July 2004

July 2, 2004

Very dark clouds and lightning in the afternoon as I reached Breckwood and Plum on the way home. Gas at Liberty Stop & Shop $1.84.

Jesus was a hippie.

Ada Darbe, mother of Police Captain Russell T. Richmond, has died at 84. Old Walter Nichols used to say the more fancy tools carpenters have the worse their work gets. College Hill Park in Indian Orchard is all grown up to hay even around the fountain.

At 116 Birchland where the new black family has moved into the old Turner place there is a lovely flower pot on the front stoop. Colleen has put bunting under the big window in front of her house. I had just finished up the Giroux case paper sifting and was listening to the news when the doorbell rang and there was Irving Cohn at the door. He was accompanied by his younger brother Dan Cohn, who is 74 and retired from the lumber field. He was visiting from Putnam, Connecticut. I asked them in and we chatted, with Irving Cohn recalling that he moved to Birchland Avenue in 1948. They invited me to go out with them to dinner but I declined.

Went over to Angelo's Fruit Mart and bought six milk crates at a dollar each from the owner William A. DeNucci who is definitely selling out for good. Franklin Hardware on Main Street in Springfield was destroyed by the North End urban redevelopment of the 1960's. It was an old-fashioned store with a creaky wooden floor, jam packed with stuff in bins and barrels, stuff hanging from the ceiling, a wonderful place where it seemed you could buy anything.

Called Plant and got his sister. She says Gary is "busy, busy, busy." Told me that Mary Alice Stusick-Plant said, "I want no memory of me preserved." But she denied destroying any letters. Sister said Gary will call me next week. Jack Hess called and said he likes Tassinari Brothers the custom bookbinders in Ludlow. He said one of the brothers is dead. I told him that when I used them the book's spine came out off center.

Linda Melconian has finally admitted that Springfield can't solve its problems without help from Boston. The homeless in Tent City have been granted a one week reprieve from having to get off the St. Michael's lawn.

Eamon recalled today how when the Atwood Civic Association used to do the Hungry Hill fireworks they would shoot them so they landed in Van Horn Pond. Eamon feels that Mayor Ryan should be in Boston lobbying for money in person. Eamon said he heard that Paul Caron had chest pains and was taken to Baystate hospital but checked out okay. He is only 48.

July 4, 2004

Up at 5:30 and 70 degrees on the breezeway. Heavily overcast, flecks of moisture in the air.

The Republican is hiring sales and service representatives at $8.85 per hour to start. The statue of my ancestor Miles Morgan appears as part of a montage of local images in a United Bank commercial I saw this evening.

Picked a quart of black raspberries off my berry patch. After planting the last of the plants I bought at Angelo's I mowed the lawn and found a remarkable item lying near the road. It is the stub of a payroll check for William J. Lovett, a Springfield police officer whom I seem to recall was in some way tied to former Mayor Albano. What an odd bit of trash to blow on my lawn!

I walked over to the Nichols place and was cordially greeted by Ruth Nichols who told me I could take anything I wanted. I said all I really wanted was a picture so she picked out a lovely family portrait and gave it to me. She also gave me Walter's High School Diploma (Trade 1912) and his 1964 membership card from the musician's union, signed by Falvey. I made her laugh by telling her Walter called the woodpile out back "the termite palace." Our discussion was very cordial.

It was quiet here on the Fourth, I didn't bother to go to any local fireworks, although I heard that Larry McDermott was the Master of Ceremonies for the Springfield fireworks. I watched the Boston festivities on TV but there was no 1812 Overture which used to be standard with Boston. The fireworks however have become more and more sophisticated with beautiful rainbow clusters.

Hill told me that business is terrible at the Odyssey Bookstore in South Hadley during the big golf tournament. He said all the regular business stays away and the golfers are not interested in books. It's a lesson for Springfield in the futility of relying on tourist spin-offs: People come for what they come for and then they go.

The Mason Square McDonald's at 782 State was robbed last night, plus there was a shooting downtown on Main Street. All the trouble in the downtown "entertainment district" makes it seem more exciting to be down there, it draws the curious. Let's face it, the violence IS the entertainment. That's what people really come for, what could be more boring than just sitting around drinking beer and watching girls dance? The entertainment district is a curse because it makes the public demand more cops.

July 5, 2004

Overcast all day, poured for a few minutes. Julie Nixon Eisenhower is 56.

A.G. Spaulding and Bros. was located on Front Street in Chicopee. In the 1950's Westinghouse Electric had the motto, "Every House Needs Westinghouse." Pine Point Welding Service at 38 Berkshire Avenue was owned by Calvin Roots. Wm Harper Home Improvement was at 616 Boston Road. Max Okun Furniture at 1095 Main Street in the South End used to advertise itself as, "The store with the big green and yellow neon sign with the crown on top."

