On the ballot: Several candidates for Naples selectman
Editor's Note: The Bridgton News apologizes that not all candidates were included in Q&A. Some people were unable to answer questions that were e-mailed to candidates last Friday. The Bridgton News wishes good luck to all candidates in the Naples Election on Tuesday.
By Dawn De Busk
NAPLES — The Naples Board of Selectmen race is a little bit different in 2017 than in previous years.
In addition to having three people run for two three-year-term seats, there is also a one-year term up for grabs after Selectman Christine Powers stepped down from the board with a year remaining.
Three residents appear on the ballot with aspirations to sit on the board for the next 12 months. The people running for the one-year seat are: William Adams, John Thompson and Jim Turpin.
For the positions with a three-year term, challenger Jim Grattelo is running against incumbents Dana Watson and Kevin Rogers. Voters will be able to choose two of the three candidates in that race.
The Bridgton News posed a few questions to the candidates prior to that town’s election, which is slated for Tuesday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. inside the Naples Gymnasium.
BN: Could you please provide a basic biography?
William “Bill” Adams: I am a Naples resident and have been all my life. 2001 Lake Region High School graduate. In 2000 I earned the Boy Scouts of America rank of Eagle Scout. I have donated time and equipment to the Naples Fire Rescue fundraisers, such as Christmas in Naples and Comedy Night, for the past 10 years.
My father and his family have resided in Naples since the early 1900s. My father, William J. Adams Sr., also served as a Naples selectman. I own and manage a disc jockey entertainment business called Bill Adams Entertainment.
Jim Grattelo: A Naples resident for 12 years, lifelong Maine resident, age 58, three children and four grandchildren, 20 years at Hannaford Merchandise manager, creator and owner of Joker’s Family Fun, creator and owner of Turf’s Sports Pub, owner of Portland Sports Complex, current chairman of the Naples Budget Committee, former coach Naples Little League for three years, former two-term mayor of Biddeford, former York County Budget Committee member, former four-year chair, Board of Education, Biddeford, Fourth Degree - Knights of Columbus.
Jim Turpin: 65 years old, married for 43 years, two children and two grandchildren, 30 years sales and marketing experience in the travel goods industry, owner of Coveside Conservation Products in Casco for the last 10 years, Naples resident since 2004.
Dana Watson: age is 72, lifelong Naples resident, born in Casco, 48 years of marriage to wife Merry Watson, one son, one daughter-in-law and two granddaughters, created and operated business Watson & Sons Building Movers since 1979, has served on Casco-Naples Transfer Site Council since it began. I’ve been on some town board or committee since 1974.
BN: Why did you decide to run for selectmen seat?
Grattelo: There is a huge disconnect between the Naples selectboard and its citizens. Complaints have fallen on deaf ears for years. The lack of transparency, the lack of public information, the lack of public debate and the lack of responsiveness have caused Naples citizens to lose their confidence in local government. And quite frankly, residents have given up. Naples deserves better! The citizens want their voice back.
Turpin: A strategic decision on my part toward getting elected without having to run against the incumbent candidates. I have every intention of running for the three-year term next year, if elected this year.
Watson: ‘Cause I didn’t like who was running for it. That was it.
I have always been involved in government. When I was in high school, I was on student council. I have always been on something. I’ve always tried to help.
I have always been part of a team. The other selectpeople — we acted as one when we took a vote. We didn’t try to run the town by ourselves. We voted on everything.
BN: What do you consider to be your qualifications for serving on this board?
Adams: I am a problem solver. I would like to work with the people of Naples to address pertinent issues and improve our town.
Grattelo: My 10 years of public service (mentioned above) combined with my 20 years at Hannaford as well as starting three successful businesses and attending 75% of Naples select board meetings over the past two years gives me the ability to be a strong voice for the citizens and taxpayers of Naples.
Turpin: 40 years of business experience and a commitment to holding real estate taxes at the current level.
Watson: I’ve got so much experience, more than 4 decades.
BN: What are the top issues in Naples?
Adams: Don’t get me wrong I love my town; however, we do need to start thinking more about the future of Naples. I believe we need to create a plan to grow and maintain our town for our children and future residents.
Grattelo: There is NO vision for our Causeway and the future growth of Naples. There is no accountability for legitimate issues that citizens bring up and voice concerns about. Selectboard meetings are too short and no meaningful discussions takes place on important issues that face our town.
Most of all, there is no conflict-of-interest policy. As a result, there is a lot of favoritism to a select few.
Turpin: Same as ever; taxes, roads and schools. To that I would also add transparency to and responsiveness to taxpayers from Naples town government.
In the short-term, our biggest challenge is overcrowding at the Songo Locks Elementary School and the related renovation project at the Crooked River Elementary School. My goal as a member of the Naples Selectboard will be to fund the Crooked River project without an increase in property taxes. Based on my two years of experience on the Naples Budget Committee, I feel it is entirely doable, with a conviction to separate “wants” from “needs” in the municipal side of Naples’ budget.
For the long-term: Market the Naples brand, maximize the economic benefit of the Causeway,
Identify obstacles to economic growth in Naples, bring more businesses to Naples, and update the town’s Comprehensive Plan.
Watson: Right now, it is people looking for issues. They have answers, but not problems.
We need to coordinate some of the ordinances so that they work together. I don’t agree that we need new ones. We have to start sorting out the ordinances. To fix them is better than starting with new ones. The ordinances that we are having problems with, we should fix that part.