2/21/2005

Talk to Me!

If anyone out there has a particular item or topic that they would like discussed, let me know by email what it is, and a short discourse and I'll post it for comments. Help, I'm running out of things to bitch about! I'll not identify in the blog anyone who sends something in unless requested to do so. The email adress is: elittle@verizon.net I'll be waiting! TIFN Everett

17 comments:

Newbie said...

Here are my suggestions:

Why are the library's hours getting shorter and shorter, while the budget grows. On the weekend when most have time to go, it's open for 2 or 3 hours.
During the week, it's closed on Monday, and open strange hours. Can't they come up with a consistent weekly schedule, say 10 - 6 M-F with shorter days on Sat & Sun say 11-4. I think the library is a very important resource and could be better utilized by the entire population. Besides, the schedule is so erratic, it's hard to remember when it is open.

Define year-round resident. No one seems to be able to nail this one down in a way that is fair to all.

What should Ed Berube and Mike Finnimore do with the Highview?

Who would you like to see run for Town Council next time around? Why?

Who's minding the store? Ever notice how flexible the schedules of Town Hall employees seem to be? Half the time you drive by the hall, the lot is empty, the other half it's full. They only work until 3 or 4 right? What time does It open? It always seem to me we should be operating on an 8 or 9 - 5 schedule there. Not with a full staff if it's not necessary, but at least a few warm bodies to answer the phones and to help the occasional full time worker out.

Customer service: Is it a dead art?
Every year it gets worse. I order a bagel, they make it wrong, I request it the way I ordered it and the seasonal employee rolls their eyes and argues about whether I said I wanted poppy or onion? I'm not the one whose taken 50 orders for bagels this morning, I think I know what I ordered.
The only place I have gotten consistently good customer service is the bank. I worked retail for the first 6 years of my working life. I was taught to stand up straight, look energetic even if I wasn't, smile and greet people and the customer was always right. If I got something wrong I apologized in a sincere manner, whether I felt sincere or not.
Have you been to Home Depot lately. They offer little if any help in the aisles and then when you want to leave they expect YOU to check yourself out. It's a hardware store, and when you buy 30 screws, and 10 bolts the polite machine squawks at you to "put the item on the scale". Inevitably, someone has to come a re-scan your whole order. It's ridiculous. I refuse to go there for fear we WILL replace people with machines.

Bet you're sorry you asked.

Anonymous said...

What about those computer consultants?

Why won't they settle the employees contract? They are willing to spend money on attorneys but not keep the money within the community.

What is going on with the new town hall?

Who is in charge at Town Hall?

Anonymous said...

Hey Everett. How about how the land trust has $16,000,000 in cash reserves and the town is being bonded to buy conservation land. Why are we the tax payers paying for this when there is already a tax collected on all land sales to do this, and the money from it is just sitting in the bank earning a measily 1%?

Anonymous said...

What not talk about how stupid it is for the town to take over the state beach.

We all know when the government runs something it goes to hell. This is just another attempt for the town to run something and assert more control! LASSIE FAIRE people, its the way to go.

You'll see, the beach pavioion is going to be a mess. There is no way the town is going to make 70k off this. It will end up costing us all $$$

Anonymous said...

Anyone critizing the library's short hours is missing the point. Clearly, the library is not being run for the benefit of the public. Did you ever notice the staffing levels? On a very quiet Saturday afternoon in February, there were four professional staff on duty, three in an inner office, far away from any customer/patron. I wonder how many people an upscale retailer like Starbucks would have had on duty to handle the 10 patrons present? How many would have been in an inner office, 15 feet behind the main desk? The library could easily function with just one or two people on duty and be open far longer hours.

Did you ever notice what happens when there is a librarian's conference off island on a busy weekend? They close the library!

Come on. If Barnes and Noble operated with so many people for such short hours and closed whenever there was a booksellers conference they wouldn't last a day.

Anonymous said...

I never thought I'd write this but overtime I've come to realize that MJ does a valuable community service by asking the questions she asks. Sure, there may be some style concerns but she does her homework and asks the tough questions. Questions that no one else seems to want to address.

Take the issue of a new generator for the school. The generator business is fiercely competitive, we already have a consulting engineer (Jim Geremiah and Associates)to draw up the bid specs, yet apparently the Town just went ahead and bought one for roughly 10K. Plus the installaton. Plus the service contract. Plus... Nice.

Or, take the issue of a Town "loan" to (it is reported) a member of the Police Department. Could we get a copy of the note? The repayment schedule? What is up with this?

Anonymous said...

Hey, Everett,

You know me and I know you, but I'm not sure I need a whole bunch o' other folks knowing exactly who I am. I ride around the island thinking of things to bitch about all the time!

For example, I'm a mother (which narrows down the guessing field). I'm also a mother who pushes one of her kids around in a stroller (now we've significantly reduced the suspects). If certain folks - myself included - would like to present Block Island as a family vacation destination, why is it impossible to safely push a stroller through Town (or most busy places on the Island?). The sidewalks are either non-existant or so chopped up that navigating a stroller over the pits, cracks and upheavals would wake a (hopefully!) sleeping infant. I know I usually stick the stroller in the street and expect the cars to go around me. But that's in the wintertime! What happens come summer? The island doesn't even offer any family based entertainment other than the beaches, SOME dining establishments, and a children's movie matinee on rainy days. Fairy Tale theatre is for kids of a certain age and possibly without their parents?

Another thing that bothers the hell out of me is that the school offers amazing support for the limited sports teams (and deservedly so) but not the music department. I would challenge the members of the Block Island school staff and School Board to spend just three days removing music from their lives and see just how "invaluable" an endeavor it is. There are schools across the country who are fighting the removal of the arts from their budgets. We have music budgeted but don't see it as an opportunity for students with talent and/or ability. Whoever does the hiring doesn't realize that you can't hire a vocal music teacher for four years, then a band teacher for four years, then another vocal music teacher for two years, etc. and get a cohesive, stabilized music department. As long as music teachers are relegated to the storage closet and a real stage is not considered a priority, a portion of our youth population will always be overlooked and opportunities to keep our children away from the booze, the pot and the idleness in an attempt to alleviate boredom will be missed.

That's all for now. But I threaten I'll be back.

Anonymous said...

So I was reading through your January archives and found some interesting material by a few (I assume) people. It never ceases to amaze me how the general Block Island public (en masse, not necessarily individually) expect other Block Islanders to be of their "caste", their "clique" and/or their mindset. Like so many others -many of whom have since moved away- I came here only for a short period of time and ended up here for longer than a decade. Since then I have hung out with the potheads, the alkies, the retirees, the "richies" and some fringe "true Islanders". The fact is, not unlike native Manhattan-ites, unless you were born into the Island community, grew up here year-round, inherited or started your own family business, graduated from the Block Island school and watched as those who did not grow up here sized you up based on your income/property value/social or community standing, you honestly, truly, really, sincerely, don't know what most of the issues, both political and social, mean to a year rounder. Ask any young-ish local men: Mike Ernst, Jos Fillipone, Any of the Halls, Matt Glen, the Littlefield boys how things have changed for both the best and the worst since they were children. How many of their friends without family businesses or property have had to move off island to provide a home and living for their families?

I also would remind others that not everybody who moves here and discusses politics is necessarily someone who is only concerned with property and "greed". I have tended bar here for enough years to know that there is a large community of folks who have moved to Block Island because it allows them to lead a "functioning" alcoholic or drug-related life. There is a sub-culture of acceptance on Block Island that says "It's okay if you can't function on the mainland as an alcoholic, stay here and our tight knit drinking community will guarantee you a job and a place to live". Yes, I've had to do the Block Island shuffle myself, but when I was a bartender pouring those generous drinks, there was always somebody willing to rent something to me. Now that I'm married and leading what I call a "normal" life, with children and pets, it's amazing how the offers and opportunities have dried up. I've been called a "traitor" or worse because I don't ditch my family to go out and party or pour drinks. I've heard rumors about me that have sent me into the bathroom in tears because people who I once considered "friends" feel it appropriate to make up really untrue and unflattering things - perhaps to make themselves feel better that they haven't gotten their own lives together? Perhaps jealousy over my new car, my beautiful children and my plans for the future? Who knows why people do that. There are definitely separate factions on the island: retirees, drinkers, Island born and raised, Island born, summer life long residents, Island born poor and Island born rich...the sweeping generalizations that I've read on some of these blogs do not in any way do the community - or even a working sociatal knowledge of American human beings - justice.

Just a thought or two...

Newbie said...

I am not asking to define Island resident for the benefit of those who want a name tag. I want to know so that it is clear who should get a commuter pass, who should vote, who should get discounted rates at the BI Club and pre-school or a cheaper ice cream cone at Aldo's. This is an issue that has been debated for a long time.
I can honestly say I have never lumped people by such demeaning terms as alkie, or pothead. We all have some demon, small or large. And sure, there is a sub-culture of acceptance, it's called compassion. We all live in a small place and get to know one another. Imagine how Rocket or Hacksaw would be treated on the streets of New York or Boston.
Block Island is unique because we do know everyone's story. We know the struggles, the hardships and the sadness as well as the sucesses and joy in these people's lives.
Does a bartender in NYC care if you're an alcoholic? At least on BI there is the chance of someone telling you, that you might have a problem. I think that there is a sub-culture of "it's none of my business" in most other places and even in this place. I also think that when it really counts, there is always someone to put out a hand to help.
Don't get me wrong, I think alchohol is a serious problem just about anywhere. Alchohol causes more deaths than marijuana.
As far as offers for housing etc. It doesn't matter who you are, a single person will get many more opportunities for housing, than a married couple, and then add pets and/or children and you have basically eliminated yourself from 90% of those available housing slots. Why? Because one person takes up less space, and married people (especially those with children tend to require the finer things in life, such as privacy and indoor plumbing. So don't take it personally.
As far as the snide remarks about Islanders looking alien, maybe you should go to one of the other bars, or even (dare I say it?) try visiting any of the Island churches on a Sunday morning. You need to broaden your Island experience beyond the Albion. Take the ferry off on a Saturday morning and you will see the future of Block island, heading to the Y to learn how to swim. Capable mothers and fathers with smart and attractive children expanding their horizons beyong BI. You won't run into these people in the Albion. How narrow minded to judge a community of 1000 people on the 20 people hanging out in the Albion.
(I am posting this twice. Here and in the Island resident blog)

Anonymous said...

HI EV, YOU WERE RIGHT ON WITH YOUR COMMENTS REGARDING MR SMITH.WHAT DOES HE KNOW ABOUT THE PLY OF YEAR ROUND B.I. ON ONE THING THAT I KNOW HE VOTED ON, HE DID,NT EVEN HAVE THE CORRECT ANOLGY OF THE QUESTION. WELL SEE YOU LATER REGARDS FROM AN OLD TIMER

The Phantom Scrawler said...

Defining Island Resident is something that those who are not really Island Resident take seriously. It is more than just about the discounts (read: money), it is about respect for one's culture, roots and rights to define their own community.

I, too, was once naive enough to believe that compassion was what was needed for the poor souls who bring their addictions here to the island. And that is not to say that compassion shouldn't underlie all viewpoints and opinions. But compassion without value or discipline is really just "enabling" or even well hidden apathy. And while "alkie" "pothead" and other terms may not be politically correct, I don't know that they're inappropriate. Yes, there are that core group of caring, concerned parents who have identified the unique challenges of raising capable children on Block Island and are willing and able to provide those off island opportunities for their children. But my compassion is for those children who are moved here (or who grow up here, both are true)by parents who are neither willing or able to provide off island experiences or even on island supervision because of addiction, apathy or other tragedies of human nature. And while these problems can be found in any community, Block Island is definitely a magnet and therefore more concentrated because of our unique geographic nature. And, if one follows the line of reasoning, why are caring and concerned parents forced to provide their children with opportunities off island? Why - with a few, well-documented exceptions like Kim Gaffett and the Lion's Club - are there more people concerned about their viewsheds than about family oriented businesses and activities. Why is housing for a single person easier and more desireable to provide than housing for a family with roots in the community?