Dave Madsen on TV40 ads brags that they "won't hesitate to bring you the hard news" because that's their job. Yet they are affiliated with the Springfield Newspapers. Dave Madsen broke into TV news as a camera operator and became an anchor in 1979. This evening Latoya Foster was on 22 in a tight shirt, braless and with her nipples showing.

Tomorrow I'll be delivering to M. Hubertson at the Connecticut Valley History Museum some material from the Giroux estate, a sampling of invoices and statements documenting 50 years of Springfield business and banking going back to the 1940's.

Eamon's father was Patrick John O'Sullivan, brother of Walter "Tux" Sullivan the baseball expert. His Uncle Daniel Sullivan was personnel manager at the Bosh, where Eamon worked in the tool crib for three summers. Eamon says that Ryan should defer to Kriss and the Control Board because they are professionals who have forgotten more about municipal finance than Ryan's people ever knew.

There are rumors that Spirit of Springfield is in financial trouble. We were all given to believe that they were making lots of money off of Forest Park's Bright Nights, etc. Now we find they owe the City $169,000 for police work. Judy Matt makes $85,000. Hard to get all the financial figures because they are a private organization. Too many private organizations are saying none of your business after accepting taxpayer funds. The Quadrangle is one of them.

July 6, 2004

A beautiful day. 70 degrees at 8am. Acres Mobil is $1.89.

Senator John Edwards of North Carolina (a Methodist) is John Kerry's running mate. Critics are saying he is all personality, no experience.

The terrible Hartford Circus Fire was 60 years ago today. I'm told that all the construction along Columbus Avenue is decimating the merchants.

No mail today but The Reminder was lying bagged in the driveway. The now defunct Springfield Shopping News was delivered to each home on Tuesdays and Thursdays. My route covered the streets of Highland, Crest, Brooks, Bonnyview, Esther, Elsie and Schuyler and the adjacent portions of Wilbraham Road and Alden. Sometimes I was also assigned Roosevelt Avenue down to the Pond. I also had the caretaker's residence for the Home of the Good Shepard. Once a dog bit me. The paper was regular newspaper size and I got very few tips, seldom making more than two or three dollars at Christmas time. The Shopping News just wasn't as good as The Reminder, which eventually drove them out of business.

Lionel G. Angers was an attorney at 31 Elm Street in Springfield who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for Congress in 1952. I wonder if he was related to the mentally retarded man named Angers who when I was a child used to live in a big house on Alden Street. He would dress up like a perfect gentleman, generally in a brown or grey tweed, and ride the bus into the city every day and then back home. I don't know what he did downtown, but many retarded people used to just hang around downtown in those days, sitting on benches, etc.

James W. Gillan, formerly of Wilbraham, has died at the age of 80. He has the first color obituary photo I've ever seen appear in the paper. Something new they are offering, no doubt at an extra fee. Belle Rita Novak is coming over tomorrow and we are going to the Texas Roadhouse.

Scott Copeland works at Laser Colorcopy and always has opinions on political topics. He knows Pelleran-Duck of Commerce and doesn't like her. In Copeland's opinion Mayor Ryan's financial adviser Robert A. Klupa is "a total dunce" and he can't believe that Charlie Ryan appointed him.

Went to the Big Y and bought a bottle of Rose's Lemon Juice (Mary Waller had a pitcher of same and sugar cookies for guests each Sunday) and I got a silver coin. Maybe they heard I went to the Liberty Street Stop&Shop and are trying to woo me back! Actually I have never turned in a coin.

Headed downtown and saw that Tent City is still firmly in place. The Catholic Diocese said on the news that social services have found homes for fifteen residents. Today I was given the bum's rush by the Historical Museum when I attempted to deliver the Giroux papers. Arrived at the Quadrangle at 11:27, lots of parking available and I got the end space right by the entrance. All the museum doors had 11x7 black and white posters on them announcing the day's events. The posters are dull and plain and unimaginative.

I rang the doorbell at the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum and the tall, thin Phyllis Jakowski promptly answered. She asked who I was and whether I had an appointment. I explained that actually I had attempted to make an appointment, but I couldn't reach anyone because I don't have a touchtone phone. I told her that expecting everybody to have a touchtone phone is elitist and discriminates against people who can't afford them. I of course can afford one, but I have had the same phone for many years, in accordance with my belief in "use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without."

So I told Phyllis that I was just dropping off some historical material from the estate of George Giroux and asked to speak with Maggie Humbertson. Her reply was, "We don't accept gifts at the door." I informed her that Joe Carvalho himself had said that he desired to acquire this material. To which she repeated, "It is our standard policy that we cannot take gifts at the door," but added that she would tell Guy McLain that I came by when he comes in tomorrow. So I walked back to my car with the stuff still in hand and drove off at 11:48. It was only on the way home that it occurred to me that Jakowski (maiden name Plourde) hadn't taken down my name or phone number, so how was Guy McLain supposed to contact me? Besides it was Margaret Humbertson, not McLain that I had come to see.

July 7, 2004

77 degrees outside United Bank at 10;46am.

