Wednesday, December 30, 2020

BOH Sam Wong is leaving

 I have strenuously disagreed with Sam over the Marijuana regs and his propaganda campaign and didn't agree with him on pulling out of the State's Contact Tracing program and felt strongly that he could have and should have mandated masks earlier this year, but for him to leave now leaves the Ham in a bad spot. The roll-out of vaccinations are beginning in nursing homes and I would have thought he'd be coordinating the effort. 

I'm not sure who to believe, the Mayor's office said in a press release, Sam was going out on medical leave, but in a e mail Source found, Sam was leaving because he was having health issue's working 7 days a week since March. I trust he doesn't have covid or any other life threatening disease but needs time away from the City and perhaps even the Mayor. 

I hope he gets the rest he needs

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Framingham lost a fighter for the disabled

A Founding member of the Disability Commission, Town Meeting member and school committee member Karen Foran Dempsey died on Christmas Eve at 54. She was an advocate for the disabled and fought hard to get the Town to become ADA complaint.  

She didn't seem to let her disability get in the way and was highly regarded by her Town Meeting member's. The work she started and completed will be forever remembered by all who knew her, not just the disabled. 

Framingham may never have such a strong advocate for the disabled willing to fight for what is right. 

The Town mourns with her family.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Kim Parker is home now

 For those of you who have followed the tragic story of my sister-in-law's death almost 8 years ago at the hands of Boston Firefighter Rich Parker, I have news to share. The best gift our family could have wished for came true.

My partner Stehanie Deeley got a call from Rich Parker's family on Saturday to let us know that they had Kim's ashes for us to pick up. Ed, Jim and I went to Salisbury, MA on Sunday and brought Kim's ashes home so she is with all of us who love her. We will forever be grateful for the kindness of Rich's family in returning her to us.

The DA's office confirmed to us this afternoon that Rich passed away from Covid on December 12th, which is how it came to be that his family reached out to us. 


Monday, December 14, 2020

What will the Mayor suggest to address the water defict?

 Tonight at 7PM on your local gov tv channel, the fianace sub committee will hear from the Mayor on what can be done to plug the 2.5 miilion dollar water&sewer deficit and perhaps what can she suggest to adress the structual deficit in next years budget. 

If I were the Mayor, I'd take 2.5 million from free cash to solve the immediate problem and send out the tax bills on time. I would not take 800k from the schools and let the 100k reduction in water&sewer stand.

The notion that Cannon continues to push for, the "efficiencies" that were guaranteed to happen during the city debate, imo, will not make up the shortfall, since we know, many large commercial water users may not return to normal next year. 

On top of the deficit, there may be a larger request for money from the DPW in sanitation. With so many people at home, the amount of trash and recycling is increasing and I'll bet they come to the council for more money early first quarter in 2021. 

We can't live without water and sewer and also trash and recycling services.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Two more State Cops are indicted...and rightfully so

I suspect this on-going investigation will not end in 2020 or even when Fed Prosecutor Lelling is replaced. Nearly every month, a new more egregious story comes out about law enforcement.

Two more former State Troopers were charged in the overtime scheme that cost taxpayers thousands.

Former MSP Lieutenant Daniel J. Griffin and former MSP Sergeant William W. Robertson were charged with conspiracy, federal programs embezzlement and wire fraud on Friday.

Griffin, 57, of Belmont, was also charged with filing false tax returns and wire fraud related to his own scheme to defraud a private school. Robertson, 58, is from Westborough.

According to the indictment, from 2015 through 2018, Griffin, Robertson, and other troopers in the Traffic Programs Section at State Police Headquarters in Framingham conspired to embezzle thousands of dollars in federally funded overtime. The troopers showed up late to overtime shifts and regularly left early, according to U.S Attorney Andrew Lelling. Griffin made and approved false entries on police forms and other documentation to conceal and perpetuate the fraud.

Griffin and Robertson, along with other troopers involved, are accused of shredding and burning the evidence of embezzlement and fraud once the scheme was made public. Griffin submitted a memo to his superiors that was designed to mislead them by claiming that missing forms were "inadvertently discarded or misplaced" during office moves.

While the overtime scheme was going on, Griffin spent significant time running his security business, KnightPro, even when he was collecting his regular MSP pay and overtime. Lelling pointed out that Griffin had approval to have a private business.

From 2012 to 2019, Griffin collected almost $2 million in KnightPro revenue. Of that total, Griffin is accused of hiding over $700,000 in revenue from the IRS and used hundreds of thousands of dollars in KnightPro income to fund personal expenses, such as golf club expenses, car payments, private school tuition and expenses related to his second home on Cape Cod.

Griffin was also charged with defrauding a private school two of his children went to from at least 2016 to 2019 by concealing his KnightPro income and filing misleading financial aid applications, which understated his income and assets by hundreds of thousands of dollars. Despite Griffin's lucrative MSP salary and KnightPro business, Griffin obtained over $175,000 in financial aid from the private school over the course of several years.

At a press conference on Friday, Lelling said he didn't believe the troopers actions put civilians in danger, but that it was a shame that the troopers who should have been on the road were not. When asked about whether the troopers would face jail time, Lelling said an indictment in itself held long term consequences for the lives and careers of the former troopers.

The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of federal program fraud provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of conspiracy provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of filing false tax returns provides for a sentence of up to three years in prison, one year of supervised release and a fine of $100,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Did you get the request for campaign donations from John Stefanini?

