Sunday, January 27, 2013

CPA/Taxes/Auburn Street

There is hardly a limit on what our local Community Preservation Committee can spend of CPA funds on a project. It is up to their collective discretion and in my opinion that is a serious flaw that needs to be addressed. Already there is talk of tapping into CPA funds for the police station and that could mean some serious outflow. The CPC could easily spend 60% of their funds on this project or none at all. My suggestion would be for the CPC to impose a cap on what a project can receive in a year based on a percentage of total CPA funds available. Say a limit of 15% or 20%? This would be a built in protection so that disasters such as the one in Bridgewater could be avoided. Also an applicant could always return the following year and make a request. Big ticket projects can turn into a money pit.
The reliance is upon the CPC to judiciously examine all proposals and recommend them to Town Meeting. Rarely does a CPC reject a proposal and rarely does a TM reject a CPA funded project. In fact very few projects actually turn into boondoggles That is what I have discovered in by usual diligent research. The Middleboro CPC appears cautious in the vetting process and hopefully that will continue and continue especially when the town comes forward in begging mode. But I have not found a CPC that has any self imposed limits or cap.
Deval Patrick has decided in his infinite wisdom that Massachusetts residents can pay even more in taxes. Already our road costs per mile are a notch away from being the highest in the nation while New Hampshire among the lowest. The primary factor being “administrative costs.” So that means a possible sales tax and gas tax increase to address transportation issues and - of course - the billions that the governor wants to spend on commuter rail to New Bedford and Fall River and - naturally - a line from Pittsfield (yes - it is part of Massachusetts) to New York City. I doubt if the famed Middleboro Rotary is on his agenda.
The proposed tax increases also have their usual “For the children” component meaning more for education. This is the poorly veiled attempt at emotional blackmail since the last thing we need is some rag covered tikes sitting in a classroom of eighty other rag covered tikes without heat, computers, pencils and no other potential services.
Fees are the other area that politicians love to exploit. I’m all for a fee to serve in the legislature. You are elected to office you pay a fee. You are elected to office you have to pay for a bond (not Adam) incase any skullduggery takes place on your watch - a remote possibility. So I doubt that will happen but your auto inspection may be doubled. Why do repair shops continue to do it if it is time consuming and those machines so expensive? Well the usual takes place: “You are going to need new ball joints!” “You need new wipers!” “You have a light out!” Amazing how much is discovered wrong or in need of repair.
Is Auburn Street finally settled? A court order was issued for the mess to be handled and the way the courts have operated with some of this crap I hope the Judge is Roy Bean. Just maybe this will be the start of public usage for the area and not to run a junk yard.
Obama in his inauguration speech had a line in the sand drawn for Republicans and even some of the more conservative elements in his own party. His focus for the bully pulpit appeared to be on his social agenda with no real specific on how to pay the bills.
Tom Brady is a very good quarterback but no longer a great one. He has morphed into a combination Brett Farve and Peyton Manning with spectacular numbers and then pedestrian ones in the playoffs. His performance against Baltimore was dreadful.
U.S. Attorney General Carmen Cruz plans on continuing the efforts of her department to grab a Tewksbury motel despite a rebuke of a judge that dismissed the case. Another example of prosecutorial reach or more clearly a money grab in which the feds can share the bounty with the locals.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ides Of January

