So, I have been observing the disintegration of my former hometown’s politics from the outside, albeit still as a taxpayer who’s ticked off at the circus. Sad, deplorable, and since I know many of the players, shocking. If anything, perhaps all of this will finally burst the bubble of Cohasset’s sense of entitlement and exclusiveness – that it is so much different and better than towns around it with their seedy stories in the Ledger. It is not, and whatever side one is on, it is embarassing. Especially the public name-calling.
This being Massachusetts, we unfortunately are given to seeing bad when questionable and possibly wrongful decisions are being made. I hope to be proven wrong, but 27 years in the law and around politics in this state make one a little cycnical. Where there is smoke, there is usually a back room from which it is being blown. Let us not think that local politics cannot be as bad as the cesspool downtown.
What the Cohasset public needs is full openness. (How naive of me!) While official investigations may or may not be underway, and may or may not reveal things, in a perfect world, or through a public records request by anyone willing to foot the likely bill that will be charged as an attempted roadblock, here are some items and questions, provided as if I was doing interrogatories and a document request before a trial, that the public might benefit from seeing and having answered on the 3 issues swirling around – Cat Dam, the Water Commission and what Mike Coughlin has done or not done to be fired (oops not yet – that decision is supposed to made openly and after a fair hearing). The experience from the police disciplinary hearings of 7 years ago suggests we won’t get the full story. By the way, any public record request should include not only e-mails made on one’s Town of Cohasset address, but on private addresses. Don’t know if the AG has ruled on this yet, but an e-mail about public business should be a public record no matter the account used. And believe me, private accounts are used and compliance with the open meeting law seems to be a challenge to most of the players in this saga. Maybe Cohasset will make new law on all this.
On the Cat Dam matter, one would like to see:
1. All written documents and e-mail communication:
a. between the Board of Selectmen (including individual members), the Town Manager, and/or Town Counsel and any agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, from the date of the decision of the Conservation Commission to date.
b. amongst and between any combination of members of the Board of Selectmen, the Town Manager, the Advisory Committee, the Capital Budget Committee, the recently constituted town governance committee, the Conservation Commission, employees of Town Counsel and/or other third parties (including but not limited to known members of the group known as the E-20 or that group’s attorneys and agents), from the date the Conservation Commission hearing began to date, including anything related to how and why assoc. Town Counsel was instructed to advance the E-20 position as the Town’s position at a recent meeting with DEP (as others have reported did occur).
c. amongst and between any Selectmen and any state government official or legislator or member of the Massachusetts Democratic Party staff , from the date of the filing Conservation Commission decision to date. (Why? Because this IS Massachusetts, and some of our leaders have ties downtown – ask yourself why the BOS didn’t fear a state investigation).
2. Records from the Office of Campaign and Finance regarding donations made to the Selectmen candidates in the last year’s town elections (and the upcoming one).
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