Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Are you confused yet?

After listening to the discussion at Monday night's Select Board meeting, you might have become confused as to what is the town website, the Buzz, etc.  Here is a cheat sheet for LongmeadowBuzz followers...

The “town websites” as they were collectively called during the meeting include:

    This website is the only “official” town website. It was created by group of volunteer residents led by Jim Moran during the summer/fall of 1997. Over the past 13 years it has grown to become an important resource for our town. There is not much information about our town that cannot be found on

    The Town of Longmeadow pays only for the web hosting and annual domain name registration that is valued at estimated $100/ year.  Jim Moran provides ~90% of the daily effort required in order to make sure that the posted information is timely and frequently updated. Mark Gold provides the other 10%.  "Volunteer” time required for annual maintainance/ upgrades of this website is estimated to be at least 750 hours and valued at least $25K/year.

    In the past year a large additional amount of “volunteer” time was committed toward the creation and maintainence of  the School Building Committee website. This included the timely posting of web videos for 24/7 viewing and any other information that was requested by School Building Committee.

    On you will find links to many other websites including LCTV, Bay Path College, Longmeadow Historical Society and LEEF.  For other groups such as LongMeddowe Days, Gardeners on the Green as well as the various committee and boards, there are custom webpages that have been created for their use in communicating with town residents.

    I estimate that over the past 13 years I have contributed close to 7500 hours of volunteer effort (at an estimated value of at least $200-250K) in the design and maintenance of the town website. This $$ value does not include the cost of computer hardware and software and other costs incurred by me with the operation of the town website.

    This website is privately owned (by me) and provides a wealth of information and free web based resources to town residents including the Longmeadow Community Bulletin Board (including Town Notices), Town Calendar, free classified ads, etc. It existence is supported by local business advertising and there is absolutely no financial support by the town of Longmeadow. The income from the website helps pay for the expenses incurred with the website.

    As with the website, there are no personal opinions or other such information posted on the website. Again, there are many links to other websites that can be found on this website including the LongmeadowBuzz blog.
  3. LongmeadowBuzz Blog

    Below is the message posted on every page of this blog (it is not a website).

    LongmeadowBuzz is an open forum for discussion of local topics of interest to the residents of Longmeadow, Massachusetts. There will be no discussion of topics related to state or national politics because there are many other forums for such discourse. In this forum there are already a number of invited contributors who are town residents or town officials or both. If someone is interested in contributing an article to the forum, simply send a request to  with your name and address and you will receive an invitation to join. Anyone can post a comment to a posting but we would like to disencourage anonymous entries. All comments on this forum are moderated to eliminate objectionable content.

    The LongmeadowBuzz blog is not supported financially or in any other manner by the town of Longmeadow and all opinions are strictly those of the listed author and do not represent official town policy.
I hope that the above information provides some useful understanding of the web based resources that we have in Longmeadow.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Select Board Chair Follows Through on Threat

During the months of May and June and prior to the new High School Building decision on June 8 there was intense debate about the merits of the project, particularly with regard to "renovation" vs. "new".  On June 6, I wrote a LongmeadowBuzz article entitled "Now is the Time!" in which I published a series of letters between the MSBA and the Longmeadow School Building Committee in which the MSBA urged the SBC to reconsider the renovation option since some of the premises of the original estimates were faulty.  Even though these letters were written in November 2009, they were not made public until obtained by Phil Fregeau in early June 2010 through the Freedom of Information Act.

Given that I had created and maintained the SBC website (located at I knew that these documents had not been made public and the SBC meeting minutes published during this period did not divulge the contents of the letters including the MSBA's large concern about the original renovation options that were considered.  In my posting, I criticized the SBC co-chairs (Mr. Barkett and Ms. Swanson) and asked for openness and transparency in town government... this episode clearly demonstrated that we had neither. 

During last night's Select Board meeting, SelectBoard chair, Rob Aseltine made good on a prior threat (made through a series of strongly worded emails) to consider other town website alternatives as a response to this posting on the LongmeadowBuzz blog.  In other words, eventually remove me as the town webmaster.

Below is a short video (courtesy of LCTV) of the Select Board discussion that occurred.

Select Board/ Town Website Click to view video