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PakkyT t1_j2s1grt wrote

What are all those representatives and state senators from all over the state doing? Seems like those are all "seat[s] at the table".


Yestattooshurt t1_j2sas4x wrote

Right? Like do Berkshire and Franklin counties not send representatives to the statehouse?

Aside from that this sounds like some electoral college bullshit like “we want this 20% of the population to have 50/50 say with the other 80% because they choose to live in the woods.


8bitAdventures t1_j2sim85 wrote

I think we actually lost a seat recently due to redistricting and population loss?

The majority of folks out here just wish we could get Massachusetts news channels.


Yestattooshurt t1_j2slxpi wrote

I mean losing a seat due to population loss is unfortunately the system working. Otherwise you end up with things like wyoming getting 3 representatives in Congress while MA only has 11 (we should have 14 by the same metrics)


8bitAdventures t1_j2sn50f wrote

For sure! To be clear, I don’t agree with the opinion piece (to the point that we’ve had reps on important committees recently).

It has the feel of a “the governor only cares about Western MA if they have a house out here” sentiment.


Yestattooshurt t1_j2ub4ff wrote

Honestly western MA should just have its own governor, because any governor looking to do the most good for the most people, will inevitably have to focus on the side of the state that has 6 million people.


pillbinge t1_j2t2taq wrote

Are you under the impression that the only people living outside Boston, but within MA, are people who chose to live out there? Like they don't have connections, family, roots, or aren't people who grew up there, and call it home?


Yestattooshurt t1_j2td8gf wrote

Of course not, but saying that for instance every county should have equal say is insane when middlesex has over a million people and Franklin has 70k


thomastodon01027 t1_j2tfrh2 wrote

I don’t think it’s about having equal representation. I think it’s about making sure that certain communities aren’t invisible to the people in power. Nobody is suggesting they get extra votes in the legislature.


Kodiak01 t1_j2u17za wrote

> Aside from that this sounds like some electoral college bullshit like “we want this 20% of the population to have 50/50 say with the other 80% because they choose to live in the woods.

How is that any different than the packed urban areas saying they should have a bigger seat at the table (via Popular Vote for President) because most of the country chooses not to live like sardines with them?


Yestattooshurt t1_j2uae89 wrote

Because land doesn’t vote, People do. Giving each county equal say would be giving every resident of Franklin county 22 times more voting power than every resident of middlesex county.


Kodiak01 t1_j2ukbc1 wrote

So what, 3/5ths of a vote maybe? Democrats loved that in the past!


winter_bluebird t1_j2wumuw wrote

No, just one vote each. How's that not fair?


Kodiak01 t1_j2x3887 wrote

Because the State is it's own distinct entity, recognized by the Constitution. This is part of the US being set up as a Representative Republic, not a Democracy.


whatsamattafuhyou t1_j2u7kmb wrote

Seriously! Electoral power really should be apportioned according to something sensible like individual contribution to GDP or floor area of the livable space in your primary home.

What’s next from these pinko commie libtards? Jeez!


thomastodon01027 t1_j2si1he wrote

You seem to have mistaken the state house for a coherent and functional democratic institution.


joeys4282 t1_j2syvk2 wrote

I’ve worked out there with those state reps and senators. When I say this I’m not saying the (MassGOP) is the answer because it’s run by idiots. However I’ve seen what one party rule does in western Massachusetts. Democrats don’t feel they have to do significant things because they own the state. For god sakes there is a town in western Massachusetts names Westminster that has been contaminated with toxic chemicals in there drinking water. Instead of helping them they do only the minimal to get by. Go drive there and you’ll see gallon jugs at everyone’s driveway because it’s so unsafe to drink but they still shower with it and now it’s causing cancer. This state doesn’t care about western Massachusetts simply because it doesn’t have to. They invest all the money they get out there on dog parks and walking paths when I’ve met communities that can’t afford heat.


