AllenN's blog

Should we rethink our school building project?

Hello, fellow Actonians! Are you all surviving the Coronavirus lockdown? I for one can't wait for this crisis to abate.

Our economy has suffered a great blow and we have yet to see fully how it will negatively affect us all, from the personal level to the town, state, and federal government, as well as the private sector and the stock market. There are many unknowns out there that were not present just five or six months ago.

Last year, our Town approved a new "Triplet School" to replace Douglas and Gates elementary, and to expand our kindergarten and pre-K offerings.

Feeling sorry

The last couple of weeks has been a great reminder of why I took an extended break from local town politics, and how much I now need another. I am "feeling sorry" but the question for my readers is who am I feeling sorry for?

Acton: Vote No on Ballot Question One (School Building)

Acton voters will be asked to approve three Proposition 2½ overrides this Tuesday, December 17, at the ballot box. Voters may cast their ballot between 7 am and 8 pm.

Berry Berry quite contrary

Joann Berry, our new Town Moderator, has already distinguished herself. She has shown that she has the raw power to silence her political opponents at Town Meeting. Nicely done! (cue the laugh track).

Ms. Berry and I have a bit of history going back around 15 years. In fact, she was just about the very first person I ever met with right before I started getting involved in local politics. As I recall, she was the head of the League of Women Voters (which has turned into an incredibly partisan organization, by the way).

Truth and consequences

There is a town election coming this Tuesday Dec. 17. Your vote will determine three Proposition 2 1/2 overrides for a total increase to the Average Single Family (ASF) property tax bill of between $570-$657 per year for 30 years. Polls open at 7 am and close at 8 pm.

Where is Joann Berry?

Acton Town Moderator Joann Berry has disappeared. If you see her, please have her call me. My home number is ......

I know Ms. Berry was in town last week, because I attended the Special Town Meeting. And I assume she will be in town tonight because we have a second Special Town Meeting, and she is the Town Moderator. But in between these two commitments, Berry could be vacationing on a remote island (without Internet service) or maybe she is doing a marathon yoga or meditation session and can't be disturbed.

The reason I want to speak with Ms.

A better school plan

Hello Acton!

It has been a long time since I’ve written an article for Acton Forum. I’ve been keeping busy with my new Boston Globe media criticism project (see www.PublicEditorMA.com) as well as engaging in some very fun hobbies as time allows. I have stepped back from working on local issues ever since the School Committee’s disastrous sacking of the former Superintendent.

Why I'm voting Yes to ban marijuana retail sales in Acton on Monday

I voted to approve legalization of marijuana in 2016, but I will be voting Yes at Monday’s Special Town Meeting to ban retail marijuana sales in Acton.

I’m not a marijuana user. The last time I tried it was in Amsterdam about 10 years ago, and it was not a pleasant experience. But I do believe in adults having as much freedom as possible, and since marijuana is not a dangerous drug (no more dangerous than alcohol, say) I was in favor of legalization.

That part of the debate is now over, settled.

Introducing Public Editor - MA

Dear Acton Forum readers:

For the past four months, I've been working on a new website dedicated to reforming newspaper journalism. My focus for now is the Boston Globe, New England's largest newspaper. My new website is called Public Editor - MA and it can be reached at PublicEditorMA.com

Journalism is such an important function in a free society, and we need journalists more than ever, especially as the economic model for hiring them has collapsed due to the Internet.

My next venture

Hi everyone. Hope you are all enjoying the start of summer and haven’t got tired yet of winning. I sure haven’t.

A couple of months ago, I announced that I would be stepping back from Acton Forum to pursue other ventures. My plans are slowly making progress and I wanted to give readers an update because some of you might be interested in my new project, and there is an opportunity to get involved if you are.

I have never been a real journalist. I have been a small newspaper publisher and an advertising salesman, and have dabbled in journalism a bit with the Acton Forum.

Calling all activists!

After helping to start Acton Forum and spending a lot of free time posting articles, writing blogs, and doing a little investigative reporting, it is time for me to retire and pass the torch to others who wish to continue.

I have asked Scott Smyers, a local activist and blogger on Acton Forum, to officially take over, and have reached out to a few other individuals who can help, with the thought that an editorial board can be formed to lead the website in the coming years.

What Trumps free trade

My favorite Wall Street Journal is a pretty good news source, but it isn't perfect. It exhibits the "foolish consistency" I warned of in a recent article on the issue of repealing the Second Amendment (See http://www.actonforum.com/blogs/allenn/foolish-inconsistency)

My favorite president, Donald Trump, has plenty of faults. But his attempt to do something about our perpetual trade deficit isn't one of them.

Andover held public forum for Town Manager candidates in 2015

In 2015, when the Town of Andover was choosing a new Town Manager, the Andover Selectmen sponsored a public forum for the two finalists, which consisted of questions from the public as well as opening and closing statements.

Just say no

This is my concluding article on the Town Manager search.

Participating in town government can be extremely frustrating, but the one thing that has kept me going is the belief in the democratic process. It is very tough for a Conservative like me to live in a town governed and populated by Liberals, where viewpoints and philosophies similar to mine are few and far between. Luckily, on most issues, I can live with doing what the majority wants.

Foolish inconsistency

"A Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Consistency in thought and debate is not just good, it is great. But consistency that does not allow for exceptions is foolish, because sometimes exceptions must be made. So an exception cannot be routine or accepted without resistance, otherwise you would lose your consistency.

Let's say you believe in individual liberty and freedom, and this is one of your highest ideals. That is one philosophy, mostly believed and practiced by Conservatives.

$8,058 worth of virtue signaling

I will be speaking Monday night at Annual Town Meeting to defend the free speech rights of voters, and to stop Town Moderator Peter Ashton, backed up by some town leaders, from preventing the use of names during Town Meeting. Strange, but true. Hope to see you all there.

So I've been reviewing some of the resources available, including the Town Warrant online. And I found something a bit disturbing. Well, $8,058 worth of disturbing. Because that is how much the town spent to provide "limited translations" of the Town Warrant into Spanish, Portuguese, and "simplified" Chinese.

Acton should give up the fight to spend public funds on churches

(I am one of 13 Acton taxpayers, represented by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, objecting to CPA grants to an Acton church to preserve its stained glass windows and pay for a Master Plan for renovating its church and other properties. The taxpayers filed suit to prevent the CPA awards and won a significant preliminary victory at the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC).

NYT Report: Special prosecutor mulls charge of attempted homicide against Trump

The transcript of a secret meeting between former FBI Director James Comey and President Trump has just been released, according to the New York Times, which may lead to attempted homicide charges against the President. The Times obtained a transcript of the meeting from an anonymous source, the authenticity of which was confirmed by a second independent source. Both sources were former government employees for decades and are "above reproach," according to a Times investigative journalist story and accompanying editorial.

Acton's municipal 2017 salary list

Acton released the 2017 W-2 Town Salary list and it is available here: http://www.actonforum.com/sites/default/files/Acton_Municipal_W2_2017.xls.

The list shows 44 employees earning more than $100,000 per year. Top earner was Town Manager Steve Ledoux at $194k. This is about a $6,000 reduction from last year, which had two employees earning over $200,000 and 39 over $100,000.

The AB Regional School payroll list should be available shortly.

Is Chinese trade really free?

Trump's decision to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum was done to protect the national interest, in ensuring that America retained the core ability to manufacture high-quality raw materials used in defense and commerce. It's too bad that so many of our manufacturing sectors have been destroyed by "free trade" such that the industrial middle of the country has been hollowed out with ghost towns remaining.

Update on our citizens petition and a civics lesson for Peter Ashton

Thanks to all who contacted me about signing our Citizens Petition for a Town Meeting warrant article to protect our free speech rights under the First Amendment. Scott and I were able to quickly collect our 20 signatures at Roche Bros. and we turned them in and had them certified before 1 pm.

Our Chinese puzzle

Today's WSJ reports that Apple, one of our largest and most successful technology companies, is going to store their "keys" to the massive databases that contain all the data on Chinese citizens, in China. The article warned that this could make it vulnerable to seizure by the Chinese government. Apple was quoted as saying that they would only comply with lawful requests from the government for information on its citizens.

At what point do American values stop applying in foreign countries?

Senator Ed Markey, idiot

I am very concerned about North Korea, their missile program, their intentions, and what the U.S. may be forced to do rather than face a nuclear attack by this rogue regime. Recent partisan comments by Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) on this topic show what a =€$^*%# idiot this guy is.

Let me start by explaining to Senator Markey why allowing North Korea to develop and retain missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads to the U.S. is a bad idea.

The U.S. has attempted to follow and enforce a policy of nuclear non-proliferation.

Time to go, Krishnamurthy and Brolin

The Chair of the Acton-Boxborough Regional School Committee, Amy Krishnamurthy, and the former Chair, Mary Brolin, have failed to resign despite being publicly humiliated by the knowledge of their involvement in the effective firing of Dr. Glenn Brand last year, and then covering up their role by lying to the public when asked to explain Brand's sudden and unexpected departure. Brand was paid for the entire school year for not working, wasting over $200,000 in taxpayer funds.

The fact that Dr.

The right to bear arms

In the light of so many tragedies with guns, some people argue we should severely restrict or even ban guns. This article is in defense of the Second Amendment.

My belief is my own. It is not based on others’ arguments or what the major political parties may believe or argue. I believe my argument is based on what the founding fathers intended with the Bill of Rights and is not a “partisan” defense.

Before I discuss and defend the Second Amendment, let me start with the First.

I am a strong supporter of the First Amendment.