Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Dog Days - Short Takes

1909 Wing – RFP?

In a development filled with irony, Chairman of the Board of Selectman Jimmy Mullen, with the support of member John Shields, proposed the writing of an RFP for the development of the 1909 Wing at the July 25th Selectmen’s meeting.

Just a couple of months ago the Board aborted the issuance of an RFP for the DPW Yard. They stopped a process of ongoing public discussion that took the better part of a year. Throughout that period Selectmen were accused of “fast-tracking” the process, a claim that became increasingly ludicrous as we witnessed month after month of public discussion.

Now we have an example of fast-tracking. Nothing like a comparable airing of public views has occurred around this issue. Where is the public hearing? How have the neighbors to the 1909 wing been afforded the same lengthy period of time to make their concerns known as the neighbors of the DPW Yard? Shouldn’t the concerns of neighbors, the School administration, the School Committee and the School Building Committee be addressed in the structure of any RFP? What kind of development would we permit? Would it require a zoning change? Didn’t member Shields state that one of the problems he had with the DPW RFP was that the zoning change should have been sought before issuing the RFP?

Mr. Mullen has agreed to meet with the neighbors. They should insist on a meeting with the entire board sitting in a public hearing. There is a School Committee Meeting this Thursday evening at 7:00 at the High School Library. Residents are free to offer their opinions during Citizens Speak. The School Committee controls the 1909 Wing and it is important for them to know how the residents feel about placing a private development on Middle School property.

School Residency

The Milton Times and Selectman Jimmy Mullen continue to beat the drum on an issue that remains nothing more than the unfounded claim of a runaway problem with non-residents attending the public schools. We have no more evidence today that as many as 100 non-residents are involved than we did when the speculations were first uttered over 3 months ago.

Mr. Mullen makes much of the agreement the School Committee entered into with the Board of Selectmen in order to entice the majority of that Board to agree to what was the only responsible action on the override to begin with. Just what did the School Committee agree to? Here is the resolution they passed.

That the School Committee hereby undertakes to the Board of Selectmen that it will review carefully all procedures which the school department follows with respect to monitoring and enforcing the requirement that only Milton residents be entitled to enroll and attend the Milton Public Schools and, at the request of the Board of Selectmen, to meet with them to discuss such procedures and to entertain and consider any evidence indicating that non-Milton residents are enrolled and attending the Milton Public Schools.

Three pretty simple tasks: review procedures, meet and discuss them with the Board of Selectmen, and investigate any evidence presented about non-resident school attendance.

I can’t imagine it would take long to review procedures. They were only adopted in 2004 as part of the ongoing updating of the school policies manual. The process is quite rigorous. You can read about it in the first link below. The School’s policy statement can be read on pages 4 and 5 under the second link.



These procedures and policies have been found by the Department of Education to conform with their guidelines. They are in keeping with Massachusetts State Law and case law. The School Committee should have its meeting with the Board of Selectmen, inform them of these facts, and of the fact that no evidence has been presented supporting the original claims. Then, with their obligation met, we should leave rumor and innuendo to those who will increasingly be seen as employing them for apparent political purposes.

New Links

I’ve added some new web links to my list.

The first is for Phil Dunkelbarger’s website. Dunkelbarger is a Democrat running against Stephen Lynch in the Democratic Primary for the 9th Massachusetts Congressional District. Check out an attractive new candidate for consideration as our Representative.

The second link is Milton’s own Deval Patrick’s website. Massachusetts desperately needs a Governor with both competence and compassion. The site is excellent.

Next is my long time friend Howard Dinin’s blog. Howard is a writer and photographer, among other things. He just returned from a few weeks at his home in Provence and the blog contains many recent musings on things French including a recipe for ratatouille in the August 2 post.

Finally, Emily Innes will be transitioning her election website to a blog dealing with Planning issues and more. She promises to post an article by August 13, three days after the next Planning Board meeting.