The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Anatomy of the Machine

Farewell Geocities.



So the old Geocities site where this internet project began is no more. This old interview with me is the the final thing to transferred to this blog from the now vaporized Geocities site. I won't miss Geocities, which became an cyberspace antique thanks to things like Blogger, MySpace and Facebook, but I'll always praise Geocities for the role it played back in the early years of the internet when it was the only place the average person could make a website.

The questions in this interview were asked by Monique Hulbert, at that time a professor at Western New England College in Springfield. I rescued this interview before it could be vaporized because as far as I know it is the only document that gives any kind of overview of the history of modern politics in Springfield.



Anatomy of the Machine
An Interview With Tom Devine


Let's begin with an obvious question: What is the meaning behind the name of the paper, The Baystate Objectivist?

I doubt I would have ever given it that name if I'd known beforehand how people would be confused by it. What causes the most misunderstanding is the term "Objectivist" which some people mistakenly assume is a reference to the journalistic term "objective," which means to write without obvious bias. But the truth is the use of the term Objectivist in the name of my publication has nothing to do with anything involving journalism.

It was meant to refer to the branch of philosophy known as "Objectivism," whose adherents are sometimes described as "radicals for capitalism." In other words, Objectivists are supporters of pure, laissez-faire (hands off) capitalism as it would exist in a virtually unregulated free market. The Baystate Objectivist has no official ties to the Objectivist movement, nor do I present myself as any kind of expert on Objectivist theories. For anyone wanting indepth information or guidance about Objectivism, I suggest they check out Ayn Rand's wonderful books and essays. Still, if you already know something about Objectivism, you can probably see its influence in my writing pretty clearly.

Considering how much of the blame for Springfield's economic problems can be laid directly at the feet of political interference in the local economy, I hoped that using the term Objectivist in the name of the paper would alert readers to the fact that this was an aggressively pro-business publication. My miscalculation however, was in assuming that the term Objectivist was more widely known than it apparently is. Instead I've found that the majority of people assumed that I was trying to make some kind of statement about journalistic "objectivity," perhaps even offering myself as a kind of model of objectivity in writing, which is a ridiculously arrogant pose that I would never assume. I've always been a amused by this confusion, since I can't see how anyone could read two paragraphs in a row of The Baystate Objectivist and think that I was trying to be objective in a journalistic sense. If there is a publication in the Valley more opinionated than mine, I've never seen it.

Even more ironic, the name The Baystate Objectivist was originally intended to be humorous. Everywhere you look around here, you see businesses called "Bay State This" and "Bay State That" in every conceivable area of commerce. When choosing a name for a company located in Massachusetts, is it possible to be less creative than to use the term "Bay State" in your name? I'm annoyed by repetitious, unimaginative practices like that are blindly accepted and copied. Therefore in a spirit of contempt, I used it in the paper's name.

So I had decided the name of the paper would be called The Baystate . . . what? I actually toyed with the idea of calling it The Baystate Septic Service," complete with the motto, "We flush Away the Bullshit in Local Politics," but that seemed a little too coarse.

I also wanted to poke fun at the long-standing journalistic tradition of revealing an ideological bent in the name of a publication. For example, there is The Burlington Free Press, The Cleveland Democrat or, good grief, The Springfield Republican. So hoping to make seem absurd a trite commercial name and at the same time tweak a mainstream journalistic convention, the awkward but whimsical name of The Baystate Objectivist was born.

As it turned out, instead of seeming clever, no one got the joke outside of maybe a few philosophy professors at our local colleges. My wit, if you can call it that, didn't connect with the general audience. Ultimately the name became a joke on me, since I have been forced repeatedly to explain the meaning of the paper's name.



What did you have in mind at the beginning?

In a crazy way, it all evolved out of a card game. I was playing cards with some friends at my late buddy Jay Libardi's house over on Denver Street when the conversation came around, as it was likely to do when you had a political junkie like me around, to a discussion of local politics. I often observed how our conversation had little to do with the official accounts of events as they were being reported in the local media. It was all about behind the scenes intrigues and descriptions of sleazy situations as they truly were as opposed to what you might be reading about those issues in the morning paper or on TV, where everything was being reported in an upbeat, cheerleading manner.

