Mr. Fantastic

"Hey Clint, how have you been?"

"Fantastic!"

Fantastic was Clint Seward's favorite word, and one which I now use, but not with the same relish and enthusiasm. Nobody could "out-fantastic" Mr. Fantastic himself.

Clint was an eternal optimist. No matter what was going on in his life, Clint was fantastic. Fantastic also describes Clint, in a funny way, although he would have been too modest to accept the label. But despite his accomplishments and even his failures, Clint was always simply happy to be alive and excited by what the next day would bring. He battled his illness for many years and was grateful for every day he had with his wife and family, going well past his initial prognosis for longevity.

Clint looked the part of the typical Republican, but in his heart, he was a rebel Republican. He really liked facts and data and would use them to form his opinions. He was a strong believer in the American ideal and he just knew with certainty that things would eventually turn out right. It might take years or decades, but he was completely sure over the long-term that the country would right itself from the short-sighted deficit-spending mentality that grips both parties. It had to turn out right because perpetual deficit spending is simply not sustainable.

Clint was an early Donald Trump supporter. He predicted a Trump win, and he was right. He knew Trump was tapping into an angst and discontent that people were feeling around the country. Trump wasn't a typical Republican, but his appeal to Republicans like Clint was indicative of the power of his message.

I would often have coffee with Clint and Charlie Kadlec (and sometimes Dick Calandrella), and our agenda was always town politics, but we often discussed state or national politics just because it seemed that making changes locally was too hard or would take too long. Even with such long odds, Clint did try. He ran for Selectmen and when he didn't win, he volunteered for the Finance Committee. But he knew, long term, that his philosophical position would prevail no matter how the present winds in Acton were blowing.

Clint was one of the founders of Acton Forum. The four of us (Clint, Charlie Kadlec, Herman Kabakoff, and me) saw the need for a local website that would debate local issues. We were perfectly happy to have opposing views because we just knew that our positions were logical and debate would be fine. Clint always was optimistic about this eternal debate between "Liberal" and "Conservative." He knew time would eventually prove him right. You can't keep spending other people's money forever, as Margaret Thatcher pointed out. And that made him optimistic for the future despite all of society's problems today.

Clint knew that the media was changing and that alternative media that went directly to the people without the filter and biases of the reporters and editors was the wave of the future. He told me that several of the websites he read had literally hundreds of times more readers than, say, the New York Times. So while the Liberals relied on such entities to manipulate public opinion to suit their agenda, and were able to convince each other that they were right, real people could read and find support in other media. And Clint did.

In Acton, Clint was a leader in our effort to stop a property tax increase several years ago. We didn't win that fight, but Clint did a great job as the leader of that effort. He was President of the Acton Voters Group and the AVG called a Special Town Meeting that had over 1,300 registered voters showing up to hear a debate about stopping that year's property tax increase and having lower budgets into the future. Town and School leaders said many things that were not true during that debate, but Clint was sure that eventually, Acton's taxes had to start moderating. He did not live to see that start to happen, but others will keep that fight going until it does. It will, eventually, because it has to.

Clint also was a local writer and published several editorials in the Beacon. He also posted many articles on Acton Forum when we first got started. When Clint was appointed to the town's Finance Committee, he started to cut back on his writing. Then his illness forced him to cut back further but whenever he could, he would meet us for coffee to talk. Our last long discussion was just after the Trump victory and the three of us were all grinning ear to ear.

Clint was also an environmentalist. We didn't discuss those topics too much because we had some fundamental disagreements, but my impression was that he had the exact same motivations for those beliefs: the way people are acting on the planet was just not sustainable in the long-term. So he sought ways to reduce carbon emissions, worked on his ball-lightning technology, and was a "pay as you throw" supporter at the town's transfer station.

Here are some articles by or about Clint for your reading pleasure. Unfortunately, some of the older articles may be hard to access because some browsers think the older articles are not secure. If you can't access them, send me an email and I will email them to you.

Why are Acton's property taxes so high? (answering questions with other town leaders posed by Acton Forum): http://www.actonforum.com/story/why-are-actons-property-taxes-so-high-part-2

Clint posted specific ways to save money and avoid a tax increase when he ran for Selectman: http://www.actonforum.com/acton-can-avoid-property-tax-increase-next-year-no-layoffs

Clint always looked for facts to back up his opinions. Here he discusses the increase in public-sector pay. What he talked about five years ago has only gotten worse! http://www.actonforum.com/story/state-and-local-government-pay-much-higher-private-sector-pay

When Clint was actively going to town meetings, he would show how the flaws in the logic of the leadership were leading to increased spending and taxes. http://www.actonforum.com/story/acton-leaders-need-get-realistic-about-economy-and-budgets

Clint wrote a piece about "Freedom of Speech" when Acton Forum started to post the videos of committee meetings and the public salaries of our employees. https://www.actonforum.com/story/freedom-speech

Here is an article Clint did on the great T.J. O'Grady Skateboard Park: https://www.actonforum.com/story/positive-results-acton-o%E2%80%99grady-skate-board-park

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Comments

Clint's presence was a gift

I remember meeting Clint for the first time, and being continuously surprised at the clarity and originality of his thought, and his great warmth. I miss him.

Jim Snyder-Grant is a member of Green Acton - more at http://greenacton.org. More about me at http://snyder-grant.org/jim. Or - just contact me at 978 266-9409 or jimsg@newview.org

So glad to see your story about Clint

Clint was one of the nicest people you could ever meet. Although he was sick a number of time, he was a fighter and never gave up. He was a neighbor, a friend and will be deeply missed by all who knew him. Steve.