Clarissa Rowe, Select Board (former)

I’m voting for Greg Christiana for town moderator on April 2, and I hope you will join me.

Greg respects our wonderful form of local government and wants to make sure we attract, retain and encourage participation from Town Meeting members who are truly representative of our Arlington community.

In recent years, I’ve been thrilled to support participation in Town Meeting from a new generation of members who come from a diversity of backgrounds. I am deeply concerned about how many really excellent Town Meeting members decided not to run for reelection this year.

Greg is already working hard to understand what drove these decisions. He’s had conversations with many members — those who are running again and those who are not. He has also spoken to moderators in other towns to gain an understanding of their practices and which practices might suit Arlington’s Town Meeting.

It’s time for us to examine Town Meeting closely, to think about what is working and what is not, and to thoughtfully address the issues we identify. This will require community engagement and creative problem solving. I have extensive experience working with Greg. I know he is up to the task and that his approaches will be well-reasoned.

This is an important election for Arlington. Please join me in voting for Greg Christiana for Town Moderator.

Diane Mahon, Select Board

I’m voting for Greg Christiana for town moderator on April 2, and I encourage you to do the same. In my work with Greg, I’ve always found him to be calm, fair-minded, and encouraging. He has the right temperament for the work of moderating.

When Greg approaches a problem or project, he does careful research, requests and considers input, and maps a path for moving forward. I’ve been a Town Meeting member since 1995, and it’s clear to me that there is much to celebrate about Town Meeting, and there is also room for improvement. Our virtual Town Meeting season showed us new possibilities and challenges for Town Meeting that we need to take seriously.

I like Greg’s vision for Town Meeting and his eye toward the future. I believe Greg will encourage all members to speak when they want to, but will also find efficiencies so members’ time will be used wisely. His way of approaching problems, along with his strong technology background, will serve Town Meeting and Arlington well as we find new ways to meet and govern.

Adam MacNeill

I support Greg Christiana for town moderator because I believe that Greg will improve the functionality and fairness in each and all of the position’s roles. In my experience, there are four areas for which the town moderator holds sole or shared responsibility: running Town Meeting, appointing committee members, improving the Town Meeting process year to year, and engaging and communicating with the broader community. Through his work with the town, his energy and his character, Greg has shown me that he will increase efficiency, fairness and transparency in every aspect.

The most obvious of the town moderator’s roles is in the name: moderating town meeting. As anyone who has moderated a debate or forum knows, doing this well requires patience and organization. While Town Meeting’s very nature magnifies that requirement, I am confident that Greg will be able to manage debate smoothly and evenly.

Greg is already an expert discussion leader and committee organizer. I have seen Greg prioritize and successfully get group buy-in for ensuring that a variety of voices, reflecting both subject matter experts and diverse experiences and perspectives, are welcomed and empowered to speak. New-member empowerment, additional transparency and a more level approach to discussion management will improve both the quality and efficiency of Town Meeting. Electing Greg to Town Moderator will go a long way to actualizing these goals.

Compared to moderating Town Meeting, appointing committee members appears straightforward. However, reaching out to, connecting with, and vetting potential appointees in the timely manner necessary for smooth functioning is far from easy and requires a lot of legwork. Unfortunately, there is too often a significant lag between town moderator-appointed seats and seats appointed by other authorities, even to the same committee. Greg’s dedication to civic engagement gives us a great opportunity to improve both our range of represented skill sets and knowledge and the efficiency of the nomination process.

The actual functioning of Town Meeting during Covid has presented huge logistical challenges. But it has also brought to light many opportunities for improvement moving forward. Based on what I have observed over the last few years, I believe that Greg is the candidate with the best attitude and aptitude for actualizing these opportunities, especially in the realm of hybrid and more accessible meetings.

Finally, in terms of community engagement, the record speaks for itself: Greg is already a town leader in this area and has been a major driver behind efforts to expand community participation in Arlington government. Entrusting him with the role of town moderator will improve both the position’s transparency and efforts to enhance the general town populace’s ability to understand and positively interact with Town Meeting.

I am voting for Greg Christiana for Town Moderator on Saturday, April 2, and I hope that you will join me.

