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July 17, 2007

Comments

Dicky Bird

Well JOEY CAKES and your mentor CLEAN oh so CLEAN GENIE how are you really going to pay because your old pal who served you both will never be able to work it out as he is a switch hitter.

Shelton

Just curious Shelton... would you rather we were like Saugus, Stoneham and several others? Somerville is actually creating jobs and opportunity. This administration is changing this city for the better. There has never been this much new construction, repairs of streets, creation of and reconstruction of city parks and outright investment in our city. Face it - you and your friends are just afraid to admit that the city is actually being run well. If you did then you couldn't complain anymore and you know that's what you actually live for - since you have nothing else to occupy you.

Gay/Curtatone

You could be right. However, many people thought the city was well-run under Dot Gay. Turns out, toward the end of her administration it gradually came to light that she was burying the city in debt, and then began selling off city buildings as a 'quick fix'. This, unfortunately, is an idea that Curtatone has continued......

HL Menken

You know, you really shouldn't use Bill's name if you aren't going to live up to his level of honesty. He presents evidence. You make unsupported assertions and personal insults.

Road construction? The money for that came from state and federal sources because activists, who the mayor attacked, fought for it. Even then, the city couldn’t get it together to start a single one of those projects in the year it was funded for. So we risk losing the funds.

More jobs? How many? In what sectors? What do they pay? How does that compare to what we could have had if the mayor and his lackey aldermen hadn’t squandered Assembly Square on stores and high-end housing?

What are you afraid to "admit?" What do you "really live for?"

Fool on the Hill

Hey Bill,

I saw this slick propaganda piece on Channel 16 last week that could have been made by Leni Riefenstahl. In this version of “Triumph of the Will,” the Will belonged to Joe Curtatone, and Assembly Square played the role of Germany. All things are good there because of Joe’s wisdom, courage, and iron will. Have you seen it?

The Patriot

What's interesting about Mr. Shelton's thesis is that
he attempts to create two polar opposite camps within the City of Somerville. The political culture of a strong Mayor and Board of Aldermen, all short-sighted political gamesmen, and the progressive wannabies, those idealists, whose long-term solutions are constantly being thwarted by the political system, which needs to be done away with. The City Charter gambit has been used by them before, except when the practicality overtook them from time to time.
They supported Lester Ralph and his reforms and all-American City and were repaid in JOBS, and so the beat went on with Gene Brune, Mike Capuano and Joe Curtatone,
all of whom were supported by the progressives at one time or another. Now, when fissures erupt, dust off the "charter change" as the next cure for all that ails us. Maybe we can copy Cambridge, a City Manager with a grandfathered unconstitutional voting system which allows the minority to govern without the consent of the majority.
Why wait for changing demographics to empower your faction.
Instead of fighting the economic and legal demise of the republic under Bush, these "progressives" seek their own wedge issues to distract, to divide and to conquer this little real estate oh so close to being the appendix of Cambridge.
This is the real short-sightedness abundant in this community. Santuary City was such a feel good resolution
in the 80's it keep a lot of lay-a-bouts on the federal poverty payroll, when the local supply of poor people was drying up. Just as now, the illegals are expedable for the "higher cause." Oh, if it had only been Somerville instead of New Bedford for the ICE raid,
how excited would our "pseudo-progressives" have become.
Let's just face the facts: it's all about power and jobs. The PDS (really the MLS - Marxist-Leninist-Stalinists) is just a front for political exploitation.
Their appetite has been piqued by the lack of clarity and self-assurance of the local population and the long time residents, in particular.
It's time for their persistent twisted logic is exposed.

Bill Shelton

Fool,

You are usually so temperate in your statements and reasoned in your arguments. Comparing the city’s communications department with Hitler’s sounds a lot like the kind of name calling that you usually deplore. Have you confused your Ben Gay for Preparation H?

Yes, I saw the piece. Yes, there are a few factual errors, but much less than many accounts that I’ve seen. It does give Mayor Joe a lot of credit, but I’ve never known any Somerville mayor who did not take all the credit that he or she could plausibly get away with. And although its comments about the Mystic View Task Force were limited, they were accurate.

And the craftsmanship that went into the piece was impressive.

