A Fighting Chance against the MBTA's Station Plan

Actonians are fighters. In the spring of 1775, they rose up in opposition against British rule and, along with hundreds of citizens from surrounding towns, fought back formidable enemy.

The stakes surrounding the South Acton Train Station redesign are not nearly so high, but I'm struck, as the tiniest hints of spring poke out of the ground in 2010, with the similarity of the fight – the tenacity of those who simply will not accept that the MBTA has the final say in a matter that impacts our every day lives.

Revenue versus Overhead

When President Obama says that his economic stimulus package is creating jobs, that is true. Several million jobs were created or saved by that spending.

When Senator Brown says that no jobs were created, he is also speaking a truth. If you create or save 2 million jobs here, but you lose 3 million jobs there, then your net is a loss of 1 million jobs.

But both politicians miss the point. It is very important what type of jobs you create (or save). We need to grow jobs that provide income, not expense. Let me explain.

Tim for Trouble

I am a believer in the two-party system of government. This belief was formed during a long-ago political science class which proposed the premise that in order to be legitimate, elected officials had to receive over 50% of the vote. This bedrock principle could be violated when you have a viable third-party candidate and the system allows someone to win when they have a plurality but not a majority. Electing candidates without majority support is fraught with danger for democracy.

South Acton Station – A NIMBY Issue or Not?

I have become an overnight activist. It was never my intent, but the changes proposed at the South Acton train station don't allow me to sit quietly on the sidelines. I send emails; I organize; I blog; I collect petition signatures; I talk with everyone who will listen. And as I speak with residents and commuters from surrounding towns, I am struck by the misconceptions that exist about the South Acton Train Station Design controversy, one of them being that this is being brought on a bunch of neighbors crying, "Not in my backyard!"

Gov. Patrick announces new Auto Buying Initiative

April 1, 2010

(BOSTON) - Gov. Deval Patrick, citing the rising cost of automobile ownership in the Bay State, has announced a new program to allow "every working family access to a brand new vehicle at a reasonable cost."

Citing his recent decision last February 11 to cap rising health insurance premiums for small business, Patrick said this is the next logical step. "Getting to work is a right that every working family has. And we need to get our citizens back to work. If having a new car is necessary to achieve that goal, then I'm all for it."

What are you doing here?

People have asked me: what's a nice liberal environmentalist like you doing in a place like the Acton Forum?

I respond that I am happy to be called an environmentalist, but I have no idea if I am a liberal or not.

Can we reduce Acton's labor costs?

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has entered into a Faustian bargain with the public-sector employee unions, and that decision is going to cost taxpayers in Acton (and around the Commonwealth) a bundle.

State law gives public employees the right to negotiate their own union contracts so long as they agree not to strike. (Introduction to the law is here: http://www.mass.gov/lrc/publications/gb-introduction.pdf. The full explanation is here: http://www.mass.gov/lrc/publications/gb-all.pdf)

South Acton Station Redesign -- Site Walk with the MBTA -- January 30, 1 PM

On Saturday, January 30 at 1:00 PM, the South Acton Train Station Advisory Committee (SATSAC) and Senator Jamie Eldridge will host an onsite visit at the South Acton train station with representatives of the MBTA, Acton residents and commuters to discuss, in context, the public's concerns with the MBTA's proposed station reconstruction.

Some readers will recall that Special Town Meeting this past June passed an article supporting the SATSAC's efforts to influence the MBTA's design for a station that, once their trucks and bulldozers have gone, we will live with for years to come.


When Bob Quinn was GM of the Cincinnati Reds they won the World Series with Norm Charlton, Rob Dibble and Randy Myers in the bullpen. When I asked Bob how he did it he told me that his father who used to be GM of the Braves always told him "Son it is a game of defense; and the first line of defense is on the mound." What Bob's Dad didn't tell him was how to quantify the defense which today is done masterfully and neatly with numbers.

January 19th -- this time, your vote will really count

“Your vote counts” is such an overused political cliché that it has become a meaningless sound bite which our brains have long ago learned to ignore.

If we did stop and think about it, those of us living and voting in Massachusetts could realistically conclude that for state and federal elections, our vote did not really count, that the results were preordained by the self-perpetuating stranglehold that one party and one family dynasty have had on the politics of this Commonwealth.