Monthly Archives: November 2010

Tribute to Lida Harkins

Tribute to Lida Harkins 12/13 5-8 PM @ Needham Historical Society – all invited – see invite at http://ping.fm/mSK0f

Lyme disease – 1/25 at 7 PM

Lyme disease solutions – expert biologist from the MA Division of Fisheries & Wildlife to address issue January 25 at 7 pm at Town House

Weekly Political Report – Week Ending November 24, 2010

Week Ending November 24, 2010

Following the release of the Ware report, detailing systemic abuse and
corruption within the Massachusetts Probation Department, Speaker Robert
DeLeo (D-Winthrop) vowed this week to overhaul the department. DeLeo
also announced that Speaker Pro Tempore Tom Petrolati (D-Ludlow), who
had been implicated as engaging in legislative quid pro quo, would not
seek reappointment to his legislative leadership position. When DeLeo
became speaker in 2009, he retained Rep. Petrolati as Speaker Pro Tem,
the same position Petrolati had held under former Speaker Sal DiMasi.
Although Governor Patrick’s attempt to place the probation department
under control of the Governor’s office failed in the House earlier this
session, Speaker DeLeo said that probation reform would be his top
priority.

On Monday, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities approved a
plan for National Grid to buy half of the expected energy output
generated by the proposed Cape Wind offshore wind facility. DPU
officials acknowledged that residential customers could see their
electric bills increase by 1.3-1.7% while commercial and industrial
customers could see a 1.7-2.2% increase. Energy and Environmental
Secretary Ian Bowles said the benefits outweigh the costs of the project
and will allow Massachusetts to meet renewable energy and greenhouse gas
emissions reduction requirements. The DPU did not approve the second
National Grid contract with Cape Wind to purchase the remaining output,
saying that approving the contract now “would serve no clear purpose.”
On a related note, US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar this week announced
a Smart from the Start initiative which would allow the federal
government to identify priority wind areas for potential development and
accelerate the lease process.

John Nunnari, Assoc AIA
BSA/AIA MA Public Policy Director
jnunnari@architects.org <mailto:afienman@architects.org>
617-951-1433 x263
617-951-0845 (fax)

Boston Society of Architects/AIA
The Architects Building
52 Broad Street, Boston MA 02109-4301
http://www.architects.org <http://www.architects.org/&gt;

VOC’s found at Medfield State Hospital

DCAM has told the Board of Selectmen that VOC’s were found at Medfield State Hospital.   This will mean the site will become a Tier 1 remediation site.  Clorinated materials were found in new monitoring wells drilled in the area of the former power plant, wells that had long been called for by my wife, ConCom member, Deb Bero, out of fears for what may have been used within the power plant.

The finding will delay the clean up – DCAM has already requested a 60 day extension for filing its Phase II and III documentation.

Board of Selectmen missed a big opportunity

The Board of Selectmen meeting last Tuesday started the FY12 budget planning process for the town, with in attendance all town department heads, the School Committee, and the Assessors.  Excellent presentations of the current lay of the land were made by both Mike Sullivan and Warrant Committee co-chair Mary Alice Whelan.

Upon reflection, what was missed was for the Board of Selectmen to engage the town government’s brain trust on what the town’s general goals should be for this budget season.  There were a lot of smart experienced people in the room, and only two were actually heard.  That was a huge missed opportunity.  The Town of Medfield is facing an uncertain budget year, mainly because the predictions are that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ local aid monies will have to fall by 5-10% if the state is to bridge its $2.2b. budget gap (it was made almost $200m. worse when we repealed the sales tax on alcoholic beverages).  In real numbers for Medfield those predicted cuts in state aid would mean $350,000 to $700,000 less in the town’s budget.  A large portion of the town budget is salaries, and you can do the math to figure out how many jobs it would take to make that up.

Given this situation, there should have been a discussion of what the town government leaders wanted to do to solve that dilemma and an airing of peoples’ thoughts.  Should we craft two budgets, one with and one without an override, and put it to the voters at town meeting?  Is it fair to plan on no pay increases for employees for a second year in a row?

Weekly Political Report Week – Ending November 19, 2010

Week Ending November 19, 2010

 

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court unsealed a report compiled by prosecutor and independent counsel Paul Ware this week.  The report found systemic abuse and corruption within the Massachusetts Probation Department. Chief Justice Margaret Marshall and Chief Justice for Administration and Management Robert Mulligan tasked Ware with investigating allegations about hiring practices within the probation department after initial reports of patronage surfaced in May. When the allegations arose, Commissioner John O’Brien was placed on immediate administrative leave. The unsealed report alleges Probation Commissioner O’Brien and four of his deputies favored candidates with political connections and engaged in legislative quid pro quo in making hiring decisions and promotions. The report was referred to Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office and US Attorney Carmen Oritz for potential criminal investigations.

