Holyoke Councilor Jennifer Chateauneuf to Resign

2016/04/05 in Chateauneuf, Council, Facebook, Panitch, pronography


Good Bye


She claims to be done with he said / she said but yet she still continues in that mode in this public resignation.  Not surprising.  She really should apologize to the person that she attempted to frame and to the City of Holyoke for her absolute embarrassment of our wonderful city. I do hope that her seat is soon filled by someone who holds a respect for the Constitution and for the people that the post represents.

What next?

From the Holyoke Charter:

If the full number of members of the city council has not been elected, or if a vacancy in the office of councilor shall occur more than six months previous to the expiration of the municipal year, the city council may forthwith elect a person to fill such vacancy until the next municipal election.

Previous election results puts Mimi Panitch as a likely candidate here:

Peter R. Tallman (winner) 5476
Joseph M. McGiverin (winner) 4988
James M. Leahy (winner) 4575
Daniel B. Bresnahan (winner) 4286
Howard B. Greaney Jr. (winner) 3845
Michael J. Sullivan (winner) 3833
Jennifer E. Chateauneuf (winner) 3803
Rebecca Lisi (winner) 3799
Mimi Panitch 3021
James F. Brunault 2828
Jordan M. Lemieux 2660
Adrian K. Dahlin 1925
Darlene Elias 1836
Mike Franco 1730
Anne N. Thalheimer 1197
Jemma B. Penberthy 859



Response to Councilor Chateauneuf Redux

2016/04/04 in Absurd, Alex Morse, Chateauneuf, HPD, Lawsuit, Lies, Masslive, pronography



Yeah, for me this was well over in November 2015.  By then I had pretty much made my point and brought attention to Councilor Chateauneuf’s misdeeds using social media – to a very limited audience.  Then came the two show of cause hearings and the no contact / no harass 258E order – Councilor Chateauneuf was trying to call my actions “harassment” which were actually constitutionally protected free and political speech.  I defeated her in court.  So, again, on January 14th, I’m done.  I win three times.  You lose three times.  I consider this issue to be over with.

But oh, no, it cannot be over! Councilor Chateauneuf needs to hold a press conference because she has not had enough attention.  Then another one because she did not like the response from the first one.  The story languished in the media for a week and people were now made aware that she took someone to court for absolutely no reason and that she uses the police as her personal gestapo.  Largely the response was “what the fuck is her malfunction?”.  Certainly not the best idea on her part to make this public, but it saved me the effort as I was then planning on coming forward after the last court date to detail in a blog post her attempt to suppress free and political speech.  When all was laid bare by Councilor Chateauneuf herself  it was obvious that she was overreacting and abusing her power.  Additionally, her public performance was absolutely absurd.  When you were not laughing you probably had some amount of pity for her because it was obvious that she was flailing and totally not prepared for public service or criticism that might come with it. –  I have asked the question before:  Why is she even there?

So now comes the Chamber of Commerce breakfast event.  This event traditionally has it’s share of roasting.  Mayor Alex Morse makes a joke about not making a joke about her because she’d sue him if he actually did make one:

“Councilor Chatenauf isn’t here this morning. I was going to make a joke about her but I didn’t want to get sued for harassment. God forbid someone say something negative about an elected official on social media.”

Accurate, timely, funny and she 100% deserves it.  Well, Councilor Chateauneuf goes on Facebook to tell everyone that the Mayor is unkind and should not be joking about SERIOUS BUSINESS because someone using a drone took a photo of her naked in her own bathroom – a story that she tried to pin on me in court and a story that has been spread throughout the community in order do defame me.


It is shared with reporter Mike Plaisance to follow up, which is reasonable after all; this is a serious offense that she is suggesting and if anyone is flying a drone around taking clandestine nude photos that is something that the public should be made aware.  The problem is that the story is not at all true.  So, again Masslive published a story and here was my response.

My response to Councilor Jennifer Chateauneuf’s false claims of clandestine drone photography.

If you are going to attempt to frame someone by fabricating a story about a clandestine photo taken by drone of a person naked in their shower it is most certainly a good idea to submit as evidence an actual photo of that person naked in their shower and not a photo of some random person found on the internet. I guess we all should not be surprised here; and if you have been paying attention you will know that this is what I have been trying to tell you all along – these people are not the brightest bulbs on the Holiday Tree. While we do not know who sent the photo to her or if she has manufactured this absurd plot herself; I was, albeit briefly, believing that there was an actual drone photo of her, naked, out there in the wild. So, while this creation lacks the technical skills needed to convince HPD – nor should it convince anyone – I will say that Councilor Jennifer Chateauneuf might be deserving an Academy Award for her public performance.

When I first heard about the “drone photo” I was very concerned. Is someone out there invading privacy and committing what amounts to sex crimes via drone photography here in Holyoke? If this were true, then yeah, I would be 100% sympathetic to Councilor Jennifer Chateauneuf – or anyone, for that matter – because this would indeed be a serious violation. She tried to pin it on me twice in court – mind you, we find out now that this was weeks after the police told her the photo was not of her; that the photo was not of the inside her own bathroom; that the photo was not by drone; that the photo in question was not even a photo but instead a screen-print from an amateur porn website. When she mentioned it in the no contact order hearing and in the show of cause hearing she told the judge and the magistrate that she had received photos of herself naked; in her bathroom; and possibly taken by drone. She testified to this story to bolster her harassment case against me. Testimony that would have had criminal implications beyond harassment – a charge that could possibly result in making me a registered sex offender. However, nothing was submitted as evidence. Why? We now know that this is because the official police report would indicate that her story was not true!

It should be noted that in the police report that she claims that she had “no problems with anyone until recent times with that individual”. This is not at all true. Not only did I receive support from many in my efforts to expose her misdeeds, there were also others that gave negative reviews of her business over her politics and one individual that threatened on Twitter to picket her business – on public property, the sidewalk – this individual was also visited by HPD multiple times and received a No Trespass Order from her.

