Monday, May 17, 2010

Don't be fooled! Say YES to Longmeadow's future!

Just got a copy of the latest NO propaganda from Wojcik and Co. How can elected officials and candidates like Mark Gold, Paul Santaniello, Dave Gusfstason, and Bill Schebelli possibly want to be associated with such a nakedly wrong headed effort? I sincerely hope that these folks join virtually every other town leader, including Rep. Rogeness and her husband Dean, who are proudly displaying a YES sign on their lawn.

This latest misinformation piece claims that we can utilize the MSBA appeals process in the event of a failed vote, which is true. What they fail to mention is that this would require starting over on a process that took us three years, and going to the end of a 400 project list with absolutely no guarantee of getting any money at all and a high probability of getting less money for a project that would cost more.

Wojcik and Co have no understanding of the relevant processes. Their latest mailer even gets the payback schedule wrong.

They claim we could renovate the HS for $40 million, instead of the proposed project of $44 million, which they see as excessive and unnecessary. Think about this. They are saying we should forgo getting $36 million of our own money back from Boston, and spend $40 million on a renovation that will NOT EVEN BRING THE HIGH SCHOOL UP TO CODE! That's right, they are relying on a report about the high school that didn't include most of the health and safety code violations.

So they think taxpayers who can't afford the the extra $600 per year starting in 2014 and going down over the life of the loan CAN afford the extra $575 a year that their preferred option would cost(they hope). They also apparently believe that the money for the additional repairs as well as the money that we would save with the new HS will fall from the sky. They certainly haven't budgeted for it.

They want us to waste $36 million of our tax money that we deserve to get back from the state, as well as the almost $1 million we've already spent and are currently paying for to develop this project (i.e. on the feasibility study required by MSBA). They want to spend another $1 million to re-apply with a project they prefer, which itself would cost us a couple million more to refine.

All toll it appears that instead of spending $44 million and getting a brand new state of the art High School that will also have multiple community-wide uses and serve as a beacon of quality in our town, these folks want voters to opt for a renovation of the HS that at a minimum will cost the town $50 million. This $50 million is a low estimate when you consider the likely changes in the bond and construction markets. It also does not include the lost savings and increased costs of maintaining the "renovated" High school.

They are claiming that financing $44 million over 25 years to buy a building that will save us nearly $150,000 in energy costs each year, to say nothing of the maintenance savings over the first decade of operation, will crowd out other needed expenses. Their solution is to SPEND MORE on a project already studied and rejected by both the state and town that will not increase the value of the town's largest capital asset, but will only keep it standing.

I hope every resident gets this mailing. Not only has/will each point in it be thoroughly debunked between now and TM, it will be thoroughly debunked at TM.

We sure do live in interesting times. Longmeadow has its own little "tea party" crowd willing to call up down, black white, and to try to scare old folks and library patrons into voting against themselves. Now they are going after every Longmeadow family having trouble making ends meet.

These efforts to misinform are so weak on substance that these nay sayers have refused to debate the issue in public with anyone. They cancelled an appearance at Glenmeadow because they knew how badly their claims would look next to the slide show of the High School conditions being showed by the advocates of the project. They even tried to get Glenmeadow to let them come alone so they wouldn't have to be held accountable for their lies. Guess what date they asked for? You guessed it, May 24th. They wanted to scare these folks just in time to get them to vote against their own interests without an opportunity to get the facts.

Longmeadow is almost certainly going to do the right thing on this issue, but that doesn't relieve us of the cancer represented by a certain small but hardy band of residents who harbor an inexplicable bitterness and deep seated need to fight against the interests of the community. It would be wonderful if these folks were actually serving as Devil's advocates who diligently hold our policy makers and our residents to account for preserving the quality of our town. Unfortunately, this role is not being fulfilled here, though it may be the line they tell themselves in the mirror each day.

We need to come together in Longmeadow and move forward together. There is no future in dividing residents against each other. A resounding and overwhelming victory for Longmeadow on the 25th and on June 8th for the proposed project will indeed "save our town."


Jim Moran, LongmeadowBiz said...

I know that we have had this discussion before. Accuracy does count....

The number of active projects in the school building pipeline is actually 148 not 400. Here is a link a chart on the MSBA website...

Also... here are correct name spellings...

David Gustafson, William Scibelli

Jerold Duquette said...

Thanks for the spelling corrections. The 400 number, however, is actually probably an under statement. The 148 are projects "in the pipeline" not projects looking for state funding. The line we would have to go to the back of would be 400 or longer.