I have to admit this town surprised me tonight. I thought Rustcraft was a shoe in to be voted in and I figured the town would follow suit with the all of the charter commission recommendations.
To start in my opinion the Board of Selectman oversold the proposal and kept highlighting the additional space for development down the road. This was just and easy target for detractors and it killed the project by the time the vote came. I'm sad the proposal didn't pass. Carmen worked very hard on this and I believed in the proposal. I recommended to the board a civic center for that space or to use the Senior Center space if the seniors didn't want it. That revenue stream would have been a no brainer and at least would have given citizens an additional valid reason to support the proposal. All I can do is throw ideas out there. If people don't want to use them then oh well.
The Library Trustees and Park and Recreations made compelling and valid arguments as to why their director should still report to the board and both entities will continue to do so.
It's good to see that democracy is still here and some of our elected officials will still carry weight in the departments they oversee. For the most part a good night for Dedham.
(This is a valid concern, but one I think the Selectmen and Town Administrator have done a pretty good job of addressing. - promoted by Brian)
The defenders of the purchase of the Rustcraft property claim that this will not increase taxes. Yet a closer inspection reveals the truth. Right now money from the hotel and meals tax goes partially to fund the OPERATING BUDGET. This money will be diverted to fund the Rustcraft property entirely by 2016. That means less money for the operating budget. Less money for schools, police,fire, DPW and library. So the good people of Dedham will have less services or be forced to raise taxes to maintain the same level of service. It's your choice Dedhamites - cuts or tax increases if this purchase goes through. #JustSayin'
I have been struggling to understand the objections some are raising at the prospect of locating a senior center at the proposed Rustcraft Road municipal mega-plex. I think that for this vocal minority, and I do believe it's a minority of seniors, what it ultimately comes down to is that they have their hearts so set on the Endicott Estate that they are simply unwilling to consider anything else.
It's not that their concerns aren't all reasonable. Some are objecting to having it located in the same building as the Police Station. If we were living in Roxbury then I might give this a little more credence, but I can't imagine a safer place in town for seniors to congregate.
Others are saying that this is too far on the outskirts of town. These are also the same people, curiously, who were pushing for us to build a senior center at the Dexter School not so long ago. Dexter is a beautiful location, but if you were to sneeze there it would be people from Westwood who said 'God Bless You.' At the Mini Town Meeting Russ Poole got up and his biggest complaint seemed to be that there wouldn't be enough natural light, even if it is twice the size of what was proposed for the Endicott Estate barn.
I don't mean to trivialize all of their concerns because, as I said, some are legitimate. However, if the Council on Aging doesn't want the space, if they are willing to make do with their woefully inadequate rented room at Traditions, if they want to hold out for another 30 years in hopes that something better might come along, then fine, let them. But let's not lose out on the tremendous opportunity that the Rustcraft building presents us just because of that.
(I'm told that as the construction season nears the end, we should expect to see a burst of road work in the next few weeks. Are there any streets in your neighborhood that need work? - promoted by Brian)
Several local streets have had recent work by the DPW. Three cross hatched strips in the asphalt have cropped up over the past 2-3 weeks. Sections of asphalt approximately 12 - 14 inches wide have been grooved into both sides of the roadway along with a third strip down the center. On Sprague Street, a cut from one side of the road to the other marks the beginning / end of the work.
Wonder if anyone has heard anything about the project. The grooved strips meander left and right as they go up and down the streets. Apparently, exact placement is not an issue. In some cases, there are unmarked areas at the ends of driveways. I wonder if the strength of the asphalt and useful life of the road surface has been compromised.
(The Selectmen are meeting on Thursday. Town Meeting isn't until November. I have a couple other clarifications in the comments. - promoted by Brian)
I will attend my first town meeting this week and I will ask to be heard. Quite frankly we are looking at a charter change that will eliminate committees that include the Park and Rec commission. I am making this very clear right here and when I'm there I will be focusing on Sarah MacDonald and Paul Reynolds. The reason for this is its an election year. If they vote this through I will be officially announcing my candidacy for selectman and I will run for the sole purpose of defending these folks and undoing what I think will be done Thursday. There are folks that like me and there are folks that don't, but I do have common sense and this does not make any sense. We are giving way to much power to a person the town employs. Our Town Administrator/Manager whatever the hell we're calling him these days does a good job despite some of my objections but this simply gives him too much power. I completely disagree with this and I will be there to side with these committees in this fight. Town of Dedham, let your voice be heard. Make sure you are there 9/5/13.
