Social and Political Commentary

All opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect opinions of others or the organization as a whole.




Early in this year of 2000, the town fathers of Melrose somehow made contact with one of the contractors of the "Big Dig" in Boston. The contractor had to get rid of over a million tons of fill taken from the "Big Dig" tunnel. At the outset he had to truck the material all the way to Rhode Island; a matter of 50+ miles, involving time and fuel.

At the same time, the City of Melrose had an otherwise underused area of parkland which, if left alone, would just be a neglected mess. Trees were allowed to grow helter skelter; one tree hurting the next. Since the time of the depression of the 30's, the area had further been abused by an accumulation of broken glass beer bottles and other rubbish. It was unhealthy to walk your dog in the area.

In this case, wisdom prevailed! A deal was made with the contractor in which the material from the "Big Dig" would be deposited at the Mt. Hood parkland site and the contractor's bulldozer would spread the clay-like material and level it. The contractor would pay the City 70 per ton and then charge that amount for the use of the bulldozer.

Walking my Australian Terrier, Sydney, in the area, I abruptly found the 13th Tee golfcart path submerged in gray clay! A new path covered with wood shavings was made. Later, even that path was submerged but the contractor made a nice new path for the golfers and me. I must admit, it was shaping up nicely.

The City and/or the contractor clear cut about four acres of forest for further deposit of "Big Dig" material. Prudently, a miller was hired to mill all the hardwood trees cut to make space for the ball fields. A nice hoard of 2X8 boards resulted.

Mr. Richard Amirault, Melrose Parks Commissioner, did some high grade thinking and I commend him as well as our Mayor, Patrick Guerriero, for the results. They co-ordinated the project which will now profit the youth of Melrose with much needed additional ball fields.

It all is a distinct upgrade both for the area and the City of Melrose.

An argument did ensue between the City and local conservation people. Conservation people said the trees should not have been cut down and vernal pools were invested unjustly. Baloney!

If any conservation-minded people truly had the interest of the woods at heart, what prevented them from initiating a profitable degree of forestry? What prevented them from attacking the agencies who excavated parkland in the 80's? The Superior Court of the Commonwealth ordered that the excavators of parkland reconstitute that area in 1983 but, alas, nothing was ever done!

Who is kidding who? If the conservation people had the interest of the parkland at heart to begin with, forestry would have been done and the area reconstituted. It never happened!

Now, with the "Big Dig' material being brought in, the righteous tree huggers came out of the woodwork and barked about 'vernal pools' and clear cutting. The 'vernal pools' were little more than mosquito breeders and were well buried.

Mind you, these people are the very same characters who injected 6 inch shards of glass into the compost made available to Melrose taxpaying gardeners to discourage use of said compost as they were convinced that Ell Pond turtles had laid eggs in said compost! I have in the past characterized such conduct as "The License of Righteousness". That offense was established when the operator of the compost "strainer" told me that glass of that measurement would never have made it through his strainer. The only way the glass could enter the compost material was by human hands!

Anyway, the project continues and I compliment the City of Melrose, under Mayor Pat Guerriero, for the creativity of this project. We are getting a lot but, not paying a lot.

September 1, 2000

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