But I digress. Acceptance and compassion are not the same thing. As any practicing member of Al Anon, Al A Teen, AA, OA and NA can tell you, confusing compassion and acceptance does not in any way help the problem. I, too, was a bartender on BI for many years. I am a member of the church community - until the "country club christianity" mentality took over an already ailing protestant division. I have been involved with the school and the kids. I have provided extra-curricular activities out of my own pocket for children during the winter months. I can tell you that while I don't judge the community based on the 20 people hanging out in the Albion, I am aware of how many addictions and irresponsible habits have made their way into the mainstream community. If you think it is better to be an alcoholic or drug user here on the island where somebody might "help" you than, say, NYC...you are very naive. In NYC a bartender has nothing to lose but $500 and a good job if they cut off a customer who has very obviously had too much to drink. I lived there for five years and have seen both responsible and irresponsible service and can report that the big city bartender, 9 out of 10 times, has no qualms about kicking you out. On BI, on the other hand, you are being served by and serving people you deal with everyday. It happens in the bars, in the grocery store, on town council, in Town Hall, between all the contractors. Behavior that would not be tolerated on the mainland is swept under the carpet because "we have to deal with these folks every day". Very few people on Block Island have the courage to sit down with someone on a self destructive path and say "we need to get you some help". Fears of hypocrisy and reprisals are prevalent.

Until we stop confusing compassion with permission, the "class system" chasm on Block Island will just continue to widen. Our college educated children will not return to the island as our doctors, dentists, lawyers, veterinarians, etc. Our children who are not blessed with good parents will continue to be at high risk for carrying the self destructive torch. We will continue to make excuses for those with addiction problems who not only destroy their own lives but the lives of their families as well and we will not have the resources to offer help and guidance to those families. Outsourcing one's solutions to community problems creates a divided and dysfunctional community. Burying one's head in the sand doesn't automatically make one an ostrich, but it does invariably make one blind.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone else concerned about the new town ordinances that are being passed in responce to the noise issue?

This whole thing started over noise, now the town wants to limit the number of events with over 150 persons each establishment can have (22 private events and 4 open to the public)...and the ones that fall within this limit need to be approved by the town!

What other problems other than noise have there been? Won't the new noise ordinace control this problem?

In the language of the draft it actually says that the town council may deny any application for an event if the Council does not deem it "appropiate."

So much for property rights...isn't this America where we have the freedom of association.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone else concerned about the new town ordinances that are being passed in responce to the noise issue?

This whole thing started over noise, now the town wants to limit the number of events with over 150 persons each establishment can have (22 private events and 4 open to the public)...and the ones that fall within this limit need to be approved by the town!

What other problems other than noise have there been? Won't the new noise ordinace control this problem?

In the language of the draft it actually says that the town council may deny any application for an event if the Council does not deem it "appropiate."

So much for property rights...isn't this America where we have the freedom of association.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone else concerned about the new town ordinances that are being passed in responce to the noise issue?

This whole thing started over noise, now the town wants to limit the number of events with over 150 persons each establishment can have (22 private events and 4 open to the public)...and the ones that fall within this limit need to be approved by the town!

What other problems other than noise have there been? Won't the new noise ordinace control this problem?

In the language of the draft it actually says that the town council may deny any application for an event if the Council does not deem it "appropiate."

So much for property rights...isn't this America where we have the freedom of association.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone else concerned about the new town ordinances that are being passed in responce to the noise issue?

This whole thing started over noise, now the town wants to limit the number of events with over 150 persons each establishment can have (22 private events and 4 open to the public)...and the ones that fall within this limit need to be approved by the town!

What other problems other than noise have there been? Won't the new noise ordinace control this problem?

In the language of the draft it actually says that the town council may deny any application for an event if the Council does not deem it "appropiate."

So much for property rights...isn't this America where we have the freedom of association.

Anonymous said...

What's up with Les Slate? The word from the guys on the town road crew is that he works 3 or4 hours aday and submits time sheets for a 40 hour week. The state has asked for the time sheets to be signed off by someone here on the island. It's my understanding that the head of the road crew refused to sign the cooked time sheets and now someone at townhall is helping Les with his scam. I told, so not to rock the boat.

Anonymous said...

What's up with Les Slate? The word from the guys on the town road crew is that he works 3 or4 hours aday and submits time sheets for a 40 hour week. The state has asked for the time sheets to be signed off by someone here on the island. It's my understanding that the head of the road crew refused to sign the cooked time sheets and now someone at townhall is helping Les with his scam. I told, so not to rock the boat.