Minutes May 21, 2023

Meeting Attendees:  All FDC members listed, those in BOLD were present:


Members: Lori Bornstein, Christopher Broyles, Tracey Bryant, Jeanne Bullock, Jerry Desilets,  Patrick Dunne, Mary Kate Feeney,  Barbara Fontes,  Adam Freudberg,  Kurt Fusaris, Linda Fields, Danielle Gregoire,  Audrey Hall, Jim Hansen , , Rosamond Hooper-Hamersley, Beverly Hugo,  Mike Hugo, Shahid Khan,  Ohad Klopman, Doug Lawrence, Barbara LeDuc,  Caraline Levy, Chris Lorant, Jack Patrick Lewis, David Magnani, Tom Mahoney, Betty Muto, Kathie McCarthy, Amanda Northrup, Phil Ottaviani, Cindy Rubin, Margareth Shepard,  Norma Shulman,  Ravi Simon, Priscila Sousa, Yvonne SpicerAdam Steiner, John Stefanini, Cesar Stewart-Morales, Jim Stockless,  Larry Stoodt, Cheryl Tully-Stoll,  Parwez Wahid,  Mel Warshaw 


Associate Members:  Rob Adamson, Kalee Balde, Maureen Dunne, Ricky Finlay, Karen Garafolo, David Gordon, Tilia Klebenov Jacobs, William LaBarge, Diane Markowitz, Isabella Petroni, Joan Rastani, Pamela Roberts, Brandon Ward, Joel Winett, Brooke Harvey, Leslie White Harvey


Guests: Robert A Trembley


7:00 – 7:05 Reading of the Mission Statement – Rozzy Hooper-Hamersley

7:05 – 7:10    Welcome and preliminary announcements – Cesar Stewart-Morales

Summer Meeting Schedule

7:10 – 7:20 Treasurer’s Report – Larry Stoodt

7:20 – 7:30 Acceptance of Minutes – Doug Lawrence – April 2023

7:30 – 8:00 Framingham Schools topics:  Book Bans, Busing & other topics, followed by Q&A

Superintendent Robert A Tremblay

8:00 – 8:10 FDC Member Election

  1. Nominations for vacancy (second vacancy)
  2. Vote on nominations made at prior meeting (first vacancy)

8:10 – 8:30 Reports from City Council, School Committee, and Mayor

8:30 – 8:45 Reports from our Legislative Delegation 

8:45 – 8:50 Reports from State Dem Committee: Norma Shulman, Parwez Wahid, Kathie McCarthy

8:50 – 9:05 Sub – Committee Reports    

Civics Education – Beverly Hugo

Legislative Subcommittee – Audrey Hall

Environmental – Larry Stoodt

Communications – Jim Hansen

Programming – Rozzy Hooper-Hamersley

ByLaws – Mel Warshaw:  new PR policy bylaw

9:05 – 9:10 Caucus Update: Parwez Wahid

9:10 – 9:15 Announcements – from members, future events, etc.

9:10 Adjourn


Meeting was called to order at 7:03   PM by Cesar Stewart-Morales and Rosamund Hooper-Hamerlsey


Remarks from the Chair:  Cesar Stewart-Morales covered the agenda, welcomed attendees, looking forward to our discussion with Guest Speaker, Mr Trembley


Reading of Mission Statement:  Rosamund Hooper-Hamersley


Treasurer’s Report – Larry Stoodt


Dues are DUE!


Opening Bank Balance   3709.88   4/23 Opening balance from April


+  $223.15 in dues paid (8 persons)


  • 1.62  Act Blue
  • 0.87  Act Blue


+ 3910.54. Ending Balance in May


Motion to approve treasurer’s report:    Chris Lorant, Kathie McCarthy seconded.   Passed by acclamation.  Larry abstains as always.


It was noted that 2023 Dues are required to be paid by April 30th.


  •  Dues are $20 Member /$15 Associate.  You can pay by Act Blue, or cash but check is preferred, to save the $0.79 Act Blue admin fee (to offset the cost of ActBlue, please increase your donation to $21.00)


  • please mail your 2023 dues to Larry Stoodt at 615 Belknap Road, Framingham, MA 01701.