In general, the more religious people are, the worse they are.

Dr. William E. Hennessey of West Springfield (who was Maria Giroux's doctor for many years) used to recommend eating no broccoli, no tomatoes, no cauliflower and no Brussels sprouts. Also said don't eat fish. Dietary fads come in waves and the best thing is to just eat what your body tells you to in moderation.

Someone named Andy called from the Springfield Newspapers and offered to restart my subscription for only two dollars a week plus one dollar for the Sunday Republican. I told him that I had discontinued the paper because I disliked their editorial content. He replied that "a lot of people say we're too liberal" but I corrected him, "No, I feel that the paper isn't liberal enough!" That ended that conversation.

Police cars 105 and 58 plus a tan Crown Vic (#5136) parked outside the Youth Services on Tinkham Road. Stuck my head in at Bernie's and asked the girl when they're moving out and she said not until September. Up front they had a Serta mattress display with an immense promotional plastic white sheep on it. I asked her if they had any black sheep and when she said no I accused her of discrimination.

Senator Brian Lees is having his elderly freebie fair at the WNEC Healthful Living Center on August 6th. Over 2200 attended last year. Bishop Thomas Dupre has cited Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in response to a civil suit by two men who claim he sexually abused them in the 1970's.

Activist Belle-Rita Novak visited today. She is a very intelligent, businesslike lady and I respect her for what she gets done. We got to talk candidly about a lot of things and I showed her my place. She arrived at three on the button and parked by the phone box on which I have placed Ryan and Puppolo stickers. She gave me a jar of strawberry jam and I showed her my raspberry patch. I asked her if she knew my neighbor Colleen Moynihan but she does not, although she did know Irving Cohn.

When we went inside I startled her by making my rabbit doll Sweet Pea jump up and say, "Hi dere toots!" She giggled. I showed her around and she asked me what I intend to do with all my collections. I told her that I would like to leave the local stuff to the Quadrangle, but there are problems with them and especially David Starr. She said, "A lot of people seem to have problems with David Starr." She thought Peggy Starr's watercolor was pretty.

Belle-Rita was especially interested in the UMass Hillel posters I've collected over the years. We then sat in the breezeway and discussed many topics. She said that White Hut burgers are definitely the best, and told me that Sheila McElwaine is in Vermont. She claimed to have great respect for Timothy Ryan, but when I praised Karen Powell she responded with a disapproving silence. The Reverend Howard John Wesley she described as "one of the biggest homophobes in the city."

The Forest Park outdoor market at the X she said changes daily as they try to figure out ways to make it more successful. She would like to find a way to appeal to more Latinos. She said her mother J.M. Knox is in declining health. A friend who lives at Classical Condos expressed to her that they don't like having Tent City across the street. She said the city should turn over some of their vacant buildings to the poor.

Novak said she has stopped supporting ARISE because M. Bewsee has defended Louis Farakkan who is an anti-Semite. I defended Michaelann by saying she's the only professional troublemaker we've got! I said I don't agree with anyone about everything but Bewsee is someone I like a lot.

Around 4:15 we headed out to the Texas Roadhouse, where I had the All-American Burger and she had ribs with yams. The meat on the ribs was so tender it was falling off the bones. She offered to pay her own way but I insisted on covering the bill. We got a bag of free peanuts when we left. Before we parted I gave her some postcards including one with me in my orange jumpsuit. She joked, "No wonder people don't want to sit next to you!" I told her it was a good strategy for standing out in a crowd. Home at 6:02.

No phone call today from Guy McLain or anybody from the Quadrangle.

July 9, 2004

A beautiful, lovely day. Gas at Breckwood is $1.89.

George Bush has declined a chance to be president of all the people by refusing to address the NAACP. I recall that Bob Dole also refused to address the NAACP when he was running for president.

Rep. Cheryl Rivera says the legislature has agreed to give Springfield a $52 million dollar loan and it will now go to Governor Romney for his autograph.

Brown's Groceries at 746 Springfield Street was a great place to get berries. Stick 'Em Up! is the Pioneer Valley's only professional postering company. Gateway Village has a new iron fence to replace the old chainlink one.

S. Strempek-Shea is on the cover of Prime Time magazine. Wally Swist will be reading at the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst tomorrow.

Drove over to West Springfield and onto 91 and up to Northampton, arriving at 10am sharp. Parked in the roundhouse lot by the bus station and walked over to the Forbes Library. Haven't been there in years but it is still beautiful, the old character and atmosphere of the library has been preserved. The two big safes are gone from the periodicals area. They have a nice art gallery and older books are still on the shelves to a greater extent than in Springfield. The Calvin Coolidge Museum was closed.

Then I walked across to the Nielson Library at Smith and chatted with Amy Hague. Next down the hill and along Main Street. Hampshire Gazette has new newspaper boxes, really nice. The Michaelson Gallery had Barry Moser self-portraits and a big Dr. Seuss exhibit. Another bookseller bites the dust: the Beyond Words Bookshop is closing at the end of July and The Hempest is expanding into their space.

