[Hpn] "Seeing will apparently be believing":&, Correction-(of a sort);Framingham, MA

Morgan W. Brown norsehorse@hotmail.com
Thu, 01 Nov 2001 13:32:46 -0500

As a follow-up to previous forwards concerning the Wet shelter being 
operated in Framingham, Massachusetts by the South Middlesex Opportunity 
Council (SMOC), below is an article concerning the controversial video tape 
as published in the MetroWest Daily News on Tuesday and a correction-(of a 
sort) published today (Thursday, November 1, 2001) regarding the article.

Following that is a forward of tonight's Framingham Selectmen Meeting 

Morgan <norsehorse@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont


-------Forwarded correction & related article-------

~~~Published Correction to the below forwarded article:

Thursday, November 1, 2001
MetroWest Daily News <http://www.metrowestdailynews.com>
Local News section

A story that appeared in some Framingham editions yesterday was wrong, 
according to a South Middlesex Opportunity Council official.

The story said a police video surveillance of the overflow shelter on Irving 
Street in Framingham, set to be shown today at 4 p.m. in the Memorial 
Building, shows a man defecating in public. The SMOC official said the video 
does show a man urinating and other individuals in various states of 


Tuesday, October 30, 2001
MetroWest Daily News <http://www.metrowestdailynews.com>
Local News section
Tape of shelter misbehavior to be shown before hearing

By Rob Haneisen
Tuesday, October 30, 2001

FRAMINGHAM - Seeing will apparently be believing.

A police surveillance tape that shows homeless people urinating, defecating 
and littering outside of and around the Irving Street shelter will be 
available for public viewing at 4 p.m. Thursday in the Memorial Building.

The fact that the tape is so "disgusting" it cannot be broadcast on the 
local cable television should speak for itself, said Selectman Ginger Esty. 
She said the tape will be available at the board's meeting that same night 
for those who want to view it.

"If it can't be shown on cable, then it shouldn't have to be lived next to. 
They've lived through insufferable conditions," said Esty, who has only 
heard about, but not seen, the tape.

"I think everyone that is adult enough should be given the chance to see it 
so that everyone is on the same page and everyone had the same information."

Neighbors on Irving and Columbia streets have continually complained to 
selectmen and police about the illicit behaviors, and said they are 
intimidated by the transients who actively drink and use drugs.

South Middlesex Opportunity Council staff - who operate what they call an 
overflow shelter - will appear before selectmen for a hearing to determine 
what can be done to improve the situation.

Esty said the overflow shelter is really a "wet" shelter, which she claims 
has no place in a residential neighborhood.

"I do not approve of the "wet" shelter," Esty said. "A homeless shelter is 
one thing. A "wet" shelter is not manageable. We're enabling them. We're not 
trying to get them any treatment."

A "wet" shelter allows transients who are under the influence of drugs or 
alcohol to spend the night.

SMOC executive director James Cuddy said the shelter serves a need and 
prevents the homeless from dying by spending the night outdoors in harsh 
weather. The shelter, which is operating legally under state laws, can fit 
up to 40 people.

When told of Cuddy's concerns and the possibility of death to homeless 
drunks, Esty said, "Well, that's true, they might. But are we providing as a 
community places for these people to creep into?"

Esty's other concerns about the shelter include supervision of guests and 
the possibility of sexual predators spending the night.

Esty said the shelter should be moved to the prison and its guests "taken to 
the hospital or a place where they can dry out."

Selectmen Chairman John Kahn disagrees with moving the shelter.

"We can't quarantine the problem," he said.

Police have responded to dozens of calls at the shelter and in its immediate 
vicinity, a fact Esty said stretches the town's resources.

Town Manager George King said police have been watching the shelter both 
before and after the complaints began rolling in.

"No one has tried to suggest in any way that the complaints are not valid," 
King said. "I think what we need to focus on is a way to resolve this 
situation for everyone."

King said he believes SMOC will be open to suggestions and Cuddy said last 
week he is willing to work with the town.

King disputes allegations the shelter is used by many from outside the area 
and outside the state.

"Many of the people serviced by (the shelter) are residents of the town," he 

Selectmen Chairman John Kahn agreed with King and added, "There's no doubt 
we are dealing with the hard core of the (homeless population) problem."

Kahn and Esty - frequently on opposite sides of an argument - are already 
edging for a fight before Thursday's meeting.

The two exchanged numerous e-mails over the weekend, debating how to hold 
the hearing.

"I don't see resolution in banging heads together," Kahn said. "(Esty) wants 
to focus on this particular problem. I'll agree to focus on this but we 
can't deal with this in isolation of the town's homeless population 

Kahn's suggested short term resolution would be for the shelter to post 
"house rules" regarding conduct and to ban anyone who violates them.

"No matter what a person's addictive state, by and large they have some 
responsibility for their own conduct," he said.

Cuddy has said the shelter has removed problem individuals from the shelter.

Kahn hopes the meeting can stay productive.

"I don't intend it to be a 'beat up' session on anybody, including Ginger," 
he said.

Kahn and Esty's e-mail trading began this weekend with Kahn outlining how he 
thought the hearing should proceed to keep the session orderly and focused.

Ginger then responded about not wanting to give SMOC an opportunity to 
"present their big picture."

The two then traded e-mails about the same subject, with Kahn saying he 
would forward copies to selectmen Charlie Sisitsky and Esther Hopkins.

At one point, Esty writes, " ... I do not approve of any attempts to dilute 
the earnest requests for help from the tax payers in that neighborhood. I 
view your suggestions of the meeting management as falling into that 

To which Kahn responded, "I trust you will understand the importance of not 
only decorous conduct but the Board's approaching this complex situation in 
a constructive way - looking toward a solution rather than inflaming already 
sensitive issues."

After nearly two days of e-mail correspondence, Esty notes she is "uneasy 
about continuing our e-mails as they seem to be skirting close to open 
meeting law violations."

Kahn's response includes a promise to provide copies of all the e-mails to 
the selectman's office to be entered into the public record. Both Esty and 
Kahn also provided copies of the e-mails to the MetroWest Daily News.

(News staff writer Jennifer Rosinski contributed to this report.)

---End of forwarded article---


---Forwarded Framingham Selectmen Agenda---

Board of Selectmen

Meeting Agenda
November 1, 2001    7:30 P.M.
Ablondi Room, Memorial Building

Memorial Building
150 Concord Street, Rm. 121
Framingham,  MA  01702-8373
Telephone [508] 620-4811
Fax [508] 620-5910
Email: selectmen@framinghamma.org

Observation of Moment of Silence
   in Memory of Anthony Colonna
Announcement of Veterans' Day
   Memorial Service
Public Participation
I. Hearings
Request for Wine and Malt License -
   Nobscot Convenience/Deli
II. Appointments to Boards and
III. Conference - Columbia House
IV. Review of Special Town
   Meeting Articles
Article 12 - Sale of Land Located
   at 150 Irving Street
Article 13 - Sale of Land Located
   at 6 Morency Street, Natick
Article 14 - MA Highway Dept.
    Safety Improvement Project
Article 20 - Sign Bylaw
Article 21 - Amend General Bylaw,
    Article VIII, Sec. 4

V. Town Manager's Report

VI. Selectmen's Reports
VII. Action Items
A. Approval of 10/11/01 Open
    Session Minutes
B. Approval of 10/11/01 Exec.
    Session Minutes
C. Approval of 10/18/01 Open
    Session Minutes
VIII. Executive Session


**In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this
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-------End of forward-------

Morgan <norsehorse@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA

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