(I am a member of the Charter Advisory Committee and voted in favor of the limits. - promoted by Brian)
I had not been paying much attention to the Charter Advisory Committee and had not attended any of the public meetings. So forgive me for complaining at such a late hour. But in any case, I noticed a Transcript article today that the Committee is recommending term limits for many elected position in Town government. I think that is a mistake.
(Some interesting thoughts and some good points for discussion. - promoted by Brian)
The 2013-14 school year is just days away. Couple of thoughts on education in Dedham:
1. Our next superintendent should have a PhD. We should not hire a person who plans to complete a doctorate after taking office.
2. The School Committee should rate the superintendent on a "pass / fail" or "successful / unsuccessful" basis. Lets get away from the current "grade point" computation.
3. Efforts should be made to enroll at least 50% of DHS students in sports teams. Extra-curricular activities are good for the individual and for the student community.
4. The pre-school program belongs in the four elementary schools. Instead of a single building for the youngest students, place pre-schoolers in their local elementary schools. There should be a public discussion on the goals and size of any pre-school program. Should it be "babysitting"? What age groups should be enrolled? What are the costs and benefits of pre-school education? In a time of declining public school enrollments, is there room for pre-schoolers in the elementary schools?
Good luck to Dedham's students. Best wishes for a successful, challenging and rewarding experience.
I understand that parking meters are about to be installed in Dedham Square. Could a different approach to parking management be better for the Town?
Revenues from parking meters net of the expenses of installation, maintenance, servicing, repairs and the rest may not provide the best cash flow for the Town. Meters may not provide the desired vehicular turnover rate either.
Instead of meters, perhaps signs limiting parking to one hour Monday to Friday should be installed. Parking tickets for vehicles that overstay the posted limit might generate a larger revenue stream and cut enforcement costs.
The Langer Broadcasting Group, owners of WMSX AM Radio 1410, has filed an FCC petition to change the station's community of license from Brockton to Dedham. If approved, the operation would run 610 watts daytime and 250 watts at night. For comparison, WILD in Boston (AM 1090) runs 4,800 watts days and 1,900 watts nights (per FCC website).
Langer has owned the station for about a year after acquiring it from the Kingdom Church. The Dedham Transcript (Thursday June 27) printed a Legal Notice outlining the proposed actions.
While run by Kingdom, WMSX reportedly aired religious themed music. Programming on June 27 was aimed at sports fans. An apparent minor league baseball game was part of the broadcast.
According to the FCC AM radio webpage, WMSX is currently authorized to run 1,000 watts daytime and 156 watts nighttime. The proposed power changes may be connected to the planned use of a new 23.8 meter broadcast antenna to be located at 60 Sprague Street in Hyde Park (just north of Sprague Pond). The station's footprint should cover most of Boston and a number of communities to the south and southwest of the City.
It will be interesting to see the business plan for the new facility- including: studio location, program content, broadcast language, employment opportunities and other details.
(May he have a long and successful tenure. - promoted by Brian)
The latest Dedham Transcript headlined: "Milton AD gets job in Dedham". I hope that he enjoys a long and productive tenure.
However, my memory is that there have been four ADs at the High School since 2000. If true, that seems to be a high turnover rate. I wonder if the School Committee should formally consider the administrative state of DHS athletics. Perhaps there are problems that are not immediately apparent or situations are not properly managed.
A Committee report might help the new AD improve the state of DHS athletics, to the benefit of DHS athletes.
(There's a lot of possibilities here. I hope all the details are able to be worked out in time for Town Meeting in the fall. - promoted by Brian)
Just starting the conversation.
* Finally, we have a workable place to put a senior center, in a modern building with plenty of parking and handicapped accessibility. Glory Halleluiah.
* Solves real estate issues of where to put the the much-needed police station and eventually-needed town hall in a reasonably frugal way.
* Possible rental income from old Town Hall building.
* Pushes town employee food & shopping away from Dedham Square.
* Less central location than Dedham Square.
* Increased danger for pedestrians coming from the Dedham Corp train stop.
* Some neighbors have indicated lack of desire to be next to the police station. Would probably be true of any proposed location.
There has been plenty of news lately about the incredibly invasive secret surveillance efforts the federal government has been undertaking for the last decade, and rightfully so. That the government knows who you are calling, and when and from where you are calling them, is bad enough. That they are snooping into our emails, Facebook, Skype, etc., is even worse. "They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type," one national intelligence official told the Washington Post.
As disheartened as I am by these revelations, I can't say I am terribly surprised. What shocked me even more to know is that the Dedham Police Department is conducting their own form of surveillance on you, me, and plenty of other people who have broken no laws and have done nothing wrong. The police are keeping records of the date, time, and location of your travels throughout town, and holding onto them indefinitely without a warrant.