Additionally, Councilor Jennifer Chateauneuf in her multiple press conferences and in her social media post criticizing the Mayor she continues to use the word “harassment”. This is another one of her lies. This was tested in court three times and there were no charges of harassment resulting from “hot dog memes” or my criticism of Councilor Jennifer Chateauneuf, an elected person that represents me:

The definition of “harassment” in c. 258E was crafted by the Legislature to “exclude constitutionally protected speech,” and to limit the categories of constitutionally unprotected speech that may qualify as “harassment” to two: “fighting words” and “true threats.” To qualify as “fighting words” the words “must be a direct personal insult addressed to a person, and they must be inherently likely to provoke violence.” As for “true threats,” these include “direct threats of imminent physical harm,” as well as “words or actions that — taking into account the context in which they arise — cause the victim to fear such [imminent physical] harm now or in the future.”

Attempting to suppress free speech. Using the police as an armed enforcement wing of her campaign. Using her position to call press conferences in order to attack an individual that challenged her and the Mayor for not providing support of her false claims. Now we learn of her continued spreading of this absurd tale despite the police report officially debunking it. Councilor Jennifer Chateauneuf’s behavior is unbecoming of an elected official. She should immediately resign and issue a public apology to me and to the City of Holyoke.


If this story is proof of anything besides Chateauneuf’s gross ignorance, incredibly thin skin and her abuse of power it is that we need to start teaching civics in schools again.  If not that then we should have some sort of orientation for new public officials about how to respond to criticism from the public when it happens and what the bill of rights means in terms of political speech. Chateauneuf’s behavior proves that it’s possible for people to be elected without really understanding what they’re getting themselves in for.  It is a bit of a surprise sine it only takes a glance at the internet to see what people can and will say about national figures. And while there’s obviously a difference between being a city councilor in a small mill city and being, say, Hillary Clinton, there are material similarities here.  Or we could go the opposite way – forget the Constitution – instead limit speech and limit protest.  We could be headed that way, as this nation forever creeps closer towards fascism with every election.

My response to Councilor Chateauneuf

2016/02/02 in Absurd, Chateauneuf, City Council, Civil Rights, Classism, Holyoke, Lawsuit, Masslive, Mike Plaisance, pronography


One of the offensive images.

Sent to Mike Plaisance on 02/01/2016 in response to the story he was drafting which can now be found posted here.


This is all ridiculous, but I do want to thank Councilor Chateauneuf for creating such spectacularly absurd political theater here. Very well done; and I do hope that it may it come back to bite you next election cycle. This all reminds me of another councilor who- when upset with a PhotoShop I created portraying her as “The Joker”- (as you surely have seen many times over with elected officials at all levels) went on a public tirade and abused assets like email lists to smear me for poking fun at her. Well, that only ended up with an at-large councilor that normally won in the top five of eight seats falling off the map that next election. And this really is what this is all about here – not just Councilor Chateauneuf. I heard it once from Councilor Chateauneuf in the courtroom, and again in a conversation with Lt. James Albert, “you harass people” and “he has gone after several councilors”, etc. Yes, I lampoon, poke fun at and have exposed crimes and misdeeds of several local politicians – and this has contributed to at least three of them losing election. This was all via a long tradition of free and political speech in this country – making fun of politicians is as American as apple pie, racism and police brutality. And these pols all should have lost because they were clearly not suited for the post. Public criticism is a concern for people like Councilor Chateauneuf; and it is her lack of understanding of the Bill of Rights and civics that shall be her undoing.

Some may wonder why I went after Councilor Chateauneuf and Nick’s Nest. Well, there are several reasons. First, the long history of Holyoke electing unqualified political hacks that get elected on name recognition only or for their connection to certain cliques in the city. There are several on the City Council at this moment. I heard a number of people say that she won because she “saved Nick’s Nest”. No, she bought an established successful business and did not fundamentally change what was was already a formula that worked. This does not really take any sort of savvy, certainly does not amount to a “saving” and not qualification one for office. Second, she does nothing on council. Often when she does speak she frames it in her experience at Nick’s Nest as if that place is a barometer for all things Holyoke – it is not. In that, she opposed the meals tax – an order that I supported –and similar such revenue programs have been successfully implemented in neighboring cities and towns and will provide our city with much needed tax revenue. Third, she supported an anti-panhandling ordinance in Holyoke. This is another attempt of hers to quell free speech. Any lawmaker that is paying attention should know that anti-panhandling ordinances have been shut down in at least three other Massachusetts cities after costly ACLU lawsuits. Not only that, she suggested that if we could not create an ordinance that we should find a way to shame them. The council, which is mostly white, already does not represent the 48% Latino population – now here we have classist comments like hers while near one third of the population lives below the poverty line. This is not acceptable. Lastly, Nick’s Nest is gross and the describing a restaurant on the website and in commercials as “good for kids”, a restaurant that does not sell a single healthy item on its menu, is indeed false advertising.

