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Selectmen Ease on Bulldogs, Allow Player Announcements

Team still barred from playing music at games.

The sounds of summer at Morton Field will again include the amplified announcement of semi-pro baseball players, but the music coming from the field will be limited to The Star Spangled Banner. 

The Board of Selectmen voted Tuesday to revoke and amend its that barred the Reading Bulldogs from using amplified sound at its games. 

Under the new ruling, General Manager John Halsey will be allowed to set up speakers at the games, but will be limited to using them to announce players and play the national anthem. 

Previously, Halsey said, the team had played a total of about 60 minutes of amplified sound over a four-hour period. That included music before and after the game, and two minutes of music at each inning change. 

He agreed to the selectmen’s compromise, which he said would reduce the amplification’s duration to about 30 minutes.

The selectmen said the ruling will stand for the remainder of the Bulldogs’ season while the board crafts a more thorough permitting policy for the use of amplified sound at town fields.

“We’re going to use you as the test case,” said Chairman Camille Anthony.

The selectmen’s change in stance came after a to their original ruling.

An article on Reading Patch describing the June 7 vote drew more than 90 comments, and Halsey said that the community’s response left his phone and email box “burning up.”

However, he said some of those calls, comments and emails had “gone sideways,” which was never his intention.

Many of the comments posted online made personal attacks on Selectman Richard Schubert, who had been one of the complaintents who triggered the ruling.

At this week’s meeting, Halsey delivered a petition signed by 313 residents asking the selectmen to revisit its decision.

The original petition which triggered the revocation of the Bulldogs’ sound permit bore 32 signatures.

