Greg Roach's Berkshires Blog
Monday, October 30, 2006
  Yes, I really was a choirboy
Sunday, October 29, 2006
  How Long is the Drive from New Haven?
I learned something remarkable today. The permanent Sol LeWitt galleries slated for Mass MoCA are already attracting a fair chunk of change from those who already fund the multi-billion dollar Yale Endowment.
The project is budgeted at $9 million. Yale and Mass MoCA have jointly raised $6.3 million, with the expectation that the remaining money will be in hand in time for the start of construction, scheduled for February. Installation of the drawings is expected in fall 2007, with the opening of the building a year later.
A good friend, who knows about such things pointed out to me that the folks who are funding this installation are also becoming enthusiatic about MoCA in, and of, itself. It's not a secret that MoCA is building an endowment to keep itself afloat for the long haul, but what is remarkable is just how well things are going.

On a related note, MCLA has recently made a huge push to raise perceptions and expectations about their future. The promised science building as well as a few of the mended political fences bode well for the next era of the city's bastion of higher education.

In a perfect-case scenario, both MoCA and MCLA will strengthen and become the driving economic engines and developmental forces within the city. It will be a pleasant change when businesses no longer have to be lured here, but rather come knocking on their own to take advantage of the many very cool things going on.

I'd bet a case of beer (or diet soda) that this "tipping point" occurs within 5 to 10 years.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
  Weird little place
Working in Williamstown is an odd experience. In what other small town could my wife have a conversation with the former governor and I run into Tom Friedman of the New York Times in the same day? Strange.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
  Doctrine of Preemption
Does it bother anyone else that Councilor Bloom's little preemptive speech before last night's open forum session - 1) equated those who wish to speak for 2 minutes to council with those who wish to annihilate Israel via the ol' slippery slope rhetorical trick? 2) basically told the residents of North Adams that the council of MA's smallest city is far too serious and busy to hear anything except munincipal issues?

For pete's sake. The council should at least lend an ear for 2 freakin' minutes when a resident takes the time to show up to their meetings.

If there is nothing for the council to act upon, what the heck is the harm? And the council might actually learn something new from someone... God forbid.

Having sat in the gallery of a few average council meetings, there are rarely more than a handful of folks there, and very rarely does any visitor have anything to say.

If this is about decorum, I can only suggest that the councilors get over themselves. Aside from Chris Tremblay's efforts to shake up the traffic commission, what the hell else have they done recently other than vote on pre-ordained proposals and budgets? Help me out here. Has a councilor other than Tremblay introduced one interesting idea in the year 2006? Seriously.
Monday, October 23, 2006
  The Archives Have Vanished
Thanks to my site host, my archives appear to have gone poof. I have no idea if I will ever get back three months of posts, or not. Figures.

Sunday, October 22, 2006
  Cojones? What Cojones?
I have found myself slightly torn over Peter May’s and Eric Buddington’s proposed City Council resolution calling on our Congressional delegation to impeach and remove President Bush from office. May and Buddington have a point – the President has admittedly broken the law regarding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act with impunity and continues to do so. One might think that Congress would have the courage to live up to their Constitutional duty to check and balance the executive branch. But no. The GOP congress is cowardly. And for that matter, so are the city councilors who have wavered about introducing May and Buddington’s resolution.

I do not agree with the wording of the resolution, nor do I find that it achieves anything more than tilting at windmills. However, it is a sincere attempt by residents of North Adams to access the levers of government from the ground up. Those councilors who say it is not the purview of a City Council to vote on such matters should simply abstain or vote against the resolution. But these citizens deserve to be heard by their elected officials. Sadly, that will not be the case.

So why have all the councilors shied away from introducing the resolution? Easy. They don’t want to make waves. The city and the mayor in particular hate bad publicity and anything that gums up the “friendly” nature of the current council. The mayor has gone out of his way to mention that when compared to councils of old, the current council sees things through the same prism as he does. Chris Tremblay actually was elected to the council last year because he challenged the sitting councilors as “bobble heads” who simply rubberstamp the mayor’s policies. Strangely Chris has not found much to argue about for the past year and seems quite chummy with those whom he used to oppose.


I guess that we can expect more of the same for the predictable future.

Billings will continue to be the blowhard pseudo intellectual dean of the council who likes to pretend that he is rough and rugged when in actuality he just lobs gratuitous and vile insults. Gail Ann Cariddi will remain a pleasant and affable president who smiles for the cameras. Tremblay will complain about traffic (actually the only real issue that he has done anything about). Alcombright will stick his fingers to the wind to figure how forcefully he should speak out. The others will remain virtually silent.

And North Adams government will do what it does best- maintain. (It does that fairly well) But it will not do anything dynamic or controversial. God forbid…..
A blog of random thoughts and reactions emanating from the bank of a mountain stream in the farthest reaches of the bluest of blue states.

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greg at gregoryroach dot com

"Livability, not just affordability." - Dick Alcombright

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