As far as her claims of sexual harassment: Councilor Chateauneuf has brought me to court three times. Twice for show of cause hearings and once for a no-contact / no-harass order. She lost in all three. The Honorable Maureen Walsh said it best: “I can think of a lot of things that I could say to describe Mr. Bickford’s work here, but one of them is not harassment.” Not harassment and clearly not sexual harassment. In the show of cause hearings the magistrate compared my creating of memes to those that have flooded review websites like Yelp and Trip Advisor over the political positions made by private businesses. We have all seen this, a wedding cake baker refuses to service gay marriages or a business claims to not serve Muslims and they get thousands of negative reviews in response. Also, I am not alone in targeting Nick’s Nest: there were others that gave Nick’s Nest one star reviews due to her politics. In forums and on Twitter one Holyoke citizen stated that they were going to picket her restaurant (on public property, the sidewalk across the street) over her classist comments – and in Councilor Chateauneuf‘s scorn she sent him a preemptive no-trespass order. Also, Councilor Chateauneuf said it herself, “a hot dog that looked like a penis”. Yes, hot dogs are made with lips and buttholes, do indeed look phallic and jokes are often made about “wieners”. Pointing that out is not “sexual” unless the context is clearly a sex act or the person viewing the image has some sado-sexual fixation. If the fact that you sell hot dogs bothers you that much you are in the wrong business. If political commentary and lampooning related to your political post results in your seeking to suppress free speech then you are again in the wrong business.

As far as your request that I be removed from posts in the city; from unpaid, volunteer positions on understaffed committees where I can provide valuable work (Holyoke Local Cultural Council, Cable Advisory Board and Holyoke Creative Arts Center) – Well, this plays into another one of your political games. We all know you do not support our Mayor and you’d love to put him in a pickle like you are trying to here. The problem is that you are so out of touch. My service on the Holyoke Local Cultural Council ended and while I could have re-upped I decided not to as I am too busy with other projects. The Cable Advisory Board was created to negotiate the new contract with Comcast and technically dissolved after we did so two and a half years ago. The Holyoke Creative Arts Center is a non-profit in the city, is not a municipal entity and the Mayor does not make appointments.

I already have taken the first steps to suing HPD and the city over Councilor Chateauneuf‘s use of the police as an armed enforcement wing of her campaign. I will also be going to the State Ethics Committee with a similar complaint. Your press conference and call for my removal from posts only adds to my case. Thank you.


One thing that I left out, that was mentioned by her was the fact that I did send an email before this all escalated.  It was a polite and reasonable email explaining my concerns about the panhandling ordinance and her sending the HPD to my home for what amounted to three images posted to FB, one attached to a negative review of Nick’s Nest.   I am her constituent and she failed to respond – which should be her duty to do so.  Had she responded this may not have escalated.

Councilor Chateauneuf claims these images / videos to be “sexual” in nature.  Please review.  In her letter to the Mayor she cites:

sexy tube meat


sad hot dogs

This is actually a vintage WTF internet image. I have no idea what is happening here and I am not aware of there ever being any explanation for this image. Hot or not?


When this one was presented in the courtroom I said: "yeah, I made this, this one is my favorite." Hot or not?



This is a video from a Filipino band called “Hot Dog”.  That is a tongue coming out of the radio (not a jukebox) on the album cover.  Councilor Chateauneuf is the one that sees something else.  Yeah, it does kinda look like like a penis now that she mentions it, but it is also clearly not.  Hot or not?

Additionally, Western Mass News felt the need to censor this image. Why? Is it indeed lewd or are they trying to make it appear that way for the folks that would only see the edited version? And why censor the text? So that people could not search for the original? It makes no sense, that is clearly an anthropomorphic radio sticking its tongue out.



Crude? Yes. Sexual? No. Hot or not?



This is a still from a gif (not a Vine as was suggested). It reminds me of a video from cyriak ( https://www.youtube.com/user/cyriak/videos ). It is strange. Not at all sexual. It is also not a hot dog. Rather, it appears to be a popsicle. Hot or not?

These images and videos are clearly not sexual… unless, as I stated above, you have some sado-sexual fixation with tube meat.  Her accusations are nothing but surreal and the fact that her attorney would come out and make statements like he did on television is absolutely bizarre.  Also, Councilor Chateauneuf and her attorney make claims about children viewing such images on Facebook.  Hello, forget the fact that these images are not “sexual” as you suggest, please remember that Facebook is 13+.

Lastly, the Mayor’s response to Councilor Chateauneuf’s requests is nothing short of an “FU”:

Important issues in Holyoke?  How about protecting free speech Councilor Chateauneuf’?  That’s such an important issue that it is #1 in the Bill of Rights.  You do not send the police to people’s homes over silly posts on Facebook.  Unless you want us to instead embrace fascism?  Looking at the dialog in the national election I guess I should not be surprised here.  .


Bresnahan Trifecta of Intolerance

2015/10/05 in Ableism, Absurd, Ageism, Bresnahan, City Council, Elections, Facebook, H.U.S.H., Holyoke, Sexism

I am the cartoon character of an asshole.

Last year about this time I ran into Dan Bresnahan at a bar… well, to be more specific, I was seen at a bar and someone summoned him to me – probably via txt message.  I knew he arrived when I felt someone actually leaning upon me. I looked to my left and there he was, actually fully invading my space with his body and nearly pushing me off my seat.  With his face about four inches from mine and breathing his sour breath he accused me of being “obsessed with him” and he actually threatened me with violence.  After I told him “no. not just you, I will go after any person that does not represent me or the best interests of the community – you are a problem, you are not very smart and you do absolutely nothing positive in your role as councilor” he then asked me “do you want to take this outside?”  I was in awe.  I knew that this man-child had zero filter and that he thought that he could do no wrong, but here he was, an elected official actually challenging a constituent to a fight.  I said “did you just challenge me to a fight?” he said “Yup”. I said “You are absurd” and walked out of the place.  I know, it sounds unbelievable, but this is Breezy D and that really did happen.

