Wednesday, April 8, 2015

SC/BOS/CPC

School committee meeting are generally about as exciting as white paint on a wall. The retinue is fairly mundane with various presentations that force an onlooker into a glazed over stupor. Now a little excitement has been injected into the weekly adventure in “stupid things to do.” The stupid thing was to cut off public comment.
Locally, we have been down this road before. A few years back the Board of Selectmen’s meeting resulted in a long line of locals to protest the arbitrary sanctioning by Marsha Brunelle of public debate. Ms. Brunelle had the good sense to apologize and move forward. Of course she had the ill fortune to run again and was defeated.
In the latest local dustup the committee chair, Richard Gillis, relinquished his post, but choose to remain on the committee. The central protagonist was Lincoln Andrews, who has an extensive record of local service. The SC used lawyer speak to squash any comments. Their attorney advised them not to add it to the agenda when it was missed over a clerical error.
Suggestion to the SC: Get a new attorney.
A heated discussion and Mr. Andrews’ willingness to lock horns with the SC over this issue resulted in a phone call to the police, another member, with a shrill and irritating “point of order” being bandied about, resulted in a fervent verbal exchange during a recess with Mr. Andrews.
A small group of concerned parents has wanted answers and have not received them. The SC has been stonewalling and entrenched on this issue and that issue is why in regard to the superintendent.
At the center of this brouhaha is the dismissal or the firing of the current superintendent, Roselle Weiss. Of course she “resigned,” but in actuality the SC wanted her gone. I posted on this uprising a few months ago and it appears Ms. Weiss requested a contract extension and also had made some rather honest public statement regarding school performance.
Here is a hint to the SC: Middleboro will never be beyond Level two. In fact, based on the historic demographics of Middleboro the SC should be giddy and not to be lower.
Now the revolt seems somewhat diminished after another meeting. A new Chair, Rich Young, attempted to restore some sense of continuity to the agenda process and managed to survive a rambunctious verbal onslaught from a burgeoning audience of over 100.
Two of the protagonists - or at least one - has continued the exchange on social media. As my wife - The Lovely Cynthia - commented: "How childish." I have heard that term many times with me being the recipient.
Next up is the selection of a new Superintendent.
Allin Frawley wishes to support a bill to expand bow hunting into seven days a week and that effectively shuts out those of us who cannot use the areas during hunting season. This is an incredible display of selfishness by the hunting lobby and by Selectman Frawley himself. Six days for ten weeks were not enough? The sheer nonsense of suggesting that folks walk in the woods during hunting season with vests on show that some just do not read the news regarding hunting accidents.
With Selectman Frawley it apparently comes down to family time as family commitments and a work schedule impact his hobby. From my own experience with hunters, one son included, they have a tendency to schedule a vacation day or two during the season. And sacrifice? Please! Spare me. I had a job, three children, coached baseball and had outside interests that had to be diminished or eliminated.
Not to be outdone was former Selectman Wayne Perkins, who attempted to connect blue laws to why we have no hunting. Any port in a storm, Wayne. What you have, Wayne, Allin and Chris Reed, is six days a week. I know that as do most non hunters. As a trail runner my little group also plan. We have a list of “safe zones,” and what is starting and what season. The one concession is to allow one day for non-hunters to enjoy say the 10,000 acres of Myles Standish without fear. Or even Rocky Gutter.
This bill is simply foot in the door legislation that some more myopic supporters of this measure refuse or are incapable of seeing. The next measure will be to open up the season to all firearms seven days a week and then even expand the season.
The bill itself should not have been brought before the BOS. This is not the APC, which impacts us all, but a bill that is directed for a small group. Selectman Knowlton had it right.
The Oliver House project seems to change more frequently than Hillary Clinton on email excuses. This project apparently is held together by tenuous threads of maybe will get some cash….or maybe not? Meanwhile the CPA well is now fiscally dry thank to emptying the coffers to this project. A sincere “I told you so” is my patented response.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Ides of March

