By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Picturing a $200 million high school

Those of you with good memories may recall that, last summer, Newton Mayor David Cohen barred the press from touring the city’s brand-new, $191 million Newton North High School. Later, he relented and allowed a reporter to take a look — but not a photographer.

Well, yesterday, as his time in office winds down to its final weeks, Cohen at long last allowed full media access to the school. The Newton Tab was even allowed to shoot a video.

Though it’s certainly positive that the press was finally able to take pictures, there was never any excuse for Cohen’s censorious behavior. The public deserved to see long before now what it was getting for the nearly $200 million it paid in tax money, either directly (through local property taxes) or indirectly (via state assistance).

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  1. Newshound

    Absolutely disgusting!

    To think of all the people over the hundreds of years who have served our country, in particular in time of war, to defend our freedoms in an open society and to have some squirmy, sneaky little twirt stand in the way.

    This kind of misbehavior happens too much in our society, now and in the past. Those who obstruct our freedoms, ideals and goals should be put up to public scorn and ridicule.

    The Standard-Times has been having an issue with Wareham public officials who have been declared to have violated the open meeting law. Unfortunately, the open meeting law just doesn’t have enough bite for the chew required.

    Instead of running to the District Attorney and being concerned with whether or not a law was technically violated, all sneaky officials need to be dealt with harshly in the media as they are a violation to the perpetuation of the quality of our government and an insult to so many who served in the military defending our values.

    The Newton mayor should be remembered for a long time for his most serious violations, and while what he did is not a statutory crime, it is a crime for what he is able to get away with, even if for one day, or one hour for that matter.

  2. BillH

    While I certainly agree that credit goes to our service men and women for what they’ve sacrificed, let’s not make every cheesy attempt to circumvent public disclosure laws an affront to veterans or active duty military. There are many and varied ways in which people serve the country, and a transparent government is their due. It seems to me that the military references aren’t necessary.

  3. Newshound

    BillH – good point. It is the media people and our society itself who are constantly on the front lines defending, protecting and insisting on transparency in government.

    And, there are many people in the military, and veterans, who served our country for its many freedoms without particular focus on government transparency.

    Of course, I was thinking about the devoted Patriots and architects of our Constitution, and the diverse sacrifices and hardships they endured to provide the basis for our freedoms deserving of full-time protection. And, it is the media that is on the front lines, as was the case in Newton last week.

    The irony that I have disgustingly observed are people who proudly served, many in great danger, in World War II for example – a war that had to be won to protect our freedoms, who later served on town and city boards and committees and deliberately obstructed public view of records and meetings in violation to the basic fundamentals our our government. I wondered, “what were they thinking?” And, how could they have so proudly served and yet be so narrow as to violate basic constitutional rights and fundamental protection now?

    My thoughts on this are bigger than my first comments. And, I agree with you, Bill, for what you’ve added.

    Fortunately, too, in our cross section of society, there are many who are serving and veterans, too, who have made a contribution to supporting openness in government, and I don’t understand how any decent person serving in government wouldn’t stand up for the freedoms they sacrificed for, aside from all other soul searching. It’s only the twits like the Newton mayor who don’t give a damn.

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