I found three string-tied bundles of Many Hands: New England's Magazine for Holistic Health in a trash can in front of Thornes Marketplace. Went into Thornes where the public toilet has been nicely modernized. Thornes Marketplace is a wonderful institution because it makes it possible to shop for so many specialized merchants in one place. The posterboards in the stairwell were covered and I brought home a bunch of them, but very few radical stuff. On the way back to the car I stopped at Pride and Joy and bought some anti-Bush buttons. Left town at 12:54 and when I got home I found I had missed calls from Gary J. Plant and Theodore Chmura.

McLain from the Quadrangle still has not called.

Eamon gets a $600 abatement on his property tax for being a disabled vet. He said Art Gingras will be retiring at $43,000 a year and a big check for unused sick time. Eamon described Matty Ryan as "the most corrupt District Attorney in the history of Hampden County." He also said that the rumor is that Saco Catjakis "is talking." So after Eamon hung up I called Catjakis and got his answering machine. I left the message that if he expects to be indicted he should do the right thing and turn himself in and save the taxpayers a lot of money.

Multiple members of the Asselin family of the Springfield Housing Authority and assorted political posts were arrested at dawn at their house on the Cape and hit with a hundred count indictment. Patriarch "Papa Ray" Asselin collapsed while being arrested. TV40 did an online poll and 90% said that State Representative Christopher Asselin should resign. They also did street interviews and a woman named Massotti said "The Asselins always acted like they were better than us, and now we know what they're really like." I got the same impression the time I met Rep. Asselin, that he was an arrogant, pompous ass.

July 13, 2004

United Bank clock 79 degrees at 11:53. Overcast, back door lilies have greatly multiplied.

Had some of Belle-Rita Novak's strawberry jam this morning on a waffle. Very good. The Native American Intertribal Council of Western Mass will be meeting at the Mason Wright Community Center on Walnut Street. 340 Stony Hill Road in Wilbraham is selling for $269,900.

Judy at Pride gas station never batted an eyelash as she charged me $7.28 for three newspapers and five photocopies. I asked to see her supervisor Joanne, who agreed that commonsense should have made the girl realize there was a problem with the transaction. I proposed that when they charge too much they should give the customer their purchase for free. That she did not agree with.

Jack Hess called and said there are Valley Bank checks and paperwork for sale on the internet. Also said he mailed 18 books on Knox to a dealer in Hudson who sold them for $12.50 apiece. Hess got them for $4.50 each. I spoke to Gary Plant and he is going to have a big auction. He has an autographed picture of Harpo Marx (Mikus once played with him) which should bring at least $350. He also has a letter from Dwight Eisenhower whom she once played for at the Eastern States Exposition.

Peter Picknelly is in the news. His project for this year is a Hilton Garden Hotel adjacent to the Worcester Centrum. Next year his project will be the Park Plaza Hotel in the old Court Square building.

Mass Mutual has settled a lawsuit in which they were accused of encouraging their agents to use deceptive sales tactics between 1983-2003. Former Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Dupre is still refusing to speak about sexual abuse allegations on the advice of his lawyer Michael O. Jennings of Springfield. Arthur D. Wolf of WNEC Law agrees in the paper that it's a good strategy.

Eamon called and said Cheryl Rivera is saying that Police Chief Paula Meara should "take off her sandals and put on boots to walk the streets of Springfield with her officers." I agree, forget the Women's Clubs and take a lesson from Chief Scott of Holyoke. Eamon says Meara lives on Twinkies and orange soda.

Eamon also informed me that he got a call from a friend of Brian Lees who told him, "Senator Lees is very upset with you" because he objects to some of the letters Eamon sent to Governor Romney. Lees feels Eamon should correspond with him rather than the Governor, but Eamon always goes directly to the top. So Eamon called Lees' office and left word proposing that Lees have him as a guest on his radio show on WHYN. After five Lois called back from Lees' office but Eamon missed the call.

July 14, 2004

Both stations at the Acres selling gas for $1.89.

Dennis Belanger of Southampton in a blue truck is working on something over at Colleen's today.

20th Anniversary issue of BusinessWest is out with a picture of Larry Gormally with his arms crossed. Sen. Linda Melconian has called the $52 million loan to Springfield by the state a "platinum credit card."

Michaelann Bewsee was handcuffed for disorderly conduct at a vacant property sale in Springfield. She wanted the property at 25 St. James Avenue for the homeless and kept disturbing the auction by yelling. I called ARISE to congratulate Michaelann but she wasn't in so I told Marlene to pass along my good wishes. Tent City was forced to leave the St. Michael's lawn today, but they just moved across the street to a lot on School Street owned by Kevin Noonan's Open Pantry. A spokesperson for Tent City, a lanky fellow named Brendon Preston, said they like camping out better than living at Frankie Keough's Worthington Street shelter.

