When Pete Sygnatore was made head of Springfield's controversial License Commission by former Mayor Charles V. Ryan, the citizens of Springfield were slack-jawed with amazement - they had never seen an honest person in that job before! That's Sygnatore below with legendary Springfield activist Karen Powell.
Just recently I got the following email from Sygnatore, not about liquor licenses but about insensitive radio dudes.
Meredith Baxter recently announced on the Today Show that she was a lesbian. I was listening to the “The Morning Show” which stars Brad Shepard and Bo Sullivan on WHYN on my way to work and they were discussing it.
At approximately 8:50AM, (paraphrasing) Brad made a statement similar to “I hope this doesn’t start a blog called The Curse of Family Ties.” Bo seemed a bit confused about where Brad was going with this statement and said something invoking further explanation.
Much to my astonishment Brad continued “Well first Michael J. Fox comes down with his health problems and now Meredith Baxter announces she’s a lesbian? What next? As far as I know Michael Gross is o.k. and Tina Yuthers seems to be alright.”
There wasn’t much but a nervous chuckle from Bo at that point.
I could not believe what I was hearing. Was Brad really likening a horrible disease like Parkinson’s Disease to Meredith’s lesbianism?? I am not usually sensitive about slightly anti-gay remarks but this was SO over the top that I have been stewing over it all day.
I’m am more conservative than liberal and frequently agree with Brad, the Republican over Bo, the Democrat on issues they are discussing on the show. This remark was highly homophobic however. WHYN needs to censure Brad Shepard and he needs to make a public apology for his grossly insensitive remark!
Thank you for allowing me to vent.
Peter L. Sygnator
But in the days before he was a radio critic and City Hall insider, Sygnatore was a member of the bogus committee that was seeking a site for a baseball stadium in Springfield during the Albano Administration. I call the committee bogus because it was never intended to to do anything but provide a false impression of public involvement, when in fact the location of the ill-fated stadium was already chosen before the committee was even formed. The pre-picked site was next to the Post Office near the Springfield Newspapers. The paper was rumored to want to unload its factory on the taxpayers to be used as a parking lot for the stadium so it could relocate to a new facility in East Longmeadow. The Springfield Newspapers vehemently denied this, but no one believed them.
Going through my vaults recently, I came across a first hand account of Sygnatore's tenure on the Stadium Search Committee, and here are some amusing excerpts illustrating how frustrating it can be to serve on a committee whose input is not just ignored, but unwanted.
December 5th, 2000 -
We had a noontime meeting today with Joe McEacharn, a VP of the Eastern League. There was only a few dozen of us there including Steve Clay, Bill Foley, Chris Cignoli, Art Godding, Doug Cesan, John MacMillan, Leon Simons, Frank Marzanno, Gene McCarthy, J.J. McCarthy, Pat Markey, Bill Collins, Bo Sullivan, Tim Ryan, Ian McCollum, Karen Powell and me.
Earlier that morning a core group of the committee had toured the city, pointing out all of the sites to Mr. McEacharm. Interestingly, on our way to one of the sites, McEarcharn spotted the Smith & Wesson property and shouted "Hey, wait a minute! What's this?" He wanted to know why we weren't looking at it for a stadium site. He cried out that it would be the perfect spot for a stadium. We all agreed with him, but unfortunately we had to tell him that Mayor Albano had told us that the site was "off limits" because of the big new industrial park that was going to go there. Stop laughing! Sadly our mayor's fantasies take precedence over reality.
McEarcharn said the community will judge the success of the stadium based on attendance, profit, recreational activity plus "spin-off businesses and jobs." I asked twice what the spin-off businesses might be but they still can't give me a good answer. They name things like bars and restaurants. But why would anyone locate a bar or restaurant next to a stadium that will be empty and inactive for 90% of the year? It doesn't make any sense but they keep pushing that "spin-off" idea.
