Paul Giorgio: Free Speech vs. Crazy Talk
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Two issues brought the wackos out. The first was to ban circuses in Worcester, an idea pushed by councilor “Just say no” Konnie Lukes. Konnie has been against anything and everything that has made Worcester a better place in the last 20 years. But now she wants to take the circus away from children.
Why the push to ban the circus? Some people believe that the animals should not be caged. Some think that the animals are abused. I don't believe they are, and I hope they are not. I would think that any business which invests money in buying and training elephants and other animals would not abuse a valuable asset.
The people who showed up at the council to speak for the ban were animal rights activists, most of who lived outside the city.
At the end of the hour long plus parade of people, the council correctly voted against the ban.
The second issue that brought out the tin hat brigade was National Grid’s plan to install smart electric meters on people's homes and businesses. Once again the council heard from people for over an hour, and again a great many of them lived out of town.
The issue here, they claimed, was that the meters emitted electronic waves. Those testifying against smart meters claimed health concerns as the reason for opposition.
These meters do emit signals, which according to the city’s Department of Public Health are not a health concern. They ridiculed Dr.Hirsch, the Commissioner of Public Health, calling his report flawed and bad science. Some of these same people opposed putting fluoride in Worcester’s water years ago. I am sure most of them don’t believe in climate change either.
These same people, who oppose smart meters because they may emit some microwaves from a meter outside their homes, also use cellphones which they put up to their heads. Many may have microwave ovens in their kitchens.
Somehow these people have forgotten that both the gas company and the city’s water department also use some form of meter that sends out signals so that you can read the meter from the street.
For National Grid, it is about economics. Currently, someone must physically read the meter. With the smart meter, they can just drive by, saving time and money. Ultimately, National Grid will be able to see when electricity is being used, which means that they can charge more, if you use electricity during peak times. But this might also encourage conservation.
Eliminating the crazy talk
Now my issue is not with the homegrown kooks. They live here and pay taxes. My objection is that the City Council rules as they now stand also allow out of town kooks to testify.
Mayor Joe Petty needs to have Councilor George Russell, Chairman of the Rules Committee review the rule that allows out of Towner’s to speak before the council. The main objection to this rule change has come from some in the business community whose business may be in Worcester, but they live outside the city.
An exception can be made for them, so that the rule would be that citizens and employees of Worcester businesses could speak on issues before the council.
This simple rule change would cut down on the time the council spends on frivolous issues and allow them to focus on issues that affect the residents of our city.
Free speech is one thing – crazy talk is another.
Paul Giorgio is a longtime Democratic Party Activist who has worked on numerous campaigns. He was a Lead Advance Person for President Clinton & Vice President Gore. He was Deputy Director of Special Events for President Clinton’s first Inauguration. He has been elected a delegate to numerous Democratic National Conventions and recently served as one of President Obama’s representatives on the Platform Committee. In 2013 he was chosen as a Presidential Elector. He is the President of Pagio, Inc., publishers of Pulse Magazine, Vitality Magazine and Worcester Medicine.
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