Predictions for the New Year
As the sun and the calendar sets on an interesting and eventful year, I enlisted the assistance of my trusted soothsayer to help me with some predictions for 2009. Here's what we came up with:
1. Continuing his sputtering entry into Falmouth politics, new State Representative Tim Madden is soundly criticized for the location of his oft-promised Falmouth office. In defending the chosen location, the snack bar aboard the Steamship Authority vessel Island Home, Madden explains that "it's in Falmouth more than I am." Representatives from The Inquirer & Mirror are unavailable for an official comment.
2. As work continues on the drawbridge in Woods Hole, momentum grows for keeping the bridge closed by community activists in the village. Newly emboldened with their further isolation from what they deem the "Main Street oppression" coming from Town Hall, the Woods Hole Community Association petitions the legislature to form their own municipal government, with former selectwoman Catherine Bumpus as mayor.
A diplomatic team of former selectmen Virginia Valiela and Ed Marks is dispatched to negotiate a settlement but are met with fierce opposition., including Sergeant-At-Arms Tom Renshaw, who has constructed a garrison on the ball field made from sturdy beech wood from Webster Woods. A settlement is finally reached and the village agrees to drop its secession effort when Valiela and Marks agree to work with the selectmen to take the Woods Hole Golf Club by eminent domain to establish a long-sought salamander sanctuary and Bumpus is allowed to keep the title of "Mayor of Woods Hole."
3. As nomination papers become available for the May election, word spreads that Selectman Kevin Murphy is contemplating not running to spend more time with his family, setting off a flurry of activity to compete for the open seat. Among the top contenders are former selectman Andy Dufresne, who plans to run on a campaign of "It can't get much worse," which resonates with many voters, and long-time observer and East Falmouth activist Joe Netto, who pledges to return common sense to Town Hall. Netto scraps his campaign upon the realization that he set unrealistic goals. The campaign of Selectman Ahmed Mustafa for the open seat is also thwarted, as Town Clerk Michael Palmer rules that two non-votes violate the Charter, much less one person holding two seats. Mustafa's plea to solve that problem by representing two views on every issue falls on deaf ears.
4. As Spring Town Meeting comes around, Town Moderator David Vieira seeks to reshape his public image after 10 years in office. He comes to Town Meeting wearing a black robe with gold stripes on the sleeves, similar to one used by former Chief Justice William Rehnquist and convinces the Town Meeting Rules and Procedures Committee to recommend changing the official salutation from "Mr. Moderator" to "Your Highness." During the ensuing discussion, Town Meeting gadfly Dan Shearer is escorted out of the Lawrence Memorial Auditorium for repeatedly making Mickey Rooney jokes.
5. Finally, as another summer tourist season descends upon our slice of paradise, sources confirm that the new season of the reality show Amazing Race will include a trek down the newly opened extension to the Shining Sea bike path. In one of the more memorable challenges in the show's long run, contestants are expected to bike while spelling Sippewissett, Sucannessett and Coonamessett. None finish.
I'm sure many other interesting and memorable things await us in '09. These are just a few that come to mind - stay tuned for updates throughout the year.
This column is reprinted from the Falmouth Bulletin