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Statement of disappointment in Governorís forest veto
Meeting called in Belmont September 9 added to website August 16, 2008
I'm very disappointed to report that Governor Patrick chose to veto the language that we worked to place in the Environmental Bond Bill regarding the Silver Maple Forest acquisition.
He apparently embraced the perspective of his housing administrators. The housing administrators opposed the acquisition because they saw it as an effort to block affordable housing development.
The decision does not reflect the perspective of the many people who communicated with me about the issue in the neighborhoods of Cambridge, Arlington and Belmont. Most were not opposed to affordable housing in their communities. Most felt that the forest is a valuable regional asset that should be preserved for future generations.
Unfortunately, there is little chance that the legislature will take up veto overrides for any of the bond bills in this session, so the Governor's decision is likely to be final.
In any event, even if the the legislature reinstated the language -- in this session or next year -- it would not force the Governor's hand. The language set up a collaborative process in which the Governor retained full discretion. The veto sends a clear message about where that process would go.
I'll hold a meeting on Tuesday, September 9 at 7PM in Belmont Town Hall, Conference Room 1, to discuss next steps. But, it appears that our strategy to save the forest through a state park acquisition may have failed.
Although I had always viewed it as a long shot, as we successfully overcame opposition in the legislative process, I had started to gain some hope. So, I'm very disappointed to be bringing this news.