Saturday, March 25, 2006

Reader contest!

Nathan's post below inspires an idea: Readers, whats your favorite all-time Andy Upham quote? Andy's penchant for grand pronouncements, manly metaphors and quirky jargon has left an extensive rhetorical trail that's far too entertaining to be forgotten. Lets collect some of the Vice Chairman's most memorable lines in one place so that posterity will be able to fully appreciate his legendary verbosity.

The only rules (for now) are (1) all quotes must be an Upham original, (2) All quotes must be documented, and (3) All contributions must be posted in the comment thread under this post for peer scrutiny.

Think back, dig through the written record, or watch a council video. After an undetermined amount of time and several shots of vodka, the BWG editorial team will select the best of the best and post them right here on the front page for all the world to see.

To get things rolling, here's my contribution:
"My strong preference is to build upon the core values of the wonderful People of Gray. I am their tool."

-Upham email to Elizabeth Prata 6/29/05 following Upham's reversal of the Pennell/GPLA referendum mandate
You can't make this stuff up.


Friday, March 24, 2006

Quotable Quotes

"It is not sufficient that I succeed-all others must fail." - Kenghis Khan

"Success is the sole earthly judge of right and wrong. " - Adolph Hitler

"June's election . . . was the beginning of . . . "leadership with heart"" - Elizabeth Prata

"I was elected to represent all the people of Gray." - Andy Upham


Nathan Tsukroff

Council rules and the fiscal policy

So let me get this straight.
Gary Foster, Town Council chair, sees obvious defeat of Upham's overblown fiscal policy, so now he's going to completely bypass any consideration for the public's will and press for a "council rule." The "council rule" can be put into place by just the town council, while the original proposal calls for a charter amendment that requires approval by a majority of voters.
The majority has made it clear they believe the fiscal policy as it stands now would be detrimental to Gray.
My only hope is that Foster, et al, will vastly revamp the policy before they try to force it upon our hardworking town employees.This appears to be another example of the council's autocracy and complete disregard for what is wanted by the majority of Gray's citizens.
Nathan Tsukroff

Fiscal Policy - good, bad, or indifferent?

Town Council Vice Chair Andy Upham brings up an interesting point when he says the Town of Gray needs a fiscal policy. Our town is really just a big business, providing services to all of us as "owners."

The downside to Upham's present policy appears to be that it would require so much time to crunch the numbers to arrive at conclusions. Or would it? Much of the information needed for Andy's proposed metrics can be easily captured throughout the year, and looked at whenever needed.

Reworking the policy to make it simpler seems to be a good solution. The fiscal policy is much like a map - without it we don't know where we have been nor where we're going.

Can we put this "map" into place without overwhelming our town staff? I'd like to think so.

Lynn Olson found problems with Andy's proposal, and I think her six years as a councilor gives her a good idea of how to fit a revised policy in to our existing government. Perhaps the council could benefit from her expertise and experience.

We have many other thoughtful people who can help revise the policy, and I hope they will share their ideas with the council.

What are your thoughts on this?

Nathan Tsukroff

Casting call

Mini Me

My Hollywood sources tell me Andy and Gary almost got themselves parts in a big movie a few years ago.

Wish the casting director had called me. I knew just the person to play Frau Farbissina, too.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

My adoring fans

Please, please all my adoring fans . . . remember, this is an opinion blog. I just want to remind my special admirer that we're trying to share thoughts and ideas, so please just post your opinions!

If you wish to have a discussion, you're welcome to contact me at . I value all opinions, and look forward to hearing from you. Or better yet, just post your thoughts in the comments section. We welcome everyone.

If you wish to know my take on the issues, you merely need to read this blog!



We are leading the way

It's obvious everyone and their uncle is reading this blog. Why, we must get nearly two dozen readers a day. Even the New York Times is jealous!

And thanks to that incredible circulation, we are leading the way to a better Gray!

Although I'm a little mad at Don for spilling the beans too soon. I thought we had everyone fooled, and then Don just had to blog our plans about the trifecta. Now the cat is out of the bag and we'll just never hear the end of it.

In the meantime, we'll try to take to go easy on the other side. And remember - "Hate the game, not the player!"



PS - For those of you who don't understand sarcasm, this is another tongue-in-cheek piece. I'll be serious later and you can compare the two.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

All aboard the recall express

Gray Town Council accepts official notification of citizen recall effort. Voters to decide Andrew J. Upham's fate on May 2. Implications abound. Discuss.