Forget the obstinacy of the business owner and his apparent track record of ignoring or circumventing the BOS, the issue is twenty-five cars on a lot. Common sense would mean 25 for sale. As was pointed out there’s a transient nature to a car lot. Customers have cars. Cars are in for repair. Employees have cars. A poorly worded by-law is being used as a punishment tool for an uncooperative business owner with a questionable relationship with the town.
What do you do if there is 25 cars on the lot and a customer shows up? Tell the customer to get lost? Pack up a car and move it off lot? If the town wishes to inspect the lot for cars make sure that there are 25 for sale.
According to the Brockton Enterprise there are five millionaires in Middleboro. That, according to state returns for 2012, is the adjusted gross income. There is no report on how many are employees of the police, fire or G & E.
Benghazi, Filegate, Travelgate, Whitewater and now emails. As George Will said “The Clinton’s would try to find a loophole in a stop sign.” So…Hillary is the front runner and you can fully expect the water carriers in her wing of the party to claim it is all a right-wing conspiracy.
Former Governor Deval Patrick is now with the Boston 2024 Olympic Committee. If there was any reason to say no to this boondoggle that should seal the deal.
Middleboro has managed to be rather successful in maintaining budget and that is reflected in lack of interest on the part of candidates. A smooth sailing ship.
The Boston Olympics certainly made a splash with Deval Patrick getting a $7,500 per day consulting fee. And no paid detail, either.
I have difficulty understanding the fascination on the part of the left with enemies of Israel. How much is rooted in anti-Semitism? A nuclear Iran? What a splendid option!
The Republican presidential hopefuls have now infected New Hampshire. A splendid group that make Sarah Palin look legit.
Baseball is getting ready for the season and I continue my spectacular articles on bosoxinjection.com.
If my street is any example Middleboro will be investing heavily in pot hole repair.
The Patriots have taken a step back and their competition a step up. I am certainly no fan of the Pats and do not shed tears over the loss of Revis - until he landed back with the despised Jets.
MCAS has been an educational success story so why Common Core? If Massachusetts was a nation we'd be among the top five in the world in performance and even higher in some instances.
When examining international testing such as SERI, be aware some nations exclude many students from the exam.

Friday, January 30, 2015

246/54, Downtown, Patriots,Olympics

The 246/54 represents the results of the recent national election. That is the Republican representation in Congress and the ultimate legacy of Obama. How much the shine of 2008 has eroded?
The Republicans actually played it smart – a political rarity for them. The focus was on running against a president that many now had firmed doubts about – very similar to 1980 when Carter was defeated by Reagan. You look at the blue states – and that is solid blue – and that is where Obama was welcomed. The rest? Forget it.
The Republicans made a concerted effort to avoid the usual bait and fall into the trap on social issues. Where that may resonate as a positive they certainly spoke out but other places? Nope. Avoid at all costs.
Even more surprising was the gains in state offices. I thought the Republicans would actually lose a few governorships and they actually gained, including here in the “People’s Republic.” Baker won by 2% and that is a virtual landslide considering the composition of the state.
So let the whining begin.
Already it has become a mirror of Republican angst after 2008. The passel of excuses and finger pointing. Seems like every other article has Koch Brothers in it. Simple fact is the folks got tired of all talk and no substance from the oval office. Toss in Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and no more calls, folks, we have a winner!
But never count the Republicans out in the stupidity race as Mitt Romney is attempting another try. And don't forget Sarah Palin!
I grew up in Whitman. Whitman is far smaller to Middleboro in size and population yet there is a noticeable difference – the downtown areas.
On a recent visit after many years of exile I drove through the downtown section and notice variety of business establishments, few empty store fronts, some old restaurants and some new ones, plenty of parking, some nice apartments and even Duval’s Pharmacy still appears to be in business.
Whitman also has a second section that is on picturesque South Avenue with the main focus being in the area of the train station. South Avenue from the center of town to the train station has several businesses and private residences in this one kilometer stretch. In fact the whole town seems as vibrant as I remember it from my youth.
On the way back home I took a quick drive through downtown East Bridgewater. Seems they also have some healthy activity for such a small community. Very few empty store fronts.
But what about Middleboro?
Robert Nunes, our Town Manager (I’ll drop the “new”), has made one of his priorities addressing the very issue of our downtown business – or is it lack of business, area. The ideas sound like an excellent starting point and just maybe they will eventually be fruitful.
Most of the downtown area just appears seedy. An eclectic collection of store fronts from the 1970s, older buildings in need of some touch-up and some that seriously need to meet Mr. Demolition. Smoothing out the process for opening up a business is one part of the puzzle with the other part being placing it in something I would wish to walk into without taking shots and wearing a dust mask.
The addition of a college has not yet shown tangible results. I doubt Highpoint will add much to the esthetics. The only real positive I have seen is the theater and a few others that have managed to prosper. Now in the center you will have two empty store fronts to greet folks. How soon before Rockland Trust packs it in?
Selectman...or is it woman....or maybe person?. Anyways, she,meaning Leilani Daple, has done a commendable job seeking out ways of mitigating the situation. Maybe...just maybe...eventually it will be two steps forward and one back. When I first moved to Middleboro in 1973 the downtown was actually a nice place to shop. Maybe that can return?
Along the lines of downtown comes the Planning Board. A developer is suddenly in snit city after repeated issues with the board and has gone DFCON to the TM and BOS. This will be interesting as it, no doubt, will develop into a he said/she said situation.
The Patriots have once again displayed the ability to work outside the rule book. Belichick or Brady? Probably both. And add to it Bob Kraft. Kraft is a saint in these parts despite playing off Providence against Hartford to get a stadium.
Congratulations to Boston for the ultimate bad idea – attempting to get the Olympics. Fact is the taxpayers will eventually have to be responsible for billions and add to this the development of another quasi agency to mismanage this mess.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Open up Great Neck Island