Eamon is mad about Brian Lees not inviting him to go on Sen. Lees' Saturday morning radio show on WHYN. He is sending Lees a letter.

A blistering editorial in the Republican today about the Asselin bust: "Allegations that nine members of the politically prominent Asselin family used the Springfield Housing Authority as a money machine to remodel their homes were staggering in their depth and breadth. Even in a state with a rich history of politically corrupt scoundrels and disreputable officials, this is corruption on a scale rarely seen."

I called Larry McDermott at the paper and got the always polite Anita. I told her that this vindicates those of us who for years have claimed that corruption was rampant while the media looked the other way. I told her that I hoped Maureen Turner of the Valley Advocate was writing a political obituary of the Asselins for their next edition. Then I wished her a good day and she replied, "And you too."

Later I drove by Rep. Asselin's office and there was a note on the door saying he was in Boston. However, Jim Polito on TV40 said that Asselin was nowhere to be found in Boston. Then Rep. Ben Swan was interviewed and politely suggested that Asselin's days as a representative are over. Later in the day Rep. Asselin released a statement through his lawyer insisting that he is innocent and will not be convicted.

July 16, 2004

Overcast at 9:30am and and 70 degrees.

CBS News reports a poll showing Ariel Sharon is the most disliked man in the Middle East and George Bush is number two. Blair Witch Project was the biggest money making film of the 1990's.

About 70 people reported living in the relocated Tent City on School Street. The Bank of Western Massachusetts is demanding the repayment of a loan they made to ex-Councilor Raipher Pelligrino that was guaranteed on behalf of the city by former Mayor Mike Albano. City Solicitor Patrick A. Markey says Albano's guarantee is worthless and the city will not pay for Pellegrino's private business deal. Markey called the Pellegrino/Albano arrangement "bizarre."

Eric A. Kriss, Governor Romney's financial adviser, named three members to the Financial Control Board for Springfield: Chairman Alan L. LeBovidge, commissioner of the state Department of Revenue since 2002, Jake Jacobson, a turnaround specialist with a masters degree from Harvard Business School and Thomas H. Trimarco, a former first deputy treasurer under former State Treasurer Joseph D. Malone. Rep. Thomas M. Petrolati and Sen. Linda Melconian said that Kriss should have named a woman, a minority or someone from Western Mass to the board.

Dale A. Frank, a financial consultant out of Sunderland, was holding a financial seminar today with a free lunch at the Wild Boar restaurant so I decided to go. The Wild Boar is at the front of the Wilbraham Shoppes and have a meeting room in their basement. I saw no wild boar's head or even a statue or print of one. I went in a black t-shirt, motorcycle jacket, boots but no leather collar. We were served pot roast with gravy and ice cream for dessert. Not bad for a free lunch.

There were about 50 people present, no blacks. The title of the talk was "The Ten Most Common Mistakes Seniors Make With Their Finances" which was delivered by Dale Frank. Attorney Walter E. Bak of Northampton also spoke briefly. At the end they passed out forms for us to write who we were, why we came and the nature of our assets. I listed 500 shares of Monarch Life Insurance stocks. Out at 7:33pm.

July 18, 2004

69 degrees at 7am. Sunny, mild, puffy clouds. Minimart/Sunoco gas $1.89.

Every day is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Did a load of wash. Did the dishes. Cooked up some butter and sugar corn. I usually go to bed around 7:30pm and wake up around eleven to watch the news. Then I work on my various projects until around 3am and then go back to sleep until 5:30am or later.

The Springfield Mt. Carmel Italian festival in the South End is being cut back to one day this year. It used to be four.

Went to see Jim Landers son Sean perform in an outdoor play of William Shakespeare's The Tempest, which I used to teach. The clever name of the acting company is "Free Will!"

I arrived at Forest Park at 3:05. The price of the play was three dollars. The park is beautifully maintained these days, Eamon's nephew Patrick is doing a great job. I parked just before the Senior Center and then walked into the upper rose garden where they were putting on the show. I leaned a pillow against a tree where there was shade. In time an audience of about 30 arrived, many carrying folding chairs. The company had eight actors, so several had to play double roles.

The lead playing the magician Prospero was Eric Love, an older bald man, but the rest of the cast was very young. Brian Sparrow is fat but he performed splendidly. Amy Menkin as Trincolo was very vivacious. Sean Landers played the boatswain of a ship and Ferdinand, Prince of Naples. They had a drum but no other music besides singing. The play was wonderful and I especially liked the youthfulness, spirit and excitement of the kids. I took a whole role of film, which I handed to Landers at the end.

Kateri Walsh was on TV last night complaining that City Councilors were elected to do things and the Control Board has taken away their power. Former State Rep. Dave Vigneault was also on talking about how Buffalo, New York has a Control Board that has made deep spending cuts.

Rep. Cheryl Rivera says that City Councilors are lobbying behind the scenes to keep the Control Board from cutting their salaries. Rivera's mother Barbara is very wealthy and has been in control of Ward One for over thirty years.

