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In The Arena

In the Arena: Holding a winning hand in pipeline poker?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

It appears that state lawmakers have a “constitutional ace” they may be able to play in the ongoing political poker game surrounding a proposed natural gas pipeline across the state, including Franklin County. “Article 97” of the Massachusetts Constitution mandates that any land with a conservation restriction — including a number that are set to be impacted by the Tennessee Gas pipeline project — cannot be encroached without a two-thirds … 0

In the Arena: Every vote counts

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Still think your vote doesn’t count, newshounds? Try telling that to parents of students in the Pioneer Regional School District, where the budget has been thrown into limbo by Tuesday’s 262-262 tie vote that effectively kills the budget-balancing Proposition 21/2 override needed to ratify the Pioneer spending plan for the current fiscal year. “It’s unusual but it’s not unheard of,” Interim Northfield Town … 0

In the Arena: Not all say ‘nay’ to pipeline

Thursday, July 3, 2014

You’d be as likely to find a lynx walking down Main Street these days as a politician willing to say anything remotely positive about the gas pipeline being proposed for Franklin County. Greenfield Mayor Bill Martin broke that streak this past week when he told me that Greenfield may actually see a benefit from the pipeline, which he says would ensure a dependable … 1

In the Arena: Change the conversation

Thursday, July 11, 2013

One of my favorite guilty pleasures returns this weekend, when Season 2 of “The Newsroom” debuts on HBO. For those who haven’t watched it, the series focuses on the exploits of a fictional network cable news show anchored by Will McAvoy, played by Jeff Daniels. The show has … 0

In the Arena: The gloves come off

Thursday, July 4, 2013

  So where do we go from here? That seems to be the big question now that Greenfield’s town attorney has ruled that Mayor Bill Martin did have the authority to retract the appointments of Wilson Roberts and George Touloumtzis as alternates to the Planning Board. Martin pulled those nominations when … 0

In the Arena: Teachable moments

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I ’ve always said that elections have consequences, but they can also be learning experiences, providing teachable moments both for the candid ates who ran and the people who came out to vote for them. Here are a few from this past week’s election. Going negative Congressman Ed … 0

In the Arena: Voter education

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Well, it appears Greenfield voters may have a reason to go the polls Tuesday after all. “Your only message seems to be that you want to ‘move forward’ without change. What? You offer your unquestioning allegiance to the current superintendent, who clearly loves such toadies. ... I’m running … 0

In the Arena: This is what you get

Thursday, June 13, 2013

I have three words for the pro-growth Greenfield residents who are wringing their hands at the prospect of Jim Allen being dumped from the Planning Board. Elections have consequences. The Greenfield Town Council next week is likely to go along with an Appointments and Ordinances subcommittee’s unanimous recommendation … 0

In the Arena: Jury duty eye-opener

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The older you get, the more you begin to realize that certain things in life just aren’t going to happen. For instance, I now know that I’m never going to play goal for the Boston Bruins or catch for Red Sox. I’m may never win the presidency or … 1

In the Arena: Council’s budget surprise

Thursday, May 30, 2013

I guess if you hang around long enough, you get to see a little bit of everything. I thought I had written every budget story possible — towns struggling on a yearly basis to balance budgets in the wake of shrinking state aid and communities torn apart by … 0

In the Arena: Pitiful Montague numbers

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Monday’s Montague annual town election was a big one for the incumbents, but not necessarily the democratic process. In a three-way race for selectman, incumbent Chris Boutwell won his second three-year term, easily outdistancing newcomers Jacobo Roque and Matthew McMullin. The three-way tussle for Gill-Montague School Committee was … 0

In the Arena: Another snag for Lunt

Friday, May 17, 2013

Greenfield Mayor Bill Martin’s efforts to purchase the former Lunt property on Federal Street may have hit another snag. The Greenfield Town Council learned this week that the town’s bond counsel has demanded that the funding vote be retaken and that it pass by a two-thirds majority of … 0

In the Arena: Handicapping the Senate race

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Those who have been whining about not having a choice at election time should be thrilled by this year’s special election for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by John Kerry. There may not be two more different candidates than Democrat Ed Markey and Republican Gabriel Gomez. In fact, … 0

In the Arena: A break from the past

Thursday, April 25, 2013

They still have a lot to learn about how to run a government, but it’s obvious that certain fledgling members of the Greenfield Town Council are starting to feel their oats politically. The most recent indication came Wednesday, when a couple of councilors left little doubt that they … 0

In the Arena: A very different place

Thursday, April 18, 2013

It was a typical Patriot’s Day weekend in New England, save for a rare, extended Saturday session of the Massachusetts Senate. At issue was a $500 million transportation package that was set to be included in the Senate version of the state budget, a plan that was expected … 0