Marissa June 22, 2011 at 03:00 PM
It was a great meeting with a very professional group of attendees. I would have gone along with the recommendation that allowed some music so that those working on the policy could actually experience music and sound. There were neighbors in the audience that were surprised to find out that the team had actually played their games with full sound and speakers for 6 weeks last summer. They were surprised to learn that and thought that there had not been any sound last summer. Looking forward to some great entertainment.
peter lucci June 22, 2011 at 03:08 PM
Disappointing outcome to say the least. The whole point of the amplified sound for these games was to help enhance the family fun atmosphere that includes a couple of minutes of music between innings. The announcement of players names is not going to enhance anything...oh well. Hopefully the Selectpeople will have the wisdom to include some music (other than our national anthem) when they craft their new policy.
Charlie June 22, 2011 at 04:04 PM
Yes, definitely a win for Schubert! And now he gets to formulate a policy on sound at parks that are meant for public use! This is exactly what he wanted. He will be able to control the sound at all events being held at this park in the future. This is not a good situation for the people of Reading who enjoy entertainment and just plain fun at our parks. A true test of the amplified sound coming from Morton would have been to let the Bulldogs play the music as the original permit allowed. Then lets make compromise! The compromise will now begin at the National Anthem and announcing player names. So where do the 2 parties finally agree on what is acceptable? You know the Board is not going to go backwards and allow the music after all the testing is done. First round goes to Schubert, unfortunately!
Donna S. June 22, 2011 at 05:35 PM
Unless you attended the meeting last night or watched it live on television for yourself, then please don't comment and bash people on this blog. Last night, the Town Selectman, the Bulldogs and the neighbors all seem to be working together to find a solution to this issue. Mr. Schubert didn't "win" anything and it was not a "disappointing" outcome. Everyone agreed to work together to find a beneficial solution that everyone is happy with. The Selectman listened patiently to each and every comment from the audience. The neighbors had their chance to be heard, the Bulldogs and their supporters had their chance to speak as did the members of the Selectman. The Selectman were invited to attend a Bulldogs game and hear for themselves how loud the music and amplified sound actually is and determine if they find it too loud. They accepted the invitation. Progress starts with baby steps....this is the first step.
Charlie June 22, 2011 at 06:03 PM
No, I was not at meeting but I am well informed. I don't think you were because you would know that the Bulldogs are not able to play their music. I will tell you that it worries me terribly that the Board of Selectman get to form a policy on this amplified music thing, especially with Schubert on the Board. And Mr. Tafoya would not even reconsider the rescinding of the permit without a formal policy on sound but he was willing to rescind the permit without a formal policy. Hmmm! Does that make sense? No! I am telling you right now, parks will be so quiet, you will hear a pin drop, if this present BOS formulates a sound policy.
peter lucci June 22, 2011 at 06:13 PM
Donna, Excuse me but I can be disappointed with the Selectmen's decision without being in attendance last evening or not watching on cable. I have attended Bulldog games when there was music being played between innings, so I feel that I am informed enough to make a credible opinion regarding this subject. That is why I am disappointed in the "player announcements/national anthem only" decision. I agree that progress starts with baby steps, but in this particular case, the Selectmen took a very large step backwards when they rescinded the Rec Comm's approved permit for amplified sound. You will only hear music at Birchie during the Town Day festivities, the Bulldogs will never get that back.
Susan P June 22, 2011 at 06:45 PM
Unfortunately it was a “hollow” victory for the Bulldogs last night. Yes the BOS did admit they screwed up the process but the denial of music was a major copout by the BOS. They have provided cover for themselves by pretending to have righted a wrong yet without music at the games they have denied the Bulldogs a major part of the atmosphere they are trying to project. How can this be a “test case” per Ms. Anthony’s comments without music, it makes no sense. I would have someone stand at each of the closest house on Bancroft, Hanscom, Winthrop and Woodland with the interested neighbors and play the music at set volumes until each says its too loud. Then there will be at least a rough consensus of an acceptable volume level.
Susan P June 22, 2011 at 06:46 PM
I am sure Ricky got a pat on the head from Miss Vicki when he got home for a job well done in preventing the music. I must say also what a good job Mr. Halsey did in presenting his case along with a couple of the other supporters well thought out, reasonable and factual. Then there was the inept Mr. Schubert (how did this man get elected) with his whiney and misdirected speech which failed to address the issue at hand (he had no defense basically). Also Tafoya who was desperately trying to find a way in which he didn’t have to commit to a position (weasel). How about the neighbor Terry Wier’s speech, he is going to get thrown out of the Winthrop St. Retirement Community if he switches his position in mid statement again, lol. And to Ms. Anthony who presented herself well last night and did a good job of disarming the detractors with her “charm” which paid off when Bonazoli and Goldy didn’t even put up a fight when the “music” exclusion was put out there. But I must say Ms Anthony you don’t have to be a “baseball fan’ to know the names of the HS fields in Reading.
Donna S. June 22, 2011 at 06:47 PM
