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Letter to the Editor: O'Neil Responds to Mr. Keegan's Letter

Mr. O'Neil wrote a letter a couple of weeks ago about the construction in Dedham Square. He was unsatisfied with the plans. Soon after, Dedham's Town Administrator, William G. Keegan Jr. responded defending the plans. Mr. O'Neil now responds...

Dear Editor,

    I would like the opportunity to respond to Mr. Keegan’s letter from last week. As was quoted in my comments, the comments section at the end of my letter, and the end of his, I was misinformed about the angled parking near Centre Deli. That parking is actually going to be, and already is, in front of the police station which will contribute to the driving issues in that section left turn light or not. My opposition remains to be that driving pitfalls from the enlarged sidewalks and those angled spaces as my issue with the project, not any of the other improvements.
    I have to say I’m very flattered that he went to the trouble to respond to my letter, but at the same time while we’re on the subject this gentleman is also one of the many things wrong with this town. No I’m not saying Mr. Keegan is not qualified nor am I saying he is not competent. Here is my issue with Mr. Keegan. He doesn’t live here in Dedham. He lives in Scituate. He makes a six figure salary to be our town administrator and is given a gas stipend and is put up in the Dedham Hilton if there is in climate weather and he is unable to commute home.
    His original agreement was that he was to move to Dedham within one year. He never did. Instead he asked that the town charter be changed so that he could live outside Dedham and the Board of Selectman had the charter changed. I find this disturbing. Not only did the town allow him to keep his job even though he didn’t live here, they changed the law so he wouldn’t have to.  

And this was years back before the real estate problems so he can’t use that excuse.  So we are paying more than just his salary to have him be our town administrator. Again not a knock on Mr. Keegan or his ability, but in this whole town are the people we vote for telling us there is not one person living here that is not intelligent enough to do this job? That’s the message I’m getting from this. Also we are paying more than just his salary which I also feel is not fair because our tax dollars are paying for his gas and his room at the Hilton in addition to his salary.
    Do you remember the show Newhart? Some of the readership will, it was out in the 80’s and Bob Newhart owned an Inn and had Larry, Darryl, and there other brother Darryl as neighbors and one of the shows premises was that the small town citizens and officials were all either ignorant or simpletons. I’m wondering if our elected officials think this of us.

I’ll tell you right now I may not be qualified to be a town administrator, but I am college educated- I’m no simpleton nor is anybody in this town.  I’m sure we could find someone here that would be qualified to do the job instead of allowing this man to take the town hostage so he wouldn’t have to rent a U-haul and move here.
    I have friends that don’t live here that constantly ask me why I live in the "two steps forward three steps back" town. I still believe in this town and love living here, but this is an example of "two steps forward three steps back" just like the square project.  I’m not perfect. Nobody is, but anybody who can’t see this situation and this square project both being ridiculous needs to re-evaluate there thinking process.
Dan O’Neil

