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Alan Chartock: I Publius. Letters to the Doctor

I have always thanked New York Gov. Cuomo for filling Great Barrington’s coffers. It didn’t seem to lower my tax bill, but who pays attention to those things?

More made-up letters to the doctor:

Dear Doctor: I hear that Steve Bannon, selectman and school board chair, is mad at you and isn’t speaking to you anymore. I thought you guys liked each other. What happened? Sign me, Hesta on Hollenbeck.

Dear Hesta (that’s a funny spelling): Thanks for writing. Ah, well, a columnist’s life is not an easy one. Sooner or later they all get mad at you.

There are signs that the majority on the present selectboard has gone slightly power-mad. A new selectperson, Leigh Davis, was elected and has been on the correct side of the issues as I see them. She has ticked off the present majority, who are suggesting that she is unethical for offering her opinions. Nonsense! That’s why I voted for her. I knew that she would.

First, there was an attempt to silence her by saying that she shouldn’t be allowed to put up agenda items without the majority of the board going along. When I announced that was happening, the Bannon Amendment was withdrawn. Then they came up with a whole bunch of other nonsense, again limiting freedom of speech. There’s a lot of talk about not giving your opinion about anything that might come before the board. Are you kidding? Try reading the First Amendment to the Constitution. We expanded the selectboard from three to five, and now the majority three seem to want to limit what we can hear. To put it mildly, this is just politically stupid. They try to hide behind paid lawyers (our tax money), but their arguments are just plain spurious. They ought to be ashamed of themselves.

Dear Doctor: I read where you said that once the Lake Mansfield Road was paved, the speeding on that treacherous stretch would get worse. Has it? Sign me, Matilda, a second homer from Manhattan.

Dear Matilda: I walk that road every day as part of my daily routine. Let me be clear, I do not have the equipment to clock speeders, but I can tell you that there are many speeders on that 20 mph stretch. I motion for them to slow down. One guy in a fancy car stopped and claimed that he was only going 20 mph. That reminded me of Donald Trump’s utterances. In any case, I invite you to walk that road and then write me again, asking me whether people are speeding. It is interesting that they were speeding when the road was a mess and they are speeding now that it’s been repaved. Maybe they just want to take on a bad road as a test of how much their cars can handle. Selectman Bannon told me that the road would be closed in a few years. Yeah, and I have a bridge to sell you.

Dear Doctor: Every time I pass the cannabis joint in Great Barrington, I see long lines. There are many New York and Connecticut license plates. Why don’t those states allow people to buy the stuff? Sign me, Bertha in Barrington.

Dear Bertha: Beats me, but I have always thanked New York Gov. Cuomo for filling Great Barrington’s coffers. It didn’t seem to lower my tax bill, but who pays attention to those things? Cuomo was originally opposed to recreational marijuana sales in New York, saying it was a gateway drug. Then, he seemed to have changed his mind. Anyway, good for Great Barrington, bad for New York taxpayers.

Dear Doctor: If Massachusetts is such a blue state, how come we have a Republican governor? Sign me, Sally in Sheffield.

Dear Sally: People love this governor. Every once in a while, they send a message to the Democrats that reads, “Don’t take us for granted.” Of course, the governor has to be very careful about what he says about Donald Trump. Dangerous territory.


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