Despite living in Bridgewater, I subscribe to the Middleboro Gazette. Even before the casino issue, I was in Middleboro a lot. My kids participated in sports there. I've always enjoyed reading the historical column. And hey, it's where I grew up. But the Gazette wasn't exactly a place I'd turn to for hard-hitting investigative news.
In fact, right before the whole casino issue came up, I remember cutting out a little article about - I'm not kidding - a dog complaint. And it sort of summed up small-town life for me.
But the reason I liked that particular article so much was that the author had managed to get a funny little zinger in at the end. And you know I just love that sort of thing.
And just a few weeks ago I clipped out an editorial by Gazette editor Jane Lopes entitled "Offering Lessons in How to Win Friends and Influence People" in which she took my favorite selectman to task for - well basically for being a hypocritical nepotistic jerk. (Those are my words, not Jane's.)
At the moment I'm looking forward to reading my friend and fellow blogger, the Belicose Bumpkin's new column in the Gazette, though I hope he won't shy away from the casino issue and I won't hold my breath for reading anything that casts Adam Bond in a negative light.
Which is too bad. Because more people ought to be talking about him.
Here in in Bridgewater we had our own homegrown goofball on the Board of Selectman. And he wasn't fond of criticism, either. In fact, he pulled a Marsha Brunelle and put the kibosh on a long standing local tradition of public forum. One of his fellow selectman, who shall remain nameless, in converstation with me, actually referred to him as "useless".
Personally, I thought he was worse than useless. Those in leadership roles, even minor ones, who don't lead, who don't listen or who don't care, end up causing more harm than good. But they hardly ever notice
Anyway, in Bridgewater, people started to talk about this guy. Sharing their stories, experiences and outrage. The papers began printing their editorials. Citizens groups were formed. New candidates appeared on the horizon and, despite being the incumbent and very well-funded, he was voted out of office and replaced with a much more serious, way less goofbally sort of a guy. So, miracles can happen.
Now, I'm not a huge fan of how the media has covered the casino issue. Not all media - the Cape Cod Times and the Standard Times have both done a pretty decent job. But let's just say this - when I go to say, a Regional Task Force meeting, I take a lot of notes. And then I send them out to a handful of people I know who have an interest in such things but couldn't attend the meeting. And, invariably, my stuff is more detailed and in-depth. At the last Task Force meeting the only thing to come out of it in the media was that the Task Force couldn't make a quorum, meaning that people were losing interest, which we should take to mean no one cares, everyone loves casinos, gambling is good blah blah blah.
But at the same meeting I was able to get about fourteen other pretty interesting bullet items and witness that, despite being quorum-free, there were still an awful lot of folks, representing a lot of people living in other towns, actually in the room. And that some of the people who orignally signed up to go be on the task force have left office, and that some have other committments on the day of the week the Task Force meets and that, um yeah, it's summer. And much, much more...
And then there's Middleboro.
Here is a video I posted after a selectman's meeting earlier this year, which I've always felt has been particularly undervalued.
Ok, let's break this down. Here's the guy who helped draft an Intergovernmental Agreement with the Wampanoags. He has boasted of it on his web site. He is a professional attorney, schooled, versed, and earning a living from the minutae and implications of language. He also helped shove this agreement down residents throat's by giving them five whole days to read and absorb it. And yet, somehow he can't remember selling off Middleboro's then 338 year soverienty in good old section 22 B. So, is he stupid? Maybe he doesn't just doesn't care. Or maybe he's lying. And that's what it comes down to. You be the judge. But none of it's good.
Now, I'm not sure how many Topix message board posts have been devoted to the concept of honesty, but it's a lot. No, actually it's excessive. Hell ... it's grotesque.
But I do know that when a public official and attorney, at a public meeting, being filmed on cable and then broadcast into homes in two different towns, is brushing off and completely mis-construing a certain section of a certain document that a lot of other towns seem to be easily able to comprehend, hey - that's NEWS.
But perhaps that's the sort of thing that would cost an additional 25 cents.
Still for free!