It wasn't just my friends and I who talked that way. It was as if the people of Springfield seemed to have an inate understanding that there was more to everything that transpired in our Valley than was ever revealed through official channels. It was as if there were two Springfields, one official version that nobody believed in, and another much more real and interesting Springfield that everyone acknowledged but which no one reported on. I remember Libardi saying to me something like, "Maybe you ought to try to start a publication that would report on Springfield politics the way people actually talk about it." I didn't take his suggestion very seriously at the time, but that planted the seed. Over the coming weeks I started going,"Hmmm. . ."

So when did you decide to go ahead and actually do it?

I don't remember exactly, it just sort of oozed into existence. There was a series of small decisions, as opposed to one big one. There were considerable obstacles due to my own ignorance and inexperience. For example, I had no idea how to distribute the thing once it was printed. I wondered whether it would all be a waste of time.

When you stop and think about it, what I was trying to do really wasn't that unique. There is a long tradition in American politics of citizens writing and publishing their views and then distributing them to the public. Thomas Paine is a famous example. The Federalist Papers were also distributed that way. The Abolitionist and Women's Suffrage Movement used the same technique as well. Compared to what those movements were trying to accomplish, my attempts to spark a little fresh debate into the life of Springfield politics were, at best, extremely modest.

This was also during the time of the "Zine Scene." With the arrival on word processing technology anyone could print anything, as opposed to the past when you had to pay to have it printed at a press. There were lot of zines in Northampton having to do with music, but mine was the first political zine.

When the first issue of The Baystate Objectivist was published, what was the initial response?

There was none. Zilch. It was as if that first issue had fallen into a blackhole. I was prepared for criticism, even harsh criticism, but this was worse. To hear nothing, no feedback of any kind, that was the one possibility I had never considered.

So you were discouraged?

Yeah, I thought, "Oh well, so much for that." It was Jay Libardi who talked me into following it up with another issue, in spite of the zero response. So the second issue came out, and that got a little feedback, not much, but enough so that I was encouraged to continue.

What I didn't realize at the time was that the low level of feedback I got is typical for anyone entering the world of political activism. Before you get involved you have this impression, understandable but false, that the world of politics is all these people interacting and debating and struggling to achieve their goals. You go into the political arena prepared to meet all of your supporters and confront your opponents. What's shocking is to discover how really small and narrow the world of political activity really is. The level of public involvement, even on very controversial issues, is surprisingly limited. There are all these enormous vacuums of power and influence where only a very few people are participating. The only plus side to that lack of participation is that it makes it easier for one person to make a difference.

At what point did you become committed to The Baystate Objectivist as a longterm project?

After the third issue. That was when the first "Heroes and Villains" appeared, which is a list I put together every year of the ten best and worst people and organizations in the Valley. It was that issue that first caught the attention of Dan Yorke.



How did you first meet Yorke?

Again, I think it was Libardi that suggested that I send copies of the paper to local media outlets. So I did and as it turned out I never received a reply from anyone. I'd sent one to Channel 40, but I'd addressed it to the general manager. Frankly, at the time I'd never heard of Dan Yorke. I discovered later that he'd been on the radio for years, but in those days I paid little attention to talk radio. This was just after Yorke's radio station had died, so he came out with his TV show, where I happened to catch him when I was channel surfing one night. For a number of reasons, he intrigued me.

I remember the first night I saw his program. He had as his guest Betsy Wright, a local tax protester who had her car confiscated by the IRS because she refused to pay taxes to support the military. Somehow, Yorke discovered that she worked for some social service agency that was dependent on taxpayer funds. Yet when Yorke tried to confront her on that fact, Wright refused to publicly reveal where she worked.

Yorke showed her no mercy. He was determined to make her face the issue of whether it was hypocritical for her to insist that people should be forced to pay taxes for social programs of the kind that paid her salary, but that somehow she had the right to withhold taxes for the military policies she disagreed with. What would her attitude be if conservatives started withholding taxes that support welfare programs? The rest of the media had given Wright a free pass with their glowing coverage of her activism, but Yorke insisted that she confront this inconsistency in her position. Wright repeatedly tried to dodge the question, and in the end Yorke completely destroyed her credibility. You could tell that she was very, very, sorry that she had gone on that show.

