Other ways to look at it

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 17, 2003

All this fuss about Councilman Brown attending remedial classes at Harvard did thrust a little excitement into Suffolk politics that have been quite dull lately.

Mr. Brown’s reluctance to report to the class was not necessarily poor sportsmanship. It’s quite possible he didn’t learn anything worth reporting, or didn’t learn anything, period. It is well known that many who attend Harvard come away with a diploma and that’s it.

Would it be more revealing to learn what criteria were used to determine he be sent instead of others equally in need of additional education? Perhaps he failed to take notes and therefore is disinclined to be embarrassed. What other sensible reason was there for his bad-tempered outburst when he insisted he need report only to constituents who put him on Council.

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And hang the cost of tuition, look how Suffolk gains when it announces its Council members have attended Harvard. That publicity may even offset publicity that received when he was on camera, and &uot;lauded&uot; in the newspapers for his petulance.

So now Council must earnestly get to work drafting new policy. Top priority is a new liquor law to rein in the free-spending management that dares use our precious dollars to purchase the evil drink sometimes used at city gatherings to loosen up the bashful.

It’s not like they set a bottle of bourbon on the dais during council meetings, although that might bring forth more honest dialogue. And maybe another bottle set on the lectern for those who nervously address the council. After an hour or so things might become more congenial. They merely jazzed up a city employee party.

Are we retreating to the old days when it was standard to carry a flask in the hip pocket or in the ladies purse? That would eliminate the need for city-purchased booze, you know, BYOF, setups provided by the mayor. And it would be a nice gesture to invite Mr. Schmidt. What’s next, local vegetarians demanding that those city employees who eat meat must bring their own?

The second policy change would be to force reporting on the very expensive and totally unnecessary attendance at Harvard and other liberal institutions. Forms must be provided detailing the lesson plans and renowned bearded speakers’ credentials. And proof of attendance at each class and sufficient space for reporting what of importance was said, if any.

In addition, a tape recorder must be turned on in case the student falls asleep, which is quite likely. Or when the student skips class to watch girlies at a nearby bar. Some effort could be given to limiting the cost and number of meals, which should be limited to the Harvard cafeteria except for late snacks at fat free fast food outlets. Each student should be required to take an oath of celibacy and sobriety while representing Suffolk, anywhere, to prevent the perception of impropriety. But then how many on Council members would offer to go?

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A &uot;crime&uot; was committed recently in a nearby city and the perpetrator faces up to five years in prison. He stilled a neighbor’s dog that was depriving him of sleep, constantly irritating him day after day, month after month. Maybe it will wake that city up because his only recourse was to move.

Was a crime committed when the owner allowed it to bark continuously, a man with the sensitivity of a dinosaur? Or was it his wife, who must be as deaf as a stone, her only defense was that neighbors’ kids petted the much-loved dog through the fence?

No, the crime was committed by a city that protects dogs from people but not people from dogs. We as a people are screwed up when five husky men will tear up a sewer to rescue a wandering puppy, but the city won’t rescue human beings by providing an enforceable animal noise abatement procedure. That’s the crime.

Talk to the owner? He thinks more of his dog, and its right to live as a dog, than he does of you. Threatening to call the law gets a snicker. All you accomplish is worsened relations with the dimwit.

There isn’t a neighborhood anywhere in our city that doesn’t have its share of loose and/or barking dogs. Turkey buzzards are slowly removing a dead one that has lain for days on a nearby street. Out here buzzards serve, unpaid, as a function of the street maintenance department and we are grateful. But is how the dog died an unsolved crime? Where are our forensic specialists? And in Suffolk a flooded road results from protected beavers and is costing Councilman Brown votes. Eric Nielsen, DPW director, suggests the beavers go. Maybe he could solve dog problems.

Robert Pocklington is a resident of Suffolk and a regular News-Herald columnist.