There's common sense, and then there's
government sense — which makes no sense, unless you stand back
far enough, using chaos theory, and find the government-think
• • •
You may have noticed those piles of snow
that, if you are a person with a shovel, are higher than you can
toss the next layer of the stuff you remove from the driveway.
Businesses and communities here on the North Shore complain that
there is no place to put it; the open space "snow dumps" are
Note that "North Shore" implies there is an
entire ocean somewhere within range of our departments of public
works. When I first moved here, the snow was pushed or dumped
directly into that ocean, where it melted, dispersed and
diffused itself all the way to West Africa.
Then the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection
Act made it illegal to dump snow in the ocean. Now it sits
around, blocking visibility for drivers and walkers, becoming
impossible to pile, until eventually it melts and flows one way
or another into the ocean.
Yet another reason why global warming is
better than another Ice Age. Where would we put the additional
snow, never mind the advancing glaciers?
Environmentalists argue that plowed snow
contains salt, leaked motor oil and shopping carts, so it
shouldn't be dumped into the ocean. I'm not making this up.
• • •
Moving right on toward summer, it's time for
renewing boat registrations.
Chip Ford went online last weekend to pay $60
in this modern, supposedly more efficient manner — only to be
charged by the Massachusetts Environmental Police a $3 fee for
paying online. So instead he sent a check and used a stamp, just
like in the last century.
The MEP must pay an employee to open the
envelope containing the check, deposit it, and eventually enter
it in the MEP computer; while the envelope and paper checks
increase environmental waste.
See, helping the environment costs money.
• • •
So Governor Patrick has an item in his budget
to enhance state revenues by expanding the bottle bill, then
praying that drinkers toss the bottle into the trash instead of
returning it to the store — because if drinkers don't get their
nickels back, the unclaimed deposits will be turned over to the
state to spend.
This revenue enhancement device is called "escheatage"
from the medieval tradition in which property reverted to the
king or feudal lord in the absence of legal heirs.
Why not just encourage more of us consumers
to recycle our juice, tea and water containers ourselves?
Because, dear environmentalists, if we do that, the state won't
get the escheatage.
• • •
Politicians like Gov. Patrick insist they are
focused on jobs and the economy. Why then do they make many
businessmen wonder why they didn't just get a government job and
spend their lives creating, instead of having to cope with,
• • •
Speaking of government jobs, how about those
Boston firemen who take turns calling in sick so they can take
turns getting overtime for filling in for each other?
I thought that scam went out with Chelsea
receivership in the '80s. But students studying investigative
reporting at Northeastern University discovered it's costing
Boston millions in overtime.
The governor's budget is cutting local aid to
cities and towns. Wonder if Mayor Menino will be calling for a
Prop. 2½ override, so he can explain this union scam to his
property taxpayers. Or will he just lobby for higher state taxes
so we can all chip in more to fund it?
• • •
Gov. Patrick and House Speaker Robert DeLeo
have both stated their opposition to new taxes, and the speaker
told Jon Keller on WBZ-TV Sunday morning that he doesn't support
the governor's proposal to expand bottle deposits either. Still,
the bills get filed by legislators who live to raise taxes.
For example: Rep. Kay Khan, D-Newton, wants
to not only increase the alcohol excise tax, but to restore the
extra tax on alcoholic beverages that the voters just repealed
in November. Got to tax those sins, discourage those sinners.
And she wants to increase the tobacco tax
again, to reduce smoking of course. Rep. George Peterson,
R-Grafton, has a tongue-in-cheek amendment making tobacco
illegal, thereby ending all state revenues from the cigarette
Khan also wants to tax candy and sugary fruit
juice. Maybe we should make soda, alcohol and sugary drinks
illegal too. That would solve the container problem and be good
for us too!
See state government panic. Never mind
citizens' health; get more money from them because of their
Citizens: If you care about state services,
support taxing everything. Then drink, smoke and buy more sugar
in bottles and cans. Eat more candy! Die younger, thus saving on
As I said, if you stand back far enough, it
all makes sense. Except for that snow removal thing — keeping
frozen water and salt out of the sea.