How do I know that he is the man that he is?  Well, first through observation of his grandstanding nonsense that he spews ad nauseam when given the opportunity to speak in council – as well, how he votes and obviously via behavior like described above.   I have also known this guy since he was nineteen years old.  I recognized him as a miscreant back then.  As a public servant he’s been involved in some seriously messed up situations that prove that he’s not fit for leadership.  Two situations revealed to me just very recently.  Of course we all remember the time in October 2013 when he professed for all to hear that his fellow city councilor became pregnant and then failed to sexually stimulate him like most pregnant women do.  Prior to Breezy’s tenure as a member of city council he was Director of the Holyoke Board of Health (zero qualifications, and forced to resign).  I have leaned that there are two different circumstances where there was a lawsuit and a union grievance over his discriminating against people based on age.  I have filed an FOIA request for info related to these cases, at least one was a monetary suit and the person was given a job where Breezy would not be their superior.  I was going to wait for all the details to even begin to mention this case but I write about this now to put in context with this post that has been going viral on Facebook today:

Someone let this guy be in charge of children? What were they thinking?

That’s right…  sexism creating an unsafe environment for women in the employ of the municipal, ageism resulting in discrimination lawsuits and now ableism with his failing to allow a child with autism to participate in a pee-wee soccer league where all kids should be given a chance.  If you cannot read that mother’s lament and not feel utterly heartbroken for that child or not asking “what kind of monster is this guy?” then there’s something wrong with you too.

On the bright side, one of the shares of this story on social media had tagged the Holyoke Youth Soccer League.  They responded:


Well, that is a relief.  It is my hope that this will be Breezy’s October Surprise that will wake folks up to what a douchebag he is – there are a lot of people running that I would rather see take his seat.  But at the very least we can hope that he will be removed from all opportunities where he could abuse children.




More Dirt on FrannyO

2015/09/03 in Elections, FrannyO, Masslive, Music, Politics, Shame, The Republican, WMassP&I


Wink, wink... nudge, nudge...


1. On the issue of the “Pleasant Crossing” parcel that Fran claims he was snubbed by the current administration over his plan we now have full disclosure from HEDIC’s Carl Eger Jr. to debunk Fran’s misinformation:

“Never did the O’Connell group allow any HEDIC staff or board members the opportunity to present and/or negotiate, knowing full well that HEDIC wanted to keep a good corporate citizen. One has to wonder why. Upon reading Mr. O’Connell’s opening remarks upon announcing his new political endeavor, one might surmise what this is truly all about. It is conceivable that, having failed to immediately get his way, he thought this whole ordeal would be a political ploy for a mayoral run. No one can say for sure. But now, at the very least, Holyoke’s voters know the facts.

So… yeah, he’s full of shit.

2. There’s the matter of a suit against his nurse staffing company – a company which employs mostly part-time women with no benefits that work on a per diem basis from which he extracts a great deal of money from their labor.  Surprise!  He’s a union buster.  He violated Federal Labor Law, appealed and lost the appeal.   Of course, this should be of interest to Local 388, International Brotherhood of Police Officers and the Holyoke Teachers Association Unions when he seeks their endorsement.

Updated 11:57pm 09/04/2015:

3. As part of the WHYN debates Fran was directly asked about the revelation from Angela Gerhard that Fran wanted to have a highly-paid and qualified “right hand” that would take on much of what the day-to-day Mayoral duties would be. His idea is to give a part of his salary that person, because he “doesn’t need the money,” and this would free him up while someone else handles the day-to-day “minutiae” of running the city as he drums up business as the front man for Planning and Development.  To which Fran responds:

“I have no comment”

If he’s going to hire someone to help him in his role as mayor, I think of that as an obstruction of democratic office. It is very disappointing to see such a critical issue being dodged.

4. At 09/04/2015 5:58pm Fran posts a request that people register to vote so that they can choose him in the 09/22/2015 preliminary election.  Deadline to register was two days ago.  I guess he did not get the memo:

Do the Time Machine

Do the Time Machine


Lastly, I would like to introduce H.U.S.H.’s first music match-up poll.  Please listen to these two songs and then select your vote located on the right sidebar.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

This poll is not a contest, this is informational only, no award will be granted to the winner of the poll and please no wagering.  Thanks.




No Comment

2015/08/12 in Absurd, Elections, FrannyO, Mayor, Sexism, Whistleblower

Poor choice in campaign slogan.

In the continuing saga of misogyny in Holyoke we now have two media outlets providing coverage.

Angela told her story on WHYN 560 AM Morning Show with Adam Wright.  You can listen HERE.

An article was launched on Masslive today (in print tomorrow) that has a response from the O’Connell campaign via Media Mentors (A marketing company that has an obnoxious flash video with loud music that is on auto-play on their front page – this actually makes sense).  He says:

“These accusations come from a disgruntled former paid staffer who was terminated to which I have no comment. Anyone who knows me knows I have the utmost respect for women. I am a father of three daughters and husband to a beautiful wife. The chief operating officer of my company is a woman who I have worked with for the past eight years. I have a wonderful working relationship with her and hundreds of other women with whom I have been privileged to work with over my 30-plus year career.”

See?  She was fired, so it must not be true.  I knew that this would be in the response.  Next he names a few women in his life, so this must characterize him differently.  This is akin to when people say “I am not racist, I have a black friend”.  Whatever.  It is essentially a “no comment” statement neither confirming or denying what Angela did experience.

Of course comments on the Masslive article and where shared on social media have people not focusing on the issue and instead discussing the faults of the other candidates.  Pay attention:  Fran wants to outsource his job and sell the city to his friends.  Are we electing Fran?  No, we are electing whoever he appoints to be mayor.  Fran is running to be city planner and pass the buck to a city manager type.  He will take an oath office that he will fail to fulfill which will both violate state law and the city charter.

This all reminds me of our former puppet president Bush, except Bush had some professional handlers to better mask how unfit he was to lead.  If O’Connell’s handlers are smart they will now hire better handlers to manage this from now on.  This campaign needs adult supervision.  You can kiss babies, shake hands and maybe play your guitar, but for god’s sake, keep your mouth shut!

Oh, and tits.

