The end result of nonsensical restrictions
My column in the Dec 25 Gazette
The Assawompsett Pond Complex consists of Assawompsett, Pocksha, Great Quittacas, Little Quittacus and Long Pond in the towns of Middleboro, Lakeville, Rochester and Freetown. These ponds serve as water supplies for New Bedford and I think Taunton as well. As far as I know it is legal to use the trails around this pond. I use them often and frankly Scarlett I don’t give a damn if I am supposed to be or not. I would love to see the state of Massachusetts turn these areas into a full blown state park or at least actively support recreational use of this land with designated parking areas and trail maps. Keiko Orrall, Tom Calter, William Straus, Marc Pacheco: Make it so. And if any of my MA legislators found this column by Googling yourself, get back to work and stop Googling yourself.
Apparently one of the trails I wrote about is off limits – which created some guff for the paper. I expect there will be a letter in this week’s paper about it. Personally I am of the opinion that allowing public use of state and/or municipal land is beneficial. Most or all of these ponds are public water supplies. A healthy dose of trail walkers would discourage activity that could endanger the water quality.
Police station vote result survey
Middleboro voters rejected an override
of $12M to pay for a new police station. Opposition to the override was pretty overwhelming with 63% voting against.
I’m running a survey to understand the reasons why the override failed. The survey is totally anonymous and asks just one question – why did you vote against it. I’m hoping to use the results to get some sense of the reasons people were opposed for a future Gazette column.
The survey is here or may be accessed by scanning this QR code on your smartphone:
Several months ago I met up with the Bridgewater Community Preservation Committee chaired by Marilee Hunt. One thing led to another and we set up a meeting – sort of a meet and greet for are CPA committees. That went pretty well and tonight we held our second one.
It was attended by 31 people representing CPC’s from Bridgewater, Middleboro, Hanson, Dighton, Wareham, Carver, West Bridgewater, and Plympton. Two representatives from the Community Preservation Coalition facilitated the meeting and gave a presentation about CPA focusing on changes to the law that went into affect last July. Marilee asked me to introduce the speakers and give some closing words to adjourn the meeting. That was a nice thing to especially considering that she did the heavy lifting of arranging it all.
The goal here from my perspective is to create a network of people who can draw on each other for advice, information, and support so that we can all do a more effective job of managing CPA in our individual towns. A secondary goal is to start thinking regionally. The simplest example of regional thinking would be for adjacent towns to collaborate on a project of mutual benefit. A more complex example might be towns within a given watershed working strategically for the greater good and mutual interests. Another example might be all members of a given region helping to lobby at the state level for something or other.
Before and after the presentation there was general milling and chit-chat. My feeling is that people like the idea of having a network of other CPC members to share knowledge with. It’s too early to say if this will amount to much but I’m pretty hopeful that it will. I’m already quite chummy with members of 3 different CPC’s and that alone has significant value to me.
SRPEDD is giving away bike racks to area towns. According to this article:
The Southeastern Regional Planning & Economic Development District is gearing up to launch a “bicycle parking” program this fall that aims to increase the number of bike racks around the region.
The program is funded by the Federal Highway Administration’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program and will allow cities and towns to purchase bike racks at a discount. SRPEDD will reimburse communities for their cost, meaning towns will only have to pay for installation.
Something like this isn’t going to bring the tourists rushing in but it couldn’t hurt. Having a few of these sprinkled through the downtown could lure the odd cyclist to stop and spend.
…. because it worked out so well the last time.
The scuttlebutt around town is that a “developer” floated an “informal proposal” to the Middleboro Town Manager and Board of Selectman.
Selectmen are dismissing an informal proposal for a commercial casino with little public input. The casino proposal comes from a developer who asked to remain unidentified until the deal is firmed up.
The developer floated his casino proposal to Middleboro Town Manager Charles J. Cristello but selectmen kyboshed the plan without public discussion. Former selectman Adam M. Bond questions selectmen’s decision and called for an open debate.
I have to laugh at the call for open debate since the last casino was the poster child for backdoor secrecy – but that’s neither here nor there.
One of the biggest problems with our last casino was that the town went all in and basically went insane for three or four years for a project that started off as a long shot and then became a virtual impossibility in early 2009. Regardless of reality, the town carried on whole hog and pissed away a bunch of time and effort for a project that offered very little revenue. All during that time I bemoaned our paltry $9M payment and called for payments well north of $20M – which is exactly what host communities are negotiating today with the current applicants for commercial casinos. But back to point: We wasted a whole pantsload of time for something that had two chances – slim and none. We probably flushed thousands of hours of town government time and a couple of hundred thousand dollars down the crapper.
Now we’re supposed to go through that whole charade all over again? You can be sure that other players in our region are well ahead of the game and have concrete proposals. The last thing Middleboro needs to do is to start wasting its time on “The Big Stupid Longshot – Part 2”. Let’s all understand something. If there is going to be a casino in the Southeast Region – it will NOT be in Middleboro.
When the Mashpee Wampanoags were pushing their casino on an eager public, the governor submitted a very thoughtful – and thorough – 120 page document opposing the project. Translation: “I love casinos – just not Middleboro ones”. This same governor bent over backwards to help the very same tribe with the very same project in a different town. Middleboro is too close to the Raynham Racetrack and is definitely not New Bedford – the odds on favorite for hosting a Region C casino.
What the Board of Selectman did was to say “No” to a project that is not going to happen based on their experience with a prior project that is still not going to happen. The town has limited resources and can’t waste them on pipe dreams.