I. MANY THANKS
As readers of this blog know, and as those who watch my BCTV show "Tell It Like It Is" also know, I've frequently publicized my personal email address for people who would like to contact me directly. (firstname.lastname@example.org) I do so not only because I welcome comments, but because I realize that not everyone wants to publicly post their comments on the Patch website. We've all seen situations both here and on other websites when people use the comment sections to argue with or belittle the opinions of those who commented before them. I believe that my readers should be able to state their opinions without opening themselves up for an argument, written or otherwise, from someone with an opposing view. While no doubt Patch editors would love to see all blogs get lots of comments, I know that they understand that some people are more comfortable with privately voicing their feedback.
Anyway . . . after my last BCTV show "The Dirty Politics of Bedford" started airing a couple of weeks ago, I've literally received hundreds of emails from Bedford residents, scores of telephone calls, and everywhere that I've been in Bedford, people have approached me to tell me that they watched the show and have read my blogs. To each and every person who took the time to reach out, I give you my heartfelt thanks, and I thank you for both your warm words and for your many comments about issues that you believe need more examination in Bedford.
II. TOWN MANAGER'S SEARCH
It was announced during the Wednesday night meeting of the Bedford Town Council that it has been decided to enlist the services of an outside consultant for the second search for a new Town Manager. As we know, the first search failed miserably when the only candidate deemed appropriate for the job declined it. So, we should soon learn which head hunter has been chosen to coordinate the new search. While Council members repeatedly stated that the first search was "transparent," in reality, it was far, far from that, and most of what was learned about it came from leaking of information. For all intents and purposes, the public was allowed no input, nor were we provided with anything other than what could be regarded as insignificant information.
It seems to me that when the most powerful and most costly position in town needs to be filled, our involvement should be more than that of being simply regarded as those who keep the town's piggybank full and chubby. We deserve to know who the finalists for the position are, and we should be able to see and to hear them, and even ask a few questions of our own. If someone wants to essentially run the Town of Bedford, then those who are within gaining the privilege of doing so should have enough courage and stamina to put themselves in front of us in the same way that someone who seeks elected office is expected to put himself or herself before us.
Perhaps we'll see the consultant or a Council member suggest forming a panel of residents to have secretive interviews with a few secret candidates. But that's not enough either. The last thing that we need is a carefully selected panel in which we are supposed to put our blind faith in their impartiality or our blind faith in their ability to legitimately represent all of us.
The new game has started. Let's see if its handled better than the last one. Let's see if the word "transparency" is more than a dictionary entry to the members of our Town Council.
III. AND THE COUNCIL NEW YEAR STARTS LIKE THE OLD YEAR ENDED
Those of you who watched the Town Council meeting on television on Wednesday night saw that there was a brief appearance by the newly-elected Town Moderator.
What you did not see or hear, however, was the Council making any effort whatsoever to recognize the former town moderator, Ryk Bullock, for his many years of service to the Town of Bedford. In fact, you did not even hear the mere mention of his name.
Given the fact that four Council members signed on to a website developed for the sole purpose of defeating Bullock in the election, their slight cannot be considered a surprise. In case you've forgotten, the four Councilors who inserted themselves in the middle of the campaign were Chairman Bill Dermody, Vice Chairman Chris Bandazian, Jim Scanlon, and newly-seated Bill Jean.
But many of us hoped that they would have class enough to utter a simple thanks to someone who served the town for a very long time, particularly after their shabby behavior of a couple of weeks ago at the Town Meeting when they deliberately and similarly ignored giving any recognition to former Town Council Chairman Mike Izbicki.
I'll say now what I said then . . . Council members should be ashamed of themselves. They do not serve us well with their pettiness and vindictiveness.
IV. ALREADY THERE'S TALK OF A CHARTER CHANGE
As predicted several weeks ago, there is already talk of a change to the Town's charter. At the end of Wednesday's Council meeting, Vice Chairman Chris Bandazian made a pitch for a change during his turn at the microphone during the "Councilors' comments" portion of the assemblage. Bandazian is of the belief that in the name of attracting the best and the brightest, consideration needs to be given to removing the requirement that the Bedford Town Manager must become a resident of Bedford. While getting a charter change is almost impossible in time for it to apply for whomever will be our next Town Manager (assuming that one is actually hired in the next couple of months), Bandazian's charter change idea would be in effect for future hires.
What a phenomenal idea. After all, why should we expect our most powerful and highest paid town employee to have enough commitment to the town to actually live here??? How totally dastardly of us!!!
When I heard Councilor Bandazian's remarks, I couldn't help but wonder if the stage was being set for a triumphant return to town of someone who once lived here. You know - - - the one who applied for the Town Manager's job a couple of months ago, but then withdrew because he doesn't want to move back to Bedford.
Nah, that couldn't be. As we are often told, "transparency" is the byword of our little town.
V. HISTORIC HYSTERICS
And now that the effort has finally succeeded to remove from the Historic District a portion of the commercial area on and around a small portion of Route 101, we are already hearing cries to abolish the Historic District altogether in Bedford.
I suspect that advocates for the abolishment will meet with some pretty strong opposition, particularly from people who have fervently and long espoused that the District protects a genuine part of Bedford's history. Could perhaps some changes be considered? As with anything, things might be able to be tweaked to better accommodate multiple viewpoints. Now I'll admit that historic preservation is not a subject in which I have a lot of knowledge, albeit, I have had the joy of owning and living in beautiful old homes that are considered historic. But I do know for certain that in many places where there have not been zealous protectors of history, history has been irrevocably and sadly lost.
For those who may not yet have strong feelings on this issue, I shall say this. Don't fall for specious arguments that point only to what some people may find as annoyances with regard to a historic district. If a true effort to abolish the historic district in Bedford comes to pass, carefully analyze the cast who is pushing for the abolishment, and leave no stone unturned in determining the whys and the wherefores of the campaign.
As with most issues, the surface is simply the top laminate. There are many layers below. And there are many stories to be told.