Cue Regina Spektor:

A New Direction

2015/08/07 in Bordas, Bresnahan, Elections, Franco, FrannyO, Holyoke, Mailbag, Mayor, Sexism

This is why we need feminism.

It is campaign season in Holyoke and as candidates open their mouths it becomes very apparent that one cannot swing a dead cat in this city without hitting a misogynist.

Hot on the heels of the long overdue sensitivity training that was scheduled in response to the notorious hot mics incident that exposed two seated councilors as a threat to their female counterparts we have Mike Franco stepping up to the plate with his accusation of the training being “forced and potentially iron-fisted indoctrination”, then calling “blasphemy” on Councilor Jossie Valentin’s use of the War Memorial building to host The Vagina Monologues. Is Franco is completely oblivious to the fact that some veterans do have vaginas or that there is rampant sexual abuse in the military that administration seems unwilling to address? It appears so. Has Franco actually seen a vagina in real life since becoming a “Men’s Rights Activist” a decade ago? My sources say no. Continuing in theme, now comes Kurt Bordas (a make-believe cop running against incumbent Jossie Valentin). Bordas sees this as an opportunity to make a complete fool of himself with his statement: “All I have to say in regards to this is we are looking past this and focusing on the well-being of the citizens of Ward 4 and discussing quality of life issues that we are faced with daily.” Yes, time to move past this, as sexual harassment has nothing to do with quality of life and it certainly would not be an issue of interest to anybody in Ward 4. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Oh, of course he supports Franco here as Bordas is also a woman-hater. Then both Franco and Bordas bring the concept of “free speech” into the conversation. This is very odd because both of these men are veterans so they must have sworn an oath to uphold the constitution at some point.  1A states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech…” Nowhere in this drama has anyone’s free speech been infringed and nowhere in 1A does it say you should not be held accountable for your words.  It is Mark Twain that once said: “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” This is very good advice to the receiver, but it is my wish that people continue to ignore it only because it arms the rest of us sensible folks with the ability to know exactly who we should not be wasting our time on.

This certainly is not unique to Holyoke; these stories continue to be part of the Zeitgeist here in the USA: Rape culture, Gamergate, Bill Cosby, domestic violence in the NFL, male coaches as predators in women’s athletics, Columbia University mattress protest, women’s health issues being decided by male lawmakers or by corporations like Hobby Lobby instead of being made between the patient and a doctor, etc. The statistics for rape, domestic violence and sexual harassment are known to be vastly understated. One reason derives from the tradition of saying “boys will be boys,” as an excuse for inappropriate behavior by males. Young girls have been taught to keep silent and to overlook bad behavior by boys. Another is that victims frequently have the blame shifted onto them. Also it is often that the perpetrator is someone close to the victim so somewhere in there is a fear of hurting someone else, possibly the perpetrator himself – or – it is kids, friends or relatives to where the fear is spread. Of course, there is potential of retribution in many cases.  Then, when history proves that there is often zero results with the reported cases; what is the reason to come forward if it is the belief that nothing positive could come of it anyhow?  That said, it is extremely important for victims to stand up and be heard no matter the obstacles and it can take an incredible amount of bravery in order to do so – which brings us to this letter we received.

Angela Gerhard writes:

The “New Direction” for Holyoke?

My second day on the job for the O’Connell campaign had me at my first campaign meeting, where I met the marketing group, some volunteers and staff, and got insight into what the campaign was going to need from me for the job they hired me to do. Afterwards I went to dinner with Fran and two of his advisors at Max’s Tavern in Springfield in order to catch me up to speed. It gave me a chance to learn what the campaign plans and goals were, and gave me the some more of the much-desired background info I wanted into who Fran really is and what his run for mayor is all about.

It was a long but insightful evening. It was casual and a great way for me to meet “the guys”. His advisors are close friends of his he’s known for years, businessmen who Fran admires and trusts. The three of them all had a drink or two, I drank soda water. We talked about the current state of affairs in the city and we all contributed our thoughts and ideas as to what changes we’d like to see. We debated campaign strategy and talked about positioning, and whether or not it was ok to say one thing to get into office and then “pivot” once we got there, as one advisor suggested matter-of-factly. We discussed schools and we talked about the department of Economic Planning and Development. Quite a bit.

It was made clear that Fran’s goal is to more or less unofficially act as the Director of Planning if he reaches office. I’d heard him in earlier private conversations talk about wanting to have a highly-paid and qualified “right hand” that would take on much of what the day-to-day Mayoral duties would be. His idea is to give a part of his salary that person, because he “doesn’t need the money,” and this would free him up while someone else handles the day-to-day “minutiae” of running the city as he drums up business as the front man for Planning and Development.

As talk of specific employees in the department comes up here and there Tessa Murphy-Romboletti, a development specialist in the department, was mentioned. One of the two advisors asked who she was. Fran’s animated response:

“That Tessa, smart girl, but I can never hear half of what she’s saying because I can’t stop looking at her big tits!”

I was horrified. The guys chuckled. My reflexive response was of embarrassment, and as I put my head down, looking at my lap because I didn’t know what to say, I found myself angry that I felt that way. I consider myself a fairly outspoken person, and I think many would agree that’s a fair assessment. And here I was in the corner booth, wedged in between one man and another, unable to get up and exit the conversation and go home because we had all rode in one car down from West Springfield. I kept thinking “he doesn’t know me well enough to be saying things like that in front of me.” And we’re talking about a political campaign here, a future mayor…where was the professionalism?! It was baffling. We all know the frat-boy mentality exists and flourishes and boy’s clubs die hard, but we expect it to be hidden from view when we’re not a member of the club.

