Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ogulewicz Retires

And Relocates

One of the most controversial figures of Pioneer Valley politics in the last quarter of the 20th century was former Springfield City Councilor and radio personality Mitch Ogulewicz. He's kept a low profile in recent years and I know many people are interested in what he's up to these days. This is an email I received from Mitch recently:

Brian Santaniello, Francis Keough and Mitch Ogulewicz in 1986


Just had a chance to read your blog. I like the new color scheme. I enjoyed the article on the fundraiser and Scott Brown. Also the analysis of the Congressional races.

Other than doing a lot of unpacking, I haven't done much since moving down here to South Carolina. After 113 days being "homeless" while our house was being built, my wife Cyndi and I are now happilly settling into our new home.

The last several weeks have been spent unpacking boxes and figuring out where things are going to be placed. I am sure that we will continue to do this throughout the summer, but it is nice to have a place to call ours.

We have been down here since May 23rd. I retired after 36 years in banking on May 21 and we left for South Carolina the next day. We rented a furnished corporate apartment for a month. Spent our time checking on the final stages, as the house was being built, laying out by the pool at the apartment, going to various stores to check things out.

The house has what they call a bonus room above the garage. That is my room. It looks like the second Kennedy Library with all the pictures etc on the walls. I am attaching a picture I took a couple of weeks ago. But I can assure you that there is even more on the walls now.

The South Carolina Democratic Party (what's left of it down here) has found me and has invited me to a breakfast on Saturday morning. Probably will attend, just to see how things are done down here. South Carolina just concluded its primary and I can tell you that it is rough and tough politics.

The politics down here is very Republican. Although the word is that the Democratic candidate for Governor could pull it off. The Republican nominee is a woman named Haley. Many think she is too close to Mark "I am In love with an Argentinean" Stanford. He can't get along with even the Republicans and they can't wait for him to leave office.

Down here they have a Primary (it was in June). A candidate must get 50% plus 1 vote to get the nomination. If not they have a runoff of the top two 2 weeks later.

Don't believe that Reagan philosophy of the 11th commandment, "speak no ill of fellow Republicans". They eat their own. In Massachusetts they stab you in the back and leave no finger prints. Down here they are 10 times worse and do it to your face.

Cyndi and I did join a wine tasting club. Meets every Thursday. I have actually found that most members are Democrats. They are constantly asking me about the Kennedy's and Massachusetts politics. Of course I just refer to your blog and when I can find something I email it to them.

There is also an organization called "Liberally Drinking", which also meets once a week at a local bar. It Is all Democrats (the 100 or so that are In South Carolina) and they sit around talking about politics. Right now they are trying to figure out what to do about a guy named Greene who won the Democratic primary. He beat an established politician who spent a few hundred thousand dollars. Green spent zero, no one knows who he is, and he didn't campaign.

He is running against Jim De Mint the incumbent, who by the way lives not too far from me in the same town. I live in Travelers Rest, population 4500.

Well just thought I would drop you a line. Hope all is well.


Speaking of the Kennedy's, I came upon these bumperstickers in a Northampton antique shop.

In the window of the same shop is this 41 year old Westfield Tricentennial banner.

Speaking of the tea parties, here's a cartoon that's been circulating the internet about north-Valley Congressman John Olver and his challenger Bill Gunn. (click to enlarge)

In Northampton I came upon this offer for free stuff, but the only things that were offered was rocks! Useless to most people perhaps, but treasures to children.

Mennonites from Russell singing on the steps of Northampton City Hall last night.

School for the Dead playing downtown Hamp last weekend. Photo by R.M. Quinn.

Experimental film and music out of Hampshire College in Amherst.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Scott Brown in Hampden

Hey, I went to the fundraiser last night at the Hampden Country Club for State Representative candidate Jack Villamaino (above) with special guest speaker U.S. Senator Scott Brown. Of course the Senator's presence brought out all the local media, such as WWLP-TV22's Julie Tremmel and her cameraman.

Mike Dobbs of The Reminder.

David Miles of Turley Publications in Palmer brought his sense of humor in the form of his famous eyeball hat.