 If there was any question whether John was running for Mayor next year, the answer clearly is yes. 

We got our campaign letter yesterday, spelling my name wrong, asking for my ideas, assistance, and financial contributions. We are to write a note by hand or on-line with my thoughts along with a contribution.

While no corporate donations are excepted, I'm betting he's taking all the union money he can carry. Make checks out to the Stefanini committee. 

I suspect you will see George King's announcement letter very soon, along with Cheryl, Dennis and who knows who else.


A new financial crisis... water&sewer deficits

For some unknown reason... the original post was deleted from blog spot. The council tonight will either approve the Mayor's plan to cut the school budget by 800k and do some creative book keeping to avoid a major problem. In my original post, I had said I suggested to the Mayor in a rate hike hearing a few years ago, that the revenue from the retail pot shops be used to offset water rate increases. But she ignored my suggestion. Tune in tonight to see how King and the others handle this, with or without the Mayor being involved.

Everyone should know that even if we use less water, we will NOT pay less to the MWRA. All the cities and Town that are supplied by the MWRA have to pay to keep the entire system running, no matter how little water we use.


FRAMINGHAM, MA — Mayor Yvonne Spicer sent shock waves across city government Friday when she announced a plan to fill a deficit a city fund that supports the water and sewer departments by taking money from the school department and using a chunk of the city's rainy day fund.

The city's Water and Sewer Enterprise Fund was $1.5 million in the red when the 2020 fiscal year ended in June. State officials will allow the city to pay that off over three years — starting with $500,000 in fiscal year 2021.

On top of that, Framingham is projecting a $2 million shortfall in the Water and Sewer Enterprise Fund for fiscal year 2021 due to a pandemic-related drop in revenue from commercial businesses.

With the $500,000 from fiscal 2020, Framingham will have to make a projected $2.5 million payment to cure the deficit before the fiscal year ends in June.

The City Council discussed the $1.5 million 2020 deficit over the summer. In July, Chief Financial Officer Mary Ellen Kelley told Councilors the city was waiting to see if a new coronavirus stimulus package might pass at the federal level, providing a way to pay off the deficit.

To fix the deficit, Spicer wants to reduce the Framingham Public Schools budget by $800,000, and reduce the approved budgets for the water and sewer departments by $100,000 each. Spicer also wants to take $1.5 million from the free cash balance, which stands at about $8 million total. Spicer's proposal would avoid a tax increase this fiscal year, she said.


Saturday, December 5, 2020

Framingham Schools go full remote

I've tried to stay out commenting on the school covid crisis, but today in the MWDN, Bob Tremblay at the last school committee meeting was quoted in the paper. And it comes as no surprise to me or anyone who has seen the news over the Thanksgiving holiday on how many people ignored the CDC advice to not travel home for the holiday. When this pandemic first hit our shores, a company traced the movements of college students through their cell phones who went on spring break and it was horrifying to see. Now, since the self absorbed, selfish, ignorant people who traveled have caused our schools to go full remote. 

IMO, people of any age and especially parents who send their kids to school knowing the kids have symptoms should be fined heavily and their kids not allowed back in school until they test negative. 

As far as the Skate Park restrictions go, the fence should stay and sand be filled in. It is a form of child abuse to allow your children to engage in activities that threaten not only their lives, their older family member's, but the entire community. 

We will never get through the next 6 months without more proactive enforcement of public health mandates.

"There are two schools where we saw in-school spread," Tremblay told the Daily News on Friday. "In both cases, there was COVID in their households. Whether they came to school knowingly with COVID, I don't know, but they definitely came to school with COVID and their contacts became positive."

Tremblay said contact tracing efforts found that the contacts had no other exposure to COVID-19 other than in the schools.

"It is clear that the Thanksgiving holiday and negligent behavior have resulted in the dramatic increase in transmission of cases in our city that demands immediate, preventative action," Tremblay wrote in an email to staff. "In order to reduce the spread of the virus and to ensure that we are ready to broaden the opening of our schools and activities in January, we need to adjust our operations yet again."

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

State spraying forever chemcials to kill mosquitoes

 Something to ponder when the State wants to spray your property to kill mosquitoes. Many environmentalists have sounded the alarm over the chemicals used to kill the little buggers for years. You can always opt out of the spraying program. You can read what the State has to say about it and how to opt out here:

 By David Abel Globe Staff,Updated December 1, 2020, 8:27 a.m.

Mosquito spraying in Southeastern Massachusetts in 2006.The Boston Globe/Boston Globe

For two decades, state environmental officials have used a controversial pesticide to kill mosquitoes in Massachusetts, spraying millions of acres from the air and ground to reduce the spread of Eastern equine encephalitis.

Now, after years of criticism from environmental advocates who have long raised health concerns about the expensive treatment known as Anvil 10+10, the pesticide has been found to also contain an array of toxic compounds known as PFAS. The so-called “forever chemicals,” which are found in a range of commercial products and never fully degrade, have been linked to cancer, low infant birth weights, and a range of diseases.

The amount of some of the chemicals found in the pesticide — which has been used in at least 25 other states — exceeds recent safety limits imposed by the state for drinking water. Given the amount of pesticide used, and how widely it has been dispersed over the years, specialists say it’s likely that the chemicals have leached into ground water and other water sources.