Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Hodge PODge

On her podcast of April 4, Kelsey Flynn asks Northampton, Mass., Mayor Mary Clare Higgins what she plans to do now that the warm weather is fast approaching. Higgins says she plans to spend a good amount of time walking her dog around the city’s Look Park. Flynn asks if the dog likes to ride the miniature train – actually the question had to have been whimsical because I don’t believe they would allow pets on the train.

Higgins replies that the dog would not like the train. ``She likes walking,’’ Higgins says. ``Walking and sniffing. It’s a pretty simple life.’’

``Well, the sniffing is like a dog’s newspaper,’’ Flynn says.

A new interactive medium, unearthed.

The Masslive.com podcasts with Higgins and the mayors of Chicopee, Holyoke and Springfield meet with my approval, for those holding their breath waiting for my judgment.

The broadcasts allow the officials a chance to tell their stories and elaborate at length. They bypass the problem of the necessity of ``sound bite’’ quoting used by newspapers and the half-hour local news broadcasts. A transcription of any of these interviews would take up an alarming amount of print space.

Also, with things such as Northampton’s Raise the Roof for First Churches and the Edible Book Contest, it allows officials to publicize in short order lighter news of civic-booster type events. They can get it out there without using up newspaper space.

Springfield Mayor Dominic Sarno got to talk about what the city is doing to fight gang violence and introduce ``diversity’’ into his administration.

It is very important that Higgins, while discussing the city’s budget problems, was able to expound on the city’s one-time use of ``rainy-day’’ money to balance the last year, and to point out that that the city had been relying on a state meals tax, which ended up not being considered by the state Legislature, to balance the next fiscal year budget.

And Holyoke Mayor Michael Sullivan was able to squelch, once and for all, the rumor that he was considering a job at the Holyoke Housing Authority. ``Not a scintilla of truth,’’ to the rumor, he said. Sullivan said he doesn’t have the expertise. ``If the chief of surgery was open over at Holyoke Hospital, I wouldn’t apply for that, either.’’

The sand bagging of Gov. Deval Patrick’s three-casino proposal by House Speaker Sal DiMasi has Chicopee Mayor Michael Bissonnette irked. Although it is a well-know fact that DiMasi was the principal opponent of the casino bill, Bissonnette doesn’t attach DiMasi’s name to anything. He said he was ``dismayed by the manner in which it was handled.’’ In attempt to embarrass the governor, Bissonnette said, no amendments to the bill were permitted.

Unsolicitedly, Bissonnette said Patrick is not ``the best political player in the world, (and) he’s not the master of the political universe.’’

Lots of fun for your junkies of local politics.


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