 

According to a Patrick administration jobs report, Massachusetts gained 10,000 jobs in October and the unemployment rate in the state fell from 8.4% to 8.1%. The unemployment rate is now the lowest it has been in Massachusetts in the last 18 months and the decline from the last two months is the steepest since 1976. Coming on the heels of two consecutive months of job losses (21,000 in September and 3,000 in August), Governor Patrick said that the recent job creation is a sign that Massachusetts is emerging from the recession faster than other states. However, economists at the New England Economic Partnership (NEEP) this week forecasted that economic and job growth in Massachusetts will continue to fall through the end of the year and not climb upward until early 2011. NEEP Director Alan Clayton Matthews said the state’s economic growth is expected to slow to 3.7% in the third quarter and 3% through March 2011. Following that, NEEP projected that unemployment will fall to 7.3% by 2012 and below 6% by 2013.

 

On Wednesday, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue released the tax collection figures for the first half of November.  The state collected $540 million during this period, a $21 million drop from the same period one year earlier. Navjeet Bal, the state revenue commissioner attributed the decrease in income, sales and corporate tax collections to the two week period measured. She estimated that over the course of the full month Massachusetts will collect $1.327 billion in taxes, which would be an increase of $38 million from November, 2009.

 

Released this week, a new report by the Department of Transportation estimates that the 2009 transportation reform law saved Massachusetts $130 million. According to the report, titled “Transportation Reform – Year 1,” the state saved $38 million by restructuring highway debt and $5 million annually by moving MBTA employees to the state’s health insurance plan. The restructuring of the state’s transportation bureaucracy as laid out in the 2009 transportation reform act was one of the signature accomplishments of Governor Patrick’s first term.  Under the reform plan, the former MTA was dissolved and all transportation agencies were consolidated under a new agency, MassDOT, to oversee state transportation functions.

 

The Warren Group, which monitors home sales in the state, said initiated and completed home foreclosures in October were down 39% over the year, a 50% drop compared to October 2009. This is the first month since the beginning of the year that the number of foreclosure petitions (1,127) is below 2,000.  Tim Warren, CEO of the Warren Group called the large decline in completed foreclosures encouraging, although he warned that Bank of America’s decision to temporarily suspend foreclosure activity may have affected the reported numbers.

 

 

 

John Nunnari, Assoc AIA
BSA/AIA MA Public Policy Director
jnunnari@architects.org
617-951-1433 x263
617-951-0845 (fax)

Boston Society of Architects/AIA
The Architects Building
52 Broad Street, Boston MA 02109-4301
www.architects.org

 

 

Cemetery website and newsletter are well worth getting

Everyone should sign up to get Rob Gregg’s e-newsletter for the Vine Lake Preservation Trust – it is really well done and always way more interesting than I expect cemetery matters to be.  The cemetery is one of the happening place in Medfield at the moment.  Sign up at http://www.vinelakepreservationtrust.org

Weekly Political Report – Week Ending November 5, 2010

Week Ending November 5, 2010

With an extremely strong night for Republicans nationally on Election Day, Massachusetts was one of the few bright spots for Democrats in the country. In addition to the Governor’s race, Democrats emerged victorious in the campaigns for State Treasurer, State Auditor, Attorney General and Secretary of State. All nine incumbent Democratic Congressmen were re-elected and Democrats won the single open Congressional seat for the 10th district. Democrats also maintained their large majorities in the State Legislature; gaining one seat in the Senate (now 36 -4) and losing at least 15 seats in the House once all races are finalized (likely 130 – 30).

 

In the Governor’s race, Governor Deval Patrick and his running mate, Lt. Governor Tim Murray were re-elected by a 7 point margin. Republican Charlie Baker emerged with 42% and Independent Tim Cahill received 8%. Green/Rainbow party candidate Jill Stein received less than 1.5% of the vote. Some are attributing Charlie Baker’s loss in part to his failure to get support from unenrolled voters and women, while others are pointing to the effectiveness of the Patrick/Murray GOTV operation in getting supporters to the polls. In the race to replace retiring state Auditor Joseph DeNucci, former Patrick Administration Secretary Suzanne Bump beat former CFO of the state lottery Mary Connaughton by the smallest margins of the night, 49% to 46%. Treasurer-elect Steve Grossman beat former state Representative Karyn Polito 55% to 45%. Both Attorney General Martha Coakley and Secretary of State Bill Galvin were re-elected by very comfortable margins (63% to 37% for AG and 65% to 33% for SoS).

 

In the state legislature, Democrats maintained a veto-proof majority in both the House and the Senate for the upcoming 2011-12 Legislative Session. However, there will be many new faces in both chambers as there were 8 open seats in the Senate and 27 open seats in the House.  In addition, at least 12 incumbent Democrats lost their seats in the House (with one further race pending a recount). In the Senate, the Democrats picked up all eight open seats to increase their majority by one seat, 36-4.  In the House, Republicans won four open seats formerly held by Democrats and increased their numbers in the House, though still a clear minority with 31 or 32 members of the 160 seat body.

 

After he was re-elected, the Governor on Thursday refreshed his call for the Legislature to reconvene before the end of the calendar year and pass the expanded gaming legislation that is still before them. Despite the politics surrounding the debate over expanding gaming earlier in the year, Governor Patrick this week said that a bill authorizing three destination resorts, that he and the Legislature agreed on, should be enacted and that any other differences could be saved for another day.