Alex Bagnall

I am writing to express my enthusiastic endorsement of Greg Christiana for the position of town moderator.

I have come to know Greg over the past few years through our work together on the Envision Arlington Standing Committee and the Civic Engagement Group. In that time I have been impressed with Greg’s dedication to the town, drive to engage a greater cross section of the town in our processes, willingness to listen and understand different points of view and ability to have sometimes difficult conversations respectfully.

In the Civic Engagement Group, Greg has created an informal, low barrier to entry venue for residents both new and long-time to discuss civic engagement in town with a focus on how we can work together to find ways to make our sometimes confusing form of town government accessible to a more diverse swath of residents. There are no magic bullets for increasing diversity in our town meetings, board and committees. It is going to take continual work, reflection, and analysis of our structures, policies and customs to make progress toward those goals. I believe Greg is extremely well suited in both temperament and professional expertise to make that work an ongoing priority and to bring new voices into the process.

Please join me in voting for Greg Christiana on April 2.

Steve Revilak

I’m writing to express my support for Greg Christiana in this year’s town moderator race. I think Greg has some great ideas for making town meeting deliberations more substantive, bringing transparency to the moderator’s role, and giving more town meeting members the opportunity to share their viewpoints. I hope you’ll join me in voting for Greg on April 2.

Naomi Greenfield

Fellow Arlington residents: This Saturday, April 2, is our town election, and I want to make sure you all go out and vote for Greg Christiana for town moderator.

The moderator is an incredibly important position and sets the tone of how Town Meeting is run. The pandemic has made virtual Town Meeting a necessity, but it has also shown us just how important tone, equity of voices and demeanor are to running a successful Town Meeting. Our town is in need of a change and Greg is the person for this job.

Greg’s priorities and plans focus on creating a welcoming atmosphere for all Town Meeting members regardless of tenure or background, creating transparency about who speaks and in what order, and making prompt and well-publicized appointments to committees. I have worked with Greg on many issues and causes and elections over the years, and his dedication and commitment are unwavering.

He is also a really nice guy who knows how to listen to others, be a voice of reason and get stuff done. He’s exactly what we need in a town moderator.

I hope you will join me at the polls on April 2 to vote for Greg Christiana. Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Christa Kelleher

As someone who has served on Town Meeting for the past six years, I enthusiastically support Greg Christiana for town moderator. John Leone deserves credit for navigating the unpredictable and challenging context of the pandemic over the past two years and for his long-term public service in this important role.

However, Arlington needs a moderator who will ensure that Town Meeting is run and that appointments are made in a transparent and inclusive manner. I am confident that Greg Christiana, who has worked to get more residents involved in local government through his own civic leadership, will champion the principles of transparency and inclusion as town moderator.

Last year, I noted several vacancies on the five-member Town Meeting Procedures Committee and emailed the moderator to learn more about the process for filling them. It took multiple emails over several months before I received a response from the moderator, who explained that when a vacancy on the committee needed to be filled, he would reach out to Town Meeting members to “gauge interest” and then “based upon the experience of the Town Meeting members who respond,” he would make appointments. The quoted phrases are from moderator Leone’s email response to me.

The process seemed clear to me. What has not been so clear is how and why a fairly recent appointment to the committee was made without said outreach to Town Meeting membership. Currently composed of four men (and one vacant seat), the Town Meeting Procedures Committee does not seem to reflect the diversity of perspective, experience and background of Town Meeting members. While I may have missed an email about this, I don’t believe that I did.

This appointment process indicates to me how critical it is to elect a town moderator who is committed to emphasizing transparency and inclusion in decision-making processes when determining appointments and leading Town Meeting. I encourage residents to support Greg Christiana in this Saturday’s town election.

Thank you for considering Greg Christiana for Town Moderator and for voting in Saturday’s local election.

Meet Greg at School Pickup

Greg is looking forward to talking to residents near school pickup spots! 1 pm on Tuesday and 2:30 pm on the other days.

