Dear taxpayers of Avalon and Bellevue,

You are really going to want to wake up and take a serious look at your school district.

First, let’s all agree that we love the idea of small neighborhood schools, we think our kids are the best kids in the world, and we will all bleed red and yellow until the day we die. Now, put down your pom poms and take a look at the hard reality:

You can’t afford to pay more for underperforming schools.


I am a child of the 1970s, an era of dramatic change and activism. Which is not to say that everyone who came of age in that decade was an activist, or even aware of what was going on in the world around them. Even those who were aware did not grasp the concept that they could have an impact on the world. They saw themselves as victims of the status quo, powerless and voiceless.


There has been much social media coverage in recent days about a Twitter exchange between comedian Sarah Silverman and a troll. In response to a Silverman Tweet, the troll posted a one-word, foul, obscene Tweet.

Silverman is not known for taking prisoners or pulling punches, but this time she responded with a new kind of weapon – compassion.


We’ve all had a few weeks now to process the local election results and come up with any number of theories to explain the results. Was it a whiplash in response to national politics, or an extension of the anti-incumbent sentiment seen in past elections? Or were citizens voting a little less blindly than some would like to believe?


I don’t know how much national politics and issues have played a role in local politics, but you don’t have to dig too far beneath the surface of the North Boroughs to see at least some effect. Ballots on which offices were once filled by anyone who could get a few write-in votes are now being contested by an abundance of candidates. And some of the most troubling issues that confront us as a nation have stepped into the local spotlight as well.


I hope you all took advantage of summer and vacations and all the good things that come with the warmer weather. In what seems to be turning into an extremely annoying summer tradition, I spent a portion of my summer in the emergency room, followed by way too much time in doctors’ offices. Fortunately this year’s catastrophe was only a broken wrist, which appears to be well on its way to healing.


A few weeks ago, I got what was probably my last look at the house where I grew up. For those of us who grew up in the same house, in the same town, for all or most of our youth, “home” is a powerful concept. It carries with it not just the bricks and wood of a particular structure, but embodies the essence of a powerful period of time in our lives. It represents our roots in a time and place that, hopefully, is still cherished by most of us.


One year ago today, I died. A couple of times, if you want to get technical about it. During one 20-minute stretch, I believe I had a somewhat lengthy conversation with whatever Great Spirit each of us believes in, about the pros and cons of staying dead or coming back to life. I'm not sure which of us advocated living, but that was the side that won.

And so began a journey of recovery that the doctors tell me will take at least two years. Sometimes I feel like I take one step forward and 10 steps back as I struggle to define what heart attack survivors call my “new normal.”


As usual in Bellevue – because nobody does drama like Bellevue does drama – the primary election campaigns have turned into something like…well, like the 2016 presidential campaigns. We at The Citizen are going to do what we have always done – give everyone involved a chance to speak and be heard, and let the voters sort it out. But there is one issue that troubles me personally, and I have written about it in the past – Candidates who run for the nomination of a political party they don’t even believe in.