I had never seen local programming like that. The only thing remotely comparable was a local interview show that ran for a hundred years on Channel 22 called At Home with Kitty. It was hosted by Kitty Broman, a likeable enough gal but frankly her only known qualification for hosting the show was the fact that she was part owner of the station. The soundstage was set up to look like a living room, with a couch and cups and saucers set up on a coffee table. She even wore an apron. The illusion they strove for was as if the guests had stopped in for a cup of tea with Kitty. It was an unintentionally hilarious program, which showed the lamest puff pieces about local politicians. It almost seemed to be a rule that no controversial topics were allowed. I think many people used to watch the show just to make fun of it.

What impressed me about Yorke was that he didn't seem to be interested in a topic unless it was controversial. He didn't try to avoid confrontation or debate, instead he embraced and encouraged it. He wasn't afraid to put a guest on the spot and he did not try to make them feel that they were attending a tea party. I recognized that in a journalistic sense Yorke's show was breaking new ground, and that maybe it would be a forum that would be open to reporting about what I was doing. So once again I sent off copies of the Objectivist to Channel 40, only this time I addressed it to Dan Yorke himself.

So how did Yorke respond?

Within a week, I got a handwritten letter from him saying that he was interested in what I was doing, but wanted more information. The letter made no commitment that he would ask me on his show. I don't think he was sure what to make of my paper at first. Anyway, I sent him a letter describing the history of the project thus far, and the very day that he received it he called and invited me to come over to the station and tape a show with him that afternoon.

How did the internet version come into existence?

Because of its underground nature the internet was ideally suited to the Baystate Objectivist. At long last there was this outlet that any of my readers with a computer could gain access to without having to search all over town for a printed copy. It also greatly expanded what could be done. For one thing the graphics were now in color. Also I could greatly expand the range of what I wrote about, not just local issues but matters involving the state, the nation and foreign affairs. I also got heavily into cultural matters like art and music and other things which there was simply no room for in the printed version. It also got a lot more personal. The subject was sometimes me and what I was doing.

You often hear in discussions of Springfield politics references to "The Machine." What exactly does that refer to?

The gang of insiders who rule our Valley. (laughs) Actually, in its most generic sense, there is nothing necessarily sinister or morally suspect about a political machine. What the term usually refers to is the organization that arises out of a political campaign, ranging from the people at the polls holding signs on Election Day to the consultants and confidants surrounding the candidate at the highest levels. If this organization works properly from top to bottom, then each level complements the other like intermeshing parts of a piece of complicated machinery. In that sense, it is almost a form of praise to say of this or that candidate, "He has a well-oiled political machine." The point is the term "political machine" does not automatically have negative connotations.



Then why, regarding Springfield, is it almost always used in a negative context?

Because weird transformations can occur within a political machine when someone is re-elected to office repeatedly. What can happen is that the political machine, which is an entity existing outside of the government for the purpose of getting someone elected, begins to merge with the power structure itself. Let me try to make it clearer by giving you a simplified scenario of the process by which an originally benign political machine can evolve into something that is ultimately unhealthy to the political process.

Let's pretend I'm running for Congress. You are my campaign manager and together we put together a successful political machine to get out my message and to get my supporters to the polls on Election Day. Once I win, I hire you and others who served in my campaign as my aides. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. I mean who am I supposed to hire? People I don't know? People who worked for my opponent? It's perfectly legitiment, but still significant in one sense. It is the first example of how being a member of my political machine can ultimately translate into working within the government itself.

Okay, so my first term in Congress comes to an end, and it's time to put my machine back to work toward getting me re-elected. Not surprisingly, my machine is now bigger and more powerful than it was when I ran the first time. Through the votes I've cast in Congress, plus the constituent service I've provided, I now have friends and allies I did not have originally. Although I may have political opponents, it will now be difficult for them to put together a political machine of their own as big and powerful as the one I've been able to erect through the power of my incumbency. In fact statistics suggest that the probability of me getting re-elected is overwhelming - about 90% of all incumbents succeed in winning another term.

Let's assume that I win that second term and then a couple of years later, I win a third. During all this time I am solidifying my support base and strengthening my machine by rewarding those who support me with whatever favors my office can provide. For example, whenever I see a chance, I'm slipping my supporters in here and there as jobs open up in the bureaucracies of the local governments in my district.

I'm also helping to secure financial support for my campaigns by helping out the businesses in my district with their government related (or government created) problems. Finally, lobbying groups who share my views on the issues also become interested in helping to insure my re-election. Again, there is nothing automatically sinister or corrupt in this process. In many cases, I'm simply doing what anyone who held my office should do, and the fact that it also serves my interests may be completely incidental. After all, if I've been a life-long opponent of gun control for example, what is wrong with The National Rifle Association noting that fact and working to insure that I am not replaced by someone with an opposing view?