Eamon sent me a copy of the hand-written letter he received from Governor Romney thanking him for the letters Eamon sent him about Springfield which annoyed Sen. Brian Lees:

Dear Mr. O'Sullivan,

Thank you for your informative letters regarding Springfield. My finance staff has observed many of the same excesses. We're following up.

Mitt Romney.

Former Mayor Tommy O'Connor was elected in 1959 and his chief backers were Soco Catjakis and Harold Chernik the liquor commissioner. Tommy O'Connor's campaign manger was Matty Ryan. Tommy's brother Bernard M. O'Connor was Matty Ryan's campaign manager. They say Matty feared Efrem Gordon and no one else.

July 21, 2004

A cost of war is the structured mediocrity which results when vets with hiring preferences get jobs at all levels over those of higher excellence. Vets are cronies.

Hess called and said someone on the internet is selling a postcard of the inside of the old ballroom at Riverside Park for $40. He says he will pay $20 and no more. He also told me he has discovered that the last Charles C. Lewis Co. (machinery supplier) family member was a drunk and a spendthrift who committed suicide in their Hartford office.

Mayor Ryan is now raising health issues about Tent City on School Street that he did not raise when it was at St. Michael's. Eamon got a reply from the Rev. James Scahill for his very critical letter about the church sex scandal. Rev. Scahill replied, "While I cannot endorse such a wholesale condemnation of the church, I very much respect your forthrightness. The world has need of men who say what they mean."

Eamon gave examples of what he called the "cheapness" of Charlie Ryan. He said he gave Ryan an expensive fruitcake for Christmas one year and never got a thank you. He also said that during Ryan's unsuccessful 1995 mayoral campaign Ryan asked him to get some people together to talk about education, so he enlisted Art Gingras, Jim Tillotson and Tommy Devine. On the way there Eamon stopped and got a dozen danish which he gave to Mrs. Ryan when he arrived. During the two hours that they sat around Ryan's dining room table talking no danish or coffee was ever served. Eamon also worked at Ryan's campaign office from 9-2 every day but never got paid anything. Sandy Jacques of Russell's Restaurant told Eamon that during the 2003 campaign Ryan never held a single event there even though his campaign headquarters was just across the street.

Retired Police Officer and labor activist Robert Brown came to visit today. He arrived at 2:55 and I served strawberry shortcake and sherry, of which he had several refills. Brown told me that he used to go to First Church but the new minister there talks about Martin Luther King all the time instead of God so he stopped going. His father was a truck driver from Rumford, Maine. Brown is 76 years old and has six kids, three boys and three girls. He graduated from Tech High in 1945.

Brown said he hopes the Feds get something on Albano after all the trouble he caused the Patrolman's Union. Brown also told me of how "Efrem Gordon saved my ass!" It all started when Brown made an important arrest and two cops who arrived later wanted to put their names on the arrest report too. Brown refused to give them false credit and the cops got mad and said they'd get even.

One day Brown stopped to chat for a few minutes in a barbershop in Six Corners and the cops who were mad suddenly barged in and accused him of sleeping on the job and turned him in. He was hauled before the Police Commission chaired by the hard-nosed Beaumont Herman, who suspended him without pay for three days. Brown cried out, "Your Honor, I'm getting the shaft!" Herman stood up and shouted at him not to use profanity and suspended him for another three days.

Brown went to see Efrem Gordon and Effie said he'd been before the Police Commission many times and that he would help him out. At the appeal Atty. Gordon showed that there were inconsistencies in the accusations against Brown and brought dictionaries to show that the word "shaft" is not obscene. Bobby Brown was exonerated and thereby became the first guy to ever beat the Police Commission. Later Brown went to Efrem and told him that with six kids he didn't know how he could afford to pay him but Gordon said forget the bill because, "I've had so much fun beating the bastards!"

July 23, 2004

77 degrees at 6:30am. Warmest morning so far this summer, seems we haven't really had a summer and I fear a cold winter.

The big liquor store downtown is Meldrum's, the one at the back of Baystate West was called Onoranto's. Channel 22 internet poll: Do you think the Catholic Church has adequately addressed the sexual abuse problems? Yes - 20% No - 80%.

I got a letter from the IRS today saying they will let me deduct the value of the land I am donating to Wilbraham. Delivered my fruit in a silver cup to Efrem Gordon's office. He was in Chicopee so I left it behind with this note:

My Dear Efrem A. Gordon, Esq.

One year ago you and your colleague solved a problem for me so today I am presenting you this Loving Cup that I got at the Grand Opening of Home Goods in East Longmeadow. It is big and glitzy and pretty and the silverplate is 1/20th the thickness of a piece of tissue. When I went to pick it up from being engraved they had spelt your name wrong becuz noboddie kin git nothin write!

Thanks loads,
J. Wesley.