February 20, 2001 -
A very bizarre editorial in the Sunday paper by Larry McDermott. I'm not sure what initiated this unless it was the report about the light turnout at most of our citizen input meetings. Perhaps McDermott was scared that the public was losing interest in the stadium. Perhaps Larry should have realized by now that the public never HAD much of an interest in the stadium, certainly not as much as the mayor and his newspaper lackeys do! The editorial served no real purpose and didn't seem to have a point other than to just say, "Shame on you Springfield for not allowing us to sucker you into this project!"
Poor Larry, he needs to find a nice comfy shrink's couch someplace where he can finally learn to let it go. Just let it go Larry - let it go. Bob Powell responded to Larry's latest diatribe with a letter to the editor but I'm not holding my breath until it gets published.
March 1, 2001 -
Andy Cohen, managing partner of Northgate Plaza, wrote a letter to the editor rebutting McDermott's weird editorial. Andy points out that "Springfield visionaries" were very short-sighted in focusing on only one location for their stadium and refusing to even look at any others proposed. He also blames the Springfield Newspapers for the loss of businesses at the Northgate Plaza.
Also, Mr. Mayor toured the Northgate Plaza site - and no others - with representatives of Jeter, Cook and Jepson, an architectural firm, as well as Diversified Technological Consultants, an engineering firm, so that they could assess the site for use as a stadium. Both firms claimed that the site was ideal. Now there's a surprise huh? Will someone please tell me why our committee even exists if only one site is actually under consideration by the mayor?
May 7, 2001 City Council Meeting -
City Council President Angelo Puppolo brings the topic up of rescinding the two million dollar bond to consider the stadium. The purpose was to prevent the mayor from misusing the funds before the stadium is actually approved. The most interesting part of the meeting was when the councilors called Chief Financial Officer Donna Williams to the podium and asked her what happens after they vote to rescind. Her response was, "What's left of the bond will be taken off the books."
You could have heard a pin drop in the council chambers! All of the councilors looked at each other as if to say, "What did she say?" Williams then went into a very circuitous explanation about some of the money already being spent for site preparation at Northgate plaza! Incredible! They are already spending money on the Northgate site! So much for our site search committee! This whole process has been a complete farce.
And so it was. Ultimately the entire stadium site controversy became moot when the Albano Administration was discovered to have submitted false information in an attempt to illegally obtain funding for the stadium. In the end the whole project was exposed as designed to be nothing more than a slush fund and patronage nest for the Albano gang. When Judge Constance Sweeney killed the stadium plan, she accused the Mayor and his cronies in open court of filing false information to obtain funding, and although attempting to obtain taxpayer funds under false pretenses is a felony, no legal action was ever taken against Albano or any other of the stadium schemers.
God bless Deadhead Ann Coulter for joining the rising chorus of those calling for the Democrat nominee for U.S. Senate Martha Coakley to be defeated on the basis of her involvement in the Amirault child abuse scandal:
Remember all that talk about President Bush shredding constitutional rights? Overzealous liberal prosecutors and feminist do-gooders allowed Gerald Amirault to sit in prison for 18 years for crimes that didn't exist -- except in the imaginations of small children under the influence of incompetent child "therapists."
Martha Coakley allowed her ambition to trump basic human decency as she campaigned to keep a patently innocent man in prison.
Anyone with the smallest sense of justice cannot vote to put this woman in any office. If you absolutely cannot vote for a Republican on Jan. 19, 2010, write in the name "Gerald Amirault."
To read the whole column click here.
Every year the Boy Scouts are threatened with being thrown out of downtown Amherst's Kendrick Park, in part for being a "hate group" that bans homosexuals - yet every year they're back selling their holiday trees.
Personally I support the right of any private group to choose whoever they want as their members. But this being Amherst I'll continue in a politically correct vein and report there is a "snowperson" on the Town Common.
An antique biscuit box at Amherst's Carriage Shops.
Guitar Dudes at McMurphy's.
Michael Phelps on a Subway trash can.
This cardboard cutout of a cartoon character by Springfield's Dr. Seuss promotes a dance at the Student Union.