Yet it is at this stage, if I continue to be re-elected, that potentially dangerous developments can evolve. Now suppose as I enter my third or fourth term, you, my trusted aide, announce that you have decided to run for Mayor of the largest city in my district. I enthusiastically support your decision, not only out of friendship but in addition because the current Mayor of that city is a political opponent of mine whom I fear may one day run against me for Congress. You, of course, as a newcomer running your first campaign for office have no real political machine of your own to use, but there's no need for you to try to build one from scratch. I'll be happy to let you use mine.

I'll personally call my campaign contributors and urge them to become your campaign contributors. I'll arrange for my consultants to offer advice to you. I'll tell my poll workers, envelope stuffers and street canvassers how much I would appreciate it if they would offer you their services. This is where the evolution of my political machine enters an entirely new, and potentially more ominous phase. Up to this point, my political machine worked only as a vehicle for advancing my own political career, but now for the first time, it has become something that can be used to advance the political careers of other politicians who are loyal to me.

It is important to stress the importance of this transformation of my political machine from something that once served only me into something that can now be used to serve anyone I choose. Let's assume that you win that mayoral race. Two crucial developments have now occurred relating to my political machine. First, since we are both working with the same organization, once you become mayor and put together your own administration, you are drawing from essentially the same pool of people for your political appointments, specifically, the members of my machine. Getting you elected mayor has greatly expanded the patronage base of jobs that can be used to reward our mutual supporters. Secondly, by helping you get elected mayor, I also eliminated a potential competitor. This is also a new and important evolutionary development: the use of my political machine to block and frustrate the advancement of those who might oppose me, not only in the present, but in the future as well.

Now try to imagine what would happen if this process continued through my seventh term, my 14th, my 18th? What you end up with is something like the situation that was created in real life by the late Ed Boland during his nearly four decades as Congressman from the Springfield district. At the full maturity of Boland's Machine in the mid-1980's, every State Senator from Springfield was a Democrat who was loyal to Ed Boland. Every single State Representative was a Democrat who was loyal to Ed Boland. On the City Council, all nine members were Democrats who were loyal to Ed Boland. Even the School Committee ended up consisting entirely of Democrats loyal to Ed Boland. What happened in Springfield is a perfect example of how a powerful political machine, created over decades of incumbency, can do damage to the democratic process.

The two party system in Springfield was all but dead. It's no surprise that it was during this period of total one party rule that most of the events investigated by former Attorney General Scott Harshbarger's corruption probe took place. With everybody playing on the same team, where was the opposition to speak out when insider wheeling and dealing started to get out of hand? A one party system was no more healthier for Springfield than it was for the Soviet Union.

A political machine that originally existed to elect one person, Ed Boland, gradually evolved over time to become this octopus that had acquired control of all local offices in an interlocking mosaic of machines that were all dependent on Ed Boland. There were sometimes various factions, but the original Boland Machine remained the unifying force. Ultimately, the Boland Machine no longer functioned outside of the government as Boland's campaign tool - over four decades his machine had become the local government itself.


What do you mean when you say there were factions within the Boland Machine?

Boland was a remarkable man who, whatever his many flaws, inspired friendship and respect. Even those who disagreed with him politically usually spoke well of him as a person. Yet each time his political machine captured a new office, Boland's personal control of the entire organization was somewhat diluted. Every new person acquiring power with the help of Boland's Machine had their own people and their own agenda to advance. The most important division that developed within The Machine was between what you might call the more conservative "JFK Democrats" and the more liberal "McGovern Democrats," JFK referring of course to the former President and McGovern referring to the ultra-liberal Senator who ran against Richard Nixon in 1972.

It's strange to realize that by modern political standards, John F. Kennedy was largely a conservative. For example, he revived the economy from a recession through a series of tax cuts and boosts in military spending, which was precisely the same policy Ronald Reagan used twenty years later to revive the economy from the recession of 1982. Kennedy's policies overall also had a strong pro-business slant. He was only really considered a liberal in the area of civil rights. If he were alive today, and advocated the same policies, he would probably be considered a moderate Republican.