Jack Hess called and remembered how E.J. Trevallion the hardware man in Feeding Hills had a store filled with stuff to the rafters. Hess' grandfather graduated from Harvard in 1905 and taught chemistry at Classical. Hess offered me two stereoscope pictures of Springfield for $35 and I accepted. Hess said someone sold him their old Knox automobile catalogs for twenty dollars each. He says he can resell them for $100 each. Should he be ashamed of such a profit margin?

The Allen-Cooley triangles are not maintained and the grass has grown up to hay. Parked at Walgreens because of the strange traffic structure at the X (couldn't turn right onto Sumner Avenue) and stopped at the Goodwill. All around things are messy. Stuff is cockeyed, out of place, even on the floor. Out of there by 2:51pm.

Vandals ripped the door off my neighbor Colleen's mailbox. Rebecca Johnson School has been vandalized. I stopped by the headquarters of Rep. Chris Asselin (Vito's Barbershop is next door) and some of the windows were covered with plywood due to vandalism. On the wall was a color photo of the legislators in their seats. An aide gave me some of his campaign literature.

The Finance Control Board had their first meeting Saturday at City Hall and I went. I entered City Hall from the rear entrance behind a man with white hair who turned out to be Chief of Staff R. Bruce Fitzgerald. I politely introduced myself and noted that I was a good friend of Eamon O' Sullivan. Barbara Gavey came in and cheerfully greeted me. Councilor Sarno was wandering around. William J. Metzger placed a marble block and hammer on the dias. Sheila McElwaine arrived in good humor. Will LaValliere come in and chatted with Bruce Fitzgerald. Mayor Ryan and his wife shook hands with early arrivals and I wished him good luck. Helen Boyle sat next to me and Janet Edwards was there. Brian Corridan came. Councilors Bill Foley, Tim Rooke, Mazza-Moriarty and Rep. Cheryl Rivera in a purple jacket were there. No Brian Lees. I was in my purple t-shirt, biker jacket, lumberman's boots and doggie collar with locked padlock dangling in the middle.

The clock in the Aldermanic Chamber was an hour off. Carlo Marchetti's painting now hangs behind the dias. Front row seats were reserved for department heads and elected officials. Predictably it was hard to hear, the chubby black guy tinkered with the sound for an hour and never got it fixed. Eamon was watching it live on TV and said the sound was terrible. Chairman Alan Lebovidge is unskilled in public speaking or a conceited ass who feels he doesn't have to project. LeBovidge said, "We don't want to run your city on a day to day basis." I think Mayor Ryan did very well, he had all his facts and numbers memorized and there was no fumbling with papers. I did notice Ryan's hands shaking a little though, this crisis is a lot of pressure for an old man.

July 26, 2004

75 degrees at 6:30am, overcast, mild weather. 7-11 gas is $1.88. Orange trumpet lilies are out.

Belle-Rita Novak's mother Jessica Knox has died.

David Margeson was a year ahead of me in school, but we had second year Latin with Miss Dean together. We were neither enemies nor friends. He lived on Breckwood Circle and was a prominent organist. Margeson never married and died young of an unknown illness.

Bax and O'Brien of 102 spoof gay marriage in a "uncivil union" billboard near exit 7 on I91. Bought a paper at the Boston Road Big Y and got a silver coin. A silver coin gets you very little, it's actually like a coupon to get a discount on something. Saw the Caldwell's walking down Ashland with their dog. "So what are you passing out today?" Durham asked me as I handed him a copy of my Mary Waller article.

I'm looking at the list of contributors to the Massachusetts Citizens Against the Death Penalty Hampden County Chapter. Some of the more notable ones: Brian Ashe, Lisa Baskin, Jerry Belair, Michaelann Bewsee, Michael Bissonette, Paul Caron, James M. Cayon, Mary Gail Cokkineas, Ed Collins, Carol Costa, Richard T. Courtney, Jerold Duquette, Janet Edwards, John J. Fitzgerald, Burt Freedman, Etta Hill, Michael Meeropol, Kevin Noonan, Rep. Cheryl Rivera, Sen. Stanley Rosenberg, Rep. Ellen Story, Rep. Ben Swan, Rev. Jonathan Tetherly, Atty. John and Atty. Linda Thompson, Warren Tolman, E. Henry Twiggs and Dave Vigneault.

Springfield Housing Authority Assistant Director Raymond L. Berry got an unpaid suspension as investigators look into Berry's dealings with a vendor, his refusal to provide information and giving his father preferential treatment. Berry was a prominent black supporter of Charlie Ryan. Eamon said Berry "was at campaign headquarters every day, sitting there doing nothing." Eamon recalled that one time during the 2003 campaign he and Tom Devine went to Russell's Restaurant in Pine Point with Charlie Ryan and Karen Powell. When the check came Ryan had only five dollars in his pocket so Eamon paid the tab for everyone. Ryan never offered to reimburse him.

True patriots are those who speak truth to power. Michaelann Bewsee of ARISE was arrested for disorderly conduct at a property auction in Springfield where she insisted that the property be used for a homeless shelter. A great picture of Bewsee in the morning paper today talking about Tent City along with Daniel P. Davenport of ARISE.

