Let's hold off on skewering the Democrat presidential candidates for a bit while I show you these lost e-mail documents I came across today. I found them because Microsoft has upgraded and redesigned its popular Hotmail email service. It's easier to locate what you're looking for, and the new format revealed to me that I had old drafts of emails I had written as long as eight years ago. Some were political, and serve as quite excellent reminders of political shenanigans from days gone by. In an area as prone to political amnesia as our Valley is, these reminders can be especially valuable, particularly in a municipal election year like 2007.
The 1999 email below, rescued today from the catacombs of my forgotten draft storage area, is an excellent example of the rumor and paranoia that dominated the Albano era. It begins with the discussion of a letter I had sent to the newspaper praising it for uncovering hidden facts in the lawsuits, and our mutual amazement that it had been printed.
Next Thursday is fine. How about 11:30 or quarter of twelve? If you don't get there before noon a huge crowd pours in and it's impossible to get a table until one o'clock (or at least that's how it used to be).
This has been a strange day for me. Since I've been bashing the Springfield Newspapers for years for not doing their duty in digging up hidden information, I felt I had the duty to send them a congratulatory e-mail last Saturday for their recent crusade to uncover the hidden costs of the Schoolfield and Daniele lawsuits.
As you know, the Daniele lawsuit has been a sore spot with me in the past, and I published an article about it in September under the title "SHAME" which has also been on the website since October as part of what has turned out to be a trilogy of short pieces on Bill Clinton. I never had any hope of justice in the Daniele case, so imagine my surprise to find the Union-News suddenly championing it out of a clear blue sky. They say that they filed a legal protest back in August, but they did so very quietly, because it never crossed my radar screen.
Some are saying that this crusade may be McDermott's way of proving himself as independent from the now semi-retired David Starr. Still, I wish they had chosen the Daniele case instead of the Schoolfield one as the centerpiece of their clean government crusade, since the Schoolfield case has distracting racial overtones that I expect will be exploited to the fullest before this is over.
Anyway, who'd a thunk that they would print my e-mail as the lead letter on the editorial page? I don't know which is more surreal - that I am appearing in the Union-News, or that I am actually praising the Union-News in it's own pages. As a friend of mine told me, he sprayed coffee all over his paper when he saw it. Another friend told me that when they saw my name they ran to the window to see if pigs were flying by!
Some people have suggested to me that this is exactly the effect the paper was hoping for, that by printing a message from one of their most notorious critics, they meant to send a signal that they are prepared to go to the mat on this issue, even if it means giving publicity to the likes of Tom Devine. I guess I am no longer one of their "non-persons" whose existence can not be publicly acknowledged.
Whatever. I do find interesting some of the rumors that have come my way about the controversy itself. I can't vouch for their truthfulness, but it will be interesting to see how they pan out. For example, I'm told that one reason the Albano Administration is in a panic is not so much the Schoolfield case (where the rumor is the city paid more than even the court originally ordered just to get rid of the case) or even the Daniele case but rather that there are cases out there that never got the media attention they deserved, but will have devastating effects in high places if they become known.
Remember the sexual harassment accusations made against mayoral aide Tim Reilly? There's a persistent rumor that a pile of money put that embarrassment to rest. There are also rumors involving a whole bunch of other stuff that I will tell you about at lunch. To put it simply, the buzz is that the Albano Administration has been using the lawsuit account as a slush fund to resolve controversies that would have had political repercussions.
Supposedly, that is why City Hall is in such a panic, because if the full range of these controversies ever becomes part of the public record, it could blow the entire Albano Administration and half the city's political insiders from here to kingdom come in a massive scandal. Only this time the Springfield Newspapers appear unwilling to protect the guilty. Amusing isn't it?
See you Thursday,
What would have been more amusing would have been to be able to get to the bottom of those rumors but sadly, in the end they had to be filed under that overflowing category in Springfield politics entitled, "NEVER TO BE KNOWN."
The second fascinating email is one dated exactly seven years ago, August 15, 2000, from Pete Sygnatore, now best known as chairman of the city liquor commission but at that time a community activist with ties to CANE, the good government group headed by Bob and Karen Powell. Sygnatore wrote a series of reports for my website of what went on at the public meetings held to discuss the Albano Administration's highly controversial scheme to erect a baseball stadium in downtown Springfield.
I have had only two interactions with the baseball search committee at this time. The first was their presentation to the East ForestPark residents at Holy Cross Church.
There were 10 residents in attendance and only one showed overwhelming approval for the stadium. The remaining 9 of us had reservations of varying degree. The majority just plain didn't want it. When Bill Foley asked for closing thoughts, I got up and said that if one of Springfield's benefactors such as Curtis Blake or Peter Picknelly wanted to BUY some land somewhere in the city, construct a stadium with his own funds, buy his own team franchise, and sell tickets to games, more power to him. It would be a good thing to have.
But, if you're considering taking AT LEAST $2,000,000 of my tax money to construct a stadium when rain water is pouring on the computers at the High School of Science and Technology and the federal government is threatening to sue us because we・ve had 20 years to separate our rain water from our sewage and we haven't done it, the answer is a resounding NO! Several in attendance agreed with my position. Bill Foley dutifully took notes and picked up on that $2,000,000 figure. He asked me if I was suggesting that the $2,000,000 bond authorization be rescinded and I said that it would be a very good idea.