Regionalization - I hope I have that big word right - is now in the news as the governor is targeting local housing authorities in an attempt to consolidate and save 10M. The real motivation is Chelsea. Chelsea has managed to corrupt the process in a sting of well documented and highly published mis-doings with the end result is everyone suffers.
There are 200 housing authorities in the state and with the consolidation that brings the number down to six. I’m sure the concern is over local control which should be somewhat extinguished by the new plan. I doubt if it will pass.
The local CPC has moved forward on the acrimonious UU pipe organ issue. On to TM for that one when some ire over the representative of the applicant will surface.
While in New York City I came upon a rotary that smaller than the Middleboro Rotary but obviously far more congested. Both Central Park West and North funneled into it but the rotary had three marked lanes and a light system that allowed for actually some fairly controlled madness. I have also seen a similar design in Hilton Head and used it several times. Works well. Maybe the answer here?
I had seen in the paper the potential of CPA funds being used on the police station. Is this a back door around what should be standard maintenance, overrides or debt exclusion?
The drive thru and the local McDonald’s makes the rotary look sane. Why they designed it like that is beyond my limited comprehension. At least I can still get a large soda for a buck.
Some strides have been made to make scenic downtown Middleboro presentable - most notably our “theater district” - but there is a long way to go. Too many store fronts look like 70s design gone bad.
Truchhi’s bakery has great cup cakes and they are only a $1.49.
I’m sure the BOS will make some sort of determination on stores selling pot. My suggestion is to make it as restrictive as liquor and lottery sales.
When did the History Channel become the Pawn Channel?
In New Hampshire a charity event sponsored by the Chief Police Association is offering a variety of guns as prizes. I guess sensitivity training is not taught at the academy.
Mark Pacheco has announced a run at another term. Guess the Probation Department hearings have stalled.
1/14 was Blue Monday or the most depressing day of the year. Seems that it is the day in which seasonal disorder is most pronounced. I really think it is all the Xmas credit card statements arrive.
Apple stock is on another downward trend. A real “bargain” at $500 a share.
The Patriots managed to win a playoff game with the vastly overrated Tom Brady so now Baltimore comes to town. Of course the pronouncement is Baltimore is “Old and slow” so as an “Old and slow” person I will have a bit of sympathy for them.
The Ravens got their nickname thanks to Edgar Allen Poe’s connection to the city.
The Boston Braves were once known as “The Beaneaters.” I imagine the clubhouse resembled that famed campfire scene from “Blazing Saddles.”
Nature areas in other towns have occasional bridges and boardwalks in areas that are difficult to muddle your way through. In Middleboro we have none. I’ll let BB start a grass roots efforts since I am far too lazy.
Be interesting to see how Obama applies executive orders in his second term. I believe Harrison was the only president not to issue one. Of course this will infringe upon Congress (in their view) and the occasional turf war will ensue.
Will be interesting since the debt ceiling is designed to provide money Congress has already authorized to spent or has spent. No bills get paid. I'm sure SS folks will appreciate that. Wait until Congress discovers there is no office help, free cafeteria and the trash is not being picked up. I'll probably miss the Smithsonian and National Parks the most.
Why is housing rehab grants limited to downtown?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

NRA/Cliffs/Mundane Comments

The Second Amendment used as a vehicle for illogical thought. The NRA - I hope - has a class action suit filed against it for the slaughter they help perpetuate. Now if the defenders of “The Second” wish to use that as a basis for their arguments I’m all for a return to the glory days of the late 1700s. Back to the flintlocks. Keep yer powder dry, boys! You want the Second then live with it under the parameters it was written.
Arm the custodians! Barney Fife lives! Pick up the trash, kid, or get pistol whipped!
How bad was in for the gun nuts? Even the NY Post and NY News - two conservative papers had NRA flack Presser on the front page with the headline “Gun Nut” followed by “NRA Loon In Bizarre Rant On Newtown.” I guess to the NRA the gun is just an innocent victim.
The idiots who run the increasingly insane National Rifle Association are so wrapped up in protecting widespread ownership of guns at any costs that they defy logic, promote stupidity and offer ridiculous solutions to the increase of violence in schools.
I took at informal poll via the internet of teachers and former teachers regarding their having to lock and load in the classroom. I also asked to have it sent to other teachers and at this point it is 17-0 AGAINST arming teachers.
We can have guns for self defense - thank you SCOTUS - but what happens when they get loose? Get stolen? I’ve seen stricter control getting on a plane than getting a gun. They are everywhere. Owners are careless and a four year old ends up with it. Family disputes are easily settled. Forget Death With Dignity just take the quick way out. High capacity magazines are only for one purpose - annihilation
A clever mass murderer can use many options to bring havoc but one option we can eliminate from the equation is guns.
How many armed robberies occur in Japan? Germany? Canada? How many schools in those countries have armed guards?
During our recent 3” blizzard I saw folks shoving snow into the street and clearing their cars in the street. My understanding is this is some type of violation of a newly minted ordinance. Maybe they should make a pilgrimage to Auburn Street to dispose of snow - after all it is not a street.
Are the BOS meeting every Monday in January? I have a Xmas tree to get rid of.
Congressional raises. It was stupid. Dumb. Poor decision. The country is a mess and Congress can't get crap done and they get a freaking raise! Obama should have killed this weeks ago. I don't care if it is Bush (choose one), Clinton, Reagan or Obama it was terrible PR and has just ticked people off. A dumb arse move! And while I have the soap box where was the leadership in Congress on this?
Seemed like the fiscal resolve was originating in the Senate. Article I section VII covers this. They are proposing. All the twist of linguistics and parliamentary maneuvering. Not really unusual. House will then look at it and modify it (much will already be decided with a mutual drunk and debauchery) and then the House will magically come up with a bill with a few changes and send it on to the Senate. Eventually it will pass and then the legislature and executive will gut it.
My predictions are notoriously accurate such as a Red Sox pennant in 2012 or BB writing a worthwhile read so look for equities and earnings to sky rocket in 2013.
Kansas now has a law limiting cat ownership to a max of four. Many places have dog limits since at a certain number you must have a kennel license. My wife - The Lovely Cynthia - would have to cull her herd of cats. Little furry vermin - the cats - not Cynthia.
Towns are moving to restrict dope shops. I thought the original intent was to block dopes which would make my blog extinct.