|By G. Michael Dobbs|
I'm on vacation on Cape Cod as I write this column. Yes, even when I should be thinking about nothing, I'm working for The Man or, in my case, The Men.
I'm truly thankful to have a job, though, as so many people in this state do not. Earlier this year, when I covered a meeting of the Agawam Town Republican Committee, gubernatorial candidate Christy Mihos remarked about how bad the Cape's economy was.
Driving around on Route 28 certainly confirms the grim remarks he made.
There are for sale signs on homes and shuttered buildings most everywhere you go.
According to state figures, in February the unemployment rate for the Cape and the Islands stood at 13.4 percent (not adjusted for season.) For Hampden County, the rate at that time was 12 percent, with Springfield leading the communities with 14.5 percent.
On the Cape, Provincetown had a rate of 37.9 percent.
It's interesting to note that for years I've heard residents of this part of the state say they believe they don't get a fair share from Boston -- a comment we've been known to utter ourselves.
The question ultimately is how do we reverse the years of job flight from the state? Every time I hear politicians speak about a reliance on high-tech saving the day, I get flashbacks to the Dukakis years when the computer industry was going to save Massachusetts. Remember companies such as Digital? Wang? They have both gone the way of the dinosaur.
I wonder sometimes if this state is so messed up, what with its long-deferred improvements on infrastructure, taxes that discourage business and its lopsided population ensuring the power stays in certain parts, that it could ever be fixed.
Oh yes, happy vacation thoughts.
With a tad over 23 percent of the voters in East Longmeadow coming out, incumbent Selectman Jim Driscoll won re-election over former Selectman Joe Townshend.
In a recent column, I wondered if the accusations made by Townshend's supporters about Driscoll's tax problems would be an issue for voters.
Apparently it was not enough of one to sway the majority of those who voted.
Here is the real issue that Townshend and his supporters need to address: if their concerns about how this town is being run are genuine and not just motivated by a personal dislike of Driscoll, are they going to remain active in town affairs? Time will tell if this race was the result of political sour grapes or something more substantial.
Are there returns from the ashes in local politics? Two candidates may provide answers to that question.
State Rep. Sean Curran may face former State Rep. Christopher Asselin in the November race and former Agawam Mayor Susan Dawson has entered the state senate race.
Will voters rally around a guy who went to prison and a one-term mayor best known for her tumultuous private life?
I don't know. I'm slightly amazed that either would want to undergo the public scrutiny and possible rejection that being in the public arena once more could cause.
Let's think about something else, as I am on vacation. The best breakfast we've had at the Cape was at Keltic Kitchen on Rt. 28 between Hyannis and Yarmouth. Biggest shopping value was at Cuffy's where T-shirts, pullovers and other clothing items were at give-away prices. Best place for a movie or music fan has to be Spinnakers in Hyannis. The best seafood? For us it's Seafood Sam's, a local chain where the ambiance may not be much, but the food is great.
This column represents the opinions of its author. Send your comments online to firstname.lastname@example.org or to 280 North Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028.
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