Acceptance of Prior FDC Monthly Meeting Minutes – Doug Lawrence.      

One correction made to show Leslie White Harvey DID attend in April.


Motion to approve March Minutes: Chris Lorant, Kathie McCarthy seconded.    


Speaker:   Dr Robert A. Trembley, introduced by Rozzy Hooper Hamersley

Superintendent turnover…average turnover 2.7 years prior to the pandemic.   Makes long term thinking hard in high turnover districts as decisions keep getting delayed.  Layer that with public unrest, and controversial topics such as critical race theory, BLM, etc.  Framingham Schools, new strategic plan will cover 7 years, thru 2030 to allow major project planning, new south side school.   Need to reduce bus transport requirements while being fair to all students.  Unlike many Mass schools, Framingham is not experiencing declining enrollment, so we offer many more electives and a richer curriculum.   Overcrowding in the schools is an issue.   No forecast today for a new high school, so we seek to more fully use our existing building.  The new Waltham high school is $400M due to a more complex facility to support a movement back to vocational education.   There is a general trend to reintegrate votech back into main high schools around the country.    Can we have a second shift for certain activities?  Use cafeteria for dinners so we can continue into the evening?   


Environmental:  Solar panels at 2 schools should come on line by end of June.   Geothermal is under way in the City.  Will grow some of our own vegetables in garden beds.  We are tracking paper use in term of trees consumed, report monthly to principles how may trees we consume (175-200 trees per month).    More impactful than number of trees.  Have added EV charging stations, still being installed.


Rozzy Q:   Is there a plan if book bans or hate speech come to Framingham?   A:    Antisemitic graffiti has been seen, not exempt from race issues.   Special program to address hate in sports.     Calling things in vs calling someone out.    “Minority” can “otherize” what is now a majority of students.   POC otherizes everyone that is not white.   We want people to walk into our rooms and feel they belong there.


 Dr Trembley discussed a new textbook review process within the school staff, attempting to keep book selection out of the political process.   Issues have occurred nearby (eg town of Franklin).   We are looking for textbooks that contain models for all of our students to see themselves in the books, and sometimes that crosses boundaries for other students.


Tilia:  Q: Are your considering split sessions?   A:   A full school day complement, but with a set of activities that happen in the evening.    We may allow a later start time, or some students to have a later start and later end.   2,600 students today in high school will rise to 2,800 around 2030.


Kurt:  Q:   As a teacher, I see a lot of absenteeism, maybe a hangover from the pandemic.   What else can we do to address attendance issues.     A: Attendance is important and is chronic absenteeism is counted against us in MCAS.     Both students who don’t come to school, and also students who come but don’t go to class.   In my view motivation and making class relevant is key.     We must work to help students understand how courses like algebra will impact their real-life careers.   Hands-on learning, trades can help with relevance.  How do we make school super engaging.  Text messages may soon be sent to parents of absent children so we are sure parents know attendance status.  We need parents to be partners in education.


Dr Trembley is in residence in classes for a certain number of days each year.  A bus strike was recently averted, but we still have only 55 buses vs 77 needed.   We hope the strike settlement will help address the driver pay shortfall and increase roster of drivers.  


 Tilia Q:  Will city get our own bus fleet?   But council voted to extend contract?   A:   The extension was legally required to adjust pay, but does not prevent us investigating bringing on drivers, or looking at a lease only option.   The key is to get MORE new drivers, not just transfer existing drivers to city employment.   NRT has seen some communities with wage increases have fixed staffing issues.   Framingham is a long day for drivers (7 hour) vs 3-4 hours in surrounding communities that paid more.   The new contract has resolved that issue.


Joel:  Will evening shifts lead to increased teacher pay costs?    Teacher salary increases not budgeted  A:   We need one set of staff, one set of benefits, maybe teachers flex shifts as well as students.   Pay a stipend for teaching in the evening, not a full additional salary.   Teacher salaries are a lot less than the cost of a new high school.


Mike Q: Psychological lens for student absenteeism.   Stress of going to school could be addressed.  A: Mostly we did not foresee the psychological impact of the pandemic.   We have an attendance officer, monitor it weekly.  We are making personal outreach to families and have crisis counselors available.   Demand outreaches supply.


