February 27, 2006

Taunton Has Most Bloggable News

Silver City Mall Hosts Friday Brawl Nights

OK - not officially. It just so happens that people send their teens to the mall on Friday nights and one thing leads to another when these teens have no idea how to conduct themselves. It’s freaking Lord Of The Flies in there.

One shoe store employee who witnessed the fights said she saw teens kicking a cop. O’Berg said no officer was seriously injured in the fights.

Teens kicking a cop? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. What is in the water in Taunton? On Friday night at a mall in Taunton you can see stuff you’d still be shocked to see on a Saturday night outside of a bar in New Bedford at 1 in the morning. And the youngest in the brawl was 14.

And not to be picking on Taunton, but how can they possibly almost be out of snow removal money this year after increasing their budget from last year? If you’re not well within your budget in a year as mild as this one, either something is wrong with the budget or you’re getting shafted on the price of snow removal and related services.

When I was in Taunton three days after that storm, the roads were admirably clear. I will give them that. But it was also pretty darn warm that day. The snow was melting like crazy. I saw backhoes loading snow into trucks, and that snow being hauled away. Considering the high temperatures, I’m not sure that was entirely necessary on Wednesday. But what do I know? I know this: that they’re running out of snow removal money in the mildest year I can remember. (At least February is almost over. But there have been bad blizzards in March before.)

Posted by James at February 27, 2006 1:16 AM
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The snow removal thing is possible (that is, it's very possible that they're almost out of money even though they can't have done much). They did a terrible job last year, I mean *terrible*, I think they made one pass through my sister's neighborhood last year, so there was plenty of room for improvement. And apparently, there still is.

Posted by: Julie at February 27, 2006 9:25 AM

I believe it is possible. How it's possible baffles me. It's not like there isn't a winter every year. So, you set the budget for snow removal based on an average year. Maybe there is some base cost, and then a variable cost on top of that, right? You accept the base cost as annual and average the variable cost. That's your budget, then. In a bad year, you go over budget. In a mild year you are under budget.

It's simple.

Wait, maybe that's the problem. Maybe they don't want to report an accurate average cost. As the article said, they plan to remove the snow no matter what money they've budgeted, so the budget actually isn't relevant to whether the snow gets removed or not. So the budget has some other meaning. Maybe they feel it looks better on the balance sheet if it is smaller, or there is some other reason to keep it low.

In which case, it would seem that the budget number would be meaningless, and therefore a news story about being near the end of the budget would also be meaningless without more of an explanation about how they arrive at the budget and why.

Is the Taunton Gazette so busy that they can't deliver a meaningful story on this? If you're going to report on this at all, doesn't it seem like there is either a lot more to this story (in which case they need to dig it up) or there's nothing to this story (in which case it's not even worth reporting).

Dear Taunton Gazette: back to the drawing board on this snow-removal story. Send an investigative reporter to find out what game they're playing with the snow removal budget -- find out what the residents think about how snow removal is handled in their area -- or admit that this story is basically meaningless without the details.

Ah. I need a stiff drink. I'm stuck with this "Breathe Easy" tea. If I behave myself, I graduate to Irish Breakfast tea in an hour or so.

Posted by: James at February 27, 2006 10:57 AM

The Taunton Gazette is not now and has not within my lifetime been a very good paper.

When I was a senior in high school, I won a scholarship from SMU. I guess it was a big deal because it was the first time they had given out that scholarship, and it was a good size at the time. The Fall River Herald called me up and ran a good-size story with a photo. The NBS-T ran a slightly shorter story with no photo (I don't remember if they called me). The Taunton Gazette didn't call, and only ran a paragraph or two. I think they also ran it last.

The Herald's article provided all the ego-stroking I needed, so the Gazette's non-coverage didn't hurt my feelings. However, I was disappointed that they showed the least amount of interest even though IT WAS TAUNTON NEWS. It would have been a free local call for them to phone me, for crying out loud!!

Posted by: Julie at February 27, 2006 12:19 PM

A prophet is rarely recognized in her hometown. Twas always thus.

Posted by: ThirdMate at February 27, 2006 3:50 PM

Now, that's ego-stroking!

Posted by: Julie at February 27, 2006 5:09 PM

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