Thursday, January 29, 2015

Spilka on Ways and Means.... Town Manager cancels State of the Town speech

Framingham should thank the new Senate Pres Rosenberg for picking Karen Spilka for W&M’s Chair. While I have and will continue to try to understand her thinking, (we’re the same age and grew up on different planets) I do have faith that she will be fair and reasonable in dealing with the budget. The best thing for us is that  Framingham has never really gotten the attention we deserve and now that Karen is there, Framingham has someone that can keep us in mind.

The eagerly awaited State of the Town presentation by the Town Manger was postponed. We learned that by e mail, because the bulk mailing with the notice had some issues and did not go out in time and as we heard from Mr. Halpin, he thought it would be better to roll out the report closer to Town Meeting. I may be wrong, not the first time, but I think by the time of his presentation, all budgets will be in ink and there will be little to no time to vet with the public before TM.  By the time we get to TM, the narrative will be rehearsed and not easily changed. The time to review the ruff budget is now.

DeLeo changes the rules.. ones he made

For those who follow the ugliness of Beacon Hill politics, I'd bet you shake your head and bang the desk over the news of Speaker Deleo's power play for Speaker of the House. In 2009 newly elected Speaker DeLeo championed ethcis reforms and reinstated the 8 year term limit. Now the Speaker is asking to end the term limits for him. What this means for us?... first... it maintains the status quo on the Hill with DeLeo having corralled the all the power. Thats never been good for this State and considering his connections to the Probation scandall and the lack of indictment, one wonders if he will ever be held accountable to anyone for anything, like the last 3 Speakers have.
 The smart money is on DeLeo which means to me that none of the reps have any guts to challenge the Speaker in addressing the corruption, nepotism, waste and fraud and the complete breakdown of such departments as the DPH and DYS. Politics as usual on the Hill doesn't work for Framingham and my rep knows it and could care less.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Got Rats? Burn your house down

For those of you who didn't catch last night's BOS meeting, please have a look.

Go to the 31 minute mark and listen to what Christeen McKernen has to say about her interaction with the DPW and BOH. This poor women has been spending her own money to safeguard her home. Her statement "ignorance of an issue" when talking about her interaction with the DPW and BOH and her comment that went on to say "it was all lip service" should have caught the attention of the BOS to do something to get to the truth. But.. as you will see and hear, Mr. Smith's mic was not on when he was talking on TV last night, but it's clearer on the web.

Second "rat issue" came (48:10) from Carol and Gregory from Woodland Road. This women was brought to tears explaining to the BOS that her calls to the BOH resulted in an employee telling Carol to "burn your house down" to get rid of the rats. The BOS sat their motionless as Carol told the board of her troubles dealing with the Town.

There is no excuse for such abhorrent customer service in this Town. During the meeting it was revealed that the sanitation department has had a 100% turnover and that th BOH had no idea of that fact. We also found out that Framingham does not have a licensed exterminator on staff and that contractors can be hired with the proper licenses to exterminate the rats.

At the very least, the BOS could have directed the Town Manager to investigate these complaints about the lack luster responses to residents' complaints.... but no, our current BOS keeps their heads in the sand, not wanting to hold any Town employee to any standard of customer service. They could have directed the Town Manger to find out who the employees were that dropped the ball and hold them accountable to the Town's Customer Service Policy.

None of this made the paper of course, as the reporter can't stay out that late and make the deadline. But these 2 residents who clearly have done their job in contacting the Town, only to be ignored and insulted, call into question the complete reporting of the BOS meetings by the paper. Many other residents in different parts of Town may be faced with the same issue in regard to the Town's response to their complaints, both from the employees who are paid to address these complaints and our elected and salaried leaders who are responsible for overseeing those employees.

This non sense has been going on for years and no one at the top wants to hold anyone accountable.
This is why I'm running for Selectman.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Chick-fil-A ..... Ending Civil Forfiture ...The U.S. SC on same sex marriage

Some of you may remember the controversy around the attempts by the late Mayor Menino to stop a Chick-fil-A restaurant from opening in Boston over the company's stance against same sex marriage. The gay and lesbian community demonstrated outside some of the restaurants, more in the south and made their point. We now have 4 of these restraunts in our state and they seem to be doing well, as they are locally owned and operated and employ up to 80 MA residents.