Kathie Q:  Is there check to see if kids are going to the classes?   Could you address further the plan to start evening programs.   Is anxiety for personal safety part of the problem?  How is safety being addressed?    A: 40 students now attend evening academy, next year 80, doubling annually.  We could do an evening shift as a pilot.   


Safety:  17 Feb gunshot detector system wrongly indicated gunshots in high school, communicated to police, etc.     Novel alarm was sounded, one no one had heard before.   We are learning a lot from this traumatic event.   Will now not update alarms by policy unless school is unoccupied.   Training for students lined up for the Fall.


We are now tracking student attendance by period not just by day.  Sheer volume of students makes this a challenge.


Rozzy  Q:  What education is in place for students about emergencies and gun incidents.  A:   Training was planned for February, delayed due to incident.   We have training videos for staff and students on how to secure doors, etc.    A.L.I.C.E training is the Framingham approach.    Not always lock down, sometimes act, encounter perpetrator or lock down or run away depending on circumstances.    Must be scaled appropriately for young kids.   Active Shooter Detection System erroneous alert:   Students locked down as appropriate in alarmed wing, others evacuated, which is what we would have thought was optimal.    We were pleased that our students did the right thing.


Membership Elections:   


Full Member seat:   Joel Winett was nominated in April.  Michael Gatlin was nominated but has withdrawn.  

We will vote for one vacancy today.


Nomination for Second seat for Full Membership which has been determined to be open: 

Leslie White Harvey: nominated by Chris Lorant, second Adam Steiner.

Isabel Petroni: nominated by Larry Stoodt, seconded by Adam Freudberg.  

Mike Gatlin : nominated by  Beverly Hugo, seconded by Rozzy Hooper-Hamersley


Doug L questioned whether Leslie White Harvey was already a full member?   It was clarified and verified by Doug in the June 2022 minutes that LWH was voted in as an Associate Member.


Mike Hugo points out that the members have not been notified that we will be electing 2 new members tonight, only 1.   Also while we are not REQUIRED to look at gender balance for by-elections, we have in the past sought to maintain gender balance so that we don’t have to ask Full Members to step back in caucuses and slate  in future where gender balance will be required.      Cesar:  We will only vote one seat tonight, second seat next month.


Norma spoke in favor of holding nominations for the second seat open until next month.   Larry pointed out that if we don’t close nominations until June, we might not have a meeting for elections until end of summer.    Norma pointed out that nominations could be closed at the end of the June Caucus.     Kathie suggests we give candidates an opportunity to speak before a vote.   Can we review attendance of the candidates to inform us before we must vote?


Motion:  M. Hugo:    J. Winett to be unanimously voted in as he is unopposed. K. McCarthy seconded.   


A Question Period was conducted to allow Winett to speak and members to ask him questions.   


Question called by Cesar:   One opposed rest in favor, Joel Winett was elected a member.


3 Nominated candidates for the second seat to be voted on in June were invited to speak:


Isabel Petroni:  Spoke for 2 minutes, recently graduated college, active in City, active on the Library Board. Focus on environmental issues and civil rights.


Leslie White Harvey:  Spoke for 2 minutes.   President of Board of Directors Downtown Framingham Inc, History and Library Boards.  Have been involved in phone banking.   Equity, Inclusion, Diversity.    Like to help put our mission statement into practice and be a role model for entire community of Framingham.


  1. Gatlin was nominated,  is not present and so did not speak, and may not be interested.  


Parwez and Norma spoke in support of not closing nominations until the next meeting.   A full month/meeting span has not passed.   Seems awkward to have candidate speeches while nominations are still open.   No adequate notice to members about a second vacancy.   


Joel:   Are bylaws clear about closing nominations and voting.   


Kathie:  Suggested we review list of Full Members who are not regularly attending to see if some may be more comfortable as Associate Members who have a lower attendance requirements.


