AllenN's blog

Bernie, can you spare a dime?

Fiscal Conservatism 604

Democratic Socialist (is that now a redundant phrase?) Bernie Sanders has come out with his proposal to spend $18 trillion over the next 10 years, which should surprise no one, except perhaps that it probably underestimates what he really wants to do. $18 trillion may be his attempt at being conservative, who knows. (For link, see http://www.wsj.com/articles/price-tag-of-bernie-sanders-proposals-18-tri...)

We hit fundraising goal in 24 hours!

Acton Forum ran a “crowd-funding” campaign to pay for the latest batch of documents from the School related to the departure of a top school administrator who continued to be paid for 10 months while apparently not working. Since the School would answer none of our reasonable questions, we had to request documents to figure out what was happening.

We need your help to pry the School open

Acton Forum has been doing a lengthy series on the departure of a long-time school employee and top administrator who left the School system last September but continued to be paid for the remainder of the school year, with potentially excessive payments of at least $100,000. We have tried to find out how and why this happened but have been stonewalled.

For a recent summary of where we are, see the last article on this topic: The Huber-O'Connell mystery, http://www.actonforum.com/story/huber-oconnell-mystery. We have more information coming soon.

Senior Center Study Committee implodes

I attended my first meeting of the Senior Center Study Committee (SCSC) this morning at the library, and witnessed a virtual implosion of the group.

I am following this issue because I spoke against the 2012 proposal at annual Town Meeting and was interested in following the new effort to see if the needs of seniors have changed enough to justify the expense of a new facility.

Odds of alien life

I am so excited that there will be a new Star Wars movie out in a few months. I saw a trailer recently with an aged Harrison Ford reprising his role as Hans Solo. It should be fun, probably campy, with lots of light-saber and spaceship action. I can't wait.

Hillary Clinton ticks me off

I'm getting very tired of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.

Instead of acting like a candidate, she acts like a Queen who decides what questions to answer and how to answer them.

While having experience is a necessary prerequisite to running for president, being a First Lady and then using that "experience" to get a Senate seat and an appointment as Secretary of State is a nepotistic way to get ahead, and that should not be rewarded either.

Propoganda from the leadership

Let's pretend for a moment. Let's say the Selectmen (BOS) showed up on a Monday night for a hearing. Each of the five members had never been to a meeting before, or maybe had just watched a couple on TV. They were random Acton citizens picked out of the phone book (perhaps a virtual phone book.)

Minimum wage hikes will be counter-productive

Fiscal conservatism 603

Wouldn't it be nice if we could just suspend the laws of economics and reality and just declare everyone a millionaire?

Isn't it sad that so many people are burdened with having to pay bills? And what is even worse is that some people who work hard but are subject to the previous choices they have made make less money than others. That is just unfair, but we can fix that with a wave of our magic wand.

Selectmen defend Makaha harassment

The Makaha Chinese restaurant has had another hearing before Acton's Board of Selectmen (BOS) on July 20, 2015, with the threat of a license revocation hanging over their heads, but the BOS decided that no violation had occurred on a 4-0 vote. You can read about the underlying incident that happened on April 19, 2015, in an article called "Government abuse alive and well in Acton:" http://www.actonforum.com/blogs/allenn/government-abuse-alive-and-well-a....

Terrible Iranian nuclear deal

The Iranian nuclear deal is a terrible deal for the United States and the West.

Government abuse alive and well in Acton

The Makaha restaurant can’t catch a break in the town of Acton.

The Board of Selectmen (BOS) will be conducting yet another spurious hearing on the Makaha liquor license for an incident that happened last April, when a driver was pulled over and failed a field-sobriety test. The driver claims he was drinking at the Makaha from 7 to 9 pm and had four beers, according to the police report (he was pulled over at 8:30 pm, so something immediately doesn’t add up in that story.) The hearing will happen this Monday night, July 20, 2015, at Acton Town Hall during the regular BOS meeting.

Ripley's sponsors Acton's Special Town Meeting on August 4, 2015

Ripley's Believe it or Not, which runs a series of tourist attractions in major U.S. and international cities, has agreed to be the lead sponsor for Acton's Special Town Meeting on August 4, during the Dog Days of Summer.

Yes, believe it or not, Acton's selectmen have scheduled a town meeting when most residents are away on vacation. Those that are still in town are unlikely to be interested in dealing with town business.

