Friday, July 2, 2010
The “For Sale” sign went up last week at 17 Summer, and on Thursday morning I was up on the roof laying down a coat of this aluminum/asphalt paint on the rubberized coating on the rear shed roof. You can’t roll this stuff on, so I was working with a brush. The compound is very photogenic in the can, lava thick ,whorls of blacker than black asphalt amid the shiny aluminum pigment.
Roof work you have to keep your mind on the fundamentals. You can't make a mistake. Remember where you are. Move slowly, test that ladder and its footing, keep the can and the solvent above you so you don’t kick it over, and plan your exit strategy very carefully. Think, plan, be aware of where the edge of the roof is, and do around the edge first so you have a visual marker of where danger starts.
But my concentration kept going south. I kept thinking, “Air Rights?”
The other day the DPW made a last-ditch plea not to preclude other uses for the land the city bought for the new landfill back in 1988. They mentioned some fabulous sum that they might get by selling the air rights above a privately operated landfill. Now, I know about air rights. The Turnpike Authority has reaped millions from selling air-rights over the Mass Pike in downtown. But the highway runs through a trench, and the land values in the Back Bay are enormous. Who would buy the air rights over a privately operated landfill in some little town in western Massachusetts? Landfills smell; it’s their nature. They start out as a hole in the ground and get higher and higher. What would you build using these air rights?
So I said to myself; it’s a hot day in July and we are in the silly season, and it’s time to stop thinking about anything else than what you are doing. And that is what I have been doing for last seven weeks, dealing with the basics that have to be done to prepare an old house for sale. It’s been a lot of work, but I hope when we have to face the inevitable home inspection, the old manse will pass. So there have been very few postings on Kirbyontheloose, and apologies to my 56 readers who expect to hear from me from time to time.
That night I went to the city council meeting and ventilated, and then watched the city council debate the issue on TV. This 6-3 vote for the clean water measure represents a pretty profound sea change in Northampton politics. Finally a grassroots drive working Stop and Shop and the recycling station for signatures prevailed on a major issue. Glendale Road fought back and won. Mimi Odgers and others framed the question right, the people supported it. The ham-handed attempt by the mayor and the city solicitor to muzzle the city council backfired, the last minute effort by the city planner to waive the need for a “Super-Majority” vote went nowhere, and when a public hearing was finally called on the clean water measure, Northampton voters turned out in force to say, yes, we meant what we said in November 2009.