Larry Stoodt:  Moved we leave nominations open until a short business session after the June caucus, seconded by Mel Warshaw.       Passed with all in favor except one abstention. (Joel)


Report from our City Council representatives


Adam Steiner:  


On 16th major discussion of Justin Kapust, FU founder was nominated as an Alternate on the Agriculture Committee.    Was approved, but it has generated lots of discussion.   Scott Hayes is the other person from FU that has been nominated in the past.  Will be an ongoing discussion.   An extended discussion of these nominations occurred.    Cesar thanked members for supporting his actions in calling this out at council.   Frank Wood the voice of FU remains anonymous.    Secty of State indicated to City at our request that we did not have to respond to anonymous Framingham chose to continue to respond to FW record requests.  Thanks also JP Lewis for speaking us as well.


SeaBra may move with TIF into Salvation Army Building.  Exciting.


Parks & Rec union contact indicates we are underpaying many city employees quite badly.    Some in the Finance Subcommittee are pressing to reduce budget, which contradicts this.   Finance Subcomm will meet 24th to discuss budget further.


Approved Linda Fields will be Democratic Registrar of Voters.  Occasionally very important in case of disputed elections, ties, etc.


May 30:  Asking new stretch energy code to refer to environment subcommittee.   


Nomination papers are available 1 June for Council elections etc.   District seats must have signatures in only your district.


Questions:  Norma Q: Nomination papers seeking signatures can be brought to the library and to our caucus meeting.


  1. Hugo:  Interesting to learn lessons of Kapust nomination.  The Mayor (who never comes to FDC Meetings), and certain counselors that voted in favor are Democrats/FDC members.     Note that hateful early FU content still exists on the Wayback eMachine…despite recent switch to a new website/server to cover up the past.


Cesar:  We are creating an atmosphere of tolerance of hate in city government that is scaring away citizens that would like to participate, but fear for their safety and families.


Rozzy:   I was the only person who spoke from FDC at City Council:  Where were the rest of the FDC?    Only 3 speakers rose to oppose this confirmation.   Speak out and make your voice heard!


Larry:   This nomination is not over.  It should be a talking point in every city council race in the city.


Norma:  Frank Wood remains anonymous.   They have FOIA’s excessively and inappropriately, including seeking Norma’s personal email.


Mike H:   We got a state opinion that we do not need to respond to FOIA from fictitious persons, but City has chosen not to use this tool we provided.   


Report from School Committee Members

Beverly Hugo – June 2 we graduate the class of 2023 at Bowditch Field.  On June 5, late start time meeting.  Environment Club went to Costa Rica.   Constitution books will go to Students in September.   Thanks to Barbara LeDuc for all she has done to source the Constitutions for the schools.


Adam Freudberg – Budget season continues.    Finance Subcommittee will vote Wednesday, School and city admin agree on number to take to council.    State funding support is very helpful.  School district is requesting $5M less than last year by city.    City bond rating has been downgraded.    23.4% increase in Ch 70 funding.   Solar planned to be turned on in June.   We need to do better in future with implementing Solar in a timely manner.   Farley, Fuller canopy and Brophy roof have taken approaching 2 years.


Library Board – Leslie White-Harvey, Vice Chair, Library Trustees

Multilingual signs will be added to library thanks to Leslie’s efforts.  


State Legislature 

JP Lewis – look forward to seeing everyone at caucus.  Tues night 6-8pm at FSU,  Mike Day is doing listening tour relating to gun reliance.   2 new staffers, Hannah & Brandon.    Ashland’s first pride event will be held Sun June 4th 1PM lasting to 4 PM, all are welcome to attend.  The House budget was passed last month, Senate will be tomorrow, then we go to Conference Committee.   Seeking opportunities to help take on Framingham Unfiltered.


Pride Day in Framingham was coordinated by Spicer in the past, JPL has not been invited or notified of Pride planning this year.  Cesar also has participated in the event in the past and was not invited either this year. Beverly commented that invitations to such events are much less inclusive than in the past.   


State Democratic Committee UpdateParwez Wahid, Norma Shulman, Kathie McCarthy


Norma Shulman – The Roosevelt Dinner will be June 1st.   The next State Comm will be August 10th.


Parwez – New Chair Steve Kerrigan is in place, please attend Roosevelt Dinner. 


Norma:   Please recruit people to run, it is a great way to attract new committee members.


This year’s state convention will be a Platform Convention at MA state level.  Sat 23rd the State Dem Convention will be held at the Tsongas Center in Lowell.


