Boston Olympiad would be a costly hassle statewide The Berkshire Eagle

Here are some topics that may draw people’s ire:

I’m with people who really don’t want the summer Olympics to come to Boston. Not only will it cost a fortune, it will mess up traffic and invite terrorist nut fringe people.

Now House Speaker Robert DeLeo says that he wants to spread the Olympics out across the whole state. He specifically mentioned Pittsfield and the Berkshires in his remarks. The good news is that he knows that the Berkshires are in Massachusetts. Usually, these pols think that Western Massachusetts starts at Route 128. The bad news is that a single James Taylor concert has been known to tie up the Pike for miles. That’s worth it, since JT belongs to all of us. The Olympics are different. The last thing we need is TTT: traffic, terrorists and tsuris.

I also know, as DeLeo assuredly does, that Massachusetts will end up paying through the nose for the games. I’m sure the plan to spread the games throughout the state is so that we won’t bitch about it. We’re still paying for the Big Dig. We are eternally the poor cousin of Boston and will be treated that way in perpetuity.

Then there is the matter of how we pay for schools. Some determined folks, many of whom consider themselves liberals, voted down the reconstruction of Monument Mountain High School. Given sodium pentothal, they would insist that they are indeed liberals but the taxes were too high. In the meantime, the Southern Berkshire school district took the state money and ran. Good for them.

The other day as I walked through my favorite food emporium I was stopped by a very angry and sensible businessman who told me that the town that had educated his kids at Monument Mountain would end up paying through the nose because they eschewed the state money. He made the point that all the repairs to the boilers and the roof and everything else would have to be borne directly by the taxpayers and that the total bill for all of that will surely exceed what the district would have had to pay had they accepted the state money. “Mark my words,” he said. I will.

Deval Patrick was a wonderful governor and we all know it. The new governor, Charlie Baker, got lucky. He drew Martha Coakley as his opponent and narrowly outpolled her. During the campaign I did an extensive radio interview with Baker. The new governor sounds like a nice man. He comported himself rather well during the campaign. He knows that how he handles what he says is an extensive deficit will be his first major test.

The Patrick people say that his deficit number of three quarters of a billion dollars is not accurate. Baker says that he will make up the deficit fairly and that means everyone will have to take a little hit because it is unfair to make some suffer more than the others.

This is where we will see whether a blue state Republican will make the cuts right down the middle or will attack those programs that protect those most in need. I hope the man who governs is the same man I saw in campaign mode. Baker was once a top player in the administration of former governor Bill Weld. Weld had one major thing going for him — a terrific sense of humor. I hope Baker does, too. He’ll need it once the honeymoon is over.

Finally, across the border in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to change the criminal justice system to protect juveniles and place them into more secure facilities. I get that and approve but let’s all remember that a 16-year-old with a gun can kill your kid, your husband, or you. The victim is dead, the kid is in prison. What a conundrum.

Originally published in the Berkshire Eagle, 1/22/15

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