I am featured in a candidate profile in today's Southbridge Evening News; there are a couple of things worth clarifying or correcting.
The biggest one, in my eyes, has to do with spending money. I have often stated that I don't mind paying taxes so long as I feel that money is being spent appropriately and justly, and the article says as much. However, the article states that I feel "the town needs extra spending in some areas," and cites the DPW as a chief benefactor and that I feel a need for "specifically, a new firehouse."
I object to the term "extra" and would not, and have not, used such a term in describing any sort of needed spending. I did say I would rather pay more for a true fix than spending less for a temporary band-aid. If I have an old, beat-up car, should I keep patching it with work here and there or spend the extra money and replace it?
The DPW does have many aging vehicles and pieces of equipment, but I don't believe they need or deserve "extra spending". I oppose the purchase of two separate backhoes that passed this past Monday. Almost a quarter-million dollars was spent for two pieces of equipment that I do believe could and should be shared between DPW/Water/Sewer, especially considering the amount of time each are used. Quite simply, the usage and demand is not there, from what I know and from what officials reported, to justify the need for two brand new backhoes. That money could be better spent elsewhere. Spending $125,000 for a back-up backhoe is foolishness.
The biggest problem I have with the article, though buried in the story, was the suggestion that I am advocating for a new firehouse to be built. I am not.
During my interview with the News, I did make a comment about how we sometimes have to spend extra money to custom order fire engines or equipment that can fit through the old bay doors at the fire station. This is unfortunate, but alone does not justify the need for a new firehouse. We have just built the new school complex and Bay Path is now knocking at the door trying to get money for renovations and an expansion of their school. The economy is in shambles. The police chief recently came forward looking for money to help correct issues within the police station (structural, not the political or personnel issues). The DPW garage on Guelphwood Road became a money pit. I'm not pushing or suggesting that a new firehouse is needed. My assumption is that the reporter took a comment and assumed, misinterpreted or misheard the comment and parlayed it into some sort of push for a new firehouse.
As a former newspaper reporter myself, one area of concern is the number an frequency of partial quotes used in the story. My quick count showed 22 of 33 quotes were partial quotes. That is two-thirds of the quotes being partial quotes, many of which are then amended by paraphrasing from the author, some of which I agree with the summation and others that I do not. I know the job can be difficult at times, and the subjects of a piece often times may feel that a line or two was not portrayed in the newspaper article the way that they intended it to. I also know the diminishing resources Stonebridge Press affords its editorial staff, and I long for the days of a solid product with editors and reporters such as Joe Capillo (who, if anyone, I would aspire to be like), Mike Saucier and David Cutler (to name a few). Errors get through from time to time, and its unfortunate that, in my eyes, some misrepresentations have been printed so close to the election itself.