Hurray! I finally got the cord back so that I can get the pictures out of my camera! Unfortunately they are now a bit dated, such as the Springfield Control Board photos from a meeting that took place a full week ago! Oh well, I still have a few comments to make about it. I was pleased to see in attendance at the Control Board meeting my mother's ECOS colleague Burt Freedman (left). On the right is controversial dealmaker Heriberto Flores.
Like nearly all the Control Board meetings, this one was a real yawner, but it had the significance of being the first one with the new members - Chris Gabrielli (the failed gubernatorial candidate) James O'S Morton (what does the "O'S" mean?) and Robert Nunnes (a former mayor). First there was a public speakout, in which the always frank Antonette Pepe let the new crew have a piece of her mind. In this picture one of the City Hall lamps makes it appear there's a halo over her head, which is what she usually deserves.
Also welcoming the new Board was mayoral hopeful Dom Sarno (shown below center seated in the audience) which was a bit awkward since in the past he had called for the Board's dismissal and the firing of its executive Phil Puccia.
The latter call became moot when a few days later Puccia announced that he was leaving the Board to take a job in the private sector. That was a major development, as Puccia was considered crucial to preserving continuity from the old board to the new. The transition is likely to be a lot more difficult without Puccia, and it may now take longer for the new members to get up to speed.
Robert Nunnes is the big question on the Board as far as what role he will play. As a mayor he brings a municipal perspective, which can be helpful. It can also be a negative, if he takes the position, as many mayors do, that the solution to every problem is more money. At this point Nunnes is an unknown quantity who will have to prove himself in the trenches.
James O'S Morton is local, so he's somewhat better known, but largely as an administrator. Where he stands philosophically and ideologically is less clear. The former Control Board members were all stern believers in fiscal discipline and limited government, making them uniquely qualified to pursue an agenda of structural reform and fiscal responsibility. It simply is not certain yet whether any of the new members are as qualified as the men they've replaced, and only time will tell.
The person with the most to gain or lose is Gabrielli, who was elected the board's chairman at the meeting. He has business experience, but is a full-blown liberal on almost all issues. Though he has unsuccessfully run for public office (in expensive, largely self-funded campaigns) and given heavily to left-wing think tanks (including his own) he has virtually no real-life experience in public governance. His personal wealth is of no use in his new role (unless he intends to deposit it in the city's coffers) and wonkish policy papers are of no real value here. For the first time in his political career Gabrielli has got to produce real-world outcomes in a setting where there are serious problems. He's operating in a realm where results, or the lack of them, are the only thing that matters. If he produces those results, the city could be his springboard to a political comeback. If he fails, Springfield could put him permanently in the political graveyard.
Puccia's sudden departure is likely to make life more difficult for the new members, at least initially as they try to get a handle on what the city's problems are and familiarize themselves with what the former members did to create the progress thus far. But the real test will be whether they can show the same strict discipline as their predecessors. It wasn't just, or even mainly corruption that drove Springfield into the ditch. It was a big government philosophy that made hiring and spending money the top priority. Whether this new crop of Democrat Board members can successfully reject that wasteful philosophy like their predecessors did will be the ultimate test to come.
The next day I met in Northampton with Springfield City Council candidate John Lysak. I took this picture of him out back of the Haymarket Cafe, telling John that a photo of him at the Haymarket will guarantee that he gets the all important gay junkie hipster vote!
Seriously, Lysak has a strong platform of unusually specific proposals that make him a very appealing candidate. You should try to attend his upcoming fundraiser on July 18th at 5:30 to be held at the Aquarius Lounge near Mass Mutual.
Here are some pictures I took at the concert in Northampton Sunday. I only took a few, so fortunately I had Jeff Ziff to supply me with the ones he took that I used in the previous post. Here's a photo I took of Jeff.
These are the blasphemous WCCC jocks, but even those who were offended had to admit that is a pretty sexy looking nun.
At one point early on I spotted Starship/Quicksilver legend David Freiberg wandering around taking pictures. No one but me seemed to recognise him.
However the real encounter with stardom I had took place the morning after the show. I was in Northampton at Broadside Bookshop, when who should I see checking out the music section but Sam Andrews of Big Brother and the Holding Company, the former back-up band for Janis Joplin! Here he is (far right) in a photo from 1968.
This is a picture Jeff Ziff took of Sam Andrews performing Sunday, some 39 years later.
I had no problem recognizing him, in fact he had the same clothes on that he had worn at the concert. I walked right up to him and said, "Excuse me, but aren't you a famous rock star?"
He laughed and said, "Well I guess so, at least I used to be!" He couldn't have been nicer, and even asked questions about me. When I told him I was an internet blogger, he said, "You're probably more famous than I am!" When we got a bookstore customer to take our picture, Andrews pretended that he was the fan getting goo-goo eyes for me!
The woman who took the picture was unaware of who Andrews was. When I told her he had played with Janis Joplin she pretended to swoon in fandom. By this time a small crowd of book patrons had formed, and everyone was laughing. In all it was the sort of weird thing that only happens to me.