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If the President of the United States can get away with publicly saying – and repeating – that certain

countries in Africa and elsewhere are "s***holes," how do we criticize a local official who says he "lost my cool" after viewing squalid housing conditions? Joe Arcudi, an elected member of

the Board of Assessors, freely admits

to making certain comments during a mid-February Neighborhood Task Force inspection of a Main St. building. Nearly two months later, Arcudi is clearly embarrassed by his outburst – saying, among other things, that the building's owner should be shot and that the building should be burned down – but noted he made these remarks after being shocked by living conditions he'd never seen before during his entire life.

Unlike the President, Arcudi has apologized for his remarks. He didn't give an excuse for making them; he gave a sincere explanation of why he made them. Haven't we all blurted out things in the heat of a moment that we wish we hadn't said?

Arcudi's term on the Board of Assessors runs out in April of next year.

If he runs again, that's when we can see if voters forgive the octogenarian.

Speaking of elections, I'm glad the Annual Town Election is over. During the weeks leading up to the election,

so many things were floating around that I actually drove out to Asylum St.– site of past dumping – to look for the proverbial kitchen sink.

I understand that elections are time when even friends take the gloves off and go at each other with bare knuckles. But, when did it become acceptable for the personnel records of people not running for office to be aired in public?

Yes, negotiations with the Police Chief over his request for a contract extension have not been finished. Once a certain date was passed, the lack of agreement triggered a clause in his contract giving him an automatic one-year extension. The chief is not the only department head in Milford right now operating under such a one-year extension while those who oversee them finalize terms.

Normally, this should be a confidential personnel issue. But, the lack of a contract extension was made to look like the incumbent – only

one of three people who can vote on that contract extension – was up to "something."

Another personnel matter that became public did become "public"

because the person involved is suing the town. But, again, the demotion of the Deputy Chief to the rank of sergeant was made to look like the incumbent's fault – even though the "strong chief " law adopted by the town prevents

the Board of Selectmen from taking disciplinary action.

The Middle School East building sold for only $115,000? Must be a sweetheart deal, there, right? Wrong. The sale went through every legal process required. And, the new owner is putting $6-$7 million into the building to make it useable again.

Instead of throwing up smoke screens like these, why not have a real debate

on the real issues confronting the town, such as: long-term traffic congestion; long-term water needs versus available water supplies, no matter who owns

the water company; trying to attract more business and industry versus

the amount of vacant land available; whether a new high school building is needed; and, the persistent prejudice against immigrants that lies just under the town's surface?

Or, is that too much to ask for next year?


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