Gentlemen, I completely understand the frustration, however the Selectman admitted last night that they did not handle things the way that they should have and they apologized for that. They based their decision on a policy that was ten years old. The did not say that music is out of the equation indefinitely but just while a policy is being drafted to address the issue. They thought it was more important that the Bulldogs be allowed to play the National Anthem and to announce the players. If I am not mistaken, Mr. Halsey is the one who offered to limit the music until a policy can be put in place regarding amplified sound. If he is willing to do that to keep everyone happy for this season, then we should support that decision. I think the Selectman seriously underestimated how passionately the people of Reading feel about this issue. Now, that they know, they said they would take great care in creating a new policy. A mistake was made and they are trying to fix it.
Mari June 22, 2011 at 07:12 PM
I must agree that the BOS, the Recreation Committee, the yet-to-be formed subcommittee ,and the general public will be precluded from making an truly informed decision with regard to an amplified sound policy without the opportunity to experience the amplified sound as it is proposed. While the restictions put in place for the probationary period are a compromise, they hardly allow for a proper evaluation. I was also taken aback at the way Mr. Tafoya held the decision to reconsider the revocation hostage without the assurance that a subsequent decision on a probationary period would have the restrictions on sound. While I am hardly schooled in public policy making, it seems, as was stated many times in the meeting, a vote on recinding the revocation of the permit should have taken place first, then the public hearing and then a vote on whether there should be restrictions placed on the permit. That would have allowed the members of the board to act on the information brought out in a true public hearing and not be forced into a compromise because a member would not otherwise allow the opportunity for reconsideration.
Charlie June 22, 2011 at 07:21 PM
You already know where tafoya stands on this issue. This guy stated in the last meeting he played baseball as a kid. No Way!!! I want to see a picture of that! And why Bonazoli and Goldy don"t stand up to these others is mind boggling. They look like regular guys but something is not right for them to just go along with the others without an argument. Strange happenings on that BOS!
peter lucci June 22, 2011 at 07:29 PM
I have an idea, why don't we start a petition for the Mass Democratic Committee to find a State job for Mr Tafoya, since he appears to be obsessed with being a wishy-washy politician.
Bill Kuechly June 22, 2011 at 08:21 PM
Donna I appreciate your positive outlook on the resolution and future propsects obviously you are not as cynical as many of us and that can be a good thing. But you have to look at the music restriction as a total victory for Schubert and his gang of 32, I believe Mr Halsey thought that the music was a big part of the atmosphere down at the game and his "restricting" of the music mentioned was before or after games not during games, and one song as important as it is to all of us is basically a complete shut down of the music. Shame on Goldy and Bonazoli for being asleep at the wheel again why the softer members of the Comm. bowled over them.
Jason Fields June 22, 2011 at 08:38 PM
Mari a dead on analysis of the slimey maneuver that Tafoya pulled off last night, clearly a move that was as strategically planned ahead of time by the 3 moonbats on the Comm. Forcing a unanimous vote as well. This guy Tafoya is a true state solon that is definitely in his future. How can you tell that Schubert is lying? His mouth is open. He has done nothing but misrepresent the truth from the beginning, with exaggeration and outright lies. He and his wife have effectively blocked the Bulldogs from music for 2 straight seasons with his stall tactics and improper manuevering of the process. John Halsey was waiting for action since July 2010 and now its almost July 2011 and they are going to start to look at it after his season. I applaud him for his diligence, keeping his composure with these fools and keeping the discussion on a higher plain.
Charlie June 22, 2011 at 10:46 PM
There should be a Ben Tafoya bobblehead made!With the way his head was spinning up and down and back and forth, you had no idea what this guy was voting. Is it yes, no, maybe? He had it in his mind all the way that music was out of the question. He was backing his buddy Schubert all the way! And geez, Goldy looked like "the Cat who swallowed the mouse"! OMG!! What are you hiding pal!
Disappointed David June 23, 2011 at 02:31 AM
Here we had an elected body that had the opportunity to correct a wrong they clearly admitted they had foisted upon John Halsey and the Reading Bulldogs, and the BOS tripped all over themselves in their feeble and shallow attempt to do so. If you happen to watch the meeting on cable, please note the faces of both Tafoya and Schubert as the meeting appeared to be swinging towards a compromise with the permit reinstatement for the Bulldogs. They both appeared as though they had just received a great big spoonful of Castor Oil! I too noticed that Mr Tafoya held the proper parliamentary process hostage with his own personal conditions. Not the way it is supposed to work Ben. One would assume that with your years on the BOS you would know this by now. Or maybe you know it but just didn't care and were going to do your and Schubert's bidding anyway. What is next for the BOS??? Are they going to place conditions upon the outdoor concerts held each summer at Memorial Field. I see no difference between the two permit processes. In order to have a proper policy for amplified sound created and put in place all residents of Reading have to be considered, not just the people that are having buyers remorse for buying a house too close to a place where people are having fun!
Mike June 23, 2011 at 10:37 AM
It makes me wonder what else is being mishandled by the BOS................scary.
Mike June 23, 2011 at 10:38 AM
....or has been.........scarier.
