supporters to be positive, especially those running for school committee. We would only expect that much from the children. Stay positive!!!
Betty April 22, 2011 at 03:22 AM
I don't think sign holder is saying not to watch the debate; I believe he is saying that it's not the end all be all and should be judged along with many other qualifications. If one candidate is relying on one debate for his whole campaign then that says to me that that's his only bullet point and it's simply not enough. I'm glad the candidate I am supporting has a heck of a lot more substance than a 15 minute debate. Let's face it, a good record, volunteerism, and actions speak louder than words.
Michael April 22, 2011 at 04:08 AM
Betty, I think you may be confused. The debate I was writing about lasted over an hour and allowed all of the candidates a fair and equitable amount of time to answer questions. It was the debate for Wilmington School Committee. If you were talking about that debate and just trying to minimize the issues on the debate that is your right. However, I will not minimize anything to do with the schools or the children it serves. Again we must stay positive when discussing the schools and children. Many news sources as well as all of the candidates for school committee, as well as selectman took the time to volunteer to be a part of that event. The debate gives the voters opportunity to see the candidates answering questions about the schools and the issues before the school committee. I would encourage you to stay positive as well. Please don’t minimize what these people are doing. All of the candidates deserve that much. I think Mr. Mulas did a great job. That is why he has the votes of many parents with children in the schools. Stay positive!!
LocalGuy April 22, 2011 at 11:56 AM
Michael , I repeat my comments - somehow Manny and his supporters have now engaged in the "stay positive" rhetoric. As I mentioned earlier judging commentary to be negative or positive refutes opinion. When you're in a meeting with other school committee members there are going to be situations where you have to be assertive. You may have to stand up for what you believe to be right, even though it may be unpopular. Weak candidates that are not able to debate the issues may resort to finger pointing and labeling the other side as negative. The initial commentary by Mrs. Mahony clearly suggested that Manny's supporters were too busy to be holding signs. Bonish supporters felt strongly enough about their candidate to find the time to both hold signs and take care of parental responsibilities. That's positive !
Martha Mann April 22, 2011 at 12:24 PM
I agree with you Signholder. Everyone I talk to says the letter Mrs. O'Mahony wrote definitely implied that Mulas supporters are too busy to campaign for their candidate. From what I hear, Mr. Mulas has been too busy for more than a decade to even vote in a single Wilmington town election. Is that true, Mr. Mulas?
Jillian April 22, 2011 at 01:20 PM
I’m sorry SignHolder and Martha, I have to agree with Michael on this one. You have to be positive. There is nothing more important in education than staying positive. When all is said and done it is about kids and not about negative comments. Kids need adults who are going to lead in a positive manner, not tear each other down. You have the right to call it “Positive Rhetoric.” I would call it positive attitude and a strong, assertive look toward the future. There is nothing more important than a positive attitude. Mr. Mulas is encouraging people to watch the debate because it gives people the opportunity to see the candidates giving a positive message. That is a good message. I would also say that Mr. Mulas is positive. I would also ask that you refrain from tearing down Mrs. O’Mahony. If all you got from Mrs. O’Mahony’s letter to the editor was sign holding than you are looking at it in a negative manner. She was trying to let voters know the candidate she supports, Mr. Mulas. That is positive. Kids do not need negativity and adults don’t either. You need to be positive. The election is only a day away.
LocalGuy April 22, 2011 at 01:49 PM
I'm positive that Ginny is the most qualified candidate. I'm positive that Ginny has run a clean campaign and has not engaged in "mudslinging". I'm positive that Ginny cares about the kids. I'm positive that Ginny has been actively voting in town elections. I'm positive that Ginny has significant experience with the Wilmington School System. I'm positive that Ginny will make excellent thoughtful decisions when elected. I'm positive that Ginny will win tomorrow. Is that positive enough ?
Michael April 22, 2011 at 02:54 PM
It is nice to finally hear that you are taking a positive approach now. I am happy that we were able to convince you to be positive. It is important to be positive when discussing issues revolving around children. I would direct you to the view the debate. Mr. Mulas had a meet and greet this week that was very well attended. I also understand that he will be out and about Saturday, as will all of the candidates. If you have the opportunity speak with him, ask him some questions. Once again I am glad we were able to convince you to be positive. I only hope now that we can convince you just as easily to Vote for Mr. Mulas. Good Luck and Stay Positive and assertive.
LocalGuy April 22, 2011 at 04:44 PM
Mr Positive,.......er Michael.... Thanks for your kind words in this most positive of positive campaigns..... Now that Manny and his supporters have decided that positivity is the most important qualification for a school committee member. You still can't convince me to vote for Manny. Nice try though. I vote based on qualifications and experience and I'm POSITIVE that Ginny trumps Manny on all counts. Oh Yeah ...... Please remind Manny to not forget to vote !
