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Holyoke's time in the barrel has ended

May 7, 2012 By G. Michael Dobbs news@thereminder.com State Rep. Don Humason has a trademark: his ever-present "I Love Westfield" button. I don't think I've ever seen him without it and it clearly makes a statement about how he feels about his hometown. Now in Holyoke there is a variation of this declaration of civic pride that I'm seeing more and more. People are wearing pins that state, "I am Holyoke." This was something I first saw during the Morse for Mayor campaign and now it's spreading. Ink-stained wretches such as myself even have one. Call me a Pollyanna, but I like efforts such as this to express one's pride in your hometown. Considering that Holyoke has been the redheaded stepchild of cities in Western Massachusetts for decades, people declaring their love for the city is a reflection of how things have changed. Does the Paper City still have problems? Sure. All urban centers do. There is a renewed sense of people willing to solve those challenges in Holyoke and that is refreshing and encouraging. Of course, I will admit my prejudice: I spent many years working in Holyoke at WREB, the Holyoke Transcript-Telegram and Wistariahurst Museum. I like the town a lot and am very happy to see it emerging into a new era Holyoke's time in the barrel has ended and big bad old Springfield is currently the city people love to hate. Just as Holyoke really didn't deserve its reputation neither does Springfield, in my humble opinion. I think Springfield should have a pin as well for folks to proudly wear. Any suggestions? Only positive ones will be shared, wise guys.
So, Sen. Scott Brown has released six years of income tax returns as part of his re-election effort. His and his wife's income was $357,251 in 2006 and had risen to $510,856 by 2011. In 2010 the couple made $839,520 with the bump in income coming from the advance the senator received from the publications of his book "Against All Odds." The Brown campaign now is calling for Elizabeth Warren to release her returns from the same period. I don't begrudge any money that anyone legally makes from his or her own efforts. Brown's rate of taxation ranged from 21.02 percent to 28.28 percent, certainly more than what the people who make their money through investments are required to pay. It is surprising that the Browns make this kind of money? Nope. And I suspect there won't be any real surprises that Warren makes a nice chunk of change. We have two candidates with real working class roots who, through their own efforts, have become successful. That is to be celebrated. For me, their backgrounds and incomes are not an issue. There is no "class warfare" issue in this race. The way to judge these candidates is through their records of accomplishments and stances on issues.
Speaking of Brown and Warren, all elected officials and candidates are invited to attend — as well as all of you news junkies — the annual Valley Press Club Roast on May 18 at 5:30 p.m. at Smith's Billiards above Theodore's on Worthington Street in Springfield. Admission is $20, which includes food and pool. Naturally, there will be much politically incorrect political commentary as elected officials bite the hand than writes about them and reporters say what they really think — all in good fun. At least I hope so. I hope to see you there. Hey, agree with me? Disagree? Drop me a line at news@thereminder.com or at 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028. As always, this column represents the opinion of its author and not the publishers or advertisers of this newspaper. Bookmark and Share
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