A penny for your thoughts: getting to know a neighbor

For the last couple of months, there’s been a man panhandling by the Store 24 on Beacon St., between the streetcar stop and the Griggs path. Today I gave him a buck, which is the same amount I gave him a couple of weeks ago, only that time he gave me a 1960 silver quarter in exchange. There’s been panhandlers before on the corner in years past, but no one really stuck around much, as far as I knew. Maybe he’s stuck around a bit because I asked him his name and give him a few words of conversation. So I see him once every couple of weeks; I’m not sure what his pattern is.

Town Democrats demand answers from top campaign advisors!

The election is over, and good Democrats coast-to-coast (and perhaps in between) are scratching their heads and asking: What went wrong? What can we fix?

Brookline Town Meeting 2004: Getting buried & tossed in the trash

There were two vacancies in the Tenth Precinct of Brookline’s, and three openings. My friend from temple, Jonathan Davis asked me to fill one of the vacancies. I could have avoided this problem had I thought to run last May, but I didn’t (I just hung around for the voting results). Now that the Presidential election is behind me, I’m thrilled to dive into the guts of local policymaking. It should be fun, Jonathan promised.

Brookline Town Meeting 2004: Discussion of the Warrant Articles

Here are the 25 Warrant Articles for the Annual Town Meeting. Also, here are the Town Meeting Members, which include 240 elected members and 8 at-large. The articles sure to generate the bulk of the discussion are #7 Underground Utilities, #11 on the cell tower (even though it recommends passing to a committee), and #21, a study to overhaul the 2-hour parking limit. I’m leaning against $7 for the cost. The Griggs Park Neighborhood Association is in favor of it. I’m willing to hear both sides.

Wednesday at the Brookline Democratic Town Committee meeting

I went to the Brookline Democratic Town Committee’s legislative roundtable last Wednesday, which was my first official event. Though first I thought it helpful to give an introduction about the town.

Griggs Road Candidates Victorious in Precinct 10 TMM Election

Griggs Road residents Christopher Koch and Michael Traister rolled to victory, knocking out an incumbent in yesterday’s competitive election for the Town Meeting Members of Precinct 10 in Brookline. With 16 precincts of around 1,000 voters, the winning candidates usually pull in about a hundred votes. Yesterday about 180 voters showed up at the firehouse to vote. Here’s the unofficial totals (incumbents*):

The REAL problem with Brookline’s Cable– at the ascertainment hearing

I took a break last Thursday from the bustle of online activism to see some real government in action. I went to the Cable Ascertainment Hearing in Brookline, at the Public Safety building across the street from Town Hall. The meeting, as I learned, would not a forum for policy, but actually a lecture on electrical engineering. What a treat for the dozen or so people who had showed up for the hearing! With Comcast’s funding, Brookline had commissioned a consulting engineer, William Pohts to investigate the safety of the wiring and of the transmission leaks according to federal and industry guidelines. The old cable infrastructure in Boston/Brookline has been notoriously bad throughout its twenty-plus year history.

Demanding a la carte cable for Brookline/Boston

Subscribers of Comcast Cable in Brookline and Boston are seeing cable channels get zapped under their very eyes– an effect not unlike the disappearing memories of Jim Carrey’s character in the brilliant new movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. But the channels aren’t going away completely, they are effectively jumping over to the digital side.

Rallying for a Neighbor (from the Brookline Tab)

Today the Brookline TAB, our weekly town newspaper, published my piece Rallying for a Neighbor as a guest column. This was a vast reworking of the piece on Yang Jianli of several weeks back. I met Dr. Yang’s wife, Christina Fu, in preparing this story, and we had a nice chat about the neighborhood and about activism and such. I rewrote the piece a couple of times, and settled on a theme of zoning. Our neighborhood retails shops are zoned for commerce, and we customers are “zoned” for commerce as well when we do business there. All in all, it was a nice exercise in writing, editing, and cutting.

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