FuzzAldrin36 t1_j2t23v6 wrote

Do you have a link you can share that would let me read more on this water issue? We're a town over from Westminster and I haven't heard about this (though tbf I don't take any steps to stay informed on things in this region).


joeys4282 t1_j2tak6w wrote,398290

Look up Westminster PFAS these are the only article I can find you don’t really have to pay for. PS- this PFAS problem is pressing in this state and the legislature has chosen to allow there citizens to get exposed to cancer causing agents instead of spending the money that it needs to in order to fix the problem.


successiseffort t1_j2umtq8 wrote

Same thing happened in Raynham, MA over the drought period this summer. PFAS is nasty stuff


joeys4282 t1_j2tbgwv wrote

Also if you have a well I’d strongly suggest you get it tested for PFAS just the be save. Just my opinion.


FuzzAldrin36 t1_j2tl4g2 wrote

We got independent testing done by a lab in Leominster.

Our level of aluminum is 7x higher than the max EPA limit.

We're shopping RO systems now.


AutomationBias t1_j2tap80 wrote

Westminster is central Mass, though.


joeys4282 t1_j2tb41g wrote

The point I’m making is that a huge part of Massachusetts goes unnoticed and when in witnessed and talked to the people that lived there I was appalled by the scope of the problem. This isn’t just a rural problem it’s very simple if you don’t live in the coast where the money is. The legislature doesn’t see that your worth there time.


GyantSpyder t1_j2scin6 wrote

This opinion piece is mostly a political consultant who specializes in rural issues arguing that there should be a new government job created for a political consultant who specializes in rural issues. It's a bit transparent.

Also all these rural "nobody listens to us" political operatives are always light on details for what issues they actually care about - and whether it's legitimately a concern of the people who live in rural areas or just some random niche interest claiming to have popular support because there aren't many people living in the area so nobody else is stepping up to "be the voice."

Like this article mentions "protecting our working landscapes of the agriculture and forestry sector" -- what does that even mean? What is a working landscape? If what you mean is "abolish all environmental regulations so I can cut down more trees without doing paperwork" or "Stop the minimum wage hikes because I don't want to pay farmhands that much" then just say it.


GyantSpyder t1_j2si7wo wrote

Okay, so, to be nicer and try to organize it a bit better, here are the issues for rural Massachusetts the writer mentions in this op-ed, leaving out the vague rhetoric that says nothing -

  1. They don't have enough high-speed internet
  2. Less populated towns have small town office staffs that can't complete the paperwork the state requires them to complete
  3. No members of the Legislative Rural Caucus are going to be given control of any powerful state committees (is this really a problem anyone else cares about? Nobody is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to caucus only with each other if it's hurting you. Go do some politics or something.)
  4. They need more dentists, doctors, and mental health professionals
  5. They want more people from the city to go apple picking and leaf peeping and stuff

These seem like decent issues to advocate for, sure.

Thinking about these, the one that makes obvious sense to tackle in this way (by the creation of a new state executive office) would be an ombudsman position for towns that have difficulty with their paperwork. I'm not sure if this position already exists or doesn't, and as a problem it certainly isn't limited to the rural parts of the state.

But also, it's a deceptively tricky issue - we had a situation where a consultancy was hired to do a revision of the town bylaws - like a pass to make them all one current version because it had all become a bit disorganized - and the version they presented to town meeting for approval even after being paid for like a year of work was full of new, obvious errors and problems (like obvious changes to the bylaws that had been voted in the previous year were just not in the draft, so it was unclear if approving the draft was repealing the last year of bylaws - but how would any of these consultants know what was voted in the previous year? Etc.) so it wasn't approved, meaning it had to wait for another year. This kind of work is boring and difficult and even professionals fuck it up frequently.

The article seems to use the word "bureaucrat" with the classic empty rhetorical contempt but it sounds like a big part of what they need are better bureaucrats, and that can be a hard sell because it's not free.

Also using the word "bureaucrat" with veiled contempt while asking for the creation of a new bureaucratic office is a bit hypocritical, but what are you going to do? Rhetoric dies hard.


