Terra Friedrichs

& her local work in
Acton, Massachusetts

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THANK YOU!  to all those that helped with the "Re-Elect Terra" campaign!

To all of the folks that worked so hard on the campaign, people that let us put lawnsigns in their yards, supporters that donated money to the cause, wrote to the Beacon, donated materials, food, etc... And those
who came down and VOTED!

THANK YOU so much for helping with the campaign...and for offering me the opportunity to serve you!

As I sit here with a heavy heart for having lost the election, I also have so much joy for having met and worked with so many wonderful people, and having had the honor to serve you over the past 3 years (and
longer for some!).

One of the greatest things about this experience you've given me is that I felt that in some small way that I got to help people have hope.  And that's, to me, is a wonderful thing.  I used to be on a team of people
that produced major concerts.  And we'd work so hard on these shows...every waking hour.  We'd be posting flyers and writing ad copy and going on the radio and just about anything to "get the word out". The whole thing was so exciting and hopeful that a great festival would/could occur.  And it was always fun, in addition to the hard work.  And then when the show was done, and the equipment packed up and the trucks moving away down the road, we'd always look at each other and say, "OK, so now what?".

I've thought about that a lot since the election.  And I'm not sure what to say about "what's next".  But a lot of people have contacted me and hope that I will continue to advocate for the same things I always have.  I've already updated the website, for example, to reflect my on-going positions...www.terraforacton.com.

How much effort to put into Acton, specifically? That's what I have to decide. I probably will want to take on Senior Tax Relief in a bigger way. As I talked to people far and wide, that was one thing that stuck out as "the most critical need". So that might be my next thing. Also, deed restricting the apartment units on Rt2A, which might also be a form of senior tax relief. For a little while, though I just have to rest, and clean my desk and my house. And get myself dug out from under the lawnsigns, etc. But in the meantime, I didn't want to leave you without at least having a recap of what I believe I have accomplished over the past 3 years, so you can see how much your support has helped me. We have MUCH greater transparency. - Advanced Notice of Meetings. Because of my position as a Selectmen and the issues that I was having in my desire to have basic information about public meetings, I believe that my letters and phone calls to the Attorney General's office complaining helped us get the new Open Meeting Law constructs in place. I also pushed for the town to use the web for the official postings, saving on gas for those that would have to drive repeatedly to town hall to look at the paper postings to see if anything had changed. Now, you can actually see an agenda online two days before a meeting, and you can be notified of a meeting with a particular group. But just as important as the "basic" OML constructs, I believe that a "culture" has shifted in the volunteer and Town Hall staff community. I'm not sure what role I played in that, but after the past 3 years, it's considered pretty "normal" to gather up all of the documents expected to be used in a meeting and put them ONLINE for the public to access ahead of time. For fans of transparency, this is a great thing, and the staff should be repeatedly thanked for their efforts to do this. The public, neighbors, voters, et al, can review the documents ahead of time, which helps folks trust their government more, and helps improve processes by allowing more people to participate. In the "old days", not only couldn't you find out "where" a meeting was in time to actually go to it without haunting the Town Hall paper bulletin board every few hours, but you'd most often not get access to any of the documentation til it was too late to provide input before a vote. - Website. We also have seen pretty major upgrades to the town's online presence in the past three years. While the new Town Manager should be credited with allowing it to happen and funding it, I'd like you to know that I probably spent a hundred hours surfing the website, looking for and turning in inoperable links and/or suggesting improvements to both the website itself and the Docushare archiving system. I reorganized the Historic District Commission archives (as part of my HDC duties) as a "model" for how to manage data from development projects in "all" departments, in the hopes that other Town Hall organizations will adopt similar data organization constructs. Already I see that some of that is happening, perhaps because of my efforts. - Fiscal Planning. I believe that I was a strong voice in supporting longer term planning. Of course, the AVG has been the biggest collective voice. But I was a consistent voice at the BoS level, and I believe that helped the concepts sink in at the Executive Level. Has it helped us make better budget decisions...I'm not sure, but already the concept of budgeting "from actuals", and understanding the "turnback" long before it happens seems to be more popular. - Strategic Planning. While the vast majority at the executive level still have no idea what this means, I believe that I raised a lot of awareness about how our current policies impact future costs, safety, school size, water quality, etc. I participated in the "Cost Savings Subcommittee", which devised a way to "process" cost savings suggestions. This included a methodology for early estimation of the cost saving potential, and a plan for investigation and/or implementation. - Environmental/Green. We are MUCH greener as a town than 3 years ago. Mainly due to the societal shift that are taking place. But I believe I helped pave the way at the executive level, bringing in important topics to the table, for example that water safety/quality is tied to growth, that locally owned businesses are more "sustainable", that growth isn't necessarily good, etc etc. I had the opportunity to help setup important organizations, like Green Acton, the Green Advisory Board, and the Farmer's Market. And I consistently brought up "carbon cost" as something that we should consider. I also strongly and consistently advocated for open space. Not many OS fans understand how little support they have at the Executive Level. There's a "general philosophy" that OS is good and we should have more. But when it comes time to budget and/or to set policy, OS loses 99% of the time in my estimation. That's mainly because the Executive Level does not seem to understand how their policies impact the preservation of land. - Economic Development. While we didn't get much "done" this past term, we certainly positioned ourselves for success. And I believe that my work has helped in that regard, as we built a "business development" oriented team and started processes that appear to be able to nourish business for our town. - Senior Tax Relief. I believe that I was a major impetus for getting more attention on Senior Tax Relief, and for developing constructs for how to get more relief for Seniors. Know that we can give as much as we want right now, through "Clause 18". And we, as a bugeting entity choose not to give very much. $150,000 out of a budget of $80 million isn't very much. So I spent a lot of time understanding HOW to get seniors more relief, encouraging more people to apply so that Town Hall understands how great the need is, and getting them the information about what the programs are and how to apply. I also advocated that Town Hall devote more of the budget "to" Senior Tax Relief. I believe that this is planned for the future. - Community Gathering and Involvement. I pushed for the "opt-in" system on the town website to allow for regular email notifications for meetings and other community events. I started www.westacton.org to help folks find things to do...and helped with the Acton2020 Master Planning process, recruiting and getting many many people involved. Anyway, I could go on and on about "me". What do you like to do? What do you want to do next? Want to start a group? I'm resting right now... but email me next week! Thanks again for your support and encouragement... It's been a pleasure and an honor to serve you... Terra *~*~*~* Terra Friedrichs www.terraforacton.com
978 266 2778

2018 archived thank you

2011 archived thank you

2011 archived welcome 
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