Brian April 22, 2011 at 05:59 PM
Bottom line is, all 5 candidates have their strong points. I really think it's a solid 5 candidates for the two seats on the Wilmington School Committee. My prediction is that Ginny Bonish will get the most votes of the five. I did watch the debate and I thought that hands down, Leslee Quick was the most knowledgeable candidate. Hopefully, she doesn't come up short tomorrow, though. As I said, I think any of the 5 candidates would do a good job. Good luck to all.
Red April 22, 2011 at 09:24 PM
I have remained silent on this thread up until this point, but I cannot take it anymore. I am not a “political” person at all, but I cannot stand by here and listen to various comments bashing a good friend of mine. Unfortunately, assumptions have been made, and words have been twisted to make Mrs. O’Mahony look like she was saying something that she certainly was not. She was supporting a friend, period, end of story. She wasn’t pointing fingers, and she CERTAINLY was NOT calling anyone a bad parent. It is unfortunate that this election for school committee has taken an “ugly” turn. As a parent of 3 young children, I agree with others on this thread that this discussion needs to refocus and get back to what is important, the future of our children’s education! I am a supporter of Manny Mulas, and would like to say that he is having a quite successful “viral campaign”. He does have plenty of “signholders” on social networking websites. There are various different ways to promote a candidate. Mrs. Bonish has even submitted a letter to this website suggesting to her supporters to “end this line of discussion”, so if you support her, support her by honoring this request as well. I respect Mrs. Bonish for that. Read the Crier, and yes, look at the debate….form your own opinion. Most importantly, get out and vote on Saturday!
LocalGuy April 22, 2011 at 10:19 PM
Rest assured. I will vote. Let's talk qualifications and experience then...... 1. 3 Children that have attended Elementary, Middle, and High Schools in Wilmington. 2. Graduate of Boston College with a degree in Math 3. 3 Year member on the Wilmington High School Council Qualifications talk......
David O'Mahony April 22, 2011 at 11:06 PM
Manny Mulas passionately believes in the importance of public education. He is a good man and a good friend. I also know Leslee Quick and I believe that she has done a good job on the School Committee and is deserving of a vote. I don't know the other candidates for School Committee personally, but I respect their desire to perform this public service and their willingness to subject themselves to the public scrutiny that follows. I have no respect for people who use the anonymity of public forums, such as this one, to score political points by exhibiting a mean-spiritedness, and a pathological flare for sarcasm, that would not be tolerated in person. I hesitated to comment on my wife's post at length, but I feel compelled to leave the readers of this thread with the following 2 observations:
David O'Mahony April 22, 2011 at 11:07 PM
1) I distinctly remember the genesis of my wife's observation about holding signs and it did not come from a belief that people who hold political signs are bad or neglectful parents - it came from our own experience of looking at our Saturday schedules and comparing the demands on our time with that of our friends who have kids of about the same age. Jomarie and I have four kids between the ages of one and eight. On Saturdays, we have dance, soccer, baseball, softball, karate and we run our own small businesses in town. I don't know the circumstances of the other people supporting other candidates, but I do know that our friends, including the people supporting Manny, tend to have children of about the same age with similar demands on their time. That is what Jomarie had in mind when she made her comment and anyone who thinks otherwise is just plain wrong.
David O'Mahony April 22, 2011 at 11:07 PM
2) Regarding her comment about Manny not seeking out "political allies," again, she was speaking about what Manny did - not what anybody else did or did not do. In point of fact, Jomarie and I know and respect many of the elected officials who are supporting Ginny and I'd imagine that Ginny and Manny have more in common than this dust up would indicate. Jomarie’s intent in making that comment was to show that Manny was focused on the schools first, and politics second. Perhaps all of the candidates share that attribute. As I mentioned, Jomarie and I don't know the other candidates (besides Leslee Quick) - we only know Manny in this regard and can only speak to what we know. I hope this clears up some of the misconceptions about my wife's letter.
Karl Ian Sagal April 23, 2011 at 12:12 AM
So JCTJCC, Are you saying that you agree it is not about spending money on a new building, but rather making sure that the educational process is best supported? That people are so concerned about the building itself, they are missing the point that it is supposed to be about the education, not the stuff. If so, I agree.
Robert Hayes April 23, 2011 at 02:35 AM
I wish all School Committee candidates the best of luck tomorrow! I wish I was able to cast at least three votes. Those who know me know where my two votes are going. If you’re a Bonish supporter and your “second choice” is Quick, please vote Quick with your second vote. If you’re a Mulas supporter and your “second choice” is Quick, please vote Quick with your second vote. You certainly have the right to just cast one vote, but three years of exemplary service should be rewarded!

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