Thompson with Christa Kelleher: Wednesday, March 23

Brackett with Sanjay Newton: Friday, March 25

Peirce with Laura Gitelson: Monday, March 28

Dallin with Barbara Thornton: Tuesday, March 29

Hardy with Kate Leary: Wednesday, March 30

Stratton with Jane Morgan: Thursday, March 31

Bishop with Meredith DiMola: Friday, April 1

Liz Exton, School Committee

I am writing to enthusiastically endorse Greg Christiana for town moderator.

I met Greg when I was first elected to Town Meeting in 2019. I happened to sit next to him in Town Hall, and he became my mentor, helping me understand the systems and procedures of Town Meeting. He immediately made me feel welcome.

In my work as a public school teacher, I frequently think about civics and its relationship to diversity and belonging. In one of our recent conversations about participation in local government, Greg brought to mind an equity continuum that I’d learned about during an educator workshop. The continuum describes the process of moving from diversity, to belonging, to inclusion, toward the goal of equity.

We often hear these words, but it’s not always clear what we mean by them, so I want to relate them specifically to Town Meeting and Greg’s priorities as moderator.

Diversity: The diversity of Town Meeting has increased over the years with a greater representation of races, genders, ages and economic backgrounds, but that is just the first step.

Belonging: Belonging relates to the culture created to welcome people across differences. It includes the physical space, the written word, and the conversation. It’s important to request information from Town Meeting members about how they’d like to be addressed and the correct pronunciation of their names. Accessibility of the space (in-person or virtual) and other accommodations also help create a sense of belonging. These are priorities for Greg.

Inclusion: Inclusion is the concept of participation. Greg will ensure that diverse populations are involved in decision making. As moderator, Greg would solicit and listen to feedback from members on the operations of the meeting. ALL members need to feel comfortable speaking and participating at Town Meeting. Greg will collect and analyze data and work toward diverse representation of speakers and appointees to town committees.

Equity: True equity requires changing the structures of power and privilege so disparities of historically underrepresented groups are eliminated. That is ongoing work that requires discomfort and courageous conversations from all Town Meeting members, but I know Greg is committed to working toward equity.

The moderator establishes the tone for the meeting and influences the culture. I believe that with Greg’s leadership, we can make meaningful progress toward equity in our town government. Please join me in voting for Greg Christiana for town moderator on April 2.

Pat Hanlon

I am writing to express my support for Greg Christiana as town moderator. I have been a member of Town Meeting, and active in town affairs in other ways, for the last five years. I have been impressed with Greg’s fairness and openness in every context in which we have worked together.

These qualities are becoming increasingly important as Town Meeting itself becomes more diverse and handles a broader and more diverse range of matters. To be sure, it is necessary to master the arcana of parliamentary procedure. But it is even more important to manage the discussion in Town Meeting in an impartial way that makes everyone feel respected and listened to – a way that ultimately builds trust.

In recent years, Town Meeting has become much more democratic and transparent. Much of that has been caused by the rise of the precinct meeting in most, but not all, precincts, a movement in which Greg has played a leading role. Today, by the time the gavel comes down, there has already been a vigorous discussion of many of the matters that will come before the body. More members are becoming active participants.

Technology has had a major influence. A Zoom precinct meeting is easier to arrange than one that requires a physical space. Similarly, Zoom has greatly increased attendance at town meeting. We are unlikely ever to return completely to the traditional meeting in Town Hall. Virtual meetings are great enablers of participation. The rest of the world is working on reimagining Zoom with a human face, and we will not be untouched by that. Both increased democratization and increased reliance on technology have changed how town meeting is done. We need a moderator who is comfortable with change and willing to lean into the opportunities it presents.

As a retired lawyer, I somewhat ruefully reflect that the role of moderator will increasingly call upon the skills of computer engineers rather than those of my former profession.
Much of what is wrong in virtual meetings can (with time) be alleviated by a moderator who inhabits a virtual world and is alert to the opportunities it offers. We should not be aiming at a virtual equivalent of in-person meetings but at an innovative format that takes advantage of technology. At the same time, there needs to be accommodation for those who miss the pageantry, rhythms and sociability of the old sort of town meeting. Figuring out the right balance (with whatever tools state law provides) will be one of the main tasks of the next moderator.

