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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Reflections on Monday's Town Council Meeting

Ok, it's been 48 hours and my brain cells have been working overtime to make some sense of Monday's TC meeting.

So here is a look back at that meeting with the benefit of some time to reflect.

by Tom Ferrio


The Frick and Frack Show

I should have anticipated the biggest surprise of the meeting when I saw Jim Mageau and Joe Dolock in the audience but I was so focused on other topics that I missed the significance. It soon hit me like a slap in the face during the Public Comment part of the agenda. Even if you were there, you should view it again here. Mr. Dolock and Mr. Mageau came to the meeting to defend the honor of the fair maiden, Councilwoman Lisa DiBello.

Mr. Mageau and Mr. Dolock
I would not call them Frick and Frack
First we learned, from Mr. Dolock, that calling people Frick and Frack should be the highest honor. We all know that, don't we? Well the Urban Dictionary defines it as two people, usually employees of a company, who are deemed to be incompetent, lazy, or wasting time continuously by doing things other than working. Wikipedia calls it a term of derision for any two people, on par with calling one person a "Bozo" or three people "Stooges". I guess Mr. Dolock doesn't read those sources.

Then Mr. Mageau took to the podium and I soon had a déjà vu moment, remembering the Town Council meetings I attended several years ago when Mr. Mageau was President. It wasn't a pleasant memory. He barely mentioned Frick and Frack but made a list of accusations about illegal activities and explained that he didn't hold Mr. Gentz in high regard.

This action certainly had everyone primed to pay attention to Mr. DiLibero's later report! If that's the outcome Mr. Mageau wanted he succeeded beyond his expectations. I certainly was on the edge of my seat for this.

So here is my summary for the benefit of our loyal readers. Ms. DiBello and another town employee were together when Mr. DiLibero and Mr Primiano were walking by. Ms. DiBello admits she talked about Frick and Frack when they walked by but was not referring to them. Perhaps there was a pair of mice in her pocket? In any event they should hope she was talking about them because it would be an honor to be called Frick and Frack. And the whole incident is an example of harassment toward Ms. DiBello.

Oooookay! On to the next topic.


I never, ever want to start a business in Charlestown

And if I ever give a hint that I'm thinking about it just slap me up aside my head!

I have no special interest in The Breachway Grill except that I try to follow new business in Charlestown and I interviewed Craig Marr and Andrew Blumin long before they opened. At the time I told Mr. Marr that I hoped he would not become another casualty of new restaurant attempts here.

This is the second case I know where septic capacity, according to standards, has been an issue. In Mr. Marr's case it sounds like he has a choice of reducing the number of seats to be too low to sustain the business or working with the building owner to put in a new septic system that would never have the cost recouped for a seasonal business.

This man would probably
rather be elsewhere
And this all happens when he is staring at the bleak face of a frigid winter, wondering if he can stay open at all. Meanwhile Mr. Marr claims that the assumptions DEM makes about the relation between seats and septic load is much too conservative.

In a town and state that wanted to foster business, some way should be developed to monitor the actual septic load being generated (think water meter) and set a limit directly according to what needs to be controlled - flow into the septic system. But not here. We would prefer he close his doors permanently.

And Mr. Marr made the mistake of not cancelling an 80th birthday party for his mother-in-law, raising the ire of Mr. Gentz, who had to chastise him not once, not twice, but at least three times. I dare to say once would have been enough. And I think it was much too personal and unprofessional to take it that far.


Tom Gentz didn't have a good night

I must confess that I have admired much of the job that Mr. Gentz has done. He has made a lot of good statements and votes and usually seems open-minded. That said, it did not appear that he's growing into the job during his performance Monday night.

The most shock from a single statement came when Mr. Gentz clearly tried to rewrite history. Here he tries to give an explanation about the reversed decision to bar Tim Quillen from speaking. I guess he thinks none will  review the video of the agenda meeting where this was discussed. I challenge anyone to watch that segment and show me how the conclusion was that Mr. Quillen was asked to talk during the wind ordinance discussion. That was mentioned but that was clearly not the result and has been reported in detail. Just the idea that Mr. Gentz would try to re-cast the decision is alarming to me.

I would never envy the job of the Town Council President but I'm surprised at the amount of help that Mr. Gentz needed with the order of business, motions, and voting. Perhaps this is evidence that Mr. Mageau succeeded in driving him to distraction.

I was also very surprised that Mr. Gentz forced an amendment to a motion that was the distinct opposite of the original motion. A member of the audience even tried to bring it up. I know Mr. Gentz is a very smart person so when I see something like that it's hard for me to excuse it as "learning the job."

And Mr. Mageau did a good job pulling on Mr. Gentz's strings. I'm sure that was rewarding for Mr. Mageau and I predict there will be attempts to repeat that success.


What to say about wind power...

Much has already been written but I would like to express surprise at the interpretation, by some, that the Democrats were supporting large-scale wind. That is clearly not the case by the statements made and Will has explained how the alternative would bar large-scale wind. If there is some flaw in that argument we would like to understand it.

I more suspect that the objective of this whole thing really was to ban all wind power. I trust there is enough pressure on Planning to produce a residential wind ordinance and we will see how the hearings on that go.

I continue to admire how bold Ms. Platner is to continue stating that most places in the USA do not allow wind power at all. I don't have the data on that but I know that she doesn't either. She is relying on her voodoo "if it's not permitted in writing, it's prohibited." Our list of not permitted things continues to grow. Oops, as I finish this I see Will has posted another article on this subject. Sorry for the duplication.

In closing,

Thanks for reading this article. I hope you have a great week. We may be able to break out a sweatshirt on Friday!

1 comment:

  1. Frick and Frack: My question was, what was Miss DiBello doing in the Town Hall with the employee after hours? I thought several meetings ago she had agreed to not do that sort of thing anymore.

    Comments on the Breachway Grill went directly to Amy. I had a few questions/observations and I sent them to her.

    So now we are the only town in the whole country that bans wind power? I'd be interested in seeing articles from other States on this. Is the Blog going to put a time up to see how long it will take to get a new ordinance?

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