End of an Era

Post hard. Play hard.

We’re back.

Councilor Nikolla has “served” the town of Southbridge for 9 years. I don’t know what’s more impressive–the fact that she made it, or that we did.

If it weren’t for Ms Nikolla, we wouldn’t have a dump, or Commercial Drive, or any of the other great things that she has really fought tooth and nail to get through.

I’ve put together a video that really sums up the tenure of Councilor Nikolla.

Good luck in all of your future endeavors, Miss Nikolla.

Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

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We The People

Here in my crazy little town of Southbridge, MA we have some BIG HAPPENINGS going on! 

No, I’m not talking about the river of sludge-water trickling from the dump into Charlton! 

No, it’s not the one business in 3 years to show any interest in the “industrial park!” 

No, it’s not the ACTUAL opening of any museums in town, optical or otherwise! 

This is way bigger.  This is “We the People!” 

There is currently a lot of debate in certain circles about whether the recent initiative to revert back to a Town Administrator/Town Meeting form of government would benefit the town.  The town council seems to be very opposed. 

In Monday’s Town Council Meeting, the councilors all had their say.  

Monique Manna questioned the validity of the wording in the contract.  She slowly and carefully outlined a pre-fed notion that the contract was null-in-void due to a technicality in the proposal. 

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OH MONIQUE MANNA!  When the strongest and most intelligent argument is coming from you… This town has a problem. 

Ms Manna also interrupted Attorney Caplette as he tried to speak on behalf of Southbridge residents.  A man who lived in town for thirty-plus years and continues to practice in town.  She was very concerned that he now lives in Sturbridge–and is no longer a resident.  Because Sturbridge is NOT Southbridge.  And WE BETTER NOT EVER BE LIKE STURBRIDGE! 

She apparently does not take issue with Karen Harnois.  The acting Town Manager.  Who lives in Webster.  While she bends in front of  leans over to David Langevin, sharing secrets about whatever must be more important than what was going on.

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The other ladies of the night… 

…time meeting had their say as well.

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Ms Nikola did her best impression of a zombie cheetah. 

And Denise Clemence reiterated time and time again that only “ten people” had come up with this idea, so it MUST be ridiculous!  

Zero Councilors were in support for this measure.  That makes me want to point out the following: 

HEY!  TOWN COUNCIL!  THIS TOWN IS AWFUL! 

YOU HAVE REVERTED THIS TOWN TO A REGIONAL DUMP WITH ZERO MARKETABLE ATTRACTIONS.  YOU TOOK A BRIEF UPTICK IN PROPERTY VALUES AND HAVE CAUSED THEM TO PLUMMET. 

YOUR IDEA OF FIXING MAIN STREET IS A CUMBERLAND FARMS AND SECTION 8 HOUSING. 

YOU HAVE LET THE AIRPORT FALL TO RUINS. 

HALF OF THE TOWN SMELLS LIKE A TOILET 8 MONTHS OUT OF THE YEAR. 

WE ARE AMONG THE HIGHEST IN THE STATE FOR ASTHMA, TAXES, UNEMPLOYMENT, VIOLENT CRIME AND TEEN PREGNANCY. 

OUR SCHOOL SYSTEM IS LAUGHABLE. 

Nobody.  Wants.  To.  Make.  Southbridge.  Home.

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Everyone needs to realize something.  

The veteran members of the town council have ruined this town. 

It isn’t the welfare office, it isn’t the Puerto Ricans, and it isn’t because the AO moved out.  The town was in a brief uptick, until these fine citizens came to power.  

THIS.  IS.  YOUR.  FAULT.  

Really, look in the mirror and breathe that in.  And no, the couple thousand you spend on half-lit Christmas lights and retired wooden sex dolls isn’t making it any better.  Although you spent an entire meeting praising yourselves on it. 

The people of Southbridge would sign up for ANYTHING right now.  A homeless guy could get 700 signatures for a form of government that is ANYTHING OTHER THAN WHAT WE HAVE NOW. 

Because of you. 

If I drafted a petition tomorrow, with one all-governing power, thought-police, and a movement to switch from English and Spanish to Newspeak.  It would PASS. 