Liar, liar, pants on fire

If you ever wanted proof that Liz at The Monument is full of baloney, you have it now.
She's spent an inordinate amount of time telling everyone that I have presented lies to our readers.
But in one of her recent blog postings, she presented a complete fabrication. In her blog she reports on a conversation I had with John Welch. About the only thing she got right is the fact that I spoke with Welch.
Now let's get something straight here - neither Prata, the former English teacher, nor I, a photographer by trade, do an excellent job with our writing. However, despite mistakes in articles, I have never made up outright fabrications. Now Prata has.
It's one thing to present an opinion, as we do in this blog. It's shameful for Prata to post outright fabrications in a blog that is clearly an extension of her newspaper.
Nathan Tsukroff

Compassionate conservatism?

During the Town Council Meeting on March 21, 2006 the issue of sale of property for tax delinquency was discussed. It was evident from his comments that Andy Upham wants to play bill collector and kick folks out of their homes because of unpaid taxes. Is this an example of compassionate conservatism? I would think that in a small town like Gray we would be able to take a more personal look at this situation and determine if this draconian measure is needed in all situations.

John Welch rightly raised the issue of what is our responsibility if the town evicts someone? It brings to mind the indifference to human suffering capture by Charles Dickens when he has Scrooge ask, "Are there no prisons, are there no work houses?" What are we becoming? I would rather work out a deal with a person who is delinquent in their taxes so that they could repay them in a mutually agreeable schedule, than punish and deprive our fellow citizens of their property. In cases where every attempt has been made to contact, and no responsible party of ownership can be found (example death) then that would constitute a situation, in my opinion, where the Town of Gray would be justified in proceeding with a sale of the property to settle taxes. The situation must be looked at with care and the realization of the impact it will have needs to considered carefully.

This reeks of a vested interest. Is this a tactic for some people with inside information to scoop up desirable land cheaply? The least the council could do would be to make a public statement that they will not personally make bids on any properties put on the auction block.

This thing is just mean spirited and wrong. We are a better community than this. We are not just a tax base, we are people. Life does not always come down to crunching numbers. Mr. Upham kindly consider the human toll of the actions you propose.

Don Crandall

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

TABOR in Maine

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has conducted an analysis of Maine's TABOR initiative. The link to the report is

The Maine Citizen Leadership Fund maintains articles online entitled, "The Truth about TABOR" on the MCLF site

I see the merit of capping spending in Maine, although I wonder if this is the right way to create that cap.

Our Town Council Chair, Gary Foster, is a proponent of TABOR. He brings some thoughtful arguments to the table in support of the proposal.

Nathan Tsukroff

Council meeting tonight

Should be a good one. Agenda items of interest:
Sixth Order of Business:...Report from the Registrar of Voters and Town Clerk - Status of the Recall Petition

Seventh Order of Business: Additions to the Agenda - Possible Order to schedule a special election to see if the voters will recall Councilor Andy Upham, pending verification of signatures.
This has all the makings of a clown show classic. Attend or watch on TV, document any atrocities.

As they once said on the streets of Chicago: The whole world is watching.


Monday, March 20, 2006

It's their nature

A scorpion wished to cross the river. Along came a frog, and the scorpion said, "Brother frog, will you carry me across this river?" The frog replied, "I do not dare, for you will sting me." "Oh no," said the scorpion, "I will not sting you." And so the frog set off across the river with the scorpion on his back.

Halfway across the river, the scorpion stung the frog. "What have you done?" cried the frog. "Now we both shall die!" "I could not help it," said the scorpion. "It's in my nature."

Nathan Tsukroff

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Fun with numbers

# voters in Gray: 5530
# people who voted for Andrew Upham in 2005: 404
# valid signatures on Upham recall petition: 1029
# weeks needed to collect most signatures: 2
% by party affiliation of petition signers: U-37% D-32% R-28% G-3%
# unidentified citizens allegedly harassed by petitioners: 6
# harassed citizens who actually rescinded petition signature: 0
# documented harassment incidents against recall petitioners: 3
# councilors publicly opposed to illegal harassment of petitioners: 0
# councilors publicly opposed to illegal petitioning ban at library: 0
# councilors publicly opposed to recall: 4
# committee & department volunteers who signed recall petition: 50+

Sorta puts things in perspective, doesn't it?