Friday, November 2, 2007
Mi Casa, Su Casa
So as predicted, the town found enough structural defects in Dave’s castle to bring down a skyscraper and probably by the close of business today will condemn his Happy Home. Funny how quickly the system works when hassling a Gadfly.
I don’t think the Springfield Republican reporter quite realized that Dave was serious when he said perhaps he would relocate into the Town Hall stairwell (after all, it is currently covered by a plastic sheet,)
This incident reminds me of another infamous Barry Del Castilho episode, now South Hadley’s $65/hour interim town administrator. Del Castilho desperately wanted a multi-million Override for Town Hall renovations (where his office was located) so he made a HUGE health issue of pigeon poop in the attic.
His secretary Laurie Benoit (whom he later married, after divorcing his then wife Linda) was posed for the Front Page of the crusty old Amherst Bulletin wearing a surgeon’s mask to filter out the supposed biological hazards.
And the two of them used a mail order air quality test kit (that at the time was about as reliable as a coin toss) and submitted samples from the back filter of an air conditioner (Gee, you think maybe that turned up a few beasties?)
Del Castilho then commissioned a $10,000 study by a reputable consultant to study the air quality in and around Town Hall. Hilariously, the study revealed the BEST air quality in the building was located in the attic because of the hot dry air up there (and all the poop was stuck to the floor so it didn’t go airborne).
And the WORST quality air was directly outside the building (called normal New England air in late Spring or Summer).
Along comes Dave Keenan suggesting volunteers simply clean up the poop for free and fix the broken window that the pigeons were using to enter the nice warm attic for the winter. The Town Manager, not wanting to grant Keenan a positive headline for selfless volunteerism, unequivocally said No.
Dave then crashed a Select Board meeting with a few friends (no, not me) dressed in space suits singing the song Ghost-Busters. Although changing the key word to Pigeon-Busters.
The town went on to spend over $100,000 to clean up the poop. And about then Dave stopped paying his taxes.
Town Meeting later overwhelmingly voted a $2.7 million Override with only two out of 155 or so voting No. I was one and Hill Boss the other. A week or so later Boss Hill wrote a Letter To The Editor of the crusty Bulletin saying he changed his mind and now supported the Override. It got walloped at the ballot box.
Town Meeting tried again; and again voters said take a hike. Town Meeting then used a loan to pay for it (thus bypassing voters) and by then it had grown to around $4 million. And even then a couple years later, Town Hall required a $200,000 more for roof repair and next week Town Meeting will be discussing how to pay another $600,000 for the current exterior repointing.
Only in Amherst.