Boland (above with former D.A. Matty Ryan) was one of a whole generation of local Democrats who considered JFK to be the single most important influence on their political careers. In that category would be Matty Ryan, Charlie Ryan, Judge Keyes, Tommy O'Connor, Joe Napolitan, Tony Ravosa Sr. and others of that generation who were inspired to public service by JFK. On a personal level not everyone in that group got along, especially in the years before Boland consolidated his power, but each of them in their own way considered themselves to be a keeper of the flame for what they believed to be the idealism of the Kennedy era.

When did Boland consolidate his power?

I don't mean to give the impression of Boland as this Machiavellian figure who plotted the takeover of Valley politics. He was in many respects the lucky recipient of larger political trends beyond his control such as the Democrat landslides that followed Kennedy's assassination. But if you were to choose a date when Boland's Machine first crossed over the line into a destructive phase, it was in 1968 when Boland successfully turned back a challenge from Charlie Ryan. Ryan had become Mayor of Springfield by defeating Tommy O'Connor, a Boland loyalist. After three terms as Mayor, Ryan attempted to overthrow Boland himself, but failed. After that, the supremacy of Boland's Machine was never seriously challenged.

Who were the "McGovern Democrats"?

The terms "JFK Democrats" and "McGovern Democrats" were not labels that anyone used to describe themselves in real life. These are just handy terms I'm using to identify the two major factions, each of which were too informal, and in some situations too overlapping, to be rigidly labeled.

However, the "McGovern Democrats" were those who began their careers in the latter period of the Boland Machine's history. They were the Democrats who emerged in the era after Kennedy's assassination and who were on the whole much more liberal than those who rose with Boland in the beginning.

The primary figure of this era was Richard Neal, who first appeared on the scene as the leader of the McGovern for President campaign in Western Mass. He was, believe it or not, something of a long-haired activist in those days, who used to run around in a green army coat. Still, Neal's real political roots were in the old ward style politics of ethnically segregated neighborhoods like Hungry Hill. Neal was no flower child, he knew how to play political hardball, and he understood the purely pragmatic systems of loyalty, rewards and punishments that are so essential to machine politics. And he was very, very ambitious.

Another key player emerging within The Machine during the 70's was David Starr, in the role of publisher of The Springfield Newspapers. The Springfield papers by that time were no longer locally owned, but had been taken over by The Newhouse Corporation, a multi-billion dollar media chain that owns outlets all over the country and is also heavily invested in real estate. Their policy is to hire local talent for routine reporting purposes, but to keep the key management positions reserved for executives, usually brought in from out of state, whose primary loyalty is to the Newhouse Corporation.

Starr's evil genius was that he realized more clearly than anyone else how the power of Boland's congressional seniority could be exploited through Boland's ability to use that seniority to obtain access to economic development funds. As the number two person on the Appropriations Committee in Congress, Boland (shown at right with Silvio Conte, Charlie Ryan and Ted Kennedy) could attach funding amendments to legislation that would funnel taxpayer funds to Springfield. Almost the entire 1980's Downtown revitalization program was financed in that manner. Starr recognized the extent to which it would be extremely helpful to his insider's clique to gain control of the process by which those funds were directed, through whom, and in support of what agenda. So Starr began positioning himself to be a key player in all of the major economic development decisions, eventually succeeding, after a bitter struggle, in taking over the primary economic decision making group, Springfield Central.

That was a disastrous development. Springfield was not unique in that it was run by machine politics. Mayor Daley in Chicago and Boss Tweed in New York are just two well-known examples of this reoccurring problem in American democracy. But at least those machines had to face a reform-minded press that exposed some of the worst abuses. In Springfield we had the deadly combination of machine politics and a monopoly newspaper whose publisher was also one of the leaders of that machine. The result was that Starr's agenda, and the Boland Machine members who were loyal to it, were presented to the public without a hint of criticism.

What did you make of the probe into suspected corruption in Springfield government that was conducted by former Attorney General Scott Harshbarger?

It depends on how you look at it. Despite all the fuss it caused, there were not as many indictments as people expected and most of the indictments that did come down didn't stick. More was suggested in the way of wrong doing than was actually proven. In fairness to those who were acquitted or had their charges dropped, I wouldn't want to engage in speculation or gossip that would amount to second guessing the verdicts. But that said, there are aspects of the investigation that were never properly discussed in the local media, but which should have been, and which are not irresponsible to discuss now. For example, I think it was pretty obvious that Harshbarger was conducting a classic 'pyramid' style probe. That fact made it hard for the average person to make sense of what Harshbarger was trying to do without knowing something about the way pyramid style investigations are conducted. I especially regret that so little of what was written about the investigation in out of town media was reported locally.