I hate it when I have to agree with Bumpkin.
A recent Bumpkin column, a rather innocuous one, focused one the various trails in the Assawompset Pond Complex or APC. Of special note was the causeway that leads to Great Neck Island the sits in the middle of Great Quittacas Pond. The usage of the area elicited a response from former Lakeville Selectwoman, Nancy Yeatts, who is now guardian of the APC.
Seems that 500 acres, including Great Neck Island, is off limits to “protect the infrastructure of the water suppliers.” I could find no infrastructure on my many visits to Great Neck Island. There is a brick pumping station off of Route 105 that I could certainly dismantle with a sledge hammer and a 300 year life expectancy – get real, Ms. Yeatts! Ms. Yeatts further stated that public use can “be discontinued for deliberate of perceived threats to the water supply.” I have now been classified as “A perceived threat.”
I called Ms. Yeatts and mentioned the simple fact that one of the most scenic areas in the region is off limits. Like Bumpkin I will continue to occasionally use the area and take my chances. I would encourage others to do likewise. Join with me in the world of “perceived threats,” which is how this aged trail runner is now classified for the audacity to simply tell Ms. Yeatts I will continue to ignore her mandate. Chalk it up to my anti-authoritarian stance regarding public (note – public) land. I really get a burr in my bonnet with having access denied to those that foot the bill.
The island access is rather simple and would require very little in the way of adding some additional from the "Forbidden Zone." About 200M from the acceptable boundry would do it. All the way is already a rather spacious road. That would be it. A walk across the causeway and to the two trails on the island. Do it!
This may have made sense – even remotely – back in 2002 when the plan was initiated. But today? Does anyone actually realize how many access points to that area exist? Long Pond Road and Route 105 run up against the pond. What escapes Ms. Yeatts is the simple fact is the more use results in more observance. But to those with an entrenched and back thinking mindset this area is no doubt high on the target profile list of our assorted enemies. I do believe I saw Putin riding bareback on the causeway.
The APC is under used and especially in the area in question. A real sore sight is taking the access road that is on Route 105 and going into an area known as “The Sludge Pit.” This area has for the last several years been used as a dumping ground for vegetative waste material and some type of digging operation. The least that the APC can do is invest in a wood chipper. You really want a mess? Wander in back of that archaic pumping station off Rote 105 and follow the muddy brick road to their personalized dumping area. A lot more than just “vegetation.”
From the sludge area you can follow a road on acceptable and approved areas and witness the logging version of strip mining. For the last few years logging and heavy equipment have been in the process of doing who knows what. I imagine there is “A plan” for exactly what this encompasses, but it does seems like excessive disturbance to the area.
What makes me really wonder is Ms. Yeatts has an extensive resume in land preservation and use - especially in Betty's Neck. Why close off an area?
So I have done the usual route and written a letter to The Gazette, notified our legislators and hope that somewhere a light will go on in the forces that be regarding the APC and actually view Great Neck Island as a PUBLIC resource to be used, enjoyed and managed by all.
All across the country areas are being opened up and among them are areas that are classified as water resources – usually public drinking water – and they are open. I could make a nice list that would take up another server somewhere in cyber space – I have been to many of them where management is actually proactive.
This is now an addition to the above. Went to the area today (01/01/15) and entered via one of the gates on North Avenue. If you follow that access road you will come upon a main trail. There is even a map placed there as part of a scout project. Turn left and you are in the restricted area. How do you know that? You don't. There is no signage. None. You can wander around and see nothing. No signs. One would expect that the APC authorities have the fiscal resources to purchase signs and place them in the area. There is also fantastic potential for three scenic overlooks and one would be the island. It would take minimal amount of effort and I would gladly show the trails that need to be marked and improved.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Middleboro: Home of male, pale and stale