Ignatius Reilly

One kind of gets the feeling that the alderman and mayor have no real idea of how to run a city in a fiscally responsible manner. I'm not saying it's corruption (though I am sure some is in there) -- I would say more short-sightedness.

The mayor is going to do what what he's going to do, and say what he's going to say, to make himself look good for his next election (for whatever spot that may be). It's normal. The board we have now is just not very strong or bright to balance that. There are no superstars or forceful personalities to stand up and say "This does not compute!".

Hence, we're screwed. Development will run more amuck than ever... the tax revenues projected will NEVER be realized.... and services that are vital (like more cops) will be lacking while we pay a heavier burden in fees/taxes/fines.

This is why "Divine Right" beats the heck out of democracy. ;>)

Pessimist

Corruption is part of the problem. Narcissism in elected officials is anther major problem. When coupled with mediocre talent it's fatal. Basically, the pool is quite small and we end up with the people we end up with. The bright ones just take off. Sigh.

Citizen

My goodness, Patriot, I wonder if we read the same column. I find nothing in it that "attempts to create two polar opposite camps within the City of Somerville." Instead, that's what your post does.

Mark Twain once wrote that a Patriot is the guy who can holler the loudest without knowing what he's hollering about. I wonder if he was talking about you.

The Patriot

It was skillfully woven into the article, so I'm not surprised you pretend to miss it. Nice try, Citizen. You raise sophistry to an art form.

Kipling once wrote that knaves twist the truth to make a trap for fools. I wonder if he was talking about you.

Striker57

Twain and Kipling . . . careful folks or the level of discourse here will develop into intelligent debate instead of the usual name calling. Thank you Patriot and Citizen for stepping up. Unfortunely it won't be long until the posts calling someone fat, ugly, stupid and/or all of these at once take over again.

Fool on the Hill

Alright, Bill,

I’m sorry for sounding like I fell into a burning ring of fire. But better than most people, you know that the settlement only happened because the parties all agreed to keep the city out of the negotiations. And you know that the negotiations only happened because Mystic View went to Doug Foy and asked him to mediate. And you know that the film’s claim that Curtaone’s stampeding the Assembly Square rezoning through the Board of Alderman made all this happen. Instead, he blew over a million bucks on passing zoning that the court struck down. And you know that we wouldn’t have gotten any commitment to building offices at all if it weren’t for Mystic View. And you know what the developers did to get Curtatone elected.

So why are you, of all people, trying to rewrite history?

Somerville Resident

What did the developers do to get Curtatone elected?

Fool on the Hill

Bill wrote a column about that early last summer. You can read it here: http://somervillenews.typepad.com/the_somerville_news/2006/07/assembly_square_1.html

Yorktown Street

This is a tangent, but...the system of voting that Cambridge uses does the opposite of what "The Patriot" says it does. It lets more people be part of a majority. Usually, if you vote for someone and he or she comes in second in a nine-way race, it's the same as coming in last. You had your vote, but you didn't have your say. In the instant-runoff system they use in Cambridge, they're filling more than one seat at the same time. If your candidate doesn't come in first, they say, in effect, "Well, who would your second choice be?" Then they add your vote to the votes that candidate got in the first place, and you have a second chance to vote for a winner.

The Patriot

It let's a minority push a slate and get seats underhandedly....that's why it's unconstitutional everywhere except Cambridge (grandfathered). To say it let's more people become part of the majority is cute.
But it isn't honest.

Ron Newman

In what way is instant runoff voting (single transferable vote) 'unconstitutional' or 'underhanded' ?

Bill Shelton

Once again, Fool, I think that “rewriting history” is an overstatement. The mayor did encourage the developers to participate in the mediation, and he embraced the outcome. I appreciate your passion, so please don’t be offended by my saying that investing it in fighting old injustices isn’t going to produce very much.

I’ve made clear in this series that I think that we, as a city, are facing some serious challenges, and that we are stuck. I think that the polarization, the focus on personalities, and all the name calling that we read in these blogs just keeps us stuck. Although I frequently disagree with the mayor or aldermen, I believe that they all sincerely want what’s best for Somerville. And I believe that what we all share is much, much more important than our differences.

