First Blog

Welcome to the Acton Forum! I am happy to introduce our new "Blog" feature.
This will allow residents who have something to say to write about it and
get it posted on our website. We hope a lot of you will decide to contribute
and many others will read the postings.

Acton Forum is dedicated to local politics, but the blogs can be on any
topic of interest to Acton residents. Individuals with political opinions
are of course welcomed to participate, but I hope that we will also get
blogs from local people with a variety of interests who want to share them
with the community and beyond.

I have written many articles on local politics, generally centered around
the theme of trying to control spending and avoiding future Proposition 2
1/2 overrides. My concerns generally come from a "fiscally conservative"
background which has often been in favor around the country but rarely in
Massachusetts. These days have been particularly bleak with the beatings the
Republican Party has suffered over the last few years, culminating in a
veto-proof majority of both houses of Congress and a Democratic President.

But politics often runs in cycles, and when given the chance to govern, our
leaders make mistakes. This enables the pendulum to swing back and I hope we
see that happening on a national level over the next few years.

In the state, the pendulum has swung so far to the left that it might be off
its moorings. With every new week comes a new revelation from the Boston
Globe of some other outrageous action by our politicians at the statewide
level. To borrow a well-known phrase, "you can't make this stuff up."

Just last week, Daniel Grabauskas was forced to resign as the head of the
MBTA. This week, he revealed that the Patrick Administration's Secretary of
Transportation, James Aloisi, Jr., was trying to pin the blame on a proposed
fare hike on the MBTA when it was, in fact, the Governor's office that was
pushing for the increase.

It seems perhaps that the Governor was trying to engineer himself as someone
who "stopped the MBTA increase" so he could claim to be saving money or
something. That's the best spin I can put on this sorry tale on the
Governor's behalf. The other way to look at this is that he and his staff
are simply not truthful.

If Jim Aloisi, the Secretary of Transportation, hid this stuff behind the
Governor's back, then he should be fired immediately. But Gov. Patrick still
deserves to have the buck stop on his desk for this fiasco. Aloisi admitted
last year that when he was general counsel to the MBTA in a previous
administration, he lied to the public because that was his job. That alone
should have disqualified him for this latest assignment. There were other
signs of problems with this particular pick. Patrick appointed him
nonetheless. This is now Patrick's mess.

Our elected representatives and senators are faring no better. They voted
overwhelmingly to re-elect Sal DiMasi as Speaker just a few weeks before he
resigned which was shortly before he was indicted. Everyone knew he was a
bad apple yet few had the courage to oppose his re-election.

This is, of course, small potatoes compared to what these legislators are
voting in. Exhibit A is the increase in the state sales tax. New Hampshire
owes a debt of gratitude to our state legislators that they can perhaps
repay by making generous, under-the-table contributions to their re-election
campaigns. And don't forget the people who come to Mass. from other states
like CT, RI, and NY, who are being told (economically) that their visits are
not welcomed anymore.

But that will be a topic for another day. Until then, enjoy the rest of
summer and the return of warm weather!