I’ve known Tessa as an acquaintance. I like her. I know she loves her job and works hard and takes pride in it. I have only heard great things about her work there, and what a benefit to the department she is. Her having to work with a man that demeans her in this way is in no circumstance remotely acceptable. Are we a city that will elect this into office? If this were any other circumstance, would a man who said this of a future employee ever be given the job? No, if only because he’d be a liability. The other day I finally reached out to Tessa about this, to let her know and ask if it were ok if I identify her when I speak out on this. I was and am sickened and saddened to know that this for her isn’t by any means an isolated incident, and that she’s been subject to continuous sexual harassment throughout her professional career. She feels defeated knowing that she’s worked so hard to establish herself in her new position over the past year, only to learn that her potential boss won’t be able to take her seriously because he can’t see beyond her anatomy.

Later on during dinner I caught a little something that Fran was saying to one of the guys while the other one is talking to me. A little of a “got her for the campaign // she’s a hell of a lot better to look at than this one,” referring to me and the other guy I was speaking with. I felt uncomfortable with the eyes on me from across the table, with the slow nodding in agreement. I wished I had caught more, but it wasn’t meant for me to hear. More disappointment and disgust.

 After more time passed during the night, I inevitably said something to the effect of “You do know that you can’t say things like that, right? It’s really f*ed up, you just can’t do it.” My comment was was met with silence from the rest.

I was filled with conflict over working for someone who is immature, sexist, impulsive, and juvenile. It was my second day on the job. Out to dinner, I was already “one of the guys” and Fran felt free to be himself, crude “sense of humor” and all. Fran O’Connell, who has a good shot at winning this campaign, will essentially be the boss of the young woman he made that awful remark about. He’ll be in a position of power over many women who, you know, have tits. With all of the controversy that this city has had to endure, is this the “New Direction” we want to work towards?

I’ll be honest and admit I’m deeply ashamed that I spent time trying to rationalize it all and convince myself that in some alternate universe this type of behavior would be dismissible. I hoped that it was isolated remark, but I have since learned from several others’ accounts that this isn’t the case. I tried to chalk it up to a crass sense of humor. I struggled with it, a lot. I was someone who actively campaigned against a city councilor who made sexist remarks about another councilor and sought to have him removed from council. As time passed I started to pair up that experience I had with Fran and his “guys” with stories people told me of their own experience of him being offensive, inappropriate, hostile, and making them feel uncomfortable, and clear pattern started to emerge. When I read a quote from an acquaintance to the advisor I worked with that described Fran as “arrogant and undiplomatic….kind of like dealing with high school mentality,” he laughed it off and said it sounded pretty accurate and that he could be all of those things at times.

So I made a conscious decision to stick with the job, for various reasons. Part of which is that I compulsively research and gather information. I can’t help it. And research, in the end, was what the campaign wanted me to do. Being on the inside, working closely with one of his advisors, I would get one of the best views possible into what we were dealing with here. It didn’t take long to see that the work I brought to the campaign was going to be routinely dismissed and that any damage I could be doing by playing a supporting role was not much to worry about. Was I dismissed because I was a woman? I don’t know. Did they keep me on-board because as I was told more than once that I was “too dangerous” to let go? I did the work requested. My stint with the campaign was brief, and I was recently let go anyhow, being told that “policy and research work will be moving to a professional organization.” I figured I had 4-6 weeks left max, and I wasn’t terribly surprised, because I found myself butting heads with the advisor I was working with and continually frustrated with the lack of input from Fran and his unwillingness to heed advice in terms of introducing his platform. And no, I’m not bitter and resentful for being let go. No, I wasn’t working for the “competition” as a mole. If anything I feel some relief knowing I’m free of all of it, even if I am out of the much needed extra income.

Maybe Fran hasn’t displayed this sort of thing in the businesses he’s owned over the years. I honestly can’t say. But I do know that his marketing team will no doubt put together a well thought-out response to this, if they address it at all. All I can do is encourage the people who are private to share their experiences in a way they’re comfortable with to every Holyoke voter they know, and for people who can muster the courage, including other city employees, to call this type of behavior when they see it, and to do so publicly. It’s beyond difficult to do this because I know there will be backlash directed at me, that there will be collateral damage and relationships I value lost, but I’m really not good at sitting silent when there’s this much at stake.

So there you have it.


I have three daughters that I don’t want to grow up in a world where they should only be seen and not heard.  Not putting people in power that treat women like this would be the new direction for us.

Since I first learned of Angela’s story a week ago it has been discussed among a few people and more stories have come to light.  I do hope that these folks will come forward on record.

Check Out This Douchebag.

2015/07/25 in Bresnahan, City Council, Elections, Franco, Masslive, McGee, pronography, pronosound, Sexism, Shame


In case you do not know this knuckle-dragger’s story, when he’s not being arrested for missing jury duty Mike Franco has been a serial candidate and serial loser in almost every election for the past decade or so running for a number of posts from Governor’s Council, State Senate, State Representative, Animal Control Officer – and now he’s running for At-Large City Council in Holyoke.  Nobody is really certain where he lives because he’s run from East Longmeadow, Springfield, Chicopee and Holyoke.  Franco is an MRA, Donald Trump fan, Conspiracy Theorist, Tea Party Extremist and an adult man that cannot grow a decent mustache.  As you’d expect his platform is something like : everyone that does not work is lazy, feminism is worse than Nazism, Obama the “socialist” is building reeducation camps and everyone that does not agree with Mike Franco should move to France.  That’s him in a nutshell (pun intended).

Many may remember that wonderful hot mic indecent back in October of 2013 where misogynists Todd Murphy McGee and Daniel Breezy-D Bresnahan let the world know what kind of assholes they are when they spoke the truth at a time that they thought nobody could hear.  It was comedy, but it was also very disturbing…  My recording of this event was picked up by local and regional news, some popular feminist and some political blogs.  It really shamed these two man-children as they deserved but it also exposed what is most certainly a hostile work environment inside those council chambers.  Now, almost two years later and as promised a much needed training was scheduled for all on City Council to attend.