Because answering to Big Brother, is better than living in Southbridge with the current people in “charge.”

 

 

 

 

Town Council Speaks out on Arson

Breaking news!

In light of the recent “fire indiscretions” throughout the town–our Town Council has decided one thing.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

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“How dare these people build homes out of flammable materials, in the heart of our fair crime district,” one council-woman was quoted as saying, “I think it is they who are asking for trouble!”

Another councilor purportedly called around to much more affluent municipalities to ask for advice on troublesome homeowners who allow their homes to be reduced to ashes.

“They used a lot of big words and stuff, but I’m pretty sure that we should have a fine in place. I spented a lot of time and research on the phone. I yelled and yelled at one town for hours. The lady had a voice like a dial tone and she was not very nice.”

The councilors nodded in agreement and unanimously passed the “Criminalize the Victims” bylaw.

“They started with the Graffiti bylaw, and really just ran with this one,” a citizen commented, “I’m really glad that the town is taking these stands against these victims. It’s about time we hold them accountable–without wasting valuable police-dollars.”

The turn of the tides on this measure really began in 2011, when a string of arson incidents erupted around town. Police were baffled and the culprits were never caught–leaving a path of destruction that the more affluent members of the council didn’t feel like looking at.

Then, in 2013, the Little Kitchen mysteriously went up in flames. An employee of the building owner was found at the scene, on fire. Although speculation exists, nobody was ever able to launch anything closely resembling an official investigation.

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*artist’s rendering*

Now, we have a set of FIVE instances of arson in ONE night!

“We need to take action!” a highly unstable council-woman yelled, “expecting the police to capture these criminals is a joke. Too bad if somebody burned down your building. Wake up. You’re a grown-up.”

Her tirade continued for hours. Finally as the room began to doze she finished, “we give it away in this town and that’s why this town looks blighted. Because we have no standards.”

The people gathering in the room looked rather pleased as they filed out of town hall. A slight buzz was in the air.

“We’re hoping to really gain some traction behind the next bylaw,” a shadowy figure reported, “we’re naming it ‘Raping the Rape Victim,’ and I really think it’s something the people of the town could get behind.”

The Darker the Berry, the Sweeter the Juice

There has been a lot of talk lately about changing the form of Government in Southbridge. One group would like to see the shift back to a town meeting form, and another would like to see a shift to a strong mayor/selectmen form.

I’d like to say they’re both wrong.

Slowtown is (Tony-the-Tiger-style) GRRRRRRREAT!

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So are the other six towns  in MA with Town Council/Manager style government! Let’s look at median income level by family for each town (via city-data). Keep in mind, median income level for the state of Massachusetts is $62,859!

Watertown: $74,106
Winthrop: $66,514
Randolph: $63,054
Barnstable: $57,783
Palmer: $42,447
Chelsea: $41,181
Southbridge: $40,113

WE’RE NUMBER 7!!!! We made it in the top ten for the seven municipalities in a town council/manager form of goverment in Massachusetts!!

We were also # 7 for property value!

Pat yourselves on the back. It. Feels. So. Good.

Although, money isn’t everything. The size of a community’s wallet doesn’t matter. It’s the MOTION OF THE OCEAN… the ocean in this case being the school system.

Let’s take a look at what kind of levels the school systems are rated.

Winthrop: Level 2
Watertown: Level 2
Barnstable: Level 2
Chelsea: Level 3
Palmer: Level 3
Randolph: Level 4
Southbridge: Level 4

TIED FOR 6TH!!!

Beautiful, amazing.

I’m sure levels go up to like 100, or 500, or something ridiculous.

Oh… up to 5? With 4 being dangerously close to losing accreditation with the state?

Damn.

Well– I think this is indicative of one thing. The form of government is NOT TO BLAME.

If a town is a complete crapshoot, compared with a decent sampling of other towns with a similar form of government–then, that town is just a crapshoot.

You can look at specific examples within a town that need to change– like a town with 16,000 residents having 3 secretaries plus an intern in the town manager’s office.. Or the salary of a town manager in a town of 16,000 being dangerously close to the governor of that same state. Or a town employee-base that rivals the largest private employer in town. Or tax rates among the highest in the state. Or…..