Avon Barksdale August 28, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Dan, thank you for your last sentence, which basically says "if you don't agree with me, you're an idiot." That, and for taking the opportunity to call Mr. Keegan a carpetbagger who is holding the town "hostage" - very nice, great work, always like a good public smearing with my morning coffee. I never did understand the logic of needing to have somebody live in town to work in town, my philosophy is you find the best person for the job and put them to work. It seems like you can't attack Mr. Keegan for his performance so you attack him for where he lives. That's great. Next time there's a construction project in town, I say we hire you so that you can get it done during one overnight shift - that way no commerce will be disturbed. That way you don't have to be embarrassed by your ignorant friends who all think that Dedham has been taking "two steps forward and three steps back" with the construction of Legacy Place, a new elementary school, and a new athletic complex. Feel free to ask people in surrounding towns what they've been able to get done in the past 5 years to add to their revenue base, I'm sure they'll all have lots of snappy answers.
Yorvis Kalinsky August 28, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Ah, I wish Mr. O'Neill had given us all a rip snorting letter about 1) facts that Mr. Keegan got wrong about the Dedham Square Project or even 2) the founding fathers-era philosophical tension between representativeness (e.g., important for us to be governed by those who share our polity) and competence (e.g., it matters more that we have the right person for the job) that I am sure we all remember from the Town Meeting debates and, ultimately, the only TM roll call vote I remember when we made the Town Treasurer's position appointed, not elected. But I guess that Mr. Keegan was basically right in his letter about the Dedham Square project, and Mr. O'Neill unfortunately decided to go negative. P.S. For those who want facts about the Dedham Square project; the parking map is on page 5: http://www.dedhamsquareproject.com/index.cfm/page/Dedham-Square-Presentation/cdid/10280/pid/10224
Dan O'Neil August 28, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Leagacy Place? National amusements was responsible for that. Again I never called the man not qualified, quite the contrary. He is. My isue is we are paying for a lot more than his salary because he doesn't live here. Those are facts, not negativities. Just like square project I talk in real terms not fantasies. I don't sugar coat things and I'm not going to kiss somebody's posterier. That isn't me and never will be. BTW how behind schedule was that atheletic field? What did we get one game? And then the school had a second chance to show those lights off by doing the graduation during the week and they did it on a Saturday thus wasting an opportunity. Ask Mr. Keegan what happens to the brick for the crosswalks when rocksalt hits them. I know. I'm sure he doesn't. Why? Because I'm not a negative jackass that just wants to be negative. I try to point out things that are wrong so someone might actually learn something. I guess the feedback means people aren't learning. Typical Dedham.
Avon Barksdale August 28, 2012 at 07:56 PM
The athletic complex will be here for at least a quarter-century, those of us who aren't children demanding to have everything NOW NOW NOW until they turn blue recognized that missing a few extra games in Year One to make sure the project was done right was the right thing to do. AND WE HAD A HURRICANE IN THE MIDDLE OF CONSTRUCTION if you recall, I guess you would say that it's "typical Dedham" to not have the foresight to see the meteorological future. Are you this horribly selfish, impatient and negative in all aspects of life? My advice is to chill.
Avon Barksdale August 28, 2012 at 07:58 PM
"I try to point out things that are wrong so someone might actually learn something. I guess the feedback means people aren't learning. Typical Dedham." Dan, you're SO brilliant and SO insightful, woe be unto us who don't learn from your tutelage. It simply isn't possible that you're howling at the moon - it's everyone else who is stupid and crazy. Got it.
Yorvis Kalinsky August 28, 2012 at 08:45 PM
"I talk in real terms not fantasies." "Leagacy Place? National amusements was responsible for that." As long as you pretend that the Town of Dedham did not review and approve that development . . . "we are paying for a lot more than his salary because he doesn't live here." Mr. Keegan has what is called a "compensation package" that includes more than just his salary . . . common, dare I say normal, for many other town administrators. "I was misinformed about the angled parking near Centre Deli." AND you didn't bother to look at the project plans before repeating your rumor. "I’m sure we could find someone here that would be qualified to do the job instead." Yes, and that would be a bad idea.
Dan O'Neil August 28, 2012 at 09:16 PM
In my defense of my miscue that was brought to my attention by the shop keepers in that area the same ones supporting the project which by the way has changed three times, I bet you didn't know the plans changed three times. Have our taxes gone down thanks to any revenue from Legacy place? No quite the contrary they went up, We built a new middle school when we needed a high school and ripped up a brand new tennis court to do that. That little gem raised our taxes too. Oh and yes the hurricane. Yes that storm ruined last years graduation, but shouldn't have set back the field project nearly the entire fall considering it happened in June. I'm sorry that you think I'm just the mean crazy guy that just hates everything everybody does. If you ever read the Dedham Times and Jimmy Healy can attest to that I praised the police and the fire department and the the teachers and knocked the town for stalling there contracts a few years back. I always praise the park and rec department and Dedham Youth Basketball and CYO basketball and am a huge supporter of all the challenger programs. My nephews partcipate in the pathfinder programs. I have a lot of nice things to say when someone has it right. Unfortunately there are other departments in town that get it wrong and sometimes badly wrong. Love me hate me I really don't give a damn. I'm true to myself and true to how I feel. I'd rather be me than something I'm not. I wish this town felt the same way.
Dan O'Neil August 29, 2012 at 12:47 AM
I want to add to my previous comment. The two folks that continue to think I'm pretty much the devil I'll ask you this. Remember when Reebok wanted to come here to build there facility and said they'd fix all of our fields for in exchange for permission to build it in Dedham. We would have had that football field years ago if we said yes. Well we said no and Canton reaped all of the benefits we said no to. Yet I'm a dope and I'm the devil and I don't know anything. Yeah keep telling yourselves I don't know anything over one slight error when our town makes stupendous blunders like this one. Need I say more?
Yorvis Kalinsky August 29, 2012 at 02:14 AM
Democracy is sooooooooo frustrating!! "We built a new middle school when we needed a high school . . that little gem raised our taxes too." Town Meeting, the SBRC and the voters of Dedham thought otherwise. "Remember when Reebok wanted to come here to build there facility and said they'd fix all of our fields . .." Yep, and I remember that Town Meeting said no. That's the way democracy works, Dan. You give it your best shot and the people decide . . . Legacy Place, Reebok, the Square improvements, the Middle School . . . all decided by either the voters of Dedham or Town Meeting. The people who didn't vote your way are also thoughtful, considered folks and just saw things differently than you. Your sense that all these decisions made us move backwards as a Town seem to be more sour grapes than thoughtful analysis. But could you tell us what to do about a senior center?
Dan O'Neil August 29, 2012 at 09:45 AM
Here is the thing about town meeting, they represent some of the people they don't represent the town. There should have been a special election for the town on reebok. It's too big an issue to decide at town meeting. I don't agree with town meeting votes because a major item like getting out fields done should be a town wide issue and should go to voters. Democratic? Yeah right. You know what your so smart. Wow Town meeting. Town meeting represents what maybe 15% of the voters if that many show up. Ugh! Wow. Here's the thing yes or no should we have let Reebok come here? Should we have built a High School first like Norwood and Westwood did? To beautify the square do we really need bigger sidewalks? I'm going to give you chance here. Take the voting aspect out. Say your the king of Dedham for argument sakes and answer how you feel. Maybe just maybe we will get somewhere. And before your wise mouth thinks I'm saying I'm the king I don't rule anyone, but I do live in the real world and I have real opinions and I do think my opinion should count like everyone elses even if it goes against ugh town meeting. It's hard to know about every item in Dedham when your not here most of the week like I am not. I think I made that clear in other items on other letters I replied too. BTW we should give explore a senior center at the old Dexter School site. or at least on that property. Just an idea. I'm allowed to have one right?
Dan O'Neil August 29, 2012 at 10:05 AM
Oh yes I'm also aware that the town reps we vote for attend town meeting. They represent the people at the meeting yes. Do they normally do what's necessary like getting a town wide vote out? Not always thus my issue with town meeting. If we're talking about a stop sign or paving a street I have no issue with those things being decided at town meeting. Major things that have major impact should go to the voters. I'm not going to continue to engage in this. Let's just say we agree to disagree and be done with it.
Telling it like it is August 30, 2012 at 01:02 AM
"The athletic complex will be here for at least a quarter century" ".....make sure the project was done right...." Get out much? The track had recently been unusable and closed for a couple of weeks due to faulty workmanship. Looks like they hired the same retread union workers that gave us the big dig. But I've also been told that "that tunnel will be a bargain".
Avon Barksdale August 30, 2012 at 01:45 AM
Yeah, the track had to be resurfaced, that's why the contract included provisions for the construction company to come in and fix it if something went wrong. I'm not sure what Telling It Like It Is wanted, a new company to come in and do the work at additional cost? These things happen in construction projects, how about some credit to the SBRC for making sure that it got fixed and having the foresight to include it in the original contract. And yeah, the complex will be here and operational in 2037. See you at the track then.
Avon Barksdale August 30, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Dan, I don't really care to look into your background, it seems like you're just a blowhard on a blog. Take a sedative or something, enjoy life.
Avon Barksdale August 30, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Oh and Dan ... Hurricane Irene hit Dedham (as a tropical storm at that point) on August 29,2011 and you may remember that almost a million people in the region lost power. The reason this delayed the opening of the athletic complex is we needed NStar to complete the work on the lights, but they were unable to do so because it wasn't exactly their priority while they worked around the clock to restore electrical service to customers. The heavy rains also caused a delay in the pouring of the track, which required a curing period of about two weeks. So, imagine that, your statement that the hurricane "shouldn't have set back the field project nearly the entire fall considering it happened in June" was wildly inaccurate and uninformed. How surprising.
Dan O'Neil August 30, 2012 at 12:32 PM
I find it funny, I wrote another letter and actually rebutted Mr. Keegans comments and apologized for attacking him and yet you two a-holes are still attacking me on this letter. Here's the thing. Homes lost power in August due to Irene. That should not have delayed a field that much that in theory we should have had years ago. I'm done with you two so called scholars. Call me a blogger call me the devil call me what ever you want. At the end of the day I live in the real world, Enjoy fantasy land.I wish I could say it was real jabbing with you, but I don't think either of you deal in real terms so I'm out.
Avon Barksdale August 30, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Go ahead and run away Dan, if you can't understand why the field was delayed by a hurricane that hit just before a track was supposed to be poured and the power was supposed to be turned on I can't imagine what you possibly can understand. You might want to learn how to own up to your mistakes and simply say "oh, I was wrong about that" instead of cursing at people and calling them names when they correct you on your horrid errors.

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