BasicDesignAdvice t1_j2t1ax4 wrote

> \1. They don't have enough high-speed internet

Valid point.

> \2. Less populated towns have small town office staffs that can't complete the paperwork the state requires them to complete

A problem of every state in this country is absolute shit systems for this kind of thing. Major investments in technology and data engineering should be enacted to make everything online and streamlined like in other countries.

They live in a small town and it makes sense they can't keep up. That isn't going to change, the towns are small. The systems need to be updated and training done to make it work better. That isn't likely to change either unfortunately.


commentsOnPizza t1_j2uc5vh wrote

> > 1. They don't have enough high-speed internet > > Valid point.

It's certainly a valid complaint, but it's not like the lack of internet is because the state has ignored them. It's often an issue of the fact that it's really expensive to wire up rural areas for high speed internet. In fact, many towns in Western Mass have fiber because the state funded MassBroadband and offered a lot of grants to communities to subsidize it. MassBroadband has done last-mile projects in 46 towns with 7 more partly done:

> 2. Less populated towns have small town office staffs that can't complete the paperwork the state requires them to complete

I think the answer to this is that there are functions that should simply be taken away from towns. I'm not talking about taking away local autonomy. I'm saying that there are things no one cares about that need to get done by someone and maybe we should have a county or regional office that administrates that. The towns can't complete the paperwork because their small tax base doesn't support hiring enough people or qualified enough people to do it. Even simple things like sending out tax bills become costly when you're doing it for so few households. Even if the towns continue to set tax rates, it probably makes sense for the county or even the state to collect the taxes. There's no reason why the town should be hiring someone to deal with collecting the taxes or putting out an RFP (request for proposals) for an electronic system for residents to pay their taxes. That cost should be spread among lots of people, not few people.

No one is saying, "You know what I love about my town? The property tax payment system!" Yes, people do care about a lot of things that come with local autonomy. There's also a lot of stuff people don't care about. We should be regionalizing those things or just delegating them to the state.


wgc123 t1_j2tl0zl wrote

It seems like your points 4 and 5 are they need to do more marketing.

> They need more … professionals

As a parent of kids entering college, I suggest service programs to help pay off student loans. I know such things exist but usually only for places that are the extremes. However for whatever reason you don’t have enough doctored, you may attract more by advertising a student loan benefir


SandyBouattick t1_j2soi1t wrote

That makes sense. Obviously rural MA has the same representation as everyone else, but I see some merit in the complaints that seem to come up over and over here. Rural MA gets outvoted by greater Boston on funding infrastructure for greater Boston, so they have to pay for it but never get to use it. The city response to this is that it is both available for everyone's use and Boston is the economic hub of the state and attracts all the good jobs that generate lots of tax money. I think the only real merit argument for the rural crowd is that there is terrible public transportation from rural MA to Boston. Commuting to Boston from rural MA is pretty unrealistic for most people, and we are trying to reduce the number of cars on the roads, not increase it. Decent commuter rail lines that actually serve western / rural MA would make this much more fair. Rural folks could actually access the jobs and hospitals and culture of the city, and city folks could also enjoy the rural events and sights and activities while bringing some revenue to small towns that need it.


wgc123 t1_j2tpl81 wrote

I’m not convinced Boston really does get outsized investment in infrastructure. Of course it gets most, since most of the people are there, most of the taxable income is there, and maybe that will always seem unfair. But does the metro area really get the most funding per capita, or per taxable income?

Infrastructure in rural areas benefits a lot fewer people who bring in a lot less tax income. Maybe your rickety town bridge that only serves a dozen cars a day is relatively more expensive than the Zakim bridge serving tens of thousands


SandyBouattick t1_j2tq1pr wrote

Yeah, it's a tough situation to figure out. Having the best hospital in Boston makes sense because the most people are served by it, but then if you pay taxes and have no hospital nearby you don't feel like you're getting much return on your investment. The same with public transportation. Paying a ton to keep the T going in Boston makes sense, but it sucks to pay for it and not even have a train station within a 45 minute drive. It's a classic problem.