Well, I could go on and on.

But the form of government doesn’t seem to have very much impact on a town/city.

It’s people like Cathy Nikolla, or Denise Clemence that TRULY define the town they preside over. It’s the decisions they make regarding things like… regional dumps, or industrial parks that really make the difference.

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I mean, if there was a regional landfill trying to seed itself in a community of 16,000 people–you’d have to be REALLY REALLY REEEEALLY incredibly STUPID (or paid off) to buy into a unsupervised “30-year” contract on the same plot of land as A FREAKING AIRPORT.

How could that even happen?! Ha! Good thing people in OUR town would never cede to such a venture!

Good thing we’re investing into things like industrial parks (that’s happening soon, right?).

 

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That is some PERFECT industrial park terrain right there…

I think it’s safe to say: a town government could be run by a town manager, mayor, board of selectmen, dictator, or Oscar the Grouch– when those in charge are absolute idiots, the results are going to be indicative of the town.

Absolute. Crapshoot.

PSA Please Read!

 

Great news!

The town of Southbridge is holding a Rabies and Microchip clinic on May 17th! It’s sponsored by Second Chance Animal Shelter and goes from 9 AM-11 AM at the DPW building.

You can check out the town’s website for more details here

I’m fully aware that this is almost a month and a half away. As I am fully aware that most of us can’t wait an entire month and a half for these types of services.

Luckily, the town of Southbridge has something to tide us over in the interim.

THE HAMILTON STREET TRAP-SPAY/NEUTER/RETURN PROGRAM!

This initiative is running from April 9th-April 13th. If you want your kitty snipped & vaccinated, let them play outside for the next week or two… on Hamilton St!

That’s fun for everyone!

Mr. or Ms. kitty get’s a free service and you don’t even have to make the trip out to the vet!

Oh, and the best part? Any sick or injured kitties will be euthanized! I’ve been saying for years that this town needs to be more pro-cat-murder. FINALLY somebody is listening!

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They’ll be in a better place…..

Do we really want Hamilton St to be known as the “sick cat” street? We’re spending a LOT of time with sign & graffiti bylaws to make this town look nicer. It’s all done in vain if there are curb-to-curb feral cats vomiting half-eaten tuna all over HAMILTON STREET.

Also, I think this is a great idea for families with small children and older pets. Let Mittens go “for a walk” between April 9th and April 13th. You’ll be dodging a GIANT bullet with the kids, and can rest easy knowing Mittens is in a better place… with strangers… and murder weapons…

Mmmm. Sometimes this town really outdoes itself. I think the trap-spay/neuter/return (or kill) program is an example of what Southbridge really stands for.

A select few deciding the fate of the helpless masses.

The Bike Trail to Nowhere

Once you travel past the un-synchronized lights on Main St in Southbridge. Once you navigate around the unnecessary rotary, and down toward the more sewage-y part of town–you’ll happen upon what is perhaps Chris Clark’s greatest accomplishment.

ImageThe Southbridge bike trail! Follow this state-of-the-art, $200,000 state funded project all the way into Dudley!

Soon they say, it’ll even go to Thompson, CT

ImageOr end abruptly directly behind Dunkin Donuts…

Southbridge received $200,000 from the state to finish the rail trail. Chris Clark utilized a DPW town employee instead of an engineer, and used all of the old standing bridge structures for the “new” bridges.

We must have one HELLUVA trail running through this town! Maybe there’s just a little “jump” behind the Dunkin Donuts! I’m sure it gets better, maybe with benches, or little signs that tell you what kind of birds are flying around!

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What. The. Fuck.

So the DPW ripped up the rails, and tossed everything they couldn’t scrap to the side.

Pieces of railroad ties that have been soaked in creosote, tossed along the Quinebaug River. Mmmm. Tastes like cancer!

I was under the impression that common sense would tell someone “chemically treated wood + groundwater + river that feeds reservoir = bad.” I guess I forgot what town I lived in!

Why wouldn’t Southbridge be on board to finish this whole project? What could be in the way!?

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Didn’t there used to be a railroad through there?