The candidates trying to oust Congressman Richard Neal were in attendance, with Tom Wesley posing here with Jennifer Devine. A relative of mine? Among the Irish we're all relatives.

Agawam City Councilor Bob Magovern is shown here on the left with Neal's other challenger Dr. and Mrs. Jay Fleitman.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker didn't make it, but his running mate Richard Tisei did.

State Senator Mike Knapik.

State Representative Don Humason.

Tom McCarthy, the state senate candidate from my childhood stomping grounds of Springfield's old Pine Point was there.

But not all the candidates present were Republicans. Democrat Hampden County District Attorney candidate Jim Goodhines was there. Goodhines is a man of sterling character in a race otherwise populated by rogues such as Michael Kogut, a former stooge for Springfield's disgraced former mayor Michael Albano.

Non-candidates in attendance included Miss Teen Massachusetts Tamara Sacharczyk from East Longmeadow.

Also attending was my fellow Pine Pointer Kevin Gray, who used to live on the street behind me when I was growing up.

Senator Brown had to drive to the event all the way from Washington D.C. and was delayed by traffic, forcing former state rep and retired Judge Bob Howarth to tell bad jokes in order to pass the time.

Finally the rock star arrived.

Senator Brown is famous for his unusual background, having been a model in his youth who once posed nude for Cosmopolitan. His wife has also reported that he wore pink leather shorts to their first date.

Eat your heart out Scott Brown!

Two of Massachusetts' grand eccentrics.

A great time was had by all.

Here's a picture of WGGB-TV40's Dave Madsen with James Taylor in Stockbridge.

This is from the Green River Festival in Greenfield last weekend.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Congressional Update

The Massachusetts conservative website Red Mass Group has been running a series of analysis recently of the 2010 Western Mass races for U.S. Congress. This is what they have to say, with my own two cents thrown in as well. The First Congressional District is currently represented by Democrat John Olver, who is being challenged by Republican Bill Gunn and third party candidate Michael Engel.


Prediction: John Olver (D) 70%, Bill Gunn (R) 25%, Michael Engel (I) 5%.
Unfortunately, this is not a good district for a Republican and Bill Gunn has neither the financial resources nor the history of electoral success at this time to have a credible chance to win.

Here's my analysis of their analysis - It is true that Olver will be hard to beat in this very liberal district, but I don't think Gunn's prospects are as bleak as they claim. While it's true that Gunn lacks name recognition and experience, indications are that this is a year when being an outsider can be a virtue. Gunn will also get a boost from third party candidate Michael Engel, a candidate who, incredibly enough, is running to the left of Olver. Therefore liberals who want to cast a protest vote in this anti-incumbent year, but who are repelled by Gunn's tea partyish views, can still desert Olver and cast a protest vote for Engel without compromising their leftist ideology. So if Engel ends up riding the anti-incumbent wave enough to reach double digits, Gunn may well find himself within striking distance of an upset victory.

To read the full report on District One click here.

Surprisingly the Second District is the more hotly contested of the Western Mass contests, with longtime incumbent Richard Neal facing two strong possible GOP challengers. Here's what Red Mass Group has to say:


Republican Primary Prediction: Tom Wesley 62% Jay Fleitman 38%
General Election Prediction: Richard Neal (D) 59%, Tom Wesley (R) 41%.

The Massachusetts 2nd Congressional district has been trending more Republican over time. The towns in south Worcester County become more Republican and a larger percentage of the district. In 2008, it voted slightly more Republican than the 3rd congressional district, formerly held by Peter Blute (R). Both Wesley and Fleitman have quality resumes and are running real campaigns. The Republican nominee will have raised six figures, done a fair amount of retail politics, and caught a good year in 2010. Unfortunately, Neal's near $3 Million on hand will prove difficult to overcome. I expect a decent showing, but not victory at this time.