The sooner that we understand that, stop talking trash, and start listening to each other, the sooner we’ll have a better future. I think that our political culture has developed some bad habits, or at least, habits that no longer work in the reality in which we are living. I’m going to suggest going to a council/city manager form of government, not because I think that it’s intrinsically better than what we have, but because we need to do something that forces us to change our habits.

Stay tuned. And let us hear more from that better self of yours that we’ve come to know.

Solh Zendeh

Actually, there are ways to game an instant-runoff election. Especially when it is used (like in Cambridge) to elect a group of people (like a council). IRV is better for single seat elections - for example I think it could be a good way to vote for mayor or president. Even then it can produce unexpected results though.

I'm not nearly a good enough writer to do this subject justice, but if you google or wikipedia Instant Runoff Voting, there are plenty of examples that convinced me that it can produce funny results in multi-seat voting.

Ron Newman

I'd hesitate to support a council/manager form of government, because as implemented in Cambridge it seems to hand too much power and authority over to the unelected city manager, who has been in that office since 1981. Is that good for a democracy?

Democracy

Obviously, this is not a forum for serious discussion of Somerville politics; just a place to goof around (not a secret, I assume :). If the top 5-10 people here got together and decided to launch a special-purpose site for Somerville politics discussion, with decent forum software, formal user registration, IP logging to ban disruptors, and serious mods (sure, all unpaid but passionate about it), then perhaps some meaningful discussion would emerge and the Mayor and his helpers may even learn something/participate. The expense would also be pretty low, and one could allow some advertisers to pay for some of the costs. Or, as an exercise in democracy that benefits everybody, the city could contribute (yes, think of 1K that could be spent on this instead of fireworks, how preposterous).
Please, post here, or send an e-mail at leftvision@fastmail.us, if interested and I'll set up a discussion group somewhere to brainstorm about this (I'm just a facilitator, not one of the 5-10 top people here, of course).

Citizen

Patriot,

You say that Mr. Shelton’s attempt “to create two polar opposite camps within the city of Somerville,” was “so skillfully woven into the article,” the you’re “not surprised that [I] pretend to miss it.”

Well, I’m not pretending, so it must be skillful indeed. Like when he writes, “It’s easy, and sometimes legitimate, to blame the mayor or specific aldermen for our fiscal woes and legislative stagnation. But doing so doesn’t yield a solution that is persuasive of its ability to turn these conditions around.” Or, “The sooner that we stop talking trash and start listening to each other, the sooner we’ll have a better future.”

Yeah, that’s so skillful, I totally missed the clever attempt to polarize us. In fact, I bet Shelton even had himself fooled into thinking that he was pleading against polarization. So we’re all fortunate to have someone with your insight who can tell us what we really mean, and how we really ought to think.

Thanks to your vigilance, we now know that “Lester Ralph, Gene Brune, Mike Capuano, and Joe Curtatone,” all needed to hand out “JOBS” to “Marxist-Leninist-Stalinists” to stay in office. Keep up the good work. Joe McCarthy was underappreciated.

Now what is the definition of “sophistry?”

Truth Fan

Democracy,

If you take your pseudonym seriously, you should understand that this is the best available electronic forum to discuss Somerville politics.

When you say, "If the top 5-10 people here got together and decided to launch a special-purpose site..." you sound, (dare I say it?) elitist. What defines the "top people?"

I'm not one who automatically equates progressives with elitists. But putting your email address, "leftvision," together with the suggestion that "serious" people should launch their own forum and affect city policy, you lend evidence to this stereotype.

If you want serious discussion here, then post serious commentary. If you don't like the puss-flinging, just ignore it. That's what I do.

Citizen,

I don't think that anyone has fooled you. Your reading comprehension remains sound.

Democracy

I disagree. This is not a discussion site. It's not set up to be one: 1) Threads here have no structure, just sequential posts where it is not clear who're responding to what; 2) There is absolutely no user accountability, which would exists if a formal registration process was in place; people can stay anonymous, but their e-mails are verified and their IPs are logged and disruptors get banned; 3) Some people are more mature and balanced than others, they see the big picture, they can talk to people without being inflammatory. It's just a fact of life, nothing elitist about that. Because of this talent, these people should be moderators and have considerable power (which they should use wisely and fairly, avoiding personal attacks and that kind of behavior). Everybody can participate, obviously, but people who behave like children will be treated like children because they ask for it.