Subcommittee Reports, discussions, actions, and votes: (if section is blank, there was no report)


Civics Education – Beverly Hugo

Will be doing candidate forums and questionnaires to local candidates who take out papers.    Date to return papers will be known in mid-July.


Legislative – Audrey Hall  No report at this time, will set meeting in coordination with our Leg delegation.


Met  to reorganize on 27 March.   We had an issue with Zoom link, but still had a quorum, and we had a good discussion.    We are working on the Legislative Breakfast.    Lewis and Spilka have been consulted.    The delegation would prefer to come to a regular Sunday evening FDC meeting.    The sense from speaking with FDC chairs is that this makes sense and can be organized later in the year.   Discussion of Legislative event ensued.    It has historically been at St Patrick’s day, early enough to influence the course of statehouse developments.    Could we use the August BBQ this year?    There will not be a lot of candidates this year.


After discussion, a consensus was reached to propose a meeting on Sunday, June 25th in lieu of our regular monthly FDC meeting, if that date works for our legislative delegation.  We will try for an in-person or hybrid meeting.


Communications – Jim Hansen / Norma Shulman 

Jim Hansen stepped doiwn as chair, Adam Steiner will be new Chair appointed by Rozzy and Cesar.  No report now.


Environmental/Climate Change – Larry Stoodt   no meeting, no report


Programming  – Rozzy Hooper-Hamersley.   Reports of hate in the Globe and other media are disturbing, targeting multiple groups.   We need to respond, perhaps a local forum.   We would ike to put and event on the agenda for September.


Bylaws – Mel Warshaw.   No meeting this month.  Doug asked about Bylaw in preparation to deal with review of public statements on behalf of FDC?   Mel:   We need another meeting, Joel will help execute this in future.   The Chairs have appointed new member Joe Winett as a Bylaws committee member.


Outreach – Parwez Wahid Caucus: planned for FPL Costin room, June 11, Sunday, 1:30 Registration, closes at 2:15    Caucus 2:15-4PM.  Any democrat can attend or same day register at the caucus.  The caucus will elect a delegation to the IN PERSON, state convention on Sept 23rd in Lowell, MA.   It will be a issues/platform convention, not a nominating convention.    We will hold a hybrid caucus.  16+ are eligible to be a delegate.   34 delegates, 6 alternates will be elected.  


If you are interested in being a state delegate, let Rozzy and Cesar know.   


Norma:   Please think about people we could recruit to run for delegate.    Remember you can register as a Democrat abnd sign up as a delegate at the caucus.  This can be an excellent way to attract new people to the FDC.


Announcements and Other Business:


Nominations for Associate Members – unlimited slots available

Meghan Todd – Member of State Commission on persons with disabilities.  Will join Mayor Sisitsky’s staff as city grant manager in a few weeks.  Motion to nominate:  Kathie McCarthy…Chair indicated motion will be in order next month. 


Membership Vacancies – 1 regular member vacancy

Mike Gatlin – Nominated by M. Hugo, spoke about his background in City politics and commitment as a Democrat.


Joel Winett – Moved by Kathie McCarthy, seconded by Audrey Hall.  Joel spoke about his interest in helping with the ByLaws committee and rules and governance to help ensure that all voices are heard.


Motion to close nominations – Kathy McCarthy, Beverly Hugo seconded.  Motion was passed unanimously.


Vote will be at our next meeting in May.


Announcements and Other Business:



Thursday night is next Progressive Framingham meeting, welcome to attend.  Will be electing new leadership.

Action network:  write your senators…Senate budget is up  Bill 819 – avoid income tax avoidance    No Cost calls from prison and Senate  856:  Youth Bail fees


Juneteenth will be Sat 17th at Farm Pond.  Participate as an organization or individual.


Are we having a June Meeting?   Cesar – no June meeting (other than caucus)

How will we organize the Summer Concert Booth?  Cesar – via email and phone.

Kathie – Norma will be added to the Callaghan Sr Center Wall of Heros for Diversity and inclusivity.  2pm Thurs 


Adjourned at 9:50 pm – moved by K. McCarthy, seconded by Chris Lorant.


Respectfully Submitted,

Doug Lawrence
Secretary, FDC