 

On Monday, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue released the tax collection figures for the month of October.  The state collected $209 million more than expected and now has collected $430 million more than benchmarked over the first four months of FY2011.  Governor Patrick stated that he is optimistic that this represents the beginning of a trend and Massachusetts’ tax revenues will continue to increase – showing signs of a true economic recovery here.

 

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors released statistics this week which showed a dramatic decrease in pending single family home and condo sales for the month of October. Purchase and sales agreements in October were down 22%. Massachusetts Association of Realtors President Kevin Sears predicted that based on the slight increase in pending home sales from September to October, prices for homes could continue to go down resulting in the number of home sales going up.

 

 

John Nunnari, Assoc AIA
BSA/AIA MA Public Policy Director
jnunnari@architects.org
617-951-1433 x263
617-951-0845 (fax)

Boston Society of Architects/AIA

Lyme disease study committee to meet state biologist in January

State wildlife biologist announced today she is too busy to meet with Lyme disease study committee until January, after hunting season ends

Green Street traffic, parking, and repair issues

From: Osler L. Peterson [mailto:osler.peterson@verizon.net]
Sent: Thursday, November 04, 2010 09:39
To: medchief@Medfield.net; Ken Feeney
Cc: Michael Sullivan; Kristine Trierweiler
Subject: Green Street query from Dan Bibel

Ken and Bob,

The query below came to me via FaceBook – you can reply via the contact info
below or FB.  BTW, at the Massachusetts Municipal Association meeting I
attended last night I learned that the town of Easton has a town FB account
to share town info and also sends out an informational email each week.

Can you let Dan know the real answers at which I have only tired to guess.
================================
Daniel Bibel
Massachusetts State Police
470 Worcester Road
Framingham, MA 01701
dbibel@comcast.net
Work   508-820-2111
Home  508-359-8148

===============================================
Dan Bibel November 4 at 9:12am Report
Hi Pete — what are the chances that one or all of these things might happen
on Green Street in the near term:
– real sidewalks
– painted lane lines
– parking ban
– posted speed limit

It is a very busy street, and I think unsafe for pedestrians
++++++++++++++++++++++
Dan,

I know that Green Street upgrades are constantly mentioned as being planned
and awaiting funding, via the state Chap. 90 monies.  I will forward your
query to the Chief and Ken Feeney and they can give you the details.  A
sidewalk to Hinkley Pond is part of that plan.

Speeding is a real problem and a dilemma.  Christian Donner has on-line
results from his radar gun on Green Street, and the numbers are not pretty.
Speed limits can legally only be set at the speed below which 80% of the
current drivers actually drive, and those speeds can be higher than we want.
That leaves one to use the thickly settled 35 MPH speed limit as the
alternative.

I do not know anything about the line painting or parking ban issues, and
will let the Chief address those.  I believe the Board of Selectmen could
ban parking, if it was desired.  When I lived in Newton, parking was
prohibited in front of my own house, and I know I did not always like that
result.

Pete
================================================

Thanks

Best,
Pete
Osler L. Peterson, Attorney at Law
PETERSON | Law
580 Washington Street, Newton, MA 02458 – 617.969.1500
66 North St, PO Box 358, Medfield, MA 02052 – 508.359.9190
T 617.969.1501
M 617.413.8977
F 617.663.6008
osler.peterson@verizon.net

http://mysite.verizon.net/osler.peterson/

Medfield Information: http://medfield02052.wordpress.com/ &
http

========================================

Dan and everyone else:

Yes, the Green Street project is on the boards but I will let Ken comment on
its status. As for my part I will have Off. O’Neil put the radar recording
device on one of the NSTAR poles in the area to collect data. We did a speed
and volume survey on Green Street by the Hinkley Swim Pond in August of 2009
because I wanted to see if there were issues there. I came up with an 85%
speed of 34 MPH with the overall average speed being 28 MPH.

I’ll place the recorder on a pole between Brook and North to see what I get
there.

As for the lines; I was hoping to paint crosswalks by Brook and Green,
however after some other crosswalk requests that were looked at by a traffic
engineer, I began to have second thoughts. One of the reasons I did
reconsider was because of the fact that the sidewalks are not well defined
and could I even paint a crosswalk there from a legal/liability point of
view. The other related issue is that I have spent the line painting budget
for the year. I have money to paint the lines once each year and I’ll have
no more money for painting until next July. I am going to ask the Warrant
Committee for an increase for the next fiscal year but that doesn’t help
now.

As for a parking ban, the Board of Selectmen can do that but as Pete
mentioned that includes everyone and can be the classic double edged sword.
It may actually become necessary depending upon how wide the road ends up
being when the reconstruction is done. As part of the reconstruction the
other issue that has been brought up by the neighborhood is a 3 way stop at
Brook and Green. This would clearly be another controversial issue but may
be appropriate.

Chief REM