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Greenfield Criticizes Turf Field Foes

The selectman singled out David Van Dam and Dr. Lawrence Block for comments at Town Meeting that 'rubbed me wrong.'

 

Selectman Barry Greenfield criticized a fellow selectman, a member of the Board of Health and a local attorney Wednesday night for their comments at the recent Town Meeting.

Saying several things "rubbed me the wrong way," Greenfield told his fellow Selectmen that Dr. Lawrence Block, a member of the Board of Health, was outside his area of expertise as health board member when he criticized the financing of the proposed new artificial turf field. 

Greenfield, a strong supporter of the new artificial turf field, criticized Board of Selectmen Vice Chairman David Van Dam for calling Paul Gorman "a fundraiser" during his speech opposing the field. Gorman headed the private fundraising committee for the field.

"As selectmen, we have a responsibility to rise above the fray," Greenfield said.

The proposed $2.6 million artificial turf field, new stands and other improvements at Blocksidge Field failed by about 30 votes to win a two-thirds majority at Town Meeting.

Greenfield also criticized local attorney Bill DiMento for his comments that the Board of Selectmen do not have a plan to solve the town's flooding and infrastructure problems.

"Some people like DiMento have been around town for 10 or 20 years. I assume there was flooding then, but they did nothing. I don't think it is fair to put it on this board and not take responsibility for what they didn't do in all those years," Greenfield said. 

Chairman Rick Malagrifa interrupted Greenfield during his criticism of Van Dam and suggested he discuss the issue with his colleague privately.

During the meeting, Malagrifa tried to placate the upset selectmen by saying, "We are a board of five. As a board of five, the board's decisions are more powerful than we are as individuals. We do need each other. We can make a difference."

Van Dam declined to comment on Greenfield's comments during the meeting, but outside of Town Hall after the meeting the two men talked. Van Dam was overheard to say, "I am moving on to other issues."

Greenfield declined further comment after the meeting, except to say, "I got it off my chest."


Citizen Swamp May 24, 2012 at 10:31 AM
Thank you Mr. Greenfield. Chairman Malagrifa, if you truly are a "board of five", Selectman Van Dam would have made his case to his fellow members. When the Board decided to support the project Mr. Van Dam felt the need to circumvent at Town Meeting. Really lost all respect for him at that point. CS
Swampscott has the highest tax rate on the North Shore. Families, who are moving out of Swampscott, cite taxes as a major reason why they are moving. When there is spending of $2.5 million for a marginal reason, better football fields, people should not be surprised when it meets opposition. After the town approved the $3.5 million purchase of a building that is celebrated for being almost sold for $2.2 million, there needs to be demonstrable better fiscal management in the town, before large spending is made on questionable benefits. Let's have a couple of years of tax reduction before we take on spending on projects that are "nice to have."
Citizen Swamp May 24, 2012 at 12:13 PM
LM, Your lack of true understanding of this issue is pretty impressive. CS
Iris Goldman May 24, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Thank you, Mr. Greenfield', for also alleviating the frustration felt by many of your constituents by the insidious remarks made by Mr. Van Dam at Town Meeting!
Tom Plumbley May 24, 2012 at 05:57 PM
I don't understand what the problem is. Paul Gorman is a "fundraiser." That is exactly what he did to get the YMCA built. The only problem I see is "sourgrapes," from the side that didn't get their way.
George Chaisson May 25, 2012 at 01:21 PM
How to rise above the fray, Mr Greenfield. The facts are that the 100 year storms appear to be coming every couple of years. We who get water would like a solution. There is a buried brook under Paradise road that is settling. Just ask anyone on Paradise Rd. who has had to replace thier sewer line. The state says the problem is under the street therefore the towns problem. Drive down Paradise Rd and see the small depressions forming along the street. The side walks are either caving in or pushing up. Its this way all over town. So Mr. Greenfield like you said rise above the fray and get to the job of fixing the town.
Olaf Faeskorn May 25, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Couldn't agree more.
Olaf Faeskorn May 25, 2012 at 03:33 PM
What was "insidious" about Mr. Van Dam's remarks? That's a pretty strong accusation. As far as I could tell he was one of the few who was addressing the issue in a larger context and not through the narrow field of view of ra-ra team sports parents. We moved here despite the high tax rate and despite the childish obsession with Big Blue and despite the expensive yet mediocre schools.

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