February 5, 2009


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The Chestnut Hill Local
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Do android writers dream of electric typewriters?

I learned of Pete’s “trial” as many of you did, soon after, as the closed executive session was as watertight as anything sailed on by DiCaprio and Winslet, (or Clifton Webb for us old folks). But in how much detail can it be discussed, without violating those pesky CHCA bylaws?

If only we all adhered to them as closely as the board does, all could be revealed. To send a “full disclosure” piece in, and then have it edited by Pete, in adherence to the same bylaws that were disregarded by the board before, during, and after his interrogation is too surreal for me, and that’s saying something. I will instead step back, and try, once again, to reveal the Matrix.

While many have written in to decry what took place, who has stepped up to defend it? For that matter, when do board members who perpetrate the actions that anger so many ever defend their actions?

The last time Dina explained something she did, ordering the sequestering and then the destruction of ballots in the 2008 CHCA election, she cited her “feminine intuition” as cause. The laughter that followed was probably not conducive to further candor on her part.

But the pattern is clear, and it permeates the entire cycle of CHCA-Local relations:

1. The board does something that it doesn’t want the Hill to know about:

2. The Local reports it.

3. People get angry at the board.

4. The board gets angry at the Local.

5. The board tries to “discipline” the Local. 

This has been going on for years. You know the offenses. I have told you all about them. But the board doesn’t defend itself. Because it can’t. Their weapon is the secrecy they enforce. Those who breach it are punished.

The only way to fix this problem to the board’s satisfaction is to have board members edit the Local. And this, my dear readers, is their plan. The names of those who would perpetrate this are probably protected by the bylaws the board is presently choosing to follow, but many of you probably know the names.

By the way, they did it before when editor Carole Boynton followed CHCA president Maxine Dornemann’s editorial directives explicitly.

That board members refuse to explain or discuss their actions in the open, in the pages of the Local, is the most cogent indictment of their guilt. They know their actions are indefensible. Their actions are something they need to hide, to “get away” with.

And now, for something completely different. Optimism. Even in these hard times there are, by my estimation, in 19118, dozens of entrepreneurs who could finance an independent newspaper with money they could find under their sofa seat cushions. Three months of payroll and rent would do it.

The Northwest Independent, run by the present staff of the Local, would be free of tiny-minded interference and could continue its award-winning journalism. The board could then turn the Local (they own the name) into a 16-page newsletter with Pleasantville headlines (”Board cures cancer” or “Snowden Coal: It’s cleaner than clean” or “Dina’s feminine intuition wins seventh consecutive Powerball drawing”).

Judging by how expertly the board has run everything else it’s handled, I don’t think it would be hard to predict the ad revenue winner. 

So Brian Roberts, Urban Outfitter Guy, is there anyone out there with both money and a passing acquaintance with the First Amendment? I’ll be Frank Rich. We are the Dreamers of Dreams.