The Patriot

Citizen says there's no polarization in suggesting
blaming the Mayor is less effective than charter- changing him out of office. Have you found out what sophistry is yet, or is just practicing it sufficient for your intellectual needs?
But your right, the MLS description of the movement
was too kind, take away the ML and the description fits better.

Evan Seinfeld

Democracy, I think someone forgot to let you in on a little secret we have here in the US, Freedom of Speech. If you don't like what someone says, dont be an elitest wimp about it and try to moderate peoples opinions. Yeah, people can be rude and crude but this is the price we pay for having the right to say what we want. Judging by your posts though, I think you just want control to silence anyone who has different opinions then you. This is what gets me most about the lefties, they are so hypocrtical and totalitarian. Deep down they are insecure wimps who can't take criticism from others.

Democracy

I'm not sure what triggered this attack of leftophobia, but somebody somewhere must feel threatened for some reason.
Evan, and you forgot that most anonymous users would never say the things they say here in real life or behave the way they do here. Why? Because it would be judged inappropriate and they would be ridiculed and ostracized. Sure, we have freedom of speech, but freedom of speech has consequences as well. If you are obnoxious and disrupt in real life, you will be known as an obnoxious disruptor and people may decide to have nothing to do with you in the future. On the contrary, if what you say makes sense, then people may want to talk to you in the future.

Bill Blass

Creating Jobs is good but what about our sewer and drainage systems. They don't work. When there is a hard rain, rainwater and sewage backs up into our basement. How many new city jobs are worth the costs of repairs?

The Patriot

"Democrazy" proves my point. "Obnoxious disruptors" sounds like a crime from the Soviet era. You're as much a threat to free speech as the Neo-con Bushies. You have a phobia for everyone who disagrees with you.
Everyone in Somerville should stop focusing about everything local...because someone just stole $500B out of your Treasury and is ruining the country. You can't see the forest from the trees. You see enemies where there aren't any and close a blind eye to the destruction of the planet, the wilful negligent killings of civilians
and our kids in uniform, and the destruction of our economic way of life and civil liberties by Bush and Co.

Bill Blass

Didn't most of our Founding Fathers and others write under pseudonames for that same purpose? Who was Publius, Pacificus, Cattalus, Horatius, Philo Camillus, Silence Dogood, Alice Addertongue, Fanny Mournful, Obadiah Plainman, Busy Body, Populus, An American, A Son of Liberty, and the vaguely Wrestlemaniacal “Vindex the Avenger”? And why did they not use their real name? -- Democracy -- that is what it is all about!


“I condemn those indifferent mortals,” Hamilton once said, “who either never form opinions, or never make them known.”

Democracy

Bill Blass, I hope you are not trying to compare the writings of some of the clowns who post here with those of the Founding Fathers. If you do, I'm sure you can do better than that.

Patriot, thanks for the nonsensical rant, it was a good laugh. Really? The Bush administration poses a problem? How come we had not noticed this before here in MA! Unless YOU solve the Bush problem right now, that's why States and local governments need to get their act together, act intelligently and make sure they don't collapse under this administration (because there won't be a bailout from the top if things get really bad, especially not in Blue States.

Bill Shelton

"Silence Dogood" was Benjamin Franklin's pseudonym. I've often wondered if she hasn't been reincarnated as the Dr. Mrs. Mary McCarthy.

Bill Shelton

"Silence Dogood" was Benjamin Franklin's pseudonym. I've often wondered if she hasn't been reincarnated as the Dr. Mrs. Mary McCarthy.

Ignatius Reilly

Democracy, I think there already is a lot of serious discussion here just because it IS an OPEN FORUM. Also, who is to say who is more "...mature and balanced..."? Who is the "DECIDER"?

Newsflash: if you have create a forum and moderate it the way you seem to want to then no one will post.

Keep the forum the way it is. If you don't like what someone says then just move on and ignore the poster's comments. It's really easy.

Democracy

Oh, don't worry, judging from the feedback I got already, enough people really want a site like that and will post good ideas there. Then the others will come too. That's the way free market works.

The Patriot

What's nonsensical is "states getting their act together, acting intelligently and avoiding collapse."
What kind of PC garble is that? You have no concept of how powerful the fed govt is and the damage now being done. Excessive spending on this war (feeding frenzy for the Bushies) could collapse the dollar, so what do you expect the states to do? Drop out of the union and join Canada? Look at foreclosures. They want illegals living in tents and the rest of us in FEMA trailers, working hard to support the oil company profits with out labor and tax cuts (tax cut scam). They want our kids skilled for exploitation, but not educated enougfh to rebel. And they want us fighting each other which you are more than ready to oblige. Democrasy, you deserve Bush, cause you're too stupid to focus on fighting to impeach him and Cheney NOW. The Vermonters,
at scores of town meetings, have done what your pea brain can't figure out. They voted to demand Bush be impeached. You, on the contrary, can only figure out how to stuff you ballot up your ass.

Evan Seinfeld

So Democracy let me ask you this, what is a good idea. If I wanted to write about the need for Somerville and Mass to lower taxes as a way to spur investment and job growth, will it be included. What if I decided to question universal healthcare by calling out the flaws in Michael Moores "Sicko" movie. I am just looking to see if it will be a real forum or more or less like the proggresives meeting where anyone who disagrees is called names and shunned by the politburo. Forgive me for forming a judgement already but this is how I picture a typical forum:

LeftPower: Somerville is not diverse enough, we need to create a department of Diversity and spend 1 million dollars and computer software that will project the ethnic makeup of Somerville in ten years to make sure we are the most diverse place in the world.

Cambriville: My god Stalin, thats amazing, Diversity is great, we need to be open to all cultures and ideas.

EvanSeinfeld: Hey hold on a second, I am barely affording my mortgage I can't afford another tax increase. Why do we have to spend millions of dollars on nonsense. If we have a low cost of living and jobs, won't people of all walks of life want to move here. Lets trim the size of our government and instead find a way to lower taxes as a way to encourage families to move here.


LeftPower: That has to be the most insensitive, idiotic, most racist thing I have ever heard of. Its nazi's like you that will bring this city and state down. I know what you really mean by tax cut, you mean rich white people. Enough with you, your banned from the forum. Your so closed minded and stupid. Your stupid, I bet you went to a state school.

Cambriville: LeftPower, how dare he have the nerve to come on here with his stupid ideas. Left put his name on the "Closed Minded" people website to make sure it never happens again. I will put his name in my database to make sure he never has the chance to say such nonsense again. Only mature, intelligent people like us have a right to give our ideas, because only ours are correct. I bet he voted for George W. Bush, the root of every problem in Mass because everyone knows its not Deval's.

So, will it be an open discussion where people of opposing views can give their side of the story or will conservatives like myself be banished from the kingdom.

Ignatius Reilly

Democracy's new forum:

Democracy

Patriot, OK, I see your point. Let's see if I can respond. First, I'm not talking about censoring opinions. If you have an argument as to why health care should work a particular way, then that is entirely appropriate. So, both topics above are perfectly fine. What is not appropriate are personal attacks, when users attack the person rather than the arguments. So, calling something an idiot for thinking something is not OK, arguing that someone's point is flawed is OK.
Second, moderators should be people who are perceived as being generally tolerant and conciliatory. This is difficult to define, but I hope you agree that some users seem better than others at favoring civil discourse (as opposed to flame fests).
Third, what you describe above is what happens here all the time for a number of reasons: a) There is only one "forum", it's all mixed together; I envision different fori, one for more relaxed and less formal discussion (we could call it "the bar", and there you could have the kind of thread you describe above; another would be for longer posts with detailed arguments; and there would be different topics, where users can actually start thread, reports news and discuss their relationship to Somerville politics. b) The lack of thread structure here is a killer: It is difficult to keep track of the sequence of events, which you can have with thread branching.

Hope this clarifies. Not saying it's easy, but I believe that an improved site specifically for discussion might lead to new interactions and ideas.

Ignatius Reilly

Patriot, you are out of your friggin' mind. Did President Bush bang your girlfriend/wife/mother/sister/father? What happened to you? When did you become so un-American? Geeez.... I've never seen a person hate his own country so much.

Impeachment? LMAO!!!