GreatAndPowerfulNixy t1_j2v5xbz wrote

The furthest west MBTA train stop is in Fitchburg, which is decidedly central MA.


wgc123 t1_j31wn6m wrote

But it’s only useful to commute into Boston: are there really people willing to commute farther than that?

Personally I’d like to see high speed trains from Boston to Worcester and Springfield, and wonder if they are big enough to support the beginnings of a train system. While that wouldn’t directly support rural areas, it would be supporting a much higher percentage of residents plus putting transit in reach of more people


g_rich t1_j2wcaxu wrote

Greater Boston is the economic driver for the state and generates a majority of income for the state in terms of taxes so it’s actually the other way around.

Greater Boston is the one paying for the infrastructure in rural Mass, so a town 2 hours outside Boston of a few thousand is not paying to maintain the roads in the city of Boston or fund the T; they are actually receiving more for the $1 in taxes they contribute than someone living in Boston, Worcester or Springfield.

They should actually be championing for more investment in the infrastructure of greater Boston, because that investment improves the economic output of the state which generates more taxes which results in more funding for them.


SandyBouattick t1_j2wqdor wrote

Do you have a source for this? I'd like to see how the towns break down on local funding vs redistribution from Boston as you say.


g_rich t1_j2wwjk6 wrote

If I recall correctly tax sources are roughly 1/3 property tax, 1/3 income tax and the other 1/3 are things like sales tax, corporate taxes, and excise taxes. Massachusetts has a population of a little over 7 million and about 2/3 of those live in the greater Boston metropolitan area. We can remove property taxes from the equation due to those taxes going directly to the cities and towns to fund services such as education, police and fire. That leaves us with the other 2/3 that comprise mostly of income, sales and corporate taxes. Considering that 2/3’s of the population and a large portion of the major corporations being located in the Boston metro it’s safe to say that a majority of income, sales and corporate taxes are coming from the Boston Metro area.


SandyBouattick t1_j2xgrb9 wrote

I agree that is safe to say, but it is also safe to say that a majority of MA tax money is spent on the greater Boston metro as well, so that doesn't tell us how much leaves greater Boston and goes to all the rural towns like you said. Do you have a source for your claim? I'd like to verify that and see how much towns are getting from Boston.


Red7395 t1_j4dzo5l wrote

All Massachusetts residents pay sales tax. A penny of that goes to the T....whether residents have access to it or not.


Temporary_Target4156 t1_j2sz5py wrote

As someone who has lived and worked in both rural and urban MA, the rural parts of the state could use more investments. There is definitely a lack of medical services in my area, for example, and much of the infrastructure needs work (just like the entire state).

The problem is the population of rural MA, and the taxes they bring in. Urban MA is the economic power in the state, and contributes a higher share to the state coffers due to population and taxes. As a result, it gets a higher share of the budget than rural areas.

Further development in rural areas, however, could be of use to the whole state. Incentives for people to move to/live and work in rural areas could help restart and strengthen our local economies. Better health infrastructure would help alleviate or manage chronic health problems in underserved areas, as well as providing new jobs, helping the residents and providing more income for the areas. More investment in rural areas could mean better returns in the future for everyone.


wgc123 t1_j2tnnqc wrote

Massachusetts is a leader on medical stuff in several different ways, so building on one of our strong points would be a great idea


GreatAndPowerfulNixy t1_j2v5ldd wrote

WMA has one level I trauma center (Baystate Medical Center) whose service area covers one of the largest geographic regions in the northeast. Compared to the Boston metro area with seven level I trauma centers. It's kind of bananas.


Temporary_Target4156 t1_j2v78sc wrote

Exactly. More medical services means more jobs, better health for the region, and more money to hopefully spend on infrastructure


thewags05 t1_j2w96yp wrote

I work remotely and recently moved from the Burlington area out to Western Mass. I can confirm that trying to find a primary care physician out here is an exercise in futility. I've had a couple of places tell me to check back in 2024 in mid 2022

For now, it's easier just to drive back to my old one by Boston.

