Straw man


PREDICTION: On or about June 30, 2021, someone will post on one of the local Facebook groups the following tale of woe:

Tonight, I picked up takeout for the family at [local restaurant.] Imagine my frustration when I got home and there were no utensils and no straws in any of the paper bags! I called [local restaurant] and was told that due to a new local regulation they can’t give out plastic straws or utensils unless the customer specifically requests them. Is this true? When did this happen?

In the comments, I will helpfully post a link to my story in the Nov. 9, 2020 Wakefield Daily Item, headlined, Town Meeting OKs banning more plastics.

You’re welcome, in advance.
Continue reading ‘Straw man’

Good things, as they say, come to those who wait. Unfortunately, so do bad things.

You may recall that on last spring’s Annual Town Meeting warrant, there were a couple of articles aimed at expanding the town’s plastic bag ban and prohibiting certain types of food packaging.

These measures were sponsored by the same folks who successfully pushed through the original plastic bag ban a few years ago.
Continue reading ‘Sustainability theater’

A simple choice


Out-of-state donors are pouring millions into an effort to forever alter the outcomes of Massachusetts elections.

Unfortunately for them, the concept of ranked choice voting is so convoluted that it can’t be convincingly explained in a one-minute TV ad or even with an oversized, glossy, two-sided mailer.
Continue reading ‘A simple choice’

Let me be the first to wish you and yours a happy Columbus Day.

This year’s holiday is doubly special because it’s not just the second Monday in October. Monday also happens to be Oct. 12, which is traditional Columbus Day. It will be exactly 528 years ago to the day that the great Italian explorer landed in the New World.
Continue reading ‘Happy Columbus Day!’

Mailing it in


It’s adorable how people still refer to Nov. 3 as “Election Day.”

We’ve had “early voting” for a couple of years, which began the process of diluting the meaning of Election Day. Now, with the totally unnecessary concept of “mail-in voting,” we’re told that we may not even know the result of the presidential election for days or even weeks after “Election Day.”
Continue reading ‘Mailing it in’

Monday is Labor Day, meaning that the Summer of 2020 will finally, mercifully, be over.
So long, COVID Summer.
Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

It was the summer of face coverings, cancellations and quarantines, as opposed to concerts, camp and cookouts.

Everything was canceled, including local favorites like the Fourth of July Parade and fireworks, Festival Italia, Festival by the Lake and Movies by the Lake.

But at least it was warm, unlike the summer of 1816, “The Year There Was No Summer.” Snow fell in Massachusetts on June 7. People referred to 1816 as “Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death.”

So stop your whining, put on your mask and listen to how good you have it.
Continue reading ‘The worst summer’

It’s taken far too long, but I now see the light. Change is needed. Now.

In the words of the old hymn, “I once was lost, but now am found / Was blind but now I see.”

Like many, I’ve resisted change. Change is hard. It forces you to think.
Continue reading ‘A cry for change’

Big bang theory


When is a firecracker just a firecracker?

If you were in Wakefield — or anywhere else in the country — on July 4 weekend, you probably noticed a dramatic uptick in the volume of amateur fireworks compared to other years. You were not alone. “Fireworks complaint” was far and away the dominant entry in the local police log over the holiday weekend. On social media, residents who have never come within a continent of military combat insisted that their neighborhoods were “just like a war zone” once darkness fell on Independence Day.

There has been much speculation, and a few conspiracy theories, over the reasons for this year’s nationwide pyrotechnic explosion.
Continue reading ‘Big bang theory’

If you approached the 2020 Annual Town Meeting with a touch of trepidation, you certainly weren’t alone.

There were several articles on the warrant that had the potential to make Wakefield a less safe and more restrictive community.
Continue reading ‘Reasons to be cheerful’



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