In The Arena

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, as the columnist’s creed goes, “to give comfort to the afflicted while afflicting the comfortable.” However, one thing I have managed to … 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 did everything she could to make this town a better place,” Wilson Roberts, former council … 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 last month, for the fourth time by my count, rejected a request by Mayor Bill … 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

In the Arena: The talk in Montague

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The First Amendment and the state Open Meeting Law weren’t on the agenda at this week’s Montague selectmen’s meeting, but they sure played a role in helping shape the conversation. The Montague board had scheduled what would have been its fourth executive session related to the sale of … 0

In the Arena: Coming down the pipeline

Thursday, October 2, 2014

It’s never to early to think about the holidays and I believe the management of the Kinder Morgan Co. should buy the biggest Christmas basket they can find and ship it over to their counterparts at National Grid, which has provided the best argument yet for construction of … 1

In the Arena: Good day, Mr. Sunshine

Thursday, September 25, 2014

You can call him “Mr. Sunshine” now. That is the nickname Montague Selectman Michael Nelson bestowed upon himself this week, when he used yet another relatively innocuous board vote as a platform for a political stand, this time against what he views as out-of-control state spending. Nelson voted … 0

In the Arena: Deja vu

Thursday, September 18, 2014

History does seem to have a way of repeating itself in local politics. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Montague, where reality is starting to take hold regarding the future — or lack of same — of the Strathmore Paper Company complex. “If something doesn’t happen soon, … 1

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 … 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 … 1