He wrote that down but I knew he wouldn't do anything about it so I called Karen and asked her if she thought rescinding the bond might be a mission for CANE. She jumped on that one and called Angelo Puppolo. Angelo is now championing that idea. Karen received a mailing from the committee shortly after our neighborhood meeting which showed the results of all of the neighborhood meetings. It stated that there were 39 people in attendance at her meeting and 22 of them were from CANE.
That was completely false. First, it was a regular meeting of the Outer Belt Civic Association NOT a Baseball Committee meeting which would account for the 39 people in attendance. There were only about 5 people there from CANE. The report said that there were two people at my meeting when there were only 10. It also said that overall people were positive and receptive to the stadium idea. One out of 10 people would not, in my opinion, be called "overall positive."
I was disgusted when Karen told me about the mailing. If they were publishing propaganda like that right from the beginning, this can only be leading to a big fiasco. I attended the Baseball Committee meeting last Tuesday(August 8th). Attending were 16 committee members, a Springfield News reporter, and me. Nobody asked who I was or why I was there.
Moderator Steve Clay recognized me from the previous meeting but forgot my name. They discussed the results of their surveys so far. They are, for the most part, positive in that people seem to WANT a stadium but they are ignoring the underlying theme that seems to stand out when looking at the surveys: People don't want to PAY for a stadium.
There were many comments like "As long as you don't use tax money to pay for it." All they seem to be seeing is that "People want a stadium" and are, therefore, moving ahead with site assessment. They had a list of 20 sites and pared that down to 16 which they said should be investigated further. They formed 5 groups of about 4 or 5 people to investigate 3 sites each.
Then the conversation turned to Angelo's proposal to rescind the bond. Several of them are VERY angry that Angelo would even consider such a thing. From what they said, they were told at their very first meeting, they had $2,000,000 of "seed money" to purchase and clear a site for the stadium. They are looking at this as THEIR money! In other words, the $2,000,000 is their operating budget! How DARE Angelo propose their money be taken away!
A few of them agreed that if the bond is rescinded, they had might as well call it quits right then and there. They asked Bill Foley if he could persuade Angelo to change his mind or at least delay the proposal by sending it to committee until they decide whether there was a feasible site in Springfield. To his credit, Bill DID say that there are many people who think that the bond was for a specific purpose, the original Chicopee River site, and since that purpose has expired, the bond authorization should be rescinded. After a few minutes of working on Bill, he caved and said that he would "talk to Angelo."
Tom, I've read your latest report on the bond at your web-site and it is very accurate.
That email was just the first Sygnatore wrote and which I published under a series called The Stadium Diaries. Sadly, the rest of the diary is lost to history, since I know of no surviving copies. The stadium scam was eventually exposed as a fraud by Judge Constance Sweeney, who in open court accused the Albano Administration of attempting to deceive the government to secure the stadium funds. Trying to acquire taxpayer funds under false pretences is a felony, but despite the demands by myself and others that District Attorney Bill Bennett convene a Grand Jury to investigate Judge Sweeney's accusations, no legal action was ever taken against Albano.
It's really too bad I didn't save more of my old email drafts!
Being more into guys in bikinis than girls in bikinis, I was confounded by this sign that appeared recently outside a shop in downtown Amherst. (Click to enlarge)
Turning to the internet for info, I discovered that these are terms for pubic haircuts for women. Guys groom their pubes too, but we usually get friends to do it rather than pay a professional - it's so much more fun that way. For those as ignorant as I of female pubic hairstyles, here is a complete listing of Brazilian Waxing Style Names:
The Brazilian Wax - A brazilian, contrary to popular use of the term, is actually not the removal of all the hair down there. The brazilian focus is on the rear (derrière) and it involves removal of all hair in the buttocks and rectal areas. The front area maintains some of the hair, usually in the shape of a triangle or an oval. When people refer to a brazilian wax, they often mean - although not correctly - removing all the hair down there. Again, just make sure that the professional who is performing the service knows exactly what you want.
The Hollywood Wax - This is the removal of all the hair in the lower region of the women’s private area - front and back/buttocks included.
The Sphinx Wax - A thin line of hair is left from the front side all the way to the buttocks.
The Thong Wax - The same thing as a brazilian wax, that is all buttocks and rectal hair removed while leaving a small triangle or oval shape around the front private area.
The Frankie B Wax - Named after low-riding ‘Frankie B’ jeans, this waxing style has a wider, much lower triangle necessary for lower, hip-hugging jean and trouser styles. The Frankie B originated in the Los Angeles salon called "Pink Cheeks". Hollywood-celeb-waxer, Cynthia Lotson, originated this and other brazilian waxing styles.
The Playboy Wax - This brazilian wax type removes it all, including the hair on the inner lips. Some variations of the Playboy leave a small triangle at the very top.
The Tiffany Box - All hair is removed, including in the buttocks area, except the hairs that remain are a square. The remaining hairs are dyed the famous jeweler’s aquamarine color.
Other Brazilian Wax styles - Other styles include waxing hearts into the remaining hairs, as well as initials and other designs.
So now we both know. Class dismissed.