Search This Blog


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Somerville Journal Comes Out Swinging!

In a strongly-worded blog post published yesterday, Dan Atkinson (Editor of the Somerville Journal), calls out the Curtatone Administration for recommending the appointment of Donald Norton to the Zoning Board of Appeals. Norton is the publisher of the Somerville News - a media source known to refer to the Somerville Journal as the “farm team.”

Noting Norton’s profession as a Real Estate Agent being a “conflict of interest,” Dan writes, “If he’s approved by the aldermen and stays publisher of the News, Donald Norton would be overseeing public meetings that he is getting paid to advertise, and draw a paycheck from the city officials that his newspaper covers. That sure seems sketchy to me from a newsman point of view. And looking at it from the other side, it makes me wonder why the mayor would appoint someone with such an obvious conflict of interest to oversee a board that handles thousands if not millions of dollars in local development every year.”

Atkinson also links to a past article in which Ward 6 Alderwoman Rebekah Gewirtz is referred to as “Princess Rebekah.” The News has long been an outspoken opponent of the Progressive Democrats of Somerville, historically referring to Representative Carl Sciortino as “Prince Carl” and Senator Pat Jehlen as “Queen Pat” in their popular News Talk section. This section has eased up in recent years, although it does feature an occasional jab at the PDSers.

This blog post is reminiscent of the Kat Powers days of edgy writing and I’m pretty friggin’ happy to see it return to the Somerville media scene. It’s clear that Dan is also channeling his inner Meghan Ackerman by pulling Board Orders and Mayor’s Requests out of the BOA agenda and making them headline blog posts.

The Somerville Journal also pointed out an Executive Session request by the Mayor to discuss billboards in Somerville. This Executive Session would, eventually, get dropped from the BOA agenda after a few tries.

Being an entity on the media scene, I’m interested to see how this challenge plays out and what type of response the Somerville News issues, if any, to Atkinson’s post. What about you? Comment your thoughts below.

Update: Donald Norton has refused the appointment, according to a Boston.Com article, and the legislative item was placed on file at last night's meeting by Alderman at Large Bruce Desmond.


Anonymous said...

All I can say is whoa! Dude has balls.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what next wednesday's news talk is going to be about? :P

Anonymous said...

A Real Estate Agent on the Zoning Appeals board?

Why not just let him print money?

Anonymous said...

Seriously people?!? If the Mayor was going to do something would he be this obvious about it?

Anonymous said...

He is either overly brash and arrogant, or has absolutely no political acumen. I'd argue the former. He surrounds himself with people who tell him how invincible he is, and how strong of a gubernatorial candidate he can be, and he sops it up.

If he thinks this is going to help him run for governor or congress, he's out of his mind.

Anonymous said...

Bag job! Open and transparent? Stan, Don and Joe, and away we go!

Anonymous said...

Such an obvious conflict of interest calls for a complaint to be filed with the Ethics Commission. Here is a link for the Enforcement Division. It will take you through the complaint process.

Anonymous said...

The above link is the Enforcement Division within the Ethics Commission. Just because there is an obvious conflict of interest doesn't mean the mayor is unaware. He counts on citizens to complain and he expects you won't follow through on having it investigated. It's an easy complaint to file. Just do it! The Commission will not divulge the identity of the complainant and if they find there is a conflict they will handle it quietly.

Anonymous said...

The above poster, if indeed he/she is also "complaining" about the appointment of Norton, should heed his/her own advice, and file a complaint, as I will do, and hopefully others.
The more that do will give added weight to the "bs" being perputuated by the Mayor and his appointed cronies; Norton among others.

As an aside: curious to know how many dollars the Nortons, and other of the mayor's appointees, contributed to the mayor's, and other elected officials fundraisers over the years.

There is nothing new about how the "system" works for all pols regarding mayor's appointees, and those aldermen who confirm the mayor's appointments.

Ward Five said...

Everyone, thank you for commenting.

As an update to this story, Mr. Norton has turned down the ZBA appointment and the legislative item was placed on file, last night, by Alderman At Large Bruce Desmond.

See story here: