Greg Roach's Berkshires Blog
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
A regular reader mentioned that no one had commented on the posts regarding the dust-up between the mayor and the unions. It's kinda' funny since those posts have driven near record traffic to this blog over the past two days.

I really don't get why people in this town are reluctant to have a public conversation about controversial topics. You either have to protest on street corners or keep your mouth shut.

That's not right.
You are correct, Greg - it isn't right. Even the most casual observations of the most obvious problems will result in a blacklisting that may take years to recover from. That isn't how we improve as a society, that is how we destroy ourselves.

I actually don't have a comment about the GIC - I don't know enough about it and haven't followed the story. I hope your readers will join the conversation though. Maybe there will be safety in numbers?
Why doesn't a union member bring a local reporter along and attempt to view the documents the Mayor says are open to view.

Either they will get kicked out of city hall and it will be documented or they will get the information they are after.

The unions seem to go to the media quickly enough after the fact, why not bring them along?
Amy - Unfortunately blacklisting and veiled threats against non-political citizens do seem to occur when someone upsets the powers that be. That absolutely has to stop.

CJ - It is my understanding, having been on both sides of the negotiating table over the years, that involving the press in the actual discussions is a violation of the NLRA. "Negotiating in the press" should only be a last resort. When the school committee showed up for fake negotiations over the extended day proposal after the union had already rejected the overture, the press and photographers were there simply for propaganda purposes, and they seemed to happily oblige.

But regarding unions "running to the press," I have to say that aside from the picket outside city hall, and a few sentences about the city council meeting where the unions asked the council to act during open commnents, I have not seen much local press coverage of this at all. iBerkshires had a decent piece, the rest have been slapdash he-said-she-said summaries of the debate.

But the complaints of intimidation against the mayor are actually newsworthy in and of themselves. I am rather surprised that the local press got embarrassingly scooped by the Globe.
We all know damn well what happens when anyone whose grandparents weren't born here has anything at all to say about the city.

You, me, Amy, and a number of your readers have been subjected to a hailstorm of name-calling and personal attacks just based on some fairly inocuous statements. In my case, the first taste of it for me was when I DARED to mention the Freight Yard Pub serves mediocre food and is too loud.

You think it's just one lone crank? I don't. I used to. But I've heard stories--firsthand--of what happens when you get on the wrong side of the powers that be (not just the administration, mind you; I've seen AND experienced similar static from other organizations).

But you have to WANT to be on that side. It has to be worth the hassle. And me personally--I'm currently deciding whether or not it is. There's still a lot that's great about North Adams, which is why we moved up here to start and raise a family, but the blowback one experiences for conflicting with the status quo requires the will to pick a fight and see it through. It's certainly way easier to just grouse about it privately, that's for sure.
Ross - I couldn't agree more. Some of this is typical of any small town, but some of it seems to be a real chip-on-the-shoulder-provincialism that is part of North Adams current civic climate.

My neighbors and friends have made North Adams one of the most welcoming places I've lived in over the years. On the other hand, there are many who openly resent the presence of any "newbie" who tries to contribute to the civic discourse with any view other than the party line. This is a stark departure from other places I've lived where the notion that new people and ideas are a resource was openly embraced. Often I find that anything new is sadly perceived as a threat.

This blog and the columns I wrote for The Transcript have garnered a wide variety of reactions from the North Adams establishment and others. Of course there are those "locals" who are open minded, civil, engaging, curious, etc... but many of them are stifled by the same forces that we "carpetbaggers" have to deal with.

I have the luxury of being able to express my opinions without repercussions. The worst I've experienced is a handful of nasty emails, not counting our cheerful friend Mr. Billings who used to make sport of these comment sections. I once caught the mayor's eye when writing about the school system and was summoned to his office, but the conversation was productive and civil. I don't know what he would say to me these days, if anything at all. I am quite sure he can't be pleased with my recent comments.

Personally, I think the odds are pretty good that I am going the spend the next several decades in North Adams. Both my wife and I are in great jobs that we enjoy. We love my neighborhood and the circle of friends we have made in the area. For this reason, I want to do everything I can to make North Adams a vibrant, welcoming and interesting place to live - a great place to raise a family and/or own a business - whether or not you were born at NARH or in Timbuktu. I honestly believe that the overwhelming majority of residents, old and new, agree with that sentiment.
My suggestion was not to involve the press in the negotiations, just have them document the process of gaining access to public documents.

I have already seen one letter to the editor by one of the unions, I'm not sure what the difference would be.
I won't lie. When we left NA two years ago, the civic climate certainly made the decision easier. (That, and the fact that I'd be spending a year teaching at one of the top schools on the planet.) And that's a shame, because the place was and is one of great possibility. It's a college town with a major museum in a stunningly beautiful part of the country - that's a recipe for success, if people will embrace it.

Post a Comment

<< Home
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.

May 2006 / June 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / October 2006 / November 2006 / December 2006 / January 2007 / February 2007 / March 2007 / April 2007 / May 2007 / June 2007 / July 2007 / August 2007 / September 2007 / October 2007 / November 2007 / December 2007 / January 2008 / February 2008 / March 2008 / April 2008 / May 2008 / June 2008 / July 2008 / August 2008 / September 2008 / October 2008 / November 2008 / December 2008 / January 2009 / February 2009 / March 2009 / April 2009 / May 2009 / June 2009 / July 2009 / August 2009 / September 2009 / October 2009 / November 2009 / December 2009 / January 2010 / February 2010 / March 2010 / April 2010 / May 2010 / January 2011 / May 2011 / June 2011 / July 2011 / October 2011 /

greg at gregoryroach dot com

"Livability, not just affordability." - Dick Alcombright

My ongoing campaign for North Adams City Council

iBerkshires' Online Event Calendar

Because a Chart is Worth 1000 Words

Congressional Budget Office data

Powered by Blogger