Brookline, time to spare the Ron Brookline, time to spare the Ron
By Mike Barnicle
Boston Herald, November 16, 2004


Brookline is famous for terrific schools, high taxes, wonderful police and fire departments, relatively safe streets and the world-renowned Busy Bee restaurant. Itís also a town where they think really big thoughts and have a view of life that often goes a bit beyond the borders of their own neighborhood.

Actually, Brookline has often been called the municipal equivalent of people who walk around wearing a sandwich board loudly proclaiming one point of view or another on issues that even Stephen Hawking hasn't thought about. A Brookline Town Meeting can make a Cambridge City Council hearing look like a gathering of disinterested, uninvolved shirkers.

And tonight's fall gathering won't be any different It's usually a quaint mixture of pep rally, civic pride and circus act. And one of the items under consideration is a left over from last year when it was dumped by a majority vote.

It's a resolution urging the town to oppose spanking. Once again, it's been filed by a local publicity hound named Ron.

"I opposed it last year and I'll oppose it this year," Bobby Alien, Jr., chairman of the Board of Selectmen said yesterday. "We get a lot of resolutions. We even had one resolution that would have us study the impact of old resolutions."

Ron the publicity hound has reams of paper explaining and documenting his concern about spanking. His big resolution is almost enough to provoke a resolution condemning the killing of trees that provide pulp for his nonsense.

Ron throws put a lot of statistics. Some are weird. None more so than when he alleges that, "national surveys show that corporal punishment is common and 25 percent of infants are hit before they are 6 months old."

Say what?

That's an astounding number of babies getting whacked around. It's also totally bogus.

The odd thing is that Ron doesn't have any kids. He just seems to have an excessive and bizarre interest in spanking.

And given Brookline's history, spanking might not make the cut this year. They already nave plenty on their plate with issues such as Fallujah, Sierra Leone, Iran, racism, the mystery that still surrounds the death of Princess Di and the assassination of town native JFK, cholesterol, cell towers, recycling, Fox News, nuclear proliferation and the near criminal behavior of everyone who enjoys diner food and lives in a red state to worry about

Besides, if they lend legitimacy to Ron's hobby, what's next? Resolutions urging the town to oppose Game-Boy, J-Pods, Fruit Loops, lip rings and dressing like a tart at the age of 12? I mean, if Brookline wants to establish itself as a world-class busy-body why stop at spanking?

Most parents quickly realize that raising children is the hardest and most important job they'll ever have. It's rewarding and painful. It's filled with joy and heartache.

Sure, there are people who should never be allowed to have kids.

And anyone who beats a child deserves to be punished by law as well as by other means that the law frowns upon.

In an earlier, more innocent time in our culture, peer pressure and the neighbors would take care of child-abusers before they ever made it to court. But those days are done.

So maybe at Town Meeting this week, someone will introduce a resolution stating: Whereas Ron is clearly a publicity hound and seems intent on wasting our tine, be it hereby resolved that he deserves a good spanking himself.

Who knows? Maybe he'd enjoy it.


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