So, here is Franco’s first salvo at who he’s deemed to be a political opponent.  As a result of the the training that Franco calls “forced and potentially iron-fisted indoctrination training” and councilor Jossie Valentin’s suggestion that the session be open to the public he lashes out at her:

Classy, Franco...

What a fucking jerk, huh?  He’d certainly fit in with those other two morons in council… that is if he could ever win.  I can only assume that he’s just comic relief in this election…  not very good at it, but he tries his best.

You can read his entire post HERE on Franco’s meetup.com 2014 State Senate campaign page.  In the event that he removes this post I have archived it HERE at archive.org and HERE as a screen capture.




Black Lives Matter March and Rally in Holyoke

2014/12/07 in H.U.S.H.

Friday December 12th 3pm

High St. at the corner of Norfolk St. (Career Point)


Holyoke YMCA takes its sweet time to ensure families of a safe environment.

2014/11/16 in Absurd, HPD, Mailbag, Press, Shame, Whistleblower, YMCA, Youth

This just in.  Trigger warning, links contained herein contain graphic depictions of rape and sexual abuse.


November 16, 2014

Dear YMCA Members:

There is an article in the December issue of Outside magazine that mention allegations of sexual abuse; the allegations have been made by a former YMCA Vikings Swim Team member against the team’s former head coach.

To be sure, these are disturbing allegations. We take our responsibility to children and their families very seriously at the Greater Holyoke YMCA. Under the circumstances, we feel it is appropriate to affirm our commitment to keeping kids safe.

The YMCA was notified of this allegation in December 2011. We immediately placed the employee on leave and filed the required report with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Greater Holyoke YMCA terminated the coach’s employment in July 2012 as a result of these allegations.

We have a series of measures in place to protect our families. Some examples of our standards and practices include:

  • conducting criminal background checks and reference checks on all staff prior to hiring;
  • conducting criminal background checks on all volunteers;
  • requiring all staff and volunteers to complete training on recognizing and preventing abuse;
  • prohibiting staff and volunteers from being alone with a child where they cannot be observed by others;
  • restricting staff contact with children outside of YMCA programs;
  • educating parents on how to recognize and prevent abuse; and
  • reporting any allegations or suspicions of abuse to law enforcement.

At the Greater Holyoke YMCA, the safety and well-being of children in our care always has been and always will be a top priority. We remain committed to our child safety practices. Our YMCA engages over 1500 children each year, and we work hard every day to make sure they’re happy, healthy, and safe.

As always, thank you for being a part of our YMCA family. We greatly appreciate your participation and support. Please contact me if you have questions.


Kathy Viens



Allegations. Allegations. Allegations. Allegations. Allegations.

No matter how many times you write “allegations”, I am NOT going to stop believing sexual abuse and assault survivors. There is NO doubt in my mind that Anna’s story is true. I am sickened that you did not reach out to the community when the incident happened.  Usually these types of assaults are not singular or isolated – there could be more victims out there who may have come forward if the YMCA was open and willing to even have such a conversation.  Instead you decide to take nearly THREE FULL YEARS to finally issue a statement only after local media coverage has pressured you to do so?

This was not sent to the media or published on their FB page – only sent to paying members as far as we can tell. Members can bring guests.  Children can come from two households.  Obviously, the YMCA is still trying to minimize damage here by not making a public statement.

We are sincerely disappointed and disgusted.


CBS 3 Springfield – WSHM

Diversity in Holyoke

2014/10/01 in Absurd, History, Holyoke, pronography

Not diverse enough?

“Paint a couple of fucking shamrocks on the thing and shut the fuck up!”

Racism and Censorship in Holyoke

2014/09/27 in Absurd, Art, Gentrification, Holyoke, Mailbag, Press Release, Racism, Shame

I received this email from David Flores about his art and his experiences with racism and censorship in Holyoke.

(David Flores at work on the piece in question)

Printed in it’s entirety:

On Saturday, September 19, 2014, my mural celebrating the Puerto Rican diaspora in Holyoke, MA was scheduled for installation as part of a set of pieces created in conjunction with the Holyoke Alleyway Revitalization Project. Before the piece could go up, the owner of the building on which it was to be installed decided that it could not be displayed on her property. She said that my piece would do more harm than good to Holyoke’s Hispanic community, and that in order to display it I would have to change it to make it “more diverse.” The mural consists of an 8’ x 16’ Puerto Rican license plate with HOLYOKE written across the center. Whereas many Boricuas throughout Holyoke proudly display similar license plates that point to their hometowns on the island, my project intended to claim that Holyoke is part of Puerto Rico. Holyoke is the community with the highest percentage of Puerto Ricans in the U.S. (44.70%), yet Puerto Ricans are deeply marginalized in almost every aspect of the city. Although the building owner had approved of my design and seen the finished project well in advance of the scheduled installation, she caved to pressure from nearby business owners and others who seek to prohibit public displays of Puerto Ricanness in Holyoke. Thus, the decision to exclude my mural from this public art exhibit is emblematic of the wider suppression of Puerto Ricans and Puerto Ricanness throughout Holyoke. With my mural, I hoped to contribute to efforts toward claiming public space in solidarity with Holyoke’s Puerto Rican community. However, this building owner’s decision and logic amount to the race-based exclusion of Puerto Ricanness in Holyoke at best and the censorship of Puerto Ricanness in Holyoke at worst. While the Holyoke Alleyway Revitalization Project has supported my mural, the decision to collaborate with a bigoted building owner on this project reflects the fundamental problems with this “revitalization” initiative. In fact, like other “revitalization” efforts in Puerto Rican neighborhoods and communities of color throughout the U.S., such projects end up participating in processes of gentrification despite their organizers’ best intentions.

