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.

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