Charlie June 23, 2011 at 12:19 PM
I agree. Ben Tafoya's actions speak loud and clear. He knew exactky what he was doing and what a mockery he made of the whole process. Very disturbing! And I cannot believe that Goldy and Bonazoli won't stand up to him and his side kick Schubert. It just wreaks of foul play and us citizens of Reading should be very concerned that other crooked inner workings have been going on that we have missed. It's amazing that a small little matter based on a personal agenda could possibly open up a whole new can of worms that has crated a mistrust between the BOS and its' constituents. Reading maybe a small town and the BOS thought they were flying under the radar but they now have been caught with their pants down!
peter lucci June 23, 2011 at 12:33 PM
Mishandling by the BOS? Take a look at how they completely mishandled the Oaktree grant/loan situation. They had to come back in the middle of Town Meeting with a poorly worded warrant article in order to pave the way to give Oaktree the $400,000 that they wanted. After a slew of criticism from TM members, the BOS settled for a $200,000 grant. I will give them credit on this one, at least they admitted their screwup.
John Arena June 23, 2011 at 08:53 PM
To err, human. To forgive, divine. The most effective way to respond to what is a perceived 'opportunities for improvement' with part of our government is to get involved, show up at meetings, ask hard questions, join a committee, run for office - or help someone else who is. I just heard there is interest in forming a new policy on amplified sound - a perfect entry for some interested citizens. ;-) Our form of government is based on ordinary people participating using their common sense and wisdom to lead, instead of relying on multi-term candidates who run unopposed. While message boards are interesting and entertaining, the tendancy to go after an individual person isn't constructive, and poorly presents what might be a well crafted point or idea.
peter lucci June 23, 2011 at 10:56 PM
John, Please let me know when you pull papers next winter, for your run for BOS, I'm a very dedicated sign holder from way back. Two of our esteemed Selectpeople have been in office way too long, new blood is needed.
John Arena June 24, 2011 at 02:26 AM
Nick, its clear you have passion for the game and an interest in the athletes. I think you're on to a great idea here. After the Bulldogs, the sky is the limit - there's a great interest in H.S. athletics broadcasting I think you're well placed to deliver.
Karl Weld June 30, 2011 at 03:10 PM
Charlie, I think you're being overly harsh on James & Steve. Ben made it clear he was not going to vote for reconsideration before the new policy was crafted. He then backed off "in an effort to move things forward" and supported Camille's proposal of eliminating the music between innings. I think James & Steve read the situation that there would be no reconsideration if they dug in their heels against Ben. They needed his vote to reinstate any amplified sound at the games immediately, before the new policy is crafted. In essence, they took what they could get.
Donna S. July 01, 2011 at 11:46 PM
Newly formed Reading Action Committee - A number of people commenting on the Patch have expressed interest in being a part of a group of concerned citizens who wanted to be able to address issues that affect Reading residents. Therefore, in an attempt to get some of these people together, I have set up an email account for what I would like to call the newly formed Reading Action Committee. If you would like to be a part of this committee or suggest some issues that need to be addressed, please feel free to email me at the address noted below. Thanks! ReadingAction@gmail.com
David Mancuso July 02, 2011 at 11:51 AM
Hi Donna, It's great to see a group of folks willing to get involved. There is another group in town with a similar mission that formed about two years ago called Making Reading Better. MRB is made up of businesses and residents who want to make a positive impact on Reading's policies and practices, from setting standards for customer service to reducing onerous bylaws. The group includes a number of Town Meeting Members and meets the first Wed. of every month at 7:30 pm at the Depot. All are welcome. Perhaps there are some common issues and goals that Reading Action Committee and MRB can work on together. MRB can be reached at makingreadingbetter@yahoo.com. Dave Mancuso
Donna S. July 02, 2011 at 02:56 PM
Hi David - I was unaware of the MRB group. What I have in mind for the Reading Action Committee is a little different. I would like to find out answers to some questions like why did the Economic Development Committee give the town proceeds we raised at the Fall Street Faire to purchase plants for the downtown to a business in another town. Why didn't they purchase those plants from a greenhouse in Reading? Why aren't they supporting the economic development of those business paying taxes in Reading? This is a question the MRB businesses should be asking the town. I'd also like to know what the town is doing to stop the drug dealing going on in and around Reading. I have witnessed it first hand on my street. Why is the town issuing just citations and not arresting these people? Do we need to get a drug task force involved? What is the Police Department doing to stop the influx of drugs in Reading? Does anyone care? Is anyone being held accountable? What is the town doing to cut down on the huge increase in breakins in town? Do we need to start forming neighborhood watches? The increase in drugs activity is causing a demand for cash which is causing the breakins to happen more and more frequently. I'd like to know what is being done to stop it. Are we going to wait until the guns start coming before doing anything about it? These are the questions that I would like to address immediately.
John Carpenter July 04, 2011 at 02:28 PM
Good call, Peter - As I recall, Mr. Tafoya ran for State Rep (and lost to Brad Jones) before he ran for Selectman. So, Mr. Tafoya's aspirations were clear from the outset. jc

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