A supporter of the current moderator has noted that a challenge to the reelection of a town moderator is almost unheard of in Arlington. That thought should give us pause. The incumbent is a likable, capable person who has many accomplishments to his credit. He has given it his best shot. And yet, it is clear that something has gone wrong. The level of disaffection in Town Meeting is worrisome.

We are at an inflection point. I am convinced that Greg is best equipped to take stock of where we are and to lead us into a new era, to go beyond merely adjusting to changed circumstances but to seize upon them and innovate from here.

Len Diggins, Select Board

Here are three words that I’ll use to make my case for Greg: Supportive, Resourceful and Rigorous.

Supportive: That’s the first word that comes mind. As an eager Town Meeting member, when I wanted to make another attempt at getting all of the precincts to hold precinct meetings, Greg, as a member of the Envision Arlington Standing Committee and keenly interested in civic engagement himself, was so supportive of the goal that I considered him an equal partner in the endeavor. To the extent that the initial effort of promoting precinct meetings was successful, it was because I was able to get abundant helpful advice and positive motivation from Greg. Even as I first started working with him, he has always been generous with his time and open to working with anyone.

Resourceful: Though gentle and at times unassuming, I quickly realized Greg’s resourcefulness. He’s an encyclopedia of useful knowledge, and what he doesn’t know, he can learn quickly. I was already impressed by Greg’s resourcefulness before this campaign for town moderator, and now that is even more so the case as some of us shift among the various roles as needed. Greg has a “can-do” attitude, and that applies to the ideas of others as well as his own. If you bring an idea to Greg, you can see his eyes light up with curiosity, and then his gaze gets more focused as he brings his knowledge and experiences to bear on transforming the idea into a reality.

Rigorous: Greg strives for excellence! Yes, perfection may be the goal, but he is pragmatic, and he realizes that attaining perfection often requires time and multiple iterations. Greg is also meticulous (while also keeping the big picture in mind) and highly organized. Following procedures and putting tracking systems in place come easily and naturally to Greg.

When you work with Greg, you want to elevate your game, and you will become better in your chosen role. That’s partly because you want to keep up with him, but it’s also due to his nurturing spirit and mentor-like behavior. The prospect of Greg as our town moderator makes me very excited and hopeful! With him as our town moderator, our town will be better, and we will all be prouder of our beloved form of government known as Town Meeting.

Alham Saadat

I enthusiastically support Greg Christiana for town moderator. 

Greg and I met as part of the Build Arlington’s Future campaign in 2019, which led efforts to ensure that our schools were prepared to meet the needs of all students in Arlington. I was immediately struck by Greg’s thoughtfulness in discussions and by his evidence-based approach to ensuring the success of that campaign. After I was elected to Town Meeting, I was again able to see Greg’s thoughtful, respectful and inclusive approach to discussions on a variety of issues.

I have been a Town Meeting member in Precinct 4 for three years and have not felt comfortable speaking a single time during the sessions. There are likely a number of reasons for this, but fear of public speaking is not one of them, as this is something that I do regularly in my career. Equity work is a focus of my professional life, and I think it’s important for the town moderator to ask questions about why we don’t have a diversity of people on speaker lists. I’ve had great conversations with Greg about this issue. I know he values having a variety of voices and viewpoints heard and would use data to learn more about where we stand and to identify effective strategies for making Town Meeting more inclusive. 

I believe Town Meeting is a meaningful way for members of our community to be involved in decisions that affect Arlington and its residents. Ensuring that we create and maintain a transparent moderating model that allows for inclusive discourse will be critical for sustaining a successful Town Meeting — one that represents all residents. I am confident that Greg has the right approaches and temperament to make this happen. Please join me in voting for Greg Christiana on April 2. 

Watch Greg at Virtual Candidates’ Night

Wednesday, March 23
7:30—9:30 p.m.

Invite your friends to tune into Candidates’ Night, a virtual moderated debate providing the community with an opportunity to learn about the candidates running for town-wide offices. Candidates’ Night can be viewed live on ACMi’s Government Channel (Comcast 22, RCN 614, Verizon 26) or streamed live on Sponsored by The League of Women Voters of Arlington and Envision Arlington. More information at