Thursday, December 27, 2007

Feiden Re-Appointment Gone Missing?

At the November 15, 2007 City Council meeting, West Street resident Jackie Misa asked the council to review the appointment status of Planning Director Wayne Feiden. According to her reading of the City Ordinance, The Director of Planning and Development is to be re-appointed every three years by the Mayor, subject to approval by the City Council. Misa wrote to City Clerk Wendy Mazza, asking for a report on Feiden's appointment status, and was told that Feiden's last appointment was in April 2001, set to expire in April 2004.

In light of recent discussions about Best Practices, Ms. Misa asked the City Council to review Mr. Feiden's appointment status.

We also covered this topic on the radio a couple of weeks before Jackie spoke before the Council. Council President Michael Bardsley explained to us that Wayne Feiden's union contract supersedes provisions of the the City Ordinance, and that his emloyment status is in the hands of the mayor only, and not the City Council.

Yet we wonder--will the City Council issue a formal response to Jackie Misa's request that the Planning Director's status be reviewed?

(Excerpt from Michael Bardsley's appearance on the Community Radio Hour--we mistakenly refer to a two-year reappointment cycle, instead of three)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Adam Cohen takes on Smart Growth


Adam Cohen first gained public visibility in Northampton with his campaign against the porn store on King Street. Now he's taking on "Smart Growth" and "The New Urbanism" through the vehicle of the North Street Neighborhood Association website,

Are these high-minded arguments merely a red herring in the service of NIMBYism? After all, developer Doug Kohl is planning a 30-unit condominium development in Adam Cohen's neighborhood. In the words of urban planner Joel Russell, Mr. Cohen has "selected examples of failed attempts at smart growth, quoted authors out of context, and submitted far-out critiques to discredit the concept, primarily in order to stop one development in the North Street neighborhood."

Yet his skepticism regarding the historical failures of the planning profession cannot be quickly dismissed...

Where does the truth lie?

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

about that $66,000,000 unfunded liability

Here's the presentation made by Rebecca Sielman, of Milliman Consultants and Actuaries, at the December 6, 2007 City Council Meeting. She spoke of new requirements imposed by GASB, the Government Accounting Standards Board, for how the city reports and accounts for future non-pension employee retirement benefits.

Does it sound dry? Actually, veteran blogger Daryl LaFleur finds it all to be quite fascinating. Visit his blog on the Valley Advocate, Northampton Redoubt, for an investigation of how the City of Northampton interprets its responsibilities toward some of its former employees.


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Monday, December 10, 2007

Citizens United for a Healthy Future

Linda Heisiger and Joanne Bessette, representatives from Citizens United for a Healthy Future, speak on the politics of the proposed landfill expansion on Glendale Road in Northampton.
download here, or listen using the embedded player below.


landfill 2.mp3

landfill 1.mp3

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Sunday, December 9, 2007

Chris Teskey from WPKN

Chris Teskey, the programming director at WPKN (89.5 FM Bridgeport, CT), came to the Media Education Foundation to meet with Valley Free Radio programmers and to host a roundtable discussion on the challenges and joys of community-based radio. We chewed upon lots of topics--fundraising, programming, personal responsibility, the balance between authority and democracy....

Thanks to Sienna Wildfield for organizing this event.

download higher-res mp3s here, or use the embedded player below to stream.

chris teskey intro
free form radio
about that democracy
keeping track
getting rid of people
quality control
is anyone in charge

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Friday, December 7, 2007

excerpts from city council meeting 12/06/07

citizen commentary:

ed hegelstein on the re-naming of the village at hospital hill
ed shanahan on the forbes library board of trustees
gene tacy
deb jacobs
a man from public housing on fruit street


for full text of ed shanahan's commentary, goto

city council amends best practices resolution; opens the best practices committee to all citizens, including those who are already affiliated with city government.