In The Arena

In the Arena: Awaiting a chain reaction on HRC recommendations

Thursday, January 14, 2016

If it wasn’t before, the Dan McCarthy-Confederate flag flap is certainly now a political issue for the Greenfield Town Council and Mayor Bill Martin. That came this week courtesy of the Greenfield Human Rights Commission, which has recommended that the entire Greenfield Police Department undergo sensitivity and cultural awareness training, a proposal that grew out the recent public forum held in reaction to McCarthy’s decision to hang the flag in … 0

In the Arena: Rocky start for Town Council leadership

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Greenfield’s new Town Council president might just wind up having the shortest honeymoon in the history of that office. To no one’s surprise, Precinct 3 Councilor Brickett Allis was elected council president at Monday’s organizational meeting, and promptly ran into a political buzz saw less than 24 hours later when he released his first batch of committee assignments, containing moves that confused some … 0

In the Arena: As the year winds down

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas falls on a Friday this year, so this will be my last offering for 2015. For a while now, I’ve been tempted to write a Festivus column, a la “Seinfeld,” because, quite frankly, I’ve got a lot of problems with you people. Well, OK, not really. But since I’m not a big fan of feats of strength and I’m fresh out of … 0

In the Arena: Greenfield's tax-rate reduction

Thursday, August 27, 2015

If I were a Greenfield taxpayer — and there’s many reasons why I’m not — the question I’d be asking in the wake of last week’s Town Council meeting is: What did my government just spend $1.4 million on? The council voted to go along with Mayor Bill … 1

In the Arena: Mitigating political issues

Thursday, August 20, 2015

One of the goals of any incumbent’s political campaign is to try to take away issues that could be exploited by the opposition, a lesson it would appear Greenfield Mayor Bill Martin is well aware. While I don’t get the sense that His Honor is necessarily sweating the … 0

In the Arena: New gauge for plastic bans

Thursday, August 13, 2015

It looks like Greenfield residents won’t be voting on a binding plastic bag ban question this fall, but that doesn’t mean the issue is going away. The Greenfield Town Council Wednesday will consider placing three, nonbinding questions on the November ballot asking voters if they favor a ban … 0

In the Arena: A FERC hearing review

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The feds came to Greenfield last week, ostensibly to find out what the residents of Franklin County think about the potential environmental impact of a natural gas pipeline that seems more inevitable with each passing day. With that reality looming, it’s kind of hard to view that Federal … 2

In the Arena: Keep an eye on this Town Council race

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The stage is set for Greenfield’s fall electoral juggernaut and the number of potential angles to pursue between now and November has your faithful reporter almost giddy with anticipation. Ordinarily, the most interesting race would be for mayor, but with all due respect to incumbent Bill Martin and … 0

In the Arena: Plastics ban could be on ballot

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Greenfield residents may have more than just contested races in the first November election in the town’s history. A referendum question banning the use of small plastic water bottles and single-use plastic bags may also find its way onto the ballot, provided the proponents are able to secure … 0

In the Arena: The bottom of the barrel

Thursday, July 16, 2015

I’m really beginning to think this country has gone off its collective rocker. What other possible explanation can there be for Donald Trump’s lead heading into the Republican presidential primary season, the first contest for which, it should … 1

In the Arena: Health board chair out

Friday, June 26, 2015

Greenfield’s new tobacco regulations go into effect next week, on the same day one of its chief architects leaves office. Greenfield Mayor Bill Martin has announced that he will not reappoint current Board of Health Chairwoman Janina Thayer to the board, despite 17 years of service. “I’m shocked … 0

In the Arena: School Committee follies

Thursday, June 18, 2015

I’ve seen some pathetic displays in my time, but few to rival what occurred at the Greenfield School Committee meeting. I’m not going to rehash everything that happened — or, more appropriately, didn’t happen — in that nearly five-hour opus, but I highly recommend that voters take the … 0

In the Arena: Mass lone voice on right to buy tobacco

Thursday, June 11, 2015

As anyone who has read this column knows, I don’t like to make predictions. However, I’m prepared to break that rule when it comes to Wednesday’s Greenfield Town Council vote on Isaac Mass’ proposed tobacco control ordinance. It’s not only going to lose huge, but Isaac will be … 0

In the Arena: A plea for candidates

Thursday, June 4, 2015

We’re inching closer to the July 27 deadline for returning nomination papers for the Greenfield town election and it looks like the “left flank” is starting to get a bit nervous. Progressive activist Louise Amyot this week circulated an email to several like-minded residents urging them to consider … 0

In the Arena: Kulik looks to tap into land-rich nonprofits

Thursday, May 28, 2015

My guess is state Rep. Steve Kulik probably won’t be getting many invitations to mixers on private school and college campuses in the foreseeable future. Kulik has filed “payment in lieu of taxes” legislation that would establish a mechanism for towns to charge nonprofit private institutions up to … 0