Now comes their attempt at opening at Shoppers World. The Planning Board will review the project on Thursday and one would hope, the applicant would not be slowed down by the politics of the conservatives on the board. Once approved by the PB, the company will face the extremely out of touch BOS. Since we have already seen on TV last week, the BOS did not allow the Conigliaro CEO from expanding his recycle business by 1200 sf over what BOS  said were the federal indictments of employe's at NECC. Entrusting this Town's moral compass to our BOS after their response, or lack thereof, to the unlawful killing of Mr. Stamps and the blocking of a medical marijuana facility is just more hypocrisy.

If you had asked me if civil forfeiture would go away in the Drug War, I'd say, never. Since it's inception decades ago now, our tough on drugs attitude from our elected officials created a system where by the assets of anyone charged with a crime can be confiscated. At any given moment, the Government has around 2 billion is assets waiting to be auctioned off. Thanks to Eric Holder who announced last week limits of civil forfeiture without due process, something I and others have railed on for years, now seems to be coming true. Don't look for the Feds and State stopping the procedure altogether, but now, owners of assets have a chance in court. MWDN did a great service to it's readers with:

By June of this year, the  U.S. Supreme Court will once and for all, rule on same sex marriages. I guess it was inevitable with the attitude of some elected officials to play God with the unalienable rights of human beings. I believe, as others do, the U.S. Supreme Court will rule in favor in a unanimous decision.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Cape Wind... will they be forced to shut down?

It was reported that Northeast Utilities and National Grid have terminated the contracts with Cape Wind. Without the 2 major players buying electricity from Cape Wind, the financing for the 2.5 billion  dollar project will disappear. This again will be played out in court as the language in the contract is in question now.

While the opposition has waged war with countless litigation over the years, the project had lots of support from the Feds and the State. There's still plenty of debate on how much we would have to pay for that Green Energy, but that same body of water, farther out to sea, is now going to be opened up for other even larger industrial grade wind turbines.

Framingham's request for a new Fuller is denied

Disappointing news from the State Board that hands out money for new school buildings. The funding request or grant proposal was rejected by the State, but the agency does not have to say why.  I'm sure most of you would like to know why and I have asked Chris Walsh to look into it. I suspect a Freedom of Information request will be forthcoming if he can't get an answer.

If, our grant application was written poorly, we should know and so should the school administration.
I'm not sure how long Fuller can be safely used. Yesterday, 3 classrooms were flooded and steam was poring out of a closet. Along with the mold that has been seen in the past, one might think, the health and safety of the kids and teachers is being ignored.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Who's right in the assessor's debate?

 Ms. Butler seems to have the right stuff to challenge the DOR and our local assessors. We should know something in 20 days and from there, it may take a long time. Ms. Butler is asking for the new AG Ms. Healy to weigh in also. Lets hope, one way or the other, this is resolved before spring TM. As I see it, this could be one big can of tax worms if the court rules in favor of Ms. Butler and the tax payers in this Town. Taking on the DOR is no simple task.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Great Wall on Water Street... another law suite

Haven't seen that much equipment in long time. And the details.... they make my argument for professional flagers. What a massive project and is it me or do those newly built house's look to be 10 feet from the wall? Was that a zoning exemption?

The wall is coming together, just in time for the bridge closer. I just wished they would have tried to capture the water and made electricity in the bridge replacement. The traffic in my hood will be a challenge and may need speed risers to slow down the drivers already late because of the bridge closer. Watch for plenty of neighborhood complaints around the school area. And let's hope that the contractor selected, finishes on time, this time.

Many of us heard little of the sexual assaults in the HS in 2011-12. And perhaps the reason may well be that officials did not want that news to be headlines with legs. A former teacher is accusing the School Board, Stacey, Welch and Convery of a coverup of sorts. And a complaint against the district through the US Education Dept of Civil Rights. As a co-operative result, the Framingham Schools agree to file compliance and monitoring reports showing they were up to Title 1X. I wonder why we weren't doing it before?

Look for this to be trouble for the administration as damages will play a part in the settlement. Along with a black mark on the resume.