Sunday, October 12, 2008
I am Back
Hello everyone. As regular readers have probably guessed by now, I have been on an extended vacation for the last couple of week. As a practical matter, I do not make public announcements of when my home will be vacant for extended periods of time. For the curious, my wife and I toured the Northeast to watch leaves change color. We also spent some time in Boston. It is a magnificent city. While in Boston I learned to use their transportation system. For instance, we took a day trip to Salem, Massachusetts (where the infamous witch trials were held). It is about a 50 mile trip through heavily populated areas near the seacoast. To get there, we walked one block from our hotel, took the subway (with one change in trains), to the commuter rail station, and then rode the train to Salem. Incidentally, Boston does not have light rail. But what they do have is extremely efficient, economical and a pleasant way to move about their city. The round trip cost us $8.00 in subway fares and $10.50 for the commuter rail. That is a combined total of $18.50. Sure beats taking a cab or renting a car. Back to Business . . . Before I left for vacation I had not received any reports from the Finance Committee about the budget they were working on. I have had discussions with our City Administrator of the need for getting back on track with regards to our street maintenance, increasing the number of streetlights, and my thoughts on how the city should best manage its assets. From what I have read on this blog, the Finance Committee has recommended that police personnel be given free memberships to a health club. I am also very curious as to how much has been set aside for street improvements. It has been two years since the city did any serious street overlay. We have a lot of catching up to do. I am sending the City Administrator an email to find out the particulars on these and other issues and will share them with you as soon as he replies. Of course, I will jump in with my thoughts on those and other budgetary items at that time. On a more personal note . . . A writer who identifies himself as “Jack” has written that I am the cause of the city’s budgetary woes. This is precious. I have requested of both the present and Mayor and his predecessor to place me on the Finance Committee. Neither of them did so. In fact, former Mayor Sue Frank, switched both myself and former City Councilwoman Sandy Hartwell against our wishes (Hartwell to Finance, Walters to Municipal). As anyone reading this blog can tell you, I am not part of the majority holding the reins of power at city hall. Though I have had some success in areas, such as recycling, reversing the city’s policy on new street lights, neighborhood zoning, etc. Jack, I don’t know who you are, but I doubt you would vote for me if I were the only name on the ballot. If you want to point fingers at who is to blame for the mess at city hall I suggest you start with your friends on the city council. They have had their way for many years – do not even think about saddling me with their record. I agree with regular contributors like Pat Casady and “Doc” Summers. You should crawl out from under that rock where you are hiding. Make your statement. Sign your name. If it has some substance it will cast a shadow. If it does not, the light of day will make it disappear. To my regular readers, check this page by Wednesday evening. I should have answers to your budgetary questions at that time. In closing I believe that vacations were created to make you appreciate your home. It is good to be back!