Political ‘Sock puppet’; is it being employed in Hingham?

From UrbanDictionary.com :

Political Sock Puppet~

Used to describe a person who has no original thoughts, opinions, or ideas of his/her own. Instead they regurgitate the “party-line” or talking points of others;

At the opening of the December 11th Hingham Board of Selectmen Meeting, the Char, Irma Lauter, asked the Town  Administrator to announce a development concerning the topic from December 4th which consumed the Board for the last 20-25 Minutes of that Meeting despite the topic NOT being on the evening’s Agenda for 12/4/14.[Hingham Bathing Beach/Hingham Bathing Beach Trustees/Hingham Bathing Beach Deed/Use of Legal Counsel re:above]

The Town Administrator at the one minute 30 second mark says  ”We have received a bevy of emails in the office today and yesterday. When I say bevy I would define bevy as, ah , you know, maybe or 30 or 40 emails. They all have exactly the same wording. Umm, and um, they are pretty aggressive toward the Bathing Beach Trustees.  And um, and I wanted to set the record straight a little bit for folks  since I have worked with the the Trustees for several years. And they have been diligently trying to work to solve several problems at the Bathing Beach. Among them, the issue of the geese, and, and, the waste that they leave behind. Umm, these are not easy problems for us to get to. And we have laws that are bound by us. So we cannot summarily go down there, net them, take them away. They have tried most of the techniques that are known in the marketplace. They didn’t work. Um, they went back to several new ideas. They didn’t work.”

He  goes on to say that they believe it is a regional issue because scaring them off one lawn means they will go to another. He explains that they get extra money in the budget because they have agreed to take on this problem which includes land under the Selectmen’s control.

He looks up and seems to direct his gaze to the HCAM camera and says, “It is important for the public to know that they[Bathing Beach Trustees] TRY and that they continue to try. If this doesn’t work, they will look at something else. And umm, and so, I think it is important, at least for the record to say that.”

Jump to the Chair, Irma Lauter, who speaks next who invites EVERYONE to attend the next Bathing Beach Trustees meeting and who says – “I’m looking at this as also a good news story. That we did get so much interest out there that people actually took the time to write us emails. So hopefully that interest keeps coming along. And when we have vacancies on Committees? I’m kind of hoping those same 30 people decide to fill out a talent bank applications. We’d love to have you and please stay involved. Please know that the Bathing Beach and whole harbor area is being looked at.”

Where do I start?

December 4th, in my opinion, Chair Irma Lauter and newbie Selectman Paul Gannon try to ‘spin’ the Official Minutes. A legal and historic record of what occurred. They try to spin them. Be wary, be very wary, citizens of Hingham.

Then, at the end of the meeting, they spend 20-25 minutes on a topic NOT on that Evening’s Agenda and get corrected at the very last minute by a phone call from the Town Clerk that tells them that they cannot vote upon an item not on the Agenda.

If you have the audacity to attempt to spin the Minutes, what’s ignoring the Agenda? Slide further down that slope of poor governing.

They admit within those 20-25 minutes that they see no big deal calling legal counsel for any question they may have despite the budgetary restrictions this Town is looking at this year.

Think about that for one second – pick up the phone and the attorney at the other end is timing the call,  then ask them to do research and come up with an opinion? More money spent. Who said a thousand here, a thousand there, and pretty soon we are talking about real money? That’s an issue of stewardship of the the taxpayers money.

Then the issue that an elected board, elected by Town Meeting, is being ‘muscled’ by 2 Selectmen on the Board and they see no problem with that – an issue of process, and NOT following it. An issue of abuse of power and overreach. No check and balance.

Then we come come back to SPIN.

The Town Administrator tells our community in the 12/11/14 BOS Meeting that a bevy of emails – between 30 and 40 – received within 2 days of the 11th of December Meeting have been received on the topic that should never have been brought up at the December 4th BOS meeting and he describes them this way:  ”They all have exactly the same wording. Umm, and um, they are pretty aggressive toward the Bathing Beach Trustees. ”

Using exactly the same wording and pretty aggressive toward the Bathing Beach Trustees.

In my opinion, we have been described the very definition of the use of political sock puppets:Used to describe a person who has no original thoughts, opinions, or ideas of his/her own. Instead they regurgitate the “party-line” or talking points of others; 

And the Chair wants these 30 people, who used exactly the same wording in emails sent to Town Hall, about a subject that shouldn’t have even been been discussed on December 4th ,2014 because it wasn’t on the Agenda, to fill out TALENT bank applications????

Real talented. 30 Identical emails. Snark intended.

In addition, all the emails seemed ‘pretty aggressive toward the Trustees.’


In her chirpy concluding remarks of what a ‘feel good story’ this is( eye roll time), she reminds us that the Bathing Beach and whole Harbor area is being looked at. But first, 30 identical emails that are pretty aggressive toward the Bathing Beach Trustees must arrive at Town Hall.

Ignoring process, use of political sock puppets, spin, lack of good stewardship of public funds( got a question? call legal counsel and jump over the rights of an elected Board), ignore required process of government.

Watch the whole thing – it starts at the beginning of the beginning of the Meeting at lasts for 4 minutes 58 seconds.

Full disclosure: I am endorsing and volunteering for Mary Power for Hingham Selectman in May 2015.

I want a return to good government in Hingham.

The views expressed here are my own. No political sock puppets allowed.

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