First and foremost, no resident of Watertown should ever be made to feel that an issue or event is allowed to “fly under the radar;” a statement that has been echoed on numerous occasions these past couple of weeks specific to this matter. In my opinion, four residents of one street does not constitute neighborhood involvement without broader notification. Especially, when we speak of an event of a very sensitive nature that impacted the entire East End of Watertown, community-at-large and surrounding cities and towns.
For the record, a designee of Town Manager Michael Driscoll, Steve Magoon, Assistant Town Manager and Director of Community Development and Planning was present at the Feb. 12, 2016 meeting. In my e-mail to Mr. Driscoll on Feb. 6, 2016, I trusted that a representative of Town Staff would be available at the meeting to insure that all concerns were voiced and addressed. I personally introduced Mr. Magoon at the meeting. It is my understanding that Mr. Magoon has had numerous conversations with representatives of the CBS Films production company.
Yes, I do ask the tough questions relating to: how, why, when, where and anything else that would produce an effect on our community and its residents. I try to anticipate and document the concerns of my constituents before I am contacted to hear the anger, frustration, angst, hatred, disdain, statements of disgrace and sometimes; even gratitude.
Undoubtedly, the residents on Laurel Street were subjected to the first-hand nightmare of the event; as were the residents on Franklin Street and Adams Street Let us not forget about the trauma and paralysis experienced by many East End families. During a WBUR interview posted Feb. 27, 2016, Dr. Barbara Gortych, Head of Counseling in the Watertown School System, speaks of the re-traumatization of the students if the shootout were to be recreated in Watertown. So many Watertown families received counseling in the subsequent months following the events of April 19, 2013, almost three short years ago.
The First Responders have been and will continue to be respected, thanked and appreciated. The heroics of our “finest” will be immortalized in history for eons to come.
If the filming were to proceed, the Laurel Street families and their pets would be afforded the opportunity to relocate during the filming. The activity on Laurel Street cannot be encapsulated and isolated. Laurel Street would be the focus of the masses. The collateral burden would be felt on the west portion of Laurel Street, Oak Street, Howe Street, Hazel Street, Dexter Avenue, Boylston Street, etc. and reverberate throughout the area.
I was not privy to the decision making process or the scope of the data from CBS Films. The comments of the residents voiced to my colleagues and myself were also shared with Mr. Driscoll and Mr. Magoon. I suspect the decision was not easy.
With best regards,
Angeline B. Kounelis
District A, East End, Town Councilor