Sharp contrast

#MeToo movement makes its way to BOA forum

Telegraph photo by MATHEW PLAMONDON Nashua Board of Aldermen candidates, from left, Fred Teeboom and Ben Clemons discuss their plans for the city during a Thursday event at the Nashua Public Library.

NASHUA – Ben Clemons and Fred Teeboom clashed on everything from the value of commuter rail, to the #MeToo movement and male feminists, during a Thursday discussion at the Nashua Public Library.

In less than two weeks, one of the two will fill the vacant Nashua Board of Aldermen seat, formerly occupied by the late Brian McCarthy. The election is set for March 5, with polls set to be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. that day.

“I’m for all kinds of stuff, all kinds of good stuff,” Teeboom proclaimed during the discussion. “I’m against mindless spending.”

However, audience members questioned some of Teeboom’s social media posts. A person stood up and asked Teeboom for his opinion of someone who identifies as a male feminist.

This question puzzled Teeboom for a moment, and then he requested clarification.

Teeboom: “I don’t know what a feminist male is. What is a feminist male?”

After receiving the clarification that it means, a male who considers himself a feminist, Teeboom mustered up a response by providing an example, rather than an answer to the question. He said one of the frontrunners of the #MeToo movement, just last month, had her entire case thrown out of court for insufficient evidence.

Clemons capitalized on Teeboom’s response during his next opportunity to speak.

“I too am a male feminist,” Clemons said, which earned applause from many in attendance.

Teeboom then said he is surrounded by women in his family life, listing off his daughter, two granddaughters and two great-granddaughters. He proudly said they are not members of the #MeToo movement.

Other Matters

“There’s nothing to do for young people in Nashua,” Teeboom said.

He believes the city needs to start getting venues that attract young people if the city wants to keep young people around.

However, Clemons answered that question from a different perspective, saying the city needs jobs that make it worthwhile for young people to stay. Clemons also said things such as the downtown Performing Arts Center and commuter rail would also help.

Clemons listed his top priorities as making sure the performing arts center is a reality in downtown, commuter rail, and addressing the issue of middle school buildings.

As for Teeboom, his priorities include addressing the $70 million for Elm Street Middle School and making sure there’s no misrepresentation by city leaders on the spending cap.

On the topic of commuter rail, Teeboom said there is new technology available that the city should strive toward, rather than old lumbering trains on old lumbering tracks that cost a fortune to maintain and operate.

“Let’s start thinking of self-guiding cars, monorails, new technologies – not the old stuff,” Teeboom said.

Clemons said there is existing infrastructure running from Lowell, Massachusetts to Concord.

“Nashua is not going to build a monorail because we don’t have the infrastructure to do that, but Nashua can bring the rail back,” Clemons said.

However, Teeboom said rail stopped because people did not ride it, causing it to lose a lot of money.

Near the end of the discussion, Clemons said he has known Teeboom for quite a while.

“He is a very, very intelligent person who makes unfortunate comments that are unbecoming of someone who wants to sit in the Board of Aldermen,” Clemons said.

Both candidates are familiar with serving the city’s best interest, and at one point, served on the board at the same time. While the two stand at opposite ends of the spectrum on a number of issues, one thing they both have in common is the desire to win that vacant seat.

“I am running for city alderman because I see careless decision making and the reckless spending of your tax money,” Teeboom said.