My analysis of their analysis: Before Neal can be challenged there will be a September primary where either Fleitman or Wesley will be eliminated. I agree with Red Mass Group that Wesley is probably ahead, but not by the nearly two to one margin they claim. Whoever wins, it is important that the primary leave no hard feelings, because the GOP will have to be fully united to have any chance to oust as firmly entrenched an incumbent as Neal. The real trick for the GOP nominee is to cut significantly into Neal's powerbase in Springfield, where the city's corrupt Democrat Party machine is certain to deliver a lopsided electoral landslide on Neal's behalf. A similar landslide is likely for Neal in Northampton by the non-corrupt but partisanly passionate Democrat organization, although if Northamptonite Fleitman is the nominee he may be able to cut into that a little as a hometown favorite. Whoever the nominee is, the GOP's goal will be to try to keep Neal's expected Springfield/Hamp landslides to a low enough margin so that GOP victories in the Republican leaning suburbs can compensate for their big city losses. It's not an impossible feat - Scott Brown carried the district in the special election in January, despite being crushed in both Springfield and Northampton, by successfully carrying nearly all of the suburbs and hilltowns.

To read the entire Second District report click here.

Speaking of Scott Brown, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw on the bus the other day a person proudly displaying a Martha Coakley sticker. I thought everyone scraped those off in embarrassment long ago.

Here's a song about Amherst set amidst the power lines of Pelham.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Chicopee Wall

And other photos.

In downtown Chicopee there is a wall (above) that has a mural meant to depict the town's history. It is in a state of considerable decay, but many images remain quite clear, such as this one from the 1940's.

This image of the 50's is quite deteriorated.

This section depicts the anti-war movement of the 1960's.

An all purpose protest sign.

Hopefully some attempt will be made to restore and preserve this mural.

Shutterbugs were swarming at UMass this weekend for the New England Photography Convention. Here they are clicking away at a model in the Campus Center courtyard.

Among the prints for sale was this one of Bob Dylan with the Grateful Dead.

In downtown Northampton yesterday an ultra-cool caddy convertible was parked in front of my friend Zak's restaurant The Eclipse.

I'm sorry to learn that Don Lesser will no longer be writing his food column for the Hampshire Gazette. Fortunately however he did manage to write this glowing review of Zak's place before leaving.

I'm intrigued by this antique sewing machine I came across in Hamp. My mother's maiden name was White.

Does anyone have any information about this antique?

I like Hadley's new welcome sign.

Jack Kerouac would like this bumpersticker.

The ol' Captain is getting a little paranoid.

More madness outta Amherst.

A major new release from Northampton's School for the Dead.

Photo from stage of Taste of Amherst by Max Germer

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Or NealPelosi?

Take your pick which term you like (personally I feel PeloNeal has better alliteration) but congressional candidate Tom Wesley thinks there's not a dime's worth of difference between south Valley Congressman Richard Neal and current Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, a congresswoman from San Francisco California.

Nancy Pelosi is the face of all that is wrong with Washington right now. She is an ultra-liberal from San Francisco with an agenda far from the beliefs and values of the majority of Americans, including those here in Massachusetts’ Second District.

Richard Neal is our Congressman, but he might as well be the Congressman for Nancy Pelosi’s district. Richard Neal votes 98.9% with Nancy Pelosi. That doesn’t seem right to me. The voters I have met from Springfield, Dudley, Webster, Douglas, Wales, Hopedale and the other towns around the Second District have expressed their frustration with their lack of representation in Washington.

Personally, I think some very good things have come out of San Francisco, such as the Grateful Dead!

San Francisco is also on the frontiers of gay rights.

However, I have no use for Nancy Pelosi, who is wrong on nearly every issue that matters. As Wesley explains in his latest one minute political ad, we don't need a Nancy Pelosi twin representing our Valley.

It's a shame how the old Sabin Locksmith Shop in downtown Northampton is being forced out by a new landlord.

So is their neighbor the punk clothing store Sid Vintage, but happily they are relocating to the old Winterset site.

The Amherst version of the Mill River.

A cow skeleton in a classroom at UMass.

Valley music videographer Jeff Ziff came upon this interesting beverage at a blues festival in Maine last weekend.

Angry music is made in Amherst as the band Little Death perform their song "I Don't Hate You Because You're Gay - I Hate You Because You're an Asshole."