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In the Arena: Want some political wisdom? Just ask Chris ...


Thursday, July 06, 2017

Nobody asked me but …
Of all the nonsense President Trump has tweeted over the last two years, that CNN body-slam video might have been both the funniest and most disturbing of all.

CNN, meanwhile, is on the hunt for the producer of that “meme,” when they’d probably be better off searching for a few good journalists who can report the news without interjecting their opinions into it.

The Cold War may be over, but there appears to be a new one forming within a Greenfield Town Council, which is as ideologically split as I’ve ever seen.

Speaking of the council, the guy I feel bad for right now is Precinct 1 Representative Verne Sund, who never got to explain his exact concerns regarding the $300,000 “emergency” funding for that new DPW office (the emergency part of which still hasn’t been properly explained, in my opinion). Doing so might have removed the impression that Verne is somehow under the thumb of the present leadership, a perception that is likely to remain until proven otherwise.

“Safe City” or “Sanctuary City? Either way, it’s going to be tough to get any proposal that openly flouts current federal policy past this particular Town Council and its leadership.

Before we depart Greenfield, Mayor Bill Martin may have smoothed things over with the ACLU over the Trap Plain Common sign issue, but I doubt he has with the women who put up that sign, whom His Honor chose to characterize as “those people” — two words which pretty much every politician should cross of their list when speaking on the record.

Of all the negotiating points between Baystate Franklin Medical Center nurses and management, the strangest has to be what the nurses say is Baystate’s attempt to reduce the amount of time off they have already accrued. Most people who have full-time jobs get a certain number of weeks and days based on their time served. It’s one thing if you decide not to take them, but to have them ripped from you? I’d be a little ticked, too.

Turning to the legal marijuana front, I’ve come up with a phrase to best describe the legislative theft disguised as a tax that’s about to be put in place — “if you like your dealer, you can keep your dealer, plus 28 percent.”

Proponents of the recently passed legalization question should count themselves fortunate that it’s being implemented at all, given the Legislature’s somewhat checkered past when it comes to other questions they disagreed with. Clean Elections anyone?

Before we leave Beacon Hill, the start of the fiscal year came and went without a new budget in place, which is not exactly a new experience, although it hasn’t happened in a while. Part of the reason is an operating cash crunch from reduced tax revenues caused, in part, by an increase in online shopping, which does not include sales tax. Something to consider the next time you go to click that Amazon “one click” button.

The late Betty Kirkwood is probably the closest the town of Deerfield has ever come to having a mayor. Rest easy, Madame Chairwoman. We are not likely to see your kind again.

Ditto the late Dolly Gagnon, a fixture in the Recorder newsroom, and one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, inside or outside this business.

I know there will be other towns planning anniversary celebrations in the years to come, but Conway’s recent 250th is going to be tough to top.

Speaking of small town intrigue, I absolutely loved the Richie Neal “Missing In Action” ad run recently by a Williamsburg progressive group not happy with the congressman’s apparent willingness to take the hinterlands for granted at election time. Normally, I don’t go in for that sort of “Yankee shaming,” but in this case, some could argue that he deserved it, and it must have worked, as Neal took great pains to tweet pictures of his recent July 4th, which was celebrated in Chesterfield. Message clearly sent.

Speaking of the Fourth, that was a pretty awesome fireworks display over Beacon Field Sunday night, awesome enough that it may be time for the town to consider putting forth some cash to help finance this annual party, rather than forcing the Recreation Department to go begging every year. Given the turnout and the number of people who come to town, it would be pretty easy to argue that this event has an economic development upside worthy of a little seed money.

It seems like a small price to pay for a night which brings this community so much patriotic joy each summer.

Chris Collins is the Franklin County News Bureau Chief for WHAI, WPVQ and WHMP Radio. He is a former staff reporter for
The Recorder.