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In The Arena

In the Arena: Election night disappointment

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The only thing missing from Montague Town Hall on Monday night was a boom box playing a continuous loop of “Garden Party” by the late Ricky Nelson. Just as Nelson was booed out of Madison Square Garden on that fateful night in 1971, Montague Selectman Mark Fairbrother has been summarily dismissed by voters in one of the more decisive electoral skunkings in recent memory. “Of course I’m disappointed,” Fairbrother said … 0

In the Arena: A happening committee

Thursday, May 14, 2015

If you are looking for political intrigue, the place to be these days seems to be the Greenfield Town Council’s Appointments and Ordinances Committee. Most times, covering a council subcommittee lands on the pleasantry scale somewhere between a root canal and an aggressive teeth cleaning appointment. Not so lately for A & O, which has hosted a contentious pair of back-to-back meetings focusing … 0

In the Arena: School budget battles

Thursday, April 30, 2015

It’s looking like a tough year for school budgets. Then again, I can rarely recall a year when there wasn’t some sort of political battle related to educational funding. But this seems to be an especially difficult budget cycle in a number of communities, as the cost of funding schools continues to outstrip what town officials say they can afford. Here are two … 0

In the Arena: Long-term economic view

Thursday, January 8, 2015

It may seem odd to hold a party to celebrate the removal of $480 million out of the regional economy, but that’s what happened last weekend as opponents of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power plant came together to dance the night away in celebration of that plant’s official … 0

In the Arena: Pipeline strategies

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Opponents of Kinder Morgan Company’s proposed Tennessee Natural Gas Pipeline probably thought they were getting an early Christmas present when they learned the company had decided to reroute its line through southern New Hampshire rather than Massachusetts’ northern tier. However, like so many other aspects of this project, … 0

In the Arena: No rubber stamp here

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Anyone who came out of the most recent Greenfield elections automatically thinking that Isaac Mass and Penny Ricketts were going to be in the tank for Bill Martin should stop by GCTV and take a look at the videotape of the most recent Town Council meeting. Fortunately, the … 0

In the Arena: Thanks!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

This may seem hard to believe, but this week marks the 15th year I’ve been writing this column. During that time, a lot of political water has gone under the bridge, some dirtier than I’d care to admit. And I’ve been pretty blunt, at times, in my efforts, … 0

In the Arena: She loved Greenfield

Thursday, December 11, 2014

She loved Greenfield more than the town sometimes loved itself. Those were the words that kept running through my mind this week as I tried to conjure up a fitting epitaph for former Greenfield Town Councilor Barbara Tillmanns, who passed away Sunday at the age of 72. “Barbara … 1

In the Arena: Resistant to change

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Greenfield taxpayers can nestle all snug in their beds this holiday season safe in the knowledge that the collective bargaining rights of public employees remain alive and well in their fair city. In what was clearly the most informative debate yet on the topic, the Greenfield Town Council … 0

In the Arena: Leaving a sour taste

Thursday, November 27, 2014

I’m sure that a number of Beacon Hill Democrats will miss having one of their own in the corner office, but I’m not sure they will all be heart-broken to see Deval Patrick exit stage left — or, far-left, depending on your perspective. Steve Kulik, state representative for … 0

In the Arena: Montague gamesmanship

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Is Montague becoming the new Ashfield? It sure looks that way, because much like their friends to the west encountered recently during ongoing battles over the Ashfield House, Open Meeting Law complaints are flowing in Montague like water through the Strathmore canal. Most of the complaints, much like … 0

In the Arena: Not your typical choice

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Greenfield Mayor Bill Martin has never been one to shy away from an “out of the box” political move, but His Honor may very well have blown the box apart with his recent hiring of an interim DPW superintendent. Martin announced this week that he has offered the … 0

In the Arena: They can work it out

Thursday, November 6, 2014

I’m not usually in the habit of talking ideologues off the ledge, but I would urge any Democrats reading this to take a deep breath, a knee-bend or whatever calming measures may be necessary to fight off any lingering depression left over from Tuesday’s election. Though it may … 0

In the Arena: Subdued party crowd

Thursday, October 30, 2014

It was a little after 7 when I pulled open the door at Greenfield’s Ocean Grille, prepared to break my own not-exactly-hard-and-fast rule about refusing to attend party fundraisers the week before a state election. I couldn’t resist because this was being billed a both a fundraiser for … 0

In the Arena: Free-cash management

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Greenfield Mayor Bill Martin likes to brag about not being a “politician,” but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have good political instincts. That became apparent two weeks ago, when Martin decided to ask each town councilor for suggestions on the best ways to use the town’s recent $3.29 … 0