Obama loss: Results could be damaging

If he loses in 2012, the chances are pretty good that the Republican candidate will bring with him a Republican Senate. That would mean that we’d have a Republican House of Representatives, a Republican Senate, a Republican President and a Republican Supreme Court. There is no secret what would happen to Social Security and Medicare if that happened and anyone who doesn’t believe that ought to take another look. It might be a good time to consider real estate in Canada.

There is one piece of good news in Massachusetts in the person of Elizabeth Warren, a candidate for the United States Senate. She has a reputation for being incredibly smart and a champion of consumer protection. Whether Warren has the political chops to win is another story. Scott Brown, the incumbent, is still the most popular politician in Massachusetts. The question is how much the Democrats want the seat. The best they have is the incumbent Governor, Deval Patrick, who knows how to run and win. He says, however, that he doesn’t want to run again and this is his last term as Governor.

That’s too bad for all of us.

Years ago, I voted for and enthusiastically supported the Town Manager form of government in Great Barrington. At the time I did, I was less than enchanted with a few of the characters on the Board of Selectmen (to put it mildly. ) I figured we’d be better off having an expert in the job who cares what the jokers on the Board of Selectmen do. The current Town Manager in Great Barrington, Kevin O’Donnell, got a bad report card from the Selectmen.

O’Donnell has a reputation for getting things done. His undoing may be that he has a penchant for getting into big fights because he thinks he has total power. I know that members of the Select Board have warned him to let them take the political heat but he must have had a hearing problem. The biggie was the battle with the town merchants on the redesigning of Great Barrington’s main street.

O’Donnell had the Selects behind him on that but a lot of people ended up hating his guts. Then there was the debacle over who has the power to appoint the town librarian. He lost a few more fans on that one. It’s pretty evident that the man has human relations problems. I met him on day one and said, “Uh-oh.” In the end, he gets very bad grades for his communication skills.

To be fair, O’Donnell has done a good job in some areas. The current Great Barrington Police Department is a professional organization in comparison to the old days when the cowboys seemed to be in charge. Anyone who has ever seen the height and girth of O’Donnell would be ill advised to mess with him. He is not fired but the handwriting is on the wall. So are we better off with a Town Manager than the old political model? You had better believe it. When the new crew of young Select people was elected I remember warning one of them to judge O’Donnell with some reservation. At the time, the message was not well taken. I think it has been heard now.

In every marriage there are differences of opinion. In mine, the lovely Roselle likes to try out all kinds of new things whereas I like to stick with the tried and true. I love Castle Street, Caf=A8=A6 Adam and Rouge, among other favorites. I know that I can eat good stuff on my no sugar diet in each of these places and the chef in each establishment will try his best to meet my needs. So, as you read this, you pretty well know what the Chartocks are arguing about at the moment.

Originally published in the Berkshire Eagle, 9/24/11

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