The town manager recently spoke of having community meetings regarding the police station issue. The TM suggested as a starting point Oak Point with over 900 residents. A member of the Police Station Study Committee objected on the grounds “they were not tax payers.” This myopic vision was soon shot down. OP does pay taxes as do the residents.
The attitude demonstrated by this point of view is distributing. So reminiscent of a candidate’s night a few years back where another business owner, whose wife was running for the BOS, took issue with another candidate for being a rent payer and not a taxpayer.
I am sure both these individuals would be comfortable with a return to colonial times where if you were male, White and owned property you got to vote!
The committee itself is still alive. They should be disbanded and new and fresh faces given the opportunity to move forward on the issue. The renovation of the current station is not happening. Now it is time to actually review the other options that were questionably rejected.
As a trail runner I often come across signs like this: “Government property. Unauthorized access will be prosecuted.” Somewhat paraphrased but you get the idea. I think of that sign with the current and ongoing debate over illegal immigration.
In the recent moonbat beat down a big question on the minds of voters was illegal immigration. I do believe that had some impact on the fact the Republicans took control of both houses and added on some governorships.
The moonbat fringe loves to invent new phrases to lighten the possible negative vibes flowing. One was attempting to re-brand liberal as a progressive. The latest is to classify an illegal as “unauthorized persons.” I never see the wingnuts attempt those type of deceptions. I guess, like Gruber states, they must be “stupid American voters.”
Falling inflation is a worry of the European banks and is also of concern here. The last thing anyone in government wants is cheaper prices. With inflation that debt – 18T and counting in the U.S. – is paid off with cheaper money. Ask the stiff getting a 1% raise if he/she wants lower food costs, fuel costs and trinkets.
Maybe the School Committee should consider what Brockton is doing and returning to neighborhood schools. Many communities still do that but years ago Middleboro decided to consolidate into that Buckland-Goode mess. Too bad. Now most of those schools have found other use, but don’t give up! Maybe the militant preservationist can attempt to resurrect them.
“Technically it is not illegal to be illegal in Massachusetts.” Those words are attached to soon to exit AG, Martha Coakley. Turns out a police office had discovered a novel (and legal) way to spot illegals and hammer away at the main issue – ID Theft. Initial love of idea expressed by minions in the AG’s office eventually led to no emails being answered. I guess ID theft is not important.
And then there is Ms. Divestiture herself – Peg Goldberg. Turns out her family charitable foundation lost 14M to Bernie and now Ms. Divesture will oversee a 55B PRIT pension fund.
I don't know what is worse - the hours after the announcement in Ferguson or Best Buy at 1AM on Black Friday.
Expand the tax base by being business friendly is a message from the new TM. Does that mean a single tax rate?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Turkey Time!

The Middleboro School Committee is the latest local poster child for lack of transparency. The SC decided to deep six the current superintendent, Roseli Weiss, for the transgression of being honest on MCAS expectations and have the audacity of asking for a raise.
Middleboro has an illustrious history of less than splendid MCAS results so when Weiss appears to lower the bar the SC demands some degree of retribution. Top it off by her requested for a contract extension and a raise and the door was open for the bum’s rush for Weiss.
The raise issue was of particular interest as I was reading a recent article of equal pay. One of the reasons why women sometimes lag behind is a lack of aggressiveness. Seems men are more vocal in seeking out a few pennies more. So Ms. Weiss decides to ask and the SC is stunned. Hey, boys and girls, just say no!
The SC was in full turtle mode and there is certainly no profiles in courage as the information had to be gleaned by the Middleboro Gazette forcing the issue with the club being the Freedom of Information Act. So Weiss gets the gate and we’ll get a new administration who – if they are smart – will certainly say “Middleboro will be Level One in MCAS!” And I will start in left field for the Red Sox in 2015.
I watched the parade of parents on the telly who thanked Weiss and expressed disappointment with the SC. That added some degree of excitement to what is normally one of the most mundane evenings on said telly.
Why does the Middleboro schools do a half-day professional development each month? That counts as a full fay. Would seem to me it would be more productive to have three full day professional days and then have that extra seat time.
In Middleboro if you are a retired teacher from the Middleboro system and substitute you are compensated at $100 per day. Retired from another system and you get $80 a day. Considering our MCAS results maybe it should be flipped.
Maybe the proposed alignment of February – April vacations will help?
Olga Roche, the deposed commish of the DCF, was handed a nice fiscal kiss after being “fired.” Roche was allowed to hang around to fatten her pension and collect some vacation and sick time. This was outed by The Boston Herald and when confronted the latest DCF hack in charge said essentially “No comment as we respect her right to a private retirement.” Translated: If we wait long enough this will go away.
Rising rapidly up my food chain in my “Pantheon of Idiots” is the latest group of those in need of a feeling of moral superiority – the divesture crowd. So if a public pension fund sells off fossil fuel positions that is supposed to hurt the fossil fuel industry?
Here it is in a nutshell. We are a technological society and scientific evidence clearly supports the excessive use of fossil fuels as being a negative. I am sure some wingnuts can find a blog or two that provide contrary evidence. Now for point two. The fossil fuel companies are heavily invested in alternative energy just as tobacco companies started to migrate into other areas. Smart business
Just a drive down picturesque Route 44 will show a small solar farm and in the background wind turbines. On my roof is a solar unit that has been there since 1982 – long before it became “sexy” to use alternative energy. The transition is taking place.
Is there anything more foolish than day trading in stocks? I would consider going to Village Market and buying one each of every scratch ticket a better option. I get on message boards and read their endless whining about the hour by hour fluctuations of a stock. They respond like petulant four year-olds as the daily numbers are posted.
Who says you don’t win at gambling? Turns out our newly formed Gaming Commission lead by Steven Crosby has run up some impressive expense tabs. They far exceeded certain suggested limits imposed by the administration of expense accounts for public employees. Maybe a former member of the G & E Board could land a job there?
Selectman John Knowlton had an excellent opinion piece in the Gazette regarding the recent failure of the police station renovation. It is over! No second try.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Ocean Spray - Home of ageism

