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In The Arena

In the Arena: A mess with diapers

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Who knew raising awareness about donating disposable diapers to poor families would be such a controversial issue? Actually, it wasn’t — until Montague Selectman Mike Nelson spoke up against a proclamation declaring Sept. 8-14 “Diaper Need Awareness Week” in Montague. “While I respect and applaud you for your work, on a greater philosophical level, it’s just getting to be too much,” Nelson said. “And I think these low-income families — … 0

In the Arena: ‘Unenrolled’ hold the key

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Massachusetts may not be quite as “blue” as we think it is and that may be good news for local candidates looking to take out a pair of entrenched incumbents this fall. According to numbers released this week by Secretary of State Bill Galvin, just over 35 percent of Massachusetts voters are registered Democrats, while fewer than 11 percent are registered Republicans. The … 1

In the Arena: Ham-handed protest

Thursday, August 28, 2014

An otherwise conciliatory primary race in the 2nd Franklin District took a somewhat ugly turn this week, thanks to what appears to be a case of mistaken political identity. A half-dozen protesters gathered outside Athol Town Hall ostensibly to protest Republican candidate Susannah Whipps Lee, whom the protesters claim violated their First Amendment Rights related to an alleged effort to remove a photograph … 0

In the Arena: Short-handed board

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Even though there may be strong sentiment in some circles to do so, don’t expect Greenfield Mayor Bill Martin to try the “Tom Dehoyos-reappointment switcheroo” with former Planning Board member Jim Allen. Martin pulled a rabbit out of the hat at the most recent Town Council meeting, when … 0

In the Arena: A new appreciation

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I could feel my stomach tighten as I prepared to make the turn into the Bank of America parking lot, I was not at all looking forward to what awaited me across the street. Just last year, after Marty McGuane’s wake, I swore to myself the next I … 0

In the Arena: Not right time or choice

Thursday, August 22, 2013

When I read on the wire this week that former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown was considering running for president, I thought somebody in the media must have been playing an elaborate practical joke. When I realized that he was serious, it suddenly dawned on me not only how … 0

In the Arena: Initiatives no sure bet

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Even though we have this habit of electing the same legislators every two years, it appears there are some Massachusetts residents still interested in changing things. That was apparent earlier this month, when 33 proposed 2014 ballot questions were submitted to the attorney general’s office for constitutional review. … 0

In the Arena: Time finally seems right

Thursday, August 8, 2013

For the first time since the Nixon administration, western Massachusetts will have one of its own running the show in the state Senate. “This is definitely a culminating experience in terms of my time in elected office and I’m grateful to my constituents for sending me here, because … 0

In the Arena: Taking a special interest

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Some of the county’s political heavyweights have apparently joined the public relations battle to prevent a diversion of services from Baystate Franklin Medical Center to the company’s main facility in Springfield. Last week’s public demonstration at the Greenfield hospital drew the usual union and medical personnel, as well … 0

In the Arena: He’s walked in those shoes

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I’m guessing not too many people in public life today ever had to take a cold shower in the middle of winter for economic reasons. But, then again, not many public servants possess the working-class perspective 2nd Berkshire Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru, brings to Beacon Hill every day. … 0

In the Arena: What’s on my mind

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Nobody asked me but … I’m not sure it makes a lot of sense for the chairman of any board of selectmen to pick a fight with an organization that buys its ink by the gallon. From the “short memory” file — Greenfield Mayor Bill Martin says he … 0

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