Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A New Year with hope

I hope all of our readers can find some ray of hope for the new year. We may come to realize things will not be as good as they once were. Our goals may have to wait a little longer, our dreams may have to be put aside for a year or two. We may have to work harder and longer in life and we may have to live with a fact that our children s/grandchildren's lives will not be as good as ours were in the past.

We must keep our chins up and find ways to be happy with much less.

We can, if we try.

Medicail Marijuana in Maine

Come Jan 1st, Maine's first medical marijuana dispensary will open in Auburn Maine. Seven more will be allowed to operate in Maine. Rhode Island will open three dispensaries next year also. Seven other States have over 1000 dispensaries.

Beacon Hill has had legislation before it for 9 years and still cannot seem to realize what 15 other States already approve of, marijuana has medicinal benefits and can be a revenue source.

Falsifying unemployment numbers

Most of us know someone or many people who have been out of work for 2 years or more now. That group called the 99ers, who has lost their UE benefits or will in the coming weeks fall off the radar and are not counted. Once your benefits are gone, you no longer are a statistic in the system.

Based on the latest Work Force Development figures, our Town has a unemployment rate of 6.1%, lower than most but not the lowest, like Weston at 4.9%. An educated guess would be around 3 to 4 thousand in Town are collecting now and is my guess the total amount of people unemployed could be 5 to 6 thousand or more. Some 300,000 or so in this state are registered as unemployed, which in reality could be as high as half a million people who have fallen off the radar.

While retail sales were up, sales on the web were up, some say up as much as 5% over last year, there is little joy in HooVille when so many are still out of work, struggling to keep their homes and their kids fed and warm.

And while the foreclosure rate continues to climb, big companies continue to lay off people, huge tax breaks given to companies who promise to create jobs, the Legislature who was supposed to help find ways to encourage job growth in the State, never meet once in two years.

Corporate greed, the self interested voter, a political system owned by big business, trade deals that take jobs from Americans are all to blame. And the under reporting of the unemployed in this State and Country are the signs of a government trying to con us all into thinking everything is going to be fine.

It's not fine for the 99ers and all who want jobs.

sidewalks and snow removal

Just in case you haven't heard, a recent court decision has made it very clear, homeowners and business alike must, with-in 6 hours of when the snow stops, make an effort to clear the sidewalks. While this seems to be a no brainier, many feel it's not their responsibility. The court's decision lays the ground work for civil law suits if one is hurt and negligence is proved. A fine can be imposed by the city or Town and I'll bet few will be fined at all in this Town. Lawyers like Jim Suckaloft are licking their chops.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Good, Bad and Ugly in the budget

Last week or so I attended a SC meeting where an articulate and stunning mother of two stood up and explained why she moved here with her family... it was the schools. The father of two at the budget summit meeting, said it was schools and location that caused his family to move here. And one mother announced that she moved here because it was affordable. The top three reasons why anyone would live here.. which is all good. No one said they moved here because we had highly educated police officers standing over holes in the ground, nor did anyone say they felt safer in their homes knowing the fire department has x amount of fireman on duty.

The CFO and party loyalist all clearly blamed the legislature for the un-funded mandates, not allowing the Town to negotiate health care costs, cut backs in chapter 70 funding, SPED under funding, etc, etc, etc... no one was surprised. And when the representative-elect stood before the crowd and said he had a meeting with the other rep for Framingham and made it clear, the legislature is working on this... I had to chuckle. No one in the room believes a word of that nonsense and clearly, Sanacandro and Spilka who were not there are ducking for cover... That's bad

The ugly came when three circus members addressed the crowd with useless and pointless psychobabble. And the loudest of them, former Town employee, who seems to feel it's important for us to know his heritage, claims an over-ride is the only answer. Only a few of the un-informed in the crowd applauded such action.

For those who listened intently to the proceedings and heard the excuse why we should continue to use 6 million in capital spending, because it will costs us more if we idle some equipment, is totally nonsense.

So I have revised my suggestion to save 7 million in the budget. Don't spend 2 million from capital, cut 2 million in overtime from police and fire, require the school to give up school choice, even if it saves only 1/2 million dollars and lastly, force the PEC to except 75/25 in health care costs.

The biggest savings will come from health care costs and to allow the self-entitled to continue to bankcrupt the Town with their greed will only hurt our schools.

Yesterday, Deval announced the State is looking at 1 to 1.5 billion in revenue short fall. And of coarse, the programs that will be effected are the ones that pull at our heart strings. Mostly in services for the sick, handicapped, feeding programs, etc, etc etc. NOT a hint of reducing the costs of governing.

Our schools and parents have suffered enough. The downward pressure on parents to fund music, athletics, books, teacher supplies, etc, etc, etc, has got to stop without an over-ride. The self-entitled party loyalists who run this Town have to make the decision to fund our schools, and make the legislature more accountable for funding programs they have mandated.

Schools, location and affordability are what we should market to the world. We have the later two already, we just need to stop the demise of our schools.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tonight at the Town Hall.... The Budget

Tonight at 7PM, in the Blummer Room and on your local government access channel, the budget summit will commence. We will hear from the party loyalists who have gotten us into this trouble to begin with. We all will be shocked and awed in what is being proposed and if you are a parent of school age children, you may even be distressed.

Although the final numbers are and will not be in for months, it's very clear we will be down millions and will re-shape this Town. My submitted suggestions include, forcing organized labor to adopt managed health care, (2 million) take 2 million in overtime from police and fire, eliminate school choice, no raises for any Town employee and no override.

Simplistic suggestions..... you bet they are. Do they have the courage to make the hard choices? we'll see what they roll out tonight.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bernie Sanders from Vermont and the fillabuster

Since 10:30 this morning, the most passionate honest speech I've ever seen on behalf of the working class, working poor and everyone everyone else effected by the near collapse of this country.

I know some may rag on me for this.. but whats going on in Washington as we speak, will effect either hundreds of millions of people in this country.... adversely, or just a few tenths of a percent of the richest people in this country.

Senator Sanders IS speaking for the people of this country and as much as it may hurt... he's right about the deal our President is making with the R's. It's bad for us... and very good to a select few, the very few who could care less about the working class in this country.

Push the working class to far.... and you may get a revolt.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Budget and our schools

Last night the Framingham School Committee heard from two parents and supporters suggesting the School Committee fight for no more cuts in 2012's budget. It's still early and we don't know what the State will kick in this year, but it's painfully clear, no stimulus money and the prospects for new revenue looks bleak.

One thing is very clear, after a parent who just moved here said, there's not enough information and outreach being done to inform parents of next years potential cuts. She did say, the one reason her family moved here, was the schools.

We did hear that the deficit as of now could be 7 million total for the Town. And while not all of that will come out of the school's budget, the estimated 4 million will come from the school budget and as we all can surmise, drastic cuts will happen in our schools. Everything will be on the table and we did learn school choice will be looked at to see if money can be saved.

There's a budget summit meeting on the 14th at the Town Hall in which we will hear from all departments heads, ways and means, fincom, etc. It will be televised live and suggest anyone who cares enough to tune in.

Herb Chasen is leading a group of concerned citizens and can be reached at info@framinghamsaveourschools.org