Network access in the basement of the Morse Institute Library in Natick was very spotty, so the "live-blogging" took place offline, and was posted afterwards.
Apologies to anybody whose names I missed / mangled.
7:15 Lt Gov Murray has arrived, and the moderator Tim Dooley is introducing the forum and guidelines. Quick run-down of recent events, including transportation commission report, mileage tax, gas tax increase.
7:20 Murray thanks Natick Democrats, talks briefly about experience in government in last 10 years.
7:22 Biggest surprise in last nine months on the job? Amount of deferred maintenance and work -- $15-19B. We need to come up with creative solutions to address this shortfall. Must avoid not just Minnesota-style bridge collapses, but everyday traffic slowdowns, potholes and stresses on infrostructure. Chapter 90 money restored but not back to pre-2002 levels.
The second article, in particular, is enlightening, listing a number of clearly ridiculous results of various laws around the country. For example, in Oklahoma, a woman who flashed an undercover detective got registered as a sex criminal and now has to live in a homeless shelter because she is not allowed to live within 2000 feet of a school, daycare center, park or playground. She did not want to live in one of the handful of motels outside those ranges because those motels are full of sex criminals. So now she and her daughter are in a homeless shelter.
The live-blogging didn't quite go as planned, due to a complete absence of a wireless network in the auditorium. Nonetheless, I still "live blogged" to a text document, and here's the blow-by-blow. K is John Kerry, and Q1 through Q14 are different questioners from the audience.
At the Walnut Hill School in Natick, at 12 Highland St.
Doors open at 3:30; the event starts promptly at 4, and should run til about 5:30
Congratulations are in order to Metroleft founder Dan Sohl and his wife Kate on the birth of their son, Macarthur Glenn, on Monday 5/21.
Born: 12:27PM, Monday 5/21
Weight: 6 lbs 9.4 oz
All the best to the newest progressive and his parents!
The MetroWest Daily News leads off on their front page today with a story on the age old question of paper or plastic? Unsurprisingly, feelings are mixed.
Plastic is far cheaper, which is why often the store will start bagging with plastic unless you tell them otherwise. I'm hardly even asked anymore; I have to stop the cashier and say, "Paper, please."
Paper, on the other hand, is bio-degradable. Plastic takes centuries to break down, but paper is gone much more quickly. Both are recyclable, of course, but not every bag makes it to the recycling bin, so the long-term effects should be considered.
Why do I go for paper?
In the waning days of the Romney administration, it was suggested -- as a campaign stunt for Healey, no doubt -- that Pike tollbooths be eliminated. And yet, the idea is not without merit for those of us in MetroWest.
The original plan behind the Mass Pike was for it to pay for itself. Construction of the Pike was funded by the sale of bonds, and the tolls were intended to repay and buy back those bonds. This happened a long time ago for the portion of the Pike west of 128. The section inside of 128 is newer, and compounded by the fact that the Turnpike Authority is responsible for the Big Dig, so the situation there is muddied.
Ignoring the eastern part of the Pike, a look at the rest of the Pike reveals a road that collects $114 million in revenue each year, and spends $8 million on policing it, $43 million on collecting the tolls, and $63 million actually maintaining the road. Yes, more than one third of the money collected goes towards that same collection effort.
All the other highways in the state under the aegis of MassHighway have their maintenance paid for by the state gas tax, currently 21 cents/gallon. Folks who drive on the Pike get hit with a double whammy -- the gas they use on the pike is taxed, and their drive also gets hit with the tolls.
We'll be deciding who will represent Natick at the Issues Convention in Amherst in May.
Note: Attendees must be in line to sign in by 1PM or they will not be allowed in.
Tonight marked the first meeting of 2007 for the Natick Democratic Town Committee, and it was quite active. I humbly think we are off to a great start.
The purpose of the meeting was three-fold: 1) To elect new officers, as is usually done in the first meeting of a calendar year. 2) To welcome new members, particularly folks who were involved in the Patrick/Murray campaign but had never been to a DTC meeting. 3) To discuss plans for the upcoming year.
Everybody pays attention to national issues. That's a given in this day and age, especially with the prevalence of national mass-market media. A number of blogs, like DailyKos are devoted to discussion of national issues.
Likewise, there are blogs on state-level issues, like Blue Mass Group, and local media gives plenty of coverage to those matters.
But on a much more local level... hardly anything. Some media, like the MetroWest Daily News or your local cable access channel, but hardly any discussion sites where you can talk to your neighbors from across the region on issues that matter to MetroWest.
Until now, of course.
So welcome to MetroLeft! We'd like to hear your take on local issues, or state and national issues as they pertain to and affect the MetroWest region! If it matters to you, even if it only matters to one town, this is the place to discuss it. Town affairs do affect neighboring towns, and we can all learn from other towns' experiences.
Welcome, and enjoy!