Town Meeting from hell – photo from Boston Globe
My column in this week’s Middleboro Gazette concerns the last Town Meeting and some things that are bothering me about them generally.
The first time I spoke at an actual town meeting it was a whopper – about 4,000 people. That’s a far cry from the 250 that normally attend. These days I’m disinclined to speak at them for various reasons.
We generally blow through huge spending articles with little or no discussion. At several recent town meetings there was some hot button issue or other such as the swearing by-law. This last meeting had an article about the Kiwanis cross. The dynamics of these kind of discussions are off-putting. They are long on emotion and short on reason making sensible/reasoned discussion all but impossible.
One of my recent columns discussed the stark contrast between two properties on River Street. A-Plus Waste Recycling service has featured the article on their web site with permission from the Middleboro Gazette editor.
On a partially related topic, I haven’t been posting much recently because I’ve been very busy with work and … camping. Last August we bought a used 32′ camper/trailer and have it on a really great campground in Plymouth. We all love it – even the kids(*gasp*). We’ve been down there most weekends with no TV or Internet and not missing either.
I’m hoping to start posting a bit more regularly but I’m not particularly interested in getting into the sort of vitriolic and uninformed nonsense that is common on Facebook. I definitely have a lot of thoughts about the recent shutdown/debt ceiling debacle which I’ll probably visit. These days talking politics is likely to bring on a case of the vapors from the far right but that’s beyond my control.
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.
My buddy Allin Frawley is calling for a boycott of stores selling a type of incense that is being used by young people to get buzzed. Seemingly this substance has all sorts of risks associated with it:
Sold as an incense or potpourri, under a variety of names including Scooby Snaks, WTF, AK 47 and Dead Man Walking, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says when ingested the drug, which is a synthetic cannabinoid, can cause kidney shutdown and a host of other serous side effects including erratic and psychotic behavior.
“It’s poison,” Frawley said at the onset of Monday’s meeting, saying the potent drug is a recipe for a public health disaster.
Calling it a health emergency Frawley lobbied to take swift action and ban the drug through a local bylaw.
Until a ban is in place, Frawley urged residents to ask local merchants, “Do you sell this stuff? If they say yes, walk out and take your business elsewhere. They don’t deserve our money. This is our community and they’re putting poison into it.”
“Erratic and psychotic behavior”? I think I know some people that might be taking this! People – stick to weed if you really must mess around with junk like this. You’ll get the buzz and skip the kidney failure.
I’m generally not a fan of boycotting businesses when they do something you don’t agree with. As an example, the pro-gun militants were calling for a boycott of Starbucks when they politely requested that customers not carry weapons into their stores.
In this case however, I would urge people to ask the shopkeepers to take the stuff off the shelves. If the store refuses let your conscience and wallet do the talking.
Dilapidated eyesore – Photo from Topix
One of the big issues in Middleboro right now is the proposed High Point treatment center. I discuss it in my Middleboro Gazette column this week but unfortunately it is not in the online edition. The facility will have a 72 bed locked
psychiatric ward and a small outpatient treatment center. The outpatient center will not
I’m basically in favor of it at this point – although my mind could change as more information comes out. Here is my thinking.
- St. Luke’s Hospital is a horrible eyesore – even worse than Steve’s Sports Den.
- The company will dump some $11M into the property
- The police/fire chief have expressed concerns about call volume based on the call volume from Manomet High Point. I am not worried at this time because the Manomet facility is very different from the proposed Middleboro facility. The Manomet High Point has just 20% of it’s beds in a locked ward. Middleboro will be 100% locked.
- No methodone. I’ve heard people say that the Middleboro facility will include a methodone clinic. This is not true. No drugs will be dispensed.
- The facility will have 200 jobs – of which 150 will be brand new.
Middleboro has been trying to do something with this graffiti-infested drug den for years. There are no other plans on the table – nor have their ever been any other plans on the table.
As I said, I’m leaning in favor but am keeping an open mind as more information comes in.
I cut the cord – aka shut off cable TV – almost a year and a half ago. I love it, love it, love it but understand that having no cable TV would not work for everyone. I’ve found a new piece to the no-cable puzzle – Aereo.
Aereo gives you the over-the-air aka broacast channels over the Internet. Why would you do this when you can just put up an antenna? Four reasons:
- Perfect reception – You can get damn good reception with an antenna – but not perfect.
- Channel guide – there is no channel guide with broadcast TV. Aereo supplies it.
- DVR – If you are using an antenna, it is not easy to record. It’s possible but not easy and generally not free. Aereo gives you built-in DVR capability which can be accessed via the web or with your streaming device.
- Pause/rewind live TV – something you obviously can’t do with regular broadcast TV
Continue reading 'Aereo is cool'»