Libel or Bad Spell Check…You Be the Judge!

Did I miss something

I mean, isn’t it confusing enough to have a Fire Chief who shares a last name with this dude without also having to wonder if there was a sex tape scandal that I missed?

My head hurts, so if someone can explain to me whether (a) Tirella thinks “Dio” is short for “DiLiddo” or (b) I missed some major news, I’d really appreciate it.

Update — screen prints  here.

Not that I really wanted to talk clean water…

…because, well, I didn’t.  While looking for something else completely, I came across this column by Ted Williams in Audubon Magazine, from about a year ago, about the Blackstone and Worcester and why we’re fighting the EPA.  I know I haven’t read it before, and if someone else mentioned it (around the time it was published), my apologies. 

Much of the column is, of course, still relevant, since it seems that we’re gearing up for some sort of legal battle again.  It’s well worth a read, no matter where you are on this issue.

Of especial interest:

In 1991 the EPA had issued Worcester’s treatment plant a pollution permit that didn’t cover nutrients. The slightly stricter permit, due in 1997, wasn’t issued until 1999, at which point the city appealed it. After three years of negotiating and compromising, the EPA issued a modified version. Although this gave the plant a continued free pass on nitrogen, it did require a modest cap on phosphorous of .75 milligrams per liter, but not until 2009.

In 2008—even as the environmental community scolded the Bush administration for transmogrifying bizarre Supreme Court decisions into an end run around the Clean Water Act—Bob Varney, administrator of the EPA’s New England office, stood tall for fish and wildlife, issuing the Worcester plant yet another permit that required a cut in phosphorous to .1 milligrams per liter and, for the first time, imposed a nitrogen limit (5 milligrams per liter). “There’s no deadline, because the city is appealing this permit, too,” Williams said. “I wouldn’t expect this second set of upgrades to be online before 2020.”

For outraged city fathers, the preferred date is never. “It’s totally illogical to impose more stringent limits when we are only halfway through the [first] upgrade,” the public works commissioner, Bob Moylan, told the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, neglecting to point out that the reason they were only halfway through the first upgrade was because they’d fought it. And city manager Michael O’Brien chimed in with: “Enough is enough. This cannot be passed on to the Worcester taxpayer.” Why not? one might ask. The average Massachusetts household pays $440 a year for sewer services, while the average Worcester household pays $381.

As Moylan correctly observes in prefacing long “but” clauses, “everyone wants clean water.” It’s just that in Worcester, as in many cities and towns across America, they don’t want it enough to pay for it. And what’s truly unfair is that who pays the costs of this misfeasance are downstream communities like greater Providence—which has embraced Clean Water Act caps on nitrogen at its two sewage treatment plants and has just completed a $400 million system to catch and treat stormwater runoff.

(Also, for those of you looking for gratuitous Moylan video, look no further…)

Possible Germain Campaign Slogans

First of all, I should point out that I have never met Councilor Mike Germain, and, as far as I know, he has no idea who I am. (I believe if he did, I would have the restraining order to prove it.)

Lately, I’ve been a bit concerned that Germain might not be seeking re-election in 2011. I mean, he’s talking taxes, and this time, they’re not for college students.

Heck, someone even commented on this letter that “Germain paraded as a friend of working class when he is anything but. Germain is an enemy of all those who struggle to pay their bills and put food on the table.”  (Now, I don’t remember Germain parading as anything, otherwise you know I would have been there!)

What I like about Mike Germain is that he’s not operating from a political playbook that makes any sort of sense, and yet he’s gotten elected as an at-large councilor twice.  I mean, this is a guy who barely had any lawn signs up, has no web presence whatsoever, and neither is a visionary nor gives the people what they want, and he’s on the City Council!

Every once in a while, he takes an impassioned stand on something that at least half the population is absolutely in opposition to.  I can never tell exactly who he’s trying to appeal to, or even what kind of voter he appeals to, or if he actually has any friends on the Council.  (I was on the phone with Kate Toomey once and told her that Germain was my favorite councilor, and there was silence on the other end of the line for a few seconds.  Perhaps it was just a bad connection.)

I hesitate to use the word “maverick”, because that would actually imply that there’s something that he’s fighting against.  It’s more like he takes a pile of papers from his desk, tosses them in the air, and whatever reaches the floor first becomes his cause du jour.  At one point, he ran on some sort of parks-and-rec platform, but these days, he seems to be more of a “save the public schools” kind of guy.  Maybe there’s a Magic 8 Ball involved?  Who knows?

Perhaps I shouldn’t be worried about Germain — after all, the electorate complained about the raises the City Council gave themselves, and then voted them back into office.  I suspect that somewhere in that head is a calculating political genius.  But just in case there isn’t, may I recommend some campaign slogans?

Mike Germain: Not Nearly As Bad As You Thought He’d Be!
Mike Germain: Sometimes He’s Right on the Issues You Care About!
Mike Germain: Give Blood, Play Hockey!
Mike Germain: No Less Effective than Any Other City Councilor!
Mike Germain: There’s No “E” at the End of My Last Name!

The last is my personal favorite, especially since he’s listed in the Office of Campaign and Political Finance with an ‘e’ at the end of his last name.