Thursday, February 7, 2008

Mike Kirby: Back Row, Back Ward

Former City Councilor Mike Kirby is a political activist, a freelance investigative journalist, and author. His most recent book, "Back Row, Back Ward" examines the history of the efforts to redevelop Hospital Hill, former site of the Northampton Lunatic Asylum. He spins an arcane tale, involving public agencies, private developers, a string of mayors, and an Advisory Committee that caught the eye of the State Ethics Commission. It's an alphabet soup: the State Division of Capital Planning and Operations (DCPO), The Community Builders (TCB), The Citizens' Advisory Committee (CAC), Hospital Hill LLC, and the mysterious Northampton Development Corporation (NDC). He paints a picture of wishful thinking, back room dealing, pre-ordained conclusions, and disregard for historical values in the pursuit of profit.

Do you take issue with Kirby's interpretation of events? Well, tune in this Sunday, February 10. CAC member Jack Hornor will tell the story from another perspective. But not alone: he will be sharing the subterranean Valley Free Radio studio with Mark Roessler, who recently wrote a series for the Valley Advocate called "How Not to Save Old Main."

Two options for listening: click on direct links below, to play the file in your computer's designated media player, or use the embedded flash player below to stream audio from your web browser.

Track 1: 19th Century through Mid-Twentieth Century
Track 2: 1993: Formation of Citizens' Advisory Committee
Track 3: Studies; Mayor Ford's Committee
Track 4: Memorandum of Agreement
Track 5: TCB, Mass Development, DCPO, & the NDC
Track 6: Save Old Main

1 comment:

Ethan said...

These interviews about the demise of Old Main are fascinating. The bigger picture they paint is pretty revealing and sometimes disturbing, although not completely surprising. You do a great job of extracting the story and asking the right questions. Thanks for posting these.