Dude, the economy is booming (DOW just closed at > 14,000), Iraq war is being won (we killed them over there, so didn't have to kill them here - the surge worked) and now everyone gets to see how corrupt/useless this new democratic congress is and will be. If this congress had any nuts we'd be nuking Iran, but we'll have to wait for the next terrorist attack on our soil to finish that job.

Deal with it. We're driving the bus, not you moonbats.

The Patriot

Ignatius: Who the hell are you to say "I hate my country" which is diametrically opposed to my core beliefs and feelings. Just because I think Bush should be impeached, you utter such an absurity. Impeachment is in the Constitution, you imbecile. Wanting Bush to be impeached and tried for treason is not unpatriotic,
it is demanded in the Declaration of Independence. If you could read that document, you might better understand the country I love and which you, and Bushitt are trying to destroy. Ben Franklin, when asked "what kind of government have you given us" responded, "A republic, if you can keep it." With people like you, Ignatius, his premise ids more than in question.
You are the greatest threat to America. You trash the patriotism of someone like me who expresses freedom of speech (Bill of Rights). That me you, like Bush, a traitor to America. Go .....

The Patriot

P.S. Bush has the authority to "nuke Iran." Anytime he wants, not Congress. But he's too busy counting your money and giving it to EXXON--MOBILE.

Ignatius Reilly

Patriot, first please wipe the spittle of your computer screeen.... can you read now? Good. The point I am making is that you're letting your blind hatred of one man (President Bush) affect your whole look on the world and our country. Not healhty, dude.

What would you impeach Bush for anyway? Because you disagree with some of his policies? Hell, I don't agree with many of his policies, but that is no reason to call for a president's impeachment.

If you love your country (as you keep saying) then why are you giving comfort and aid to our enemies by calling for impeachment and not supporting the troops? If you love your country you would not let blind hatred cloud your judgement so. America is the greatest nation on earth. Deal with it.

and was there any reason for the ad hominem attacks?

Antoine Walker

I'm sorry everyone is struggling to get by. I know Somerville is an expensive place to live but personally I am doing very well.

Evan Seinfeld

That sounds cool to me then Democracy. I am more of a libertarian then conservative (hence I hate Bush also) so as long as people like me can voice our arguments for limited government (by the way we are pro-choice, pro-gay rights, anti-war also). To be honest I am sick and tired of the college kids coming on here and ruining our discussions anyways. They can be very immature and really lack a basic understanding of what actually faces our communities,state and country. Especially in this town where our college kids tend to be wealthy kids from the burbs whose parents pay for school and have never had a real job or paid their own bills (besides the bar tab). If its ok to rant about how naive college kids can be and how they are in for a rude awakening in a year or two when they have to get a job, pay the bills, and realize that no one thinks they are gifted and special, I support it then. Who wants to join me in making a new blog called "Working People's Somerville". It can be a blog about reality outside of the Ivory tower and PDS. Imagine, real people who actually live and understand isues like taxes, gentrification and what not. We won't have to listen to some 22 year olf kid from Tufts whine and talk like he/she actually has a clue what the real world is like. Anyone want to join me.

The Patriot

So it's the same "aid and comfort to the enemy" garbage they fed us during Vietnam. "Support the troops" is a deception and a lie. Bush and dummies like you are traitors to the honest patriotism of the troops who serve, by using them for cannon fodder to make a profit (e.g. Haliburton). That's what a real impeachment is all about, not some sexual indescretion in the White House.
No wonder the terrorists attack us, when we're stupid enough to impeach a President over a blow job, and spend $40M investigating it.
And just who are you to pontificate about America's greatness --- it is a great country, not because of the likes of blowhards like you, but in spite of you.

Democracy

Evan, send me an e-mail at leftvision@fastmail.us . Don't worry about the username, I don't bite!

Service?

Patriot,

When did you serve? Watch who you're calling a traitor... without us, the student loans you're going to default on in the near future wouldn't be there.

Yorktown Street

Actually, Bush does NOT have the authority to "nuke Iran, any time he wants." He might have the power (scary thought!), but he doesn't have the legitimate power. Only Congress can declare war. Read Article I of the Constitution. There's a lively debate on the President's authority to commit troops outside of wartime, but no Constitutional scholar thinks he could use nuclear weapons against a country with which we are not at war.

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