Weirdly specialty care can be a little easier, but you better not have an HMO that requires a referral.


Thisbymaster t1_j2s22gl wrote

Why does 11% of the population have a seat over the rest?


cjpowers70 t1_j2s615t wrote

They do all the work and services that city and suburban folks can’t and won’t do. We couldn’t survive without rural people and their concerns are the concerns of the broader public. Their voices should absolutely be heard.

Imagine someone said that because black people are only 13% of the population they don’t deserve representation. You’d call them a bigoted ass hole, but you get to say the same thing about rural folks because they’re white and disagree with you. I don’t really expect you to hold yourself accountable to hatred but just some food for thought.


Proof-Variation7005 t1_j2sf938 wrote

Holy shit, this is unhinged for so many reasons.

if you ever find yourself living in an area with black people around, I'd advise you from maybe not comparing the shit they go through to any imagined grievances you have.


Prestigious_Bobcat29 t1_j2sceol wrote

But they have representation. What they’re demanding, as always, is over-representation.


cjpowers70 t1_j2scpid wrote

Literally everyone does that. You just only think it’s bad when the poor whites do it.


nixiedust t1_j2sj6rq wrote

lol....yes, the underprivileged of Lenox....not every rural area is impoverished, and do you think poor people get elected anyway? You're complaining about the wrong thing if you want power.


cjpowers70 t1_j2sjc0h wrote

Right…because Lenox is representative of broader rural mass. Great take.


nixiedust t1_j2t0242 wrote

It's as representative as any subgroup. Point is, you don't speak for everyone you think you do and what you're complaining about wouldn't be solved with more representation because lack of seats is not what's keeping you down.

When you're ready to fight income inequality and the wealthy gap, especially in politics, you're welcome to join us fighting the system. If you're just looking sympathy as a poor disenfranchised white dude who wouldn't offer the same sympathy to an urban dweller, you can get bent all the way to Connecticut.


cjpowers70 t1_j2t0pe0 wrote

Lol way to make massive assumptions about who I am and my identity. Unsurprisingly incorrect, and your assumption says a lot about you.

You’re unironically making an argument that I’m being ignorant of viewpoints as you cherry-pick one of the wealthiest towns in western mass. The lack of self awareness is palpable.


nixiedust t1_j2tt1v0 wrote

Yes, I chose a wealthy town to show that not all rural residents are poor. That's a logical statement, nothing ironic about it. You need to read more slowly because you aren't understanding much of what we're discussing here. Your confusion and bitterness are apparent, but your argument is nonsensical. I'm sorry you take issue with your representation, but you're not really communicating your needs, either.

It's also odd to comment on my self-awareness when I haven't mentioned myself once. I believe you meant to insult my social awareness.

All the ad hominem stuff aside, we agree that the less fortunate should be helped. I'm more confident in my ideas than yours is all; you'll live.


cjpowers70 t1_j2w5rwz wrote

Not confused, bitter, or rural. I don’t know what kind of complex discussions you think I’m misinterpreting, but basically every message I’ve received has been ad hoc and has had nothing or little to do with rural politics. You pretend to care about working class people while ignoring their perspectives in lieu of supporting the business class in Eastern Massachusetts while grifting as some kind of anti-systemic activist.

You’re on a real high horse for someone who can’t even ride a pony.

Keep up the revolution brother, I’m sure you’ll get far from your keyboard.


maralagosinkhole t1_j2sobms wrote

False. I understand that as a fellow "poor white" living in western MA that it's the big city and it's suburbs that put billions of dollar into the state coffers each year. Just say "thanks for all the free stuff" and go about the rural life that you have chosen for yourself.


cjpowers70 t1_j2t0tfj wrote

Not rural, just advocating for people less fortunate than me.