Ocean Spray is supposed to be a fairly intelligent company. Or are they? They have a testing lab and you can sign up to be a tester providing you meet certainly qualifications. I can fully comprehend that except for one – age. You have to be between 18-69. I can understand under 18 but over 69? I’m 70! I guess that means that anyone over 70 should not purchase any ocean spray product? That is exactly what I intend to do. I will also go to their corporate headquarters and attempt to find the genius behind this exclusion. Guess when you are over age 69 your taste buds become invalid.
QE is essentially gone and the stock markets have not missed a beat. I follow the Standard & Poor index rather than the outdated Dow Jones or the Apple inflated NASDAQ. Even with QE – essentially an 85B a month welfare handout – the markets have been steady. Like a relationship that you can see as crumbling and eventually ending is an analogy I care to use. You know it will soon be over.
One of the huge failures of Bush part deux was his failure to allow some level of private investment with social security – the ultimate Ponzi scheme. Bush backed off that to the usual militant and 100% unfounded babble from the Democrats.
Allow some level off the grid. Reduce any eventual SS payout by what you choose as an alternate investment. Place it under strict guidelines and watch it grow and grow. I have run the numbers on what my contributions – both mine and employers – would be with what we both contributed over the thirty years I was locked in. Just a simple split among the three major indexes I would have had $800,000 at age 62. And the money would be there for heirs – inherited wealth.
Allin Frawley had a recent series of posts on FB regarding hunting. As a trail runner that means disaster time as one cannot take the risk of entering the kill zone. However there are plenty of places where hunting is restricted and that is even here in Middleboro. Pratt Farm and Weston Town Forrest to name two.
I also posted on ATV’s. This is an area I have real mixed emotions about since there is a huge yahoo factor with the four and two wheel mechanical noise machines. There is an upside. I am a trail runner and the monsters can really cut a trail or restore one. Seen it done and been involved in it. Invite a club in for a few days and flag the area and let them go.
Hunting has now progressed to where virtually all respect nature. Back in the day at Freetown State Forest I would watch them wander into restricted areas with beet or plastic solo cup firmly in hand. Far too many with some serious drug and alcohol issues along with a distinct inability to read and comprehend the simple word – POSTED. That has slowly changed over the years
Seems the Superintendent of Schools has become the latest victim of the long and illustrious history of underperforming Middleboro students. The one consistent through all the decades I have lived in Middleboro is the people themselves. What is more important? An Honor Society induction or a football game? Take a look at the demographics of Middleboro. The income level. Poverty rate. Unemployment. College educated parents. Compare it with other communities in the county.
The open store fronts seem to proliferate in downtown.
Pot luck suppers have been rescued from the clutches of the nanny state. H.1997 allows that time honored tradition without the local board of health tossing in any roadblocks.
Speaking is phony stuff. Sandra Fluke (rhymes with flake) lost by 21% in CA.
I can’t wait to hammer away at Charlie Baker.
The beauty of the national swerve to the right is the fabled what goes around. The Democrats were laying into “Blame Bush” for years and the Republicans won by “Blaming Obama.” Then if things are still screwed up in two years they can milk it again.
To me the real big loser was the one pol I simple cannot stand – Elizabeth Warren. She was 4-8 with one undecided (it will be 4-9 after a runoff) in the senate races she campaigned for.
Locally Middleboro supported Baker. The whole county did except for the cities.