So what is a 'pyramid style' probe?

It's a fairly common investigative technique which is often used in organized crime cases. I think Harshbarger found the pyramid style useful in Springfield because of the powerful political machine he was confronting and its hierarchical structure. Basically in a pyramid syle probe you start at the bottom and get indictments against smaller figures near the base of the organization, then use them to climb toward the top figures you had in mind as your real target all along. If you go after the big boys first, then everyone beneath them unites to frustrate a conviction. Therefore Harshbarger started with underlings like City Councilor Francis Keough and School Committee member Ed Friedman and tried to pressure them into squealing on those higher up.



So who was Harshbarger really after?

According the The Washington Post, which next to The New York Times is probably the most respected newspaper in America, Harshbarger was out to bag himself a Congressman. His ultimate target was Richard Neal. The same thing was said at various times in the Boston papers. But that theory was never explicitly stated in the local press. Finally, The Springfield Republican on December 27, 1998 admitted that: "Leaks to Boston newspapers in the early 1990's had said Harshbarger's investigation was aimed at Neal, a former mayor." But at the time of the probe the Springfield Newspapers just kept mindlessly repeating Neal's official statement that investigators had never approached him. Well of course they hadn't. The very nature of a pyramid probe is that the person at the top is always the last person dealt with. In the end the prosecutions never moved into high enough levels to endanger Neal himself, although he was dragged through several courtrooms as a witness. He always had a terrible memory.

Why did the probe ultimately fail?

Harshbarger made two fatal miscalculations. First, he underestimated the extent to which those he attacked would be supported and protected. No one ever thought of the indicted Personnel Director Joe Dougherty as a college professor, but they got him a job at STCC, a taxpayer financed institution, while he was awaiting trial. So you had this situation where the taxpayers were paying Dougherty a salary while those same taxpayers were waiting to put him on trial for ripping the taxpayers off! Later, applicants with their doctorates in social work were passed over so that Francis Keough could become the city's homeless czar. Charles Kingston continued to profit from school bussing contracts. Everyone Harshbarger tried to get testimony out of was taken care of so that they wouldn't have to crack under pressure.

Second, Harshbarger should have insisted that the trials not be held in this jurisdiction. Sometimes a judge is nothing but a lawyer who was a loyal servant of the local machine. Judges too are creatures of the political process. It was crazy to try those cases before judges who were themselves products of the political machine that was on trial. In that sense it was doomed from the beginning.

So what's the solution?

I remain a great believer in the Good Guys winning in the end. Somehow, someday, justice will be done, and the villains of the local Machine will one day be made to pay for what they've done. The first step in doing that, of course, is to throw them out of office.

Marketeers

There was a good crowd this morning at the Northampton Farmer's Market on Conz Street.



This young lady was raking in the change by playing violin.



Didn't get a jug yet of this year's local crop of Maple Syrup? Here's your chance.



Some corned beef sure would go good with all that cabbage.



Surprisingly, you can buy beef here, and of course it is 100% grass fed with no hormones or anti-biotics!



Snappers

The annual New England photography convention is being held at UMass this weekend. In the campus center every kind of photo supply you can think of is for sale.



Down by the campus pond the male photographers were flocking around this model. (click photo to enlarge)



The women photographers were more interested in shooting the flowers.



Elsewhere on campus, UMass is redoing the plaza around the Southwest dorms. This video I made this morning shows you the work so far.



A student video shows the exact same area (and then some) before the work began, concluding at the legendary Pierpont party-dorm.



Here is a room in Pierpont in 1977. Notice the classic PHILCO refrigerator. Also note the handy trashcan placed right in the middle of the room for convenience. Note the psychedelic tube-light over the desk.



A community blackboard in Pierpont in 1977.



I love the things written on it, bad spelling and all:

"THIS MEETING WAS A FARSE" - "I can't live in a community with so many rude people. It's disgusting" - "As far as I'm concerned I have nothing to do with this community" - "We all need singles" - "If you are going to talk about something serious at least you can do is not come drunk and stoned. Nothing was accomplished".

An evening in Southwest in 1977:

2 comments:

Chuck said...

Thanks Tom, for the beautiful nostalgia trip.

Anonymous said...

that girl in the pink and black outfit looks like local model don schneier