Ex-Pat-Spaz t1_j2scabj wrote

Rural folk have representation and a voice, why do you think you vote? What you want, is special and more representation than what the rest of us have, which is some sort of outdated electoral college bullshit.

Your example and comparison to minorities is borderline stupid.


cjpowers70 t1_j2scx29 wrote

So every political decision should come down to a simple majority vote? Under this logic you would support Jim Crow laws so long as the voters upheld it.


Ex-Pat-Spaz t1_j2shmlo wrote

You are lost, dude. Please don’t throw around terms, comparisons, you barely understand and try to gaslight me with severe faulty logic.

Rural folk have representatives and that is pretty much the end of it.

Also, as an aside which I am sure I will regret to point out. City and country folk have symbiotic relationship, not a CiTy FoLK wOuLd DiE without rural folk.


cjpowers70 t1_j2sy6ip wrote

I would be willing to bet a lot money I’m much better educated than you. You can say I’m gaslighting you all you want but can’t refute the points I’m making. If they’re so bad, it should be easy. That’s how I feel about your arguments at least.

You’re right about the symbiosis, it’s just that only one participant in the relationship is given credit.


Ex-Pat-Spaz t1_j2umqoj wrote

No, you are trying to troll me into a stupid argument with you. Guess what….you are not that slick nor bright enough to tempt me.

Your ignorance of basic civics is astounding, dragging the Jim Crow era into this, belies how much you do not understand how the government works.


cjpowers70 t1_j2w4z25 wrote

You continue with ad box attacks yet you can’t even engage with any substance. It sounds to me like I presented you with a conundrum in your perspective of democracy and you are having some kind of meltdown dealing with it. Have a good day man, I hope 2023 will be better than 2022 for you.


Ex-Pat-Spaz t1_j2wbem5 wrote

Hey Troll, you already got blown up in the first post by me and nothing more needs to be said. Accept it and move on. Rural folk have representation….and that’s the simple fact of it. Anything else is gibberish and ignorance. Learn how the government works….come back when you do.

What you want is MORE representation than the rest of us. Our government doesn’t work that way. See game over, insert quarter and try again.

PS it’s “ad hoc” not box. Another phrase you do not understand


GWS2004 t1_j2suil0 wrote

Dude, are you one of those white dudes that thinks he's discriminated against?


gerkin123 t1_j2tsh2r wrote

Civil rights decisions, like those leading to the end of Jim Crow laws, are a justification for the Judicial Branch. Their institution is not a justification to reconstitute representative power.

Believing majority power matters in the distribution of funding doesn't make one prejudicial, and hitching rural MA to the plight of people living in the Jim Crow south is plain gross.


cjpowers70 t1_j2w5x4i wrote

Drawing a parallel to exemplify the consequences of democracy may have been an uncomfortable realization, but it’s not “gross”.

Obviously I understand how separation of powers work, that is mot the topic of conversation. Nice straw man though.


RoyalSloth t1_j2se8h8 wrote

Ok I’m from the Berkshires and I have to say we don’t really contribute that much. Most of us are just poor and stuck in retail, personal care, or fast food, and the few rich people are mostly involved in the arts.

I do think we need more help than we get, but that’s simply because the area isn’t as developed or interconnected with the rest of the state, and a lot of us are stuck here due to being poor rather than by choice. Accomplishing that will require more resources per capita than elsewhere in the state. But it’s not like we’re the only ones who should be getting more resources per capita—low-income people in eastern MA also need more help than the average person for similar reasons.

We do have at least one disadvantage relative to the urban poor in that our representatives have to lobby for communities that are way farther apart, meaning even if rural and urban representatives are securing the same funding for their districts, the higher cost of trying to develop a larger area diminishes the rural representative’s returns relative to the urban representative. It’s a problem inherent to our representatives belonging to winner-takes-all single-member districts.

But we aren’t better than the rest of the state. We just need more help.


Constructestimator83 t1_j2ue48i wrote

That’s laughable because all I ever hear rural people say is how they could never commute into the city everyday for work so really it’s us doing the work rural folks can’t and won’t.