Hmmm. That looks like the 12 Crane St complex.

Some green little leprechaun went through there, scrapped all of the metal and removed the rail lines that went through this state-owned parking lot.

If the rail trail is completed, the 12 Crane Street complex effectively loses its only parking area.

The parking lot they’re not supposed to be using. That same parking lot that has zero handicapped spots (but a FABULOUS outdoor seating area!). Listen people with disabilities, we don’t want YOUR kind around here. There are people in there trying to have a good time.

The town’s posterchild would be driven out of business! The grants they gave to the guy with zero business experience, who ended up swindling COUNTLESS people out of money, would have to be paid back to the state!

People who were loose with the grant applications would PROBABLY lose their jobs!

Southbridge asked for (and received) over $500,000 in grants for these guys! They can’t just pay it back now. We just need to stall out anything that looks shiny or brand new that might take away from this whole venture. We need to stack the 12 Crane deck at the cost of everyone else.

Now I understand why we wouldn’t want a Rail Trail ruining the downtown.

We need an unsupervised complex running with its own rules… at the expense of … us.

Lessons in Civility

Teachers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

Big ones.

Small ones.

Square ones.

Human-shaped ones.

Now.  Today, a shape I didn’t think I’d ever see has apparently made itself known.

A town-council shape.

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Eeeet’s beautiful!

BREAKING NEWS from the Southbridge Evening News.  They have reported today, March 20th, 2014, on a story so SHOCKING and ELECTRIFYING it will leave you feeling like Ted Bundy about 45 minutes after his last meal.

From the Southbridge Evening News:

After members attended a municipal conference recently, the Town Council unanimously approved a Visitors Code of Conduct at their meeting on Monday, March 10.

“I appreciate the ladies [of the Council who attended] bringing this back from [the Massachusetts Municipal Association],” said Council Chairman David Langevin. “It’s definitely justified.”

Members of the Town Council attended an MMA conference and decided to implement what they learned during one seminar.

“When we were at MMA, there was a seminar called ‘Civility in Town Hall.'” said Councilor Denise Clemence.  “One of the proposals there, one of the towns there, actually had a visitors’ code of conduct.”

ONLY  TEN DAYS BETWEEN THE REPORT AND THE STORY BEING PUBLISHED!?  Has the Southbridge Evening News been introduced to movable type?!

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Hide the tools, me boy. Lest the serfs become privvy to our press!

While the Southbridge Evening News’s speed to market is fascinating–the greater story does lie within the article.

During the time that the ladies of the Council were classing it up in Boston–snickering about a medical issue that had happened to another councilor…  While those ladies spread vehement gossip to whomever would listen…  While those ladies were laughing about another’s illness…

They were learning about civility!

What FUN!

And now, we the people, get to learn from them!

Are you thinking about going to the next town meeting?  Well, here are some key points to note before you show up–as designated through this new “civility plan.”

BETTER NOT BE DRUNK!  Or seem to be…  as determined by a panel of councilors with a collective zero years of medical experience.

BETTER LEAVE WHEN ASKED!  Or you’ll be arrested for trespassing!  Good-bye, First Amendment, hello free phone call!

BETTER NOT COME BACK!  Or you’ll be permanently banned from whatever building you’re trying to infiltrate.

I think the key to a solid town government is exactly what these brave women are doing.

Talking about fellow council members while they’re in a time of need, or attacking them for reasons that nobody should ever be attacked for–KEEPS PEOPLE ON THEIR TOES!

Bickering among the town council boosts ratings on the Southbridge Public Cable channel!  Mike Montigny wouldn’t have a job, and Paul Zotos wouldn’t have a valid law suit claim against the town if Town Council meetings were boring.  However, bickering of CITIZENS with the town council has been shown to lower ratings significantly.

If nothing else, the councilors promised to enact more civility in dealing with each other.

Minus attacking Shaun Moriarty for sitting on his sister’s deathbed.

Minus trying to take-backskis decisions from earlier meetings.

Aaand minus exclamations of  “I hate you all.”

But, aside from all that– I’d say they were pretty civil.  Especially when compared to like… a feral cat.