As a Mexican artist born and raised in Chicago, I have been deeply inspired by Chicago’s Puerto Rican movement, particularly the strong Puerto Rican leadership in schools, community organizations, elected positions, and artistic initiatives. This community also taught me the value of Mexican-Puerto Rican solidarity, as expressed through joint efforts to combat educational inequality, gentrification, and (im)migrant stigmatization. This solidarity is most clearly represented in a chant that is often used in Latin@ political demonstrations in Chicago: “!Boricua y Méxicano, Luchando Mano a Mano!” This solidarity represents a form of diversity that exceeds the imagination of the building owner who prohibited my mural. I hope that this piece finds a prominent home and that it helps to celebrate Puerto Ricanness in Holyoke. I am also working with community members to combat the suppression of Puerto Ricans and make sure that this does not happen again. In addition to these efforts, I am seeking to collaborate with longstanding community residents to create site-specific public art in Holyoke through a fundraising effort I have named “!Más Color, Más Poder!” I also plan to adapt my Puerto Rican license plate project in other U.S. cities with large Puerto Rican populations. By affirming Puerto Ricanness in Holyoke, I hope to contribute toward the creation of communities that embrace and uplift marginalized populations throughout the U.S.

David Flores is an Artist, Designer, and Community Activist who focuses on Latin@ placemaking through art and design. He has worked creatively with non-profits and community based initiatives in Chicago, IL and Holyoke, MA for over a decade. A native of the south side of Chicago, his work challenges the fears and anxieties that are associated with low-income communities of color by emphasizing their value, beauty, knowledge, and resilience.

Tomorrow’s Primary

2014/09/08 in Alex Morse, Casino, Democrats, DNC, Elections, Politics, Vega

As a registered Independent and being anti-DNC/RNC duopoly I will still be voting on the DNC ballot tomorrow because of a few important issues, lack of alternatives and to vote against two candidates.

Issues that I found important this election are anti-casino, increased arts & cultural funding, reducing charter schools, ending the school to prison pipeline, pro-immigration, opposition to the Kinder Morgan gas pipeline, and a desire for drug policy reform.  Where I found candidates that were similar I chose based on experience and diversity.

My choices for tomorrow:

US Senate: EDWARD J. MARKEY or leave blank – unopposed
Lt Governor: MICHAEL E. LAKE
Attorney General: MAURA HEALEY
Sec of State: WILLIAM FRANCIS GALVIN – unopposed
Auditor: SUZANNE M. BUMP – unopposed   
US Rep: Write-in anyone but Neal – unopposed
Gov Council: Write-in anyone but Albano – unopposed
State Rep: AARON VEGA – unopposed
Register of Probate: GALE D. CANDARAS – unopposed

As far as who to vote against, Shawn Allyn:  He represents “Old Holyoke” at its worst.  His first job out of law school was into the city law offices due to his Whelihan family connections and since leaving that office with his now ex-wife (Lisa Ball, city solicitor under Mayor Pluta) he’s made a cottage industry out of suing the city of Holyoke.  I am a bit surprised by some of the support I have seen thrown his way, particularly in letters sent to many registered D in the city, beyond the cronyism and the lawsuits he just simply does not have the pedigree to be a DA.  Anyone but him, but Vottero is a great choice for this spot.

Martha Coakley: Well, her casino position is indeed problematic and initially rejecting the ballot question is an affront to the democratic process. She also has proven herself to be “tough on crime” – from proposing a bill that would expand warrant-less wiretapping; to her commentary on the Aaron Schwartz case; to when just starting out as Middlesex County’s DA in 1999 pursuing the Amirault family long after every sane person realized that it was a witch-hunt. If you thought that George Bush was a decent president then maybe she’s for you. I’d love to see a woman hold the reigns in Boston, but certainly not her.

Donald Wilcox Sues City of Holyoke and Geriatric Authority of Holyoke

2014/05/19 in Absurd, Alex Morse, GAH, Lawsuit, Mailbag, MGL, Patti Devine, Whistleblower

An anonymous email sent to me included photographs of documents outlining a lawsuit by recently terminated Donald Wilcox – former COO, CFO and executive director of the Geriatric Authority of Holyoke – against the City of Holyoke and the Geriatric Authority of Holyoke with allegations of discrimination and harassment by Patricia Devine, and that his termination was retribution against him for his whistle blowing to state agencies of ongoing impropriety at the Geriatric Authority of Holyoke.  Devine, then chairwoman of the Geriatric Authority of Holyoke board of directors resigning soon after this debacle because she “could no longer give the time and personal effort that the important position deserves”.  Well, for those that have been paying attention it does appear that she has newly found capacity because, while it is not officially announced, we are hearing folks congratulate her on her appointment to the Fire Commission.  What kind of damage can she do there?

.Here are the documents in full, sorry about the quality, these are photos by a still camera, not a scanner, enjoy:


7 pages, 4.1MB

Dean Tech Principal Livin’ la Vida Loca

2014/04/14 in Absurd, Classism, Dean Tech, HPS, Mailbag, Politics

Dean high school principal Bradley Barry Bacom is seeking reimbursement for meal expenses while traveling… Meal includes alligator, oysters, and alcoholic beverages. He is not seeking reimbursement on alcohol but as a role model for 300+ students at dean should consider getting separate receipts for alcoholic beverages.  Should we be paying for this?  Or should he pay up given the large salary received while kids fund raise selling candy from a catalog to pay for activities and parents are being asked to bring in supplies like paper because it is running out?  You be the judge:

Even more here beginning page 55…  $32.00 for one 8oz steak?  WTF?  It is called “poverty pimping”.  A form of disaster capitalism.  The state brings in a private company to run the (destined to) failing school only to suck resources out of the tax coffer that could be put to better use locally.

Meanwhile Sodexo school lunch is super delish…