Friday, April 07, 2006

Raw talent

There are times in this life when we have to put aside whatever we are doing and gaze in awe and wonder at the possibilities of human potential. This is one of those times. (4+ min. video w/sound)

Besides, its Friday afternoon.

Upham strategists meet

One of our operatives (codename: "Toto") got this picture of Andy's top strategists discussing enemy blog activity during a recent meeting at 12 Main St.:

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The voice of experience

Thank goodness for Fran Monroe.

Time and again, she has spoken to the town council at the bi-weekly meetings to chastise others in Gray for rude behaviour.

And who better to point out inappropriate behaviour than the former town councilor herself, whose rude and inappropriate behaviour ultimately cost the town nearly $16,000?

After town employees complained about Monroe's interference with the work of town employees, the sitting council censured her for her actions. She promptly sued the town, losing the first time, then suing again and eventually losing. But her suits cost the town $16,000 to defend itself.

So please listen to Ms. Monroe when she tells you to be nice. She knows what she's talking about!

Nathan Tsukroff

A dismal chapter closes

CEDC survives on a predictable 2-3 vote. Another destructive, unnecessary episode in this council's sad history comes to a sullen end, leaving only divisiveness and bitterness in its wake. Not a single conciliatory gesture from the elected "leaders" who took us down this path. Not a hint of awareness of the damage they have done to the community and themselves. Personal animus and arrogance to the very end.

What a colossal failure of leadership. What a legacy.


Upham fails voters again

Andy Upham, vice-chair of the Gray Town Council, failed the voters of Gray at Tuesday night's meeting, delivering a flawed council fiscal policy and failing to correct errors that were brought to his attention.

It was a disappointing performance from a man who has railed so long against mediocrity and poor performance in Gray's government.

After initially presenting his fiscal policy in October, Upham made only minor changes to the original document but still failed to correct several obvious spelling errors. And this after finding fault with Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz numerous times for just such errors.

In addition, Upham delivered a policy that looks at the performance of every department and function in town . . . except the town council itself. It's important to the voters of Gray that we have a way to measure not only the performance of salaried employees, but the performance of our five "employees" who sit in the council chairs.

Chair Gary Foster told the audience that any errors could be corrected later, missing a chance to show badly-needed leadership by fixing problems boldly and promptly.

All around, a very disappointing showing from a couple of people who have found fault with others so often for their only too-human mistakes.

I challenge Mr. Upham to present corrections to his policy for a vote at the next council meeting. We must be able to count on him to deliver on his promise of improved government for Gray. Delivering a policy with even these simple mistakes is a failure to meet that promise.

Nathan Tsukroff

Monday, April 03, 2006

Anonymous Foolishness

By now, our readers are starting to understand why so many national newspapers require signed letters to the editor. The signature is required to force the writer to justify his or her statements. It's easy to make an anonymous statement, but signing a name makes the writer much more careful about what is said.

The concept behind anonymous letters and blog posts is that some people will be afraid to speak their minds if they must speak publicly. But that does not give writers and bloggers free rein to make untruthful or inappropriate statements. Indeed, writers and bloggers have an obligation to present supporting facts for their arguments to give credence to their anonymous statements.

While you may not agree with what we post on this blog, you have the opportunity to present your side of the argument. Sadly, as we've all seen in recent weeks, some of our anonymous commentors make ridiculous or childish statements

One way to limit this foolishness is to limit the opportunity for comments. That would mean our readers would be forced to read our postings without any way to respond.

Requiring commentors to sign in to this blog is another option, but one that we have hesitated to use in the interest of free speech.

So how about it, readers? Are you adult enough to post a serious comment that furthers the discussion? Or do we have to make you wear name tags when you stand in front of the class?

I challenge our readers to show their intelligence with thought-provoking commentary, whether signed or anonymous.

Nathan Tsukroff

Can you hear me now?

There is no reason to believe that Tuesday night's council meeting will not follow standard clown show script: parliamentary disorganization, endless debate, personal abuse, unprecedented micromanagement and the inevitable vertigo-inducing policy detour or late-night surprise. But there should be at least one important difference this time around: you'll be able to hear it better.

The improved audio is the result of heroic efforts by those wacky gearheads on the Gray Cable TV Committe (Brad, Ryan and Mark, with occasional assist from yours truly), who spent the better part of a sunny Saturday overhauling the Stimson Hall sound system. This complex and tedious endeavour was made necessary by the dismal performance of the wireless microphone system installed when the council decided to move off the stage and down onto the main floor.

The entire Stimson audio-visual system is optimized for the stage. The original cabled mikes connected to audio jacks set into the stage floor, but with the council's descent (literal and figurative) this meant unsightly, toe-catching cables running every which way. To avoid this, GCTV purchased and installed expensive wireless microphones, but despite their alleged quality these turned out to be noisy, interference-prone, and unreliable. Plus they drained batteries faster than my old Buick. So after much drilling, snipping, and knob-twirling, we are back to the old mikes, cabled as neatly and unobtrusively as possible. Councilors will simply have to watch their step, a small price to pay for improved acoustics. Only the public microphone remains wireless, to the undoubted relief of Gray's many Tuesday-night karaoke enthusiasts.

GCTV - by far the BEST source of town council coverage in Gray! Accept no substitutes!

I should probably also mention this item on the agenda:
Third Order of Business: Order #57- (Tabled January 3, 2006) Review and act upon amending the Council Rules to abolish the Community Economic Development Committee. Sponsor- Town Council. This action requires a majority vote after an opportunity for public comment.
Turn up the volume and enjoy the spectacle.