Pot, Meet Kettle: The Delectable Buffoonery of Alan Chartock



There are few things in life more delicious than receiving a lecture on tolerance from the intolerant. Such occurrences make life worth living. Indeed, I’d put them on a par with a glass of fine single-malt scotch or a grass-fed beef burger at The Well.

This weekend, Alan Chartock suggested in his artless column in the Berkshire Eagle that those who oppose the proposed $51 million renovation project for Monument Mountain Regional High School in Great Barrington are “intolerant.” This is a man who, in two previous columns, branded any vote on the project that goes against his wishes as “un-American” and “selfish.” No, I’m not making this up. I couldn’t even if I wanted to.

And in his second column on the topic, Chartock denied having called a no vote un-American in the first column. I’ve been a journalist for almost 20 years and a keen observer of the craft since high school. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a columnist write a column blatantly misrepresenting what he said the week before. I attempted to point this out politely in the comment thread, but the gods of the Eagle’s web team would not approve it.

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On The Record – Episode 1

Welcome to the inaugural edition On The Record, a weekly discussion of news and views in this week’s Berkshire Record and Courier, and starring yours truly along with Kameron Spaulding, news editor of the Berkshire Courier.

The show is recorded Fridays at CTSB in Lee, Mass. For me, it is a return to television after the sudden death in 2011 of my previous show, Conversations with Terry Cowgill on CATV6.

I must say that the show looks fantastic. It’s in HD and the audio quality is superb. The folks at CTSB, especially Erica Spizz and Steve Borns, have been extremely helpful. They’re a pleasure to work with and the station’s new facility at Quarry Hill Park is state-of-the-art.

The schedule for airing can be found on the CTSB website. All episodes will be uploaded to the CTSB Vimeo feed by Friday evenings.

May the fun and information continue to flow.

In Newtown, The Disaster After The Disaster

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Salisbury Shows Its Mettle In Region One Battle

salisbury_logoOnce again, my town has shown admirable common sense in the face of a media onslaught urging us to do otherwise.

Longtime Salisbury Board of Education member Jennifer Weigel soundly defeated radio host Marshall Miles to win a seat on the Region One Board of Education as the town’s representative. Her 682-442 margin of victory corresponds roughly with the three budget votes Salisbury approved, even as most of the other towns were voting them down. Salisbury was not fertile ground for her opponent, who continuously urged voters to reject the budget for non-budgetary reasons.

I’ve known Jennifer for ten years. She is whip-smart, has sent all three of her children to our public schools and has a track record of building relationships with board members and other stakeholders to move Salisbury Central forward and solve problems. Plus, she actually knows something about education and can speak and act knowledgeably on the subject.

With Andrea Downs’ apparent victory in Falls Village, perhaps the board will be able to move beyond the quarreling over procedure that has marked the last few years. Maybe we can focus on making Housatonic the best high school it can be, and not on spending tens of thousands of dollars on meaningless budget referenda to intimidate board members and administration.

Of course, we do have the task of finding a new principal after the abrupt resignation of Matt Harnett in August. Harnett’s departure came after the equally abrupt exit of the principal and her assistant only three years earlier.

My guess is the pool of strong candidates to assume the helm at Housatonic will be thin, given the school’s reputation in the wake of the recent strife. This is, however, one case where I hope I’m dead wrong.

The Thankless Job of School Superintendent

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