No challenger for Weisz, who hopes to cool tempers on Monterey board

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MONTEREY — With tempers flaring on the Select Board over the past year, an unopposed candidate for a vacant seat hopes he can cool them.

"I'd like to get rid of all this rancor and focus on what we need to do for the town," said Steven Weisz, the former board chairman who was unseated by Donald Coburn by 20 votes last year.

Polls will be open from noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Monterey Fire Station, 411 Main Road (Route 23). Weisz, who works in real estate, is poised to replace Carol Edelman, whose term expires this year.

Both the Democratic and Republican caucuses put him on the ballot for Tuesday's town elections, and Weisz said it has been good for him to have a rest so that he can dive back into various town business.

"It's refreshed my batteries a bit. I've got some new energy to approach and solve some problems — a lot of them still exist."

He cites some of these as the lingering broadband situation — getting the town's share of state money to complete a fiber-optic build-out for high-speed internet. He also says he'll keep pushing for Verizon to add its equipment to an approved cell tower that AT&T already has agreed to populate.

"Verizon doesn't realize that it's a health and safety issue," Weisz said of the company's resistance. "It's not just convenience anymore."

As for the question of allowing the recreational marijuana industry in town, Weisz says he's staunchly against something that was proposed when he was on the board — a 10,000-square-foot greenhouse in a residential area. But he is open to plans that might help local farms grow the lucrative crop, for instance.

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"I would have to see how it will work out in the real world," he said. "Taxes are great, but it's a double-edged sword."

A ballot item will ask voters whether the industry should be banned in town, and the question also will be taken up at Saturday's annual town meeting. It has to be approved at both to pass.

Yet Weisz' real reason for wanting to be on the board again is to quell the dust-ups between board members and staff, he said.

"There's been a lot of squabbling since I left," he said. "We all worked very hard to make sure things were running smoothly."

There also is a contested race between Kevin Fitzpatrick and Julio Rodriguez for a three-year post as constable.

The rest of the posts on the ballot are uncontested, including: Zoning Board of Appeals (five years), Jonathan Levin; Board of Assessors (three years), Stan Ross, and (one year) Gary Shaw; Board of Health (three years), Julio Rodriguez; Cemetery Commission (three years), James Dutcher; Finance Committee (three years), Jonathan Sylbert; library trustee (three years), Lisa Smyle and Mickey Jervas; and moderator (one year), Mark Makuc.

Other uncontested posts include Parks Commission (three years), Steve Snyder and Julio Rodriguez, and (one year), Wendy Benjamin; Planning Board (five years), Tom Sawyer and Roger Tryon; Planning Board (three years), Nancy Marcus; tax collector (three years), Mari Enoch; and tree warden (one year), Kevin Fitzpatrick.

Heather Bellow can be reached at hbellow@berkshireeagle.com or on Twitter @BE_hbellow and 413-329-6871.


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