There’s a line I especially love in Norton Juster’s 2005 picture book The Hello, Goodbye Window: the little girl narrator, recounting her busy day visiting her grandparents, asserts, with a preschooler’s absolute certainty that she’s the center of the world, “When I get tired I come in and take my nap and nothing happens until I get up.”
Sigh. If only Springfield would go on pause when I take a week off. But it doesn’t, and here’s, apparently, some of what I missed:
The municipal budget process continued its unhappy progress, with all kinds of bleak projections about unhired cops and unmowed parks and—the one that really breaks my heart—three closed libraries. (And yes, I know that plenty of cities Springfield’s size don’t have the number of neighborhood branches the city does—but being a city chock full of libraries is a great distinction that lots of people would like to preserve.) The City Council will vote on the budget this week; here, various councilors tell the Reminder's Mike Dobbs what they think of Mayor Domenic Sarno’s budget. And here, Western Mass. Politics & Insight offers a great blow-by-blow account of a Council budget meeting.
Councilor Tim Rooke finally saw one of his pet projects—a license-plate scanning device that will help the city track cars whose owners owe parking-ticket and excise fees—finally about to get off the ground but continues to beat his head against the walls of City Hall in his effort to get the city’s health insurance plan put out to bid. The city unveiled a so-called “open checkbook” system, based on the premise that taxpayers maybe ought to be able to see where their money’s going.
Danny Warwick was named the city’s new schools superintendent, by a 5 to 2 vote by the School Committee. The two dissenters were Barbara Gresham and Denise Hurst; the latter’s mother-in-law, former School Committee member Marj Hurst, wrote a thinly veiled attack on Warwick a couple of months ago, contending that he had an unfair inside track and preemptively criticizing the yet-to-be-named superintendent for failing to appoint any African-Americans to his yet-to-be-named group of assistant superintendents. Hey, now that Warwick's got the job, let's see whom he actually decides to appoint to his team.
And in an eerie flashback to the mid ’90s, again there’s talk of the Republican selling its building for a potential casino site. The paper vows that this potentially very lucrative offer won’t in any way affect its coverage of the casino issue. Oh, and lookie, casino developers are apparently hoping to ingratiate themselves to residents by coughing up some dough for the Fourth of July fireworks.