TheTechOcogs t1_j2sci3e wrote

They have also been systematically suppressed since Shays rebellion.

There’s no real solution to it though unless western mass becomes it’s own state, which would be nice because we’d get two more democrats in the senate and we’d have more representation for the rural community in Western Ma.


[deleted] t1_j2sjydy wrote

Meanwhile the T is crumbling because Boston clearly doesn’t have enough political gravity to get the state to care. Are you fucking kidding?


wgc123 t1_j2tnff0 wrote

There was that thread about Boston workdays only having 52% of pre-pandemic activity. Although I don’t know how that would explain decades of deferred maintenance


[deleted] t1_j2u0cjw wrote

The issue is that Boston will continue to need the T even if no suburban commuters ever return to the city. It serves a crucial function to the urban core.

Plain as day there something will need to change


hotaspee t1_j2u0fgc wrote

right, we had to wait like six extra years for new red line and orange line cars because we had to build a factory in western MA to build them in order to get support from the rural electeds. and Baker vetoed indexing the gas tax because it wasn’t popular amongst rural voters


UncleCustard t1_j2t7n1s wrote

I don't fully agree with the globe. But I agree the needs also aren't met of the people. No high speed internet, some towns don't have a anyone you can easily call to deal with basic issues (trash pickup, taxes, etc). The one thing I will say, while everyone was head over heals about issues with the T (as it should be). Some towns don't have an Uber, taxi, public bus, or anyone reasonable transportation outside their own. Literally 0 options.


commentsOnPizza t1_j2u7sib wrote

I think one issue that doesn't get talked a lot is that rural areas make it hard to offer a modern standard of living.

Ok, a place wants high speed internet, but the company is going to have to lay 500-1,000 feet of wiring per home instead of 20-50 feet. That's going to cost a lot more, but people think it's unfair for things to cost more. Trash pickup: in a rural area, it's going to mean a lot more miles driven per resident which increases time and fuel usage. Someone to call about issues: if the town has only 1,000 people, how many staffers can they have to take your calls? If you want a staff of 5 people, that's basically $500,000/year including benefits and office space, possibly more. Assuming around 300-400 households, that would be $1,250-$1,667 per household in taxes needed.

The US already subsidizes fuel which makes driving $3,000/year cheaper. The US puts a universal service fee (it'll likely be around 9% of your wireless bill) on telecommunications to pour billions into rural phone and internet service - a 9% tax to fund rural telecom. We mandate that the postal service deliver to all addresses for the same price - so urban people pay much higher postal rates and higher prices for goods shipped to them since the USPS needs to charge extra for their shipping to subsidize rural delivery.

I agree that the needs of rural people often aren't being met, but it's often due to the fact that rural life is expensive and the more advanced we get as a society, the more heavily we'll need to subsidize rural life to keep it up to a modern standard.

150 years ago, rural life wasn't missing out on much. You couldn't have a cathedral or a theater, but there wasn't electricity or internet or trash pickup. Today, there's so much stuff that just costs a lot more to offer rural (and suburban) areas.

Part of this might be solved by reconstituting counties or creating regional authorities. Instead of having each town deal with tax collection, maybe the county should do that. That way, they can hire people who know what they're doing and spread that cost among hundreds of thousands of people instead of between a few thousand people. I know that Massachusetts has a big history of independent towns with self-rule and this doesn't need to throw that away, but it probably makes sense to start sharing certain administrative costs. Each town trying to run its own website, tax collection, etc. seems a bit much in many cases. If you're Mount Washington, you have 36 families in your town and 5 people for emergency services (police/fire/etc.). You have an animal inspector, building inspector, Board of Assessors, Board of Health, Tax Collector, Town Clerk, Town Office Manager, Treasurer, Tree Warden, Webmaster, Electrical Inspector, etc. I'd have to guess that most of these are part-time jobs that they do on the side of another job. It probably makes a lot more sense to have a larger body (like a county) handle a lot of that. You're not going to be able to offer a full-time person to call about tax stuff in a place with 36 families.

