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Alan Chartock: I Publius

Frankly, I never wanted to get into this, but the issues here are so clear and the arrogance of the Great Barrington Selectboard majority is so great that I am doing what I have to do.

What a shame!

What a shame that the two regional school committees, Southern Berkshire and Berkshire Hills, can’t get off their duffs and do what we all know they have to do: Combine the two districts once and for all. If they don’t, Southern Berkshire will end up with just a few kids in its graduating classes, and Berkshire Hills will have fewer and fewer in its schools. There is so much to be gained here. The combined high school will be able to offer more courses, and our kids will be in a better position to compete and continue to learn after graduation.

The fact that the two districts can’t get it done can be ascribed to the same kind of problems we see in international relations. Instead of just doing what is right from a financial and educational perspective, power, incumbency and competitiveness become the real reasons that things aren’t moving along. The way I see it, the Berkshire Hills (Monument Mountain) folks think that they have the upper hand and are putting it to the Southern Berkshire people. The standard ought to be, “What is good for the kids?” Come on, folks, when the smoke clears you are going to be judged because you did what was right. This is not war or international relations; it’s education. Steve Bannon, the powerful chair of the Berkshire Hills system, is so used to getting his own way that the hat makers are going to have to start offering a larger size.

I used to think that it was okay for one person to be both chair of the school committee and the selectboard. I remember when a man named Robert Moses used to run a good deal of New York state. As the old children’s poem used to go, “When (s)he was good she was very, very good.” The problem is that sooner or later, the power becomes more important than the substance. In this case, Berkshire Hills has the upper hand, and it is time for that group to show some magnanimity and get this done.

What a shame!

I really can’t believe what I am seeing happening on the Great Barrington Selectboard. The majority is behaving abysmally. Our leaders ought to be allowed to speak freely and bring good ideas on behalf of their constituents to the board. Every day, we are watching the arrogance of Donald Trump as he forbids the constitutionally prescribed process to go forward. We are witnessing a similar tragedy on the local level. Selectboard member Leigh Davis has some great ideas and the majority on the board is coming up with all kinds of new rules to quiet her down. Their latest attempt to stop members (Leigh) from using social media to present her ideas but allowing one of their own majority (Ed Abrahams) to put his ideas out on a local radio show is a study in opportunistic hypocrisy. It looks like the majority is backing down once again. If the majority forces Leigh to leave the board, she will be remembered as a real hero while they will look like the bunch of bullies that they are.

Frankly, I never wanted to get into this, but the issues here are so clear and the arrogance of the board majority is so great that I am doing what I have to do. I hope that each of you, dear readers, will see these issues for what they are.

What a shame!

The greatest shame we are all witnessing is Donald Trump’s apparent putsch to decimate the United States Constitution. We are truly at a crossroads here, just as the Germans were so many years ago. What we’re seeing is frightening and could spell the end of our way of life. Impeachment and conviction are the only clear remedy. So much is at stake. I love the fact that Deval Patrick is running for the top job. He’ll clean this all up.


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