My view of Ryan's breakup of the Historical Commission is that it destroys a nest of Starr-Albano cronies. Gone at last is Fran Gagnon, who has been on the Commission since William Sullivan appointed her in 1976. Also leaving is Carol Moylan and Ronald Carle.

Gagnon lasted through so many mayors because she had the support of David Starr. I doubt she trained anybody to take the job when she leaves the Historical Commission because she never gave others publicity or credit. Her lawyer was always her husband when she should have relied on the city law department. It was Pat Markey overriding her on the sweetheart housing deal for Anthony Ardolino that caused her to quit. She supported the political bigshots once too often. They could always count on her having a development friendly attitude, being very petty with the homeowners but ignoring historical concerns if that was convenient for the boys in charge.

July 30, 2004

Heavily overcast but no rain at all. Sunoco gas is $1.87.

"Face Time" is an idiom I picked up meaning the privilege of talking to somebody in person.

Mrs. Staniski gave flowers to South Congregational Church on Maple Street "in honor of Mary Alice Stusick-Plant who died in 2003." Linda Taylor the Parish Secretary at Holy Name on Dickinson Street sent me a letter thanking me for the postcard I sent them showing that their statue of George Washington is exactly the same as the one at North Park, Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The Rev. James J. Scahill sent me a thank you letter for my letter supporting his critical remarks regarding the clergy abuse sex scandal.

Went to the cinema at the Eastfield Mall to see Michael Moore's masterpiece Fahrenheit 9-11. It was ok, not super but okay. I liked it when he was hawking enlistment literature to congressmen for their kids, and the sequence towards the end with the grieving mother was very good. It's good that Moore made this movie. I couldn't believe I had to pay $4.67 for a container of popcorn!

Also went downtown to pay my taxes today. Arrived at the Telephone Worker's Credit Union at 1:30 and was waited on by Ann, a matronly older woman. I gave her my city tax bill but when I got to City Hall it turned out she had made the check out for ten cents too little! I had to go back and show her the receipt and have it redone. There have been so many personnel changes that nobody recognized me. I was in my biker jacket. I called out, "Does anybody recognize me?" and nobody did. I then announced to everyone in the room, "I am J. Wesley Miller and I have a balance of" and I read the figure from my bank statement. They won't forget that.

From the bank I went to the Post Office to mail a check to Sinai Temple in honor of Belle-Rita Novak's mother whom I met a couple of times. In front of the newspaper building I was cheerfully greeted by Terence Lee Williams, a jovial, friendly young black man whom I knew from when I used to donate things to the Salvation Army. Now he works as an advertising executive at the newspaper. Then into Peter Pan bus terminal to use the john, where there were security people around everywhere. It's TPA Security at the bus station, Allied Security at Tower Square and Arrow Security at Monarch Place. Back at City Hall I ran into George Gouzounis, who promised to return the books he borrowed, then I ran upstairs and paid my taxes. While downtown I got the new Valley Advocate even though it was only Wednesday, it usually isn't available until Thursday in the Acres.

Next I drove out to the Pioneer Auction House on Amherst Road in Sunderland. Real nice ride up there, but it was a thin sale. Only spent about $350 on postcards (including one of the Lenox Hotel in Boston where I stayed when I took the bar exam) and a 1930 scrapbook of the Lambeth Conference of Bishops. On the way back I stopped at Texas Roadhouse and ordered their All-American Burger. They gave me a tossed salad by mistake and let me have it for free. The bill came to $9 with a bag of peanuts.

Darryl Moss is putting on a discussion of youth violence at the MLK Community Center on Rutland Street. It's pathetic that our downtown can't even support a McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell or Wendy's.

Former D.A. Matty Ryan wouldn't prosecute a priest. Bill Bennett never prosecuted a white collar criminal. Both are closely associated with organized crime. Bennett made most of his living off mobsters when in private practice and he hasn't gone after them as District Attorney. Bennett is a green light to wise guys and career politicians.

Somebody stole Eamon's flagpole and flag, but the same day two Latino ladies who live at the corner of Tacoma and David Street brought them back, saying someone had thrown it in their yard. Eamon rewarded them by buying them a large box of Whitman's chocolates. Eamon is extremely generous to people. At the grocery store Eamon ran into Robert Lynch, an iron worker who told him that abuse of property by the Springfield Housing Authority goes back many years. Here is Eamon's latest telephone answering machine message:

"For nearly 50 years there's been overwhelming evidence of dishonesty, corruption and mismanagement in Springfield's debt-ridden, junk bond rated bad city government. Not a single mayor, city councilor, district attorney or financial officer has had the courage or the character to blow the whistle. This go-along, get along mutual admiration society has an arrogant, taxpayer be damned attitude that is responsible for a decaying, bankrupt city on the brink of no return."

No comments:

Post a Comment