Other things are harder to overcome. It's simply going to cost more money to provide trash pickup in rural areas. It's going to be harder to convince doctors to want to live/work in rural areas where there might not be enough patients to keep them busy enough - and lead to lower earnings.

Rural life is going to have trade-offs and some of those are going to get worse over time. A lot of infrastructure just becomes really expensive when supporting rural areas and we don't just want to subside off the land anymore - we want all the advancements of the past 150 years of human progress.


itsgreater9000 t1_j2umzmt wrote

I've always wondered: many rural communities in NE (and honestly some not-so-rural communities) have shared school districts. Why not just go ahead and merge the towns? Or, at least, offer all of their services together.


UncleCustard t1_j2utner wrote

As someone who grew up in a town with 3 schools coming to our schools. Trust me. You don't wanna merge these towns together. You'd be stretching resources thin and sometimes those towns can take an hour to get to. One kid in my school got picked up at 5:45 for a 7:39 start time.


itsgreater9000 t1_j2v3xvr wrote

while I understand the situation, I wouldn't apply it to every school district equally. But that, to me, sounds like a reasonable argument for delaying the start time and ending the day a bit later. I am mostly thinking of schools like Hampshire Regional, which have 5 towns that flow into one school and they are definitely far apart. I think there might be a compromise that could be had about minimizing bus travel time for school kids (or better yet, get some friggin train system out there that might be a good way to help speed up the transit! think about it: public train systems for bringing kids to school :D). That might be redirecting towns to larger/closer places (e.g. instead of Southampton kids being brought to Hampshire Regional in Westhampton, send them to Westfield or Northampton, whichever is closer, and set up the regional high school in Chesterfield). Although the reality is that when everyone is so spaced out, the minimum travel distance is going to hurt somebody somewhere. But the current school systems are mostly local towns just saying "hey, let's merge together!" without real thought about what the best regional merges would be. Just what local towns feel like at some point in time.

That being said, eastern mass has some of this too (sadly). The METCO program requires most of the kids being taken from Boston to the outer suburbs to get a 5:30am start, which was terrible for those kids. I honestly felt bad because they were definitely trying to stay awake, but just couldn't some days.


wgc123 t1_j2tonhp wrote

Uber is a private company so really doesn’t count. Taxis are a private use of government granted monopoly so might, depending on where the shortage is caused.

Bus or other public service is firmly in the hands of local government

I don’t know enough about rural MA but in other places an underlying issue is lack of a town center. If it’s entirely rural, there’s just no way to effectively provide transit. However even the smallest towns can have a center, a cluster of destinations or higher density living. Could that be a pre-requisite?


a_Malevolent_Bee t1_j2uoe1q wrote

I moved to the North Berkshires and while I literally have to drive 20 minutes to get just a loaf of bread, at least I don't have to listen to traffic. It seems to me the local governments get what they pay for and like it this way.


UncleCustard t1_j2u4an9 wrote

I know Uber is a private company. But it would help the situation. I could be content with a private option instead of nothing. As far as the pre requisite goes, I understand why there is a lack of funding. But maybe we could offer some financial or tax reduction for those with no options. Rural MA is a different life than Springfield, Worcester and Boston. That's what I think the article is getting at. We need a different type of Assisi stance. Representation is the wrong word. It's what we get out of our representation that needs to be different.


GreatAndPowerfulNixy t1_j2v64ze wrote

It's true that there aren't many options in a lot of places, but PVTA and BRTA are both damn good for how small their budgets are. Massachusetts' regional transit authorities are really impressive.


Seaworthiness222 t1_j2s6jf5 wrote

Will any one copy the article and throw it here? I can't add yet another newspaper to my subscriptions.


TheGrateCommaNate t1_j2sfg1i wrote

Lol, I'm curious how many newspaper subscriptions you have if you're a Massachusetts resident but don't want to pay for the Boston freaking Globe.