Grecian obligations

Fiscal conservatism 602

I just returned from a trip to Italy, just a stone's throw from Greece, and kept up with the news on the EU-Greek bailout situation. Like our nuclear non-proliferation talks with the Iranians, the potential EU-Greek deal goal-line keeps moving as deadlines are missed, but the latest deadline appears to be this Sunday when the EU may decide to stop giving Greece more money without their (now broken-) promised economic reforms.

300 people can't be wrong

Did you see the movie 300? I’d recommend it. It was an historical movie about ancient Athens and Sparta, where 300 Spartans held off an attack at a pass against an insurmountable and overwhelming foe. They knew they would all die, but it was done to protect their families and their courage in battle ended up uniting Greece which was the only way for the Greeks to win the larger war.

Open Letter to the AB Regional School Committee

Dear Chairwoman Rychlik and the A-B Regional School Committee:

As you may know, Acton Forum is a community website that offers news and commentary on local Acton issues. Our website is located at http://www.ActonForum.com.

Open Letter to Acton's Finance Committee

Dear Chairman Majors and the Acton Finance Committee:

Welcome to the new members and a new fiscal year.

Lions and zebras

Fiscal conservatism 601

School defies Supervisor of Records, refuses to produce index without $245 fee

The Acton-Boxborough Regional School District is now playing games with the freedom of information laws in Massachusetts by refusing to follow the clear instructions of the Secretary of State's Public Records Division after the Division's Supervisor of Records ordered the release of certain documents, an index to all the documents responsive to the request, and a revision of the original fee estimate.

Humans versus Animals

No, this isn't the title of a new reality show on TV.

As my regular readers know, logic is important to me. And something has been bothering me about global warming that I finally spent some time trying to figure out, and this article is the result.

Isn't it wonderful to be living at a time of such a great leap forward in humanity's scientific evolution? One could argue that our most recent inventions have proven that we have evolved into a species that has (or will) achieve its full potential.

Government monopolies

Fiscal conservatism 503

This is the third part in my mini-series on waste and government monopolies.

In the first part (http://www.actonforum.com/blogs/allenn/being-paid-watch-tv), I discussed what is government waste. Wasteful spending is paying workers to perform jobs that are not needed, or to perform services inefficiently, or to pay more in salaries and benefits than necessary to perform the work.

Makaha wins appeal

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABCC) issued a ruling on May 22 overturning the Acton Board of Selectmen's (BOS) decision to revoke the Makaha's liquor license.

The BOS held a hearing in early January based on an incident in November, 2014. This hearing was the third time in a year that the Makaha had been before the BOS. The first time resulted in a fine and the second a short suspension. This third hearing had the BOS voting 5-0 that an "over service" violation had occurred and 3-2 to revoke the restaurant's liquor license.

Government versus private wasteful spending

Fiscal conservatism 502

Government waste and monopolies, part 2

Last article, I gave an example of government waste: paying people to do nothing. Most people would agree that this is a complete waste of money. See http://www.actonforum.com/blogs/allenn/being-paid-watch-tv.

How can "money" be wasted? It doesn't get burned up, and it doesn't disappear. So what is wasteful? Wasteful public spending is paying people to do unnecessary jobs.

Being paid to watch TV

Fiscal Conservatism 501

Government Waste and Monopolies (Part 1)

What is government waste?

Let’s say the government hires some guy to sit at a desk and watch television all day. Is that wasteful spending or not?

Four-story buildings proposed for Kelley's Corner

The Kelley's Corner Steering Committee and their consultants, the Cecil Group, CPI, and Byrne McKinney, are recommending that new zoning regulations be adopted to allow buildings up to four-stories or 45-feet high in the "Kelley's Corner" zone, according to the "Recommendations and Decisions" document presented at a public forum held May 7, 2015.

You can see the document here: http://doc.acton-ma.gov/dsweb/Get/Document-49901/Kelleys%20Corner%20Draf...

Town of Acton swings and misses at Makaha

Acton’s Board of Selectmen (BOS) voted in January, 2015 to revoke the liquor license of the Makaha restaurant, a Chinese restaurant that has been operating on Great Road in Acton for about 40 years. Losing a liquor license is a serious financial blow for any restaurant, so the Makaha hired an attorney and appealed to the BOS for a temporary reprieve until the appeal could be heard by the state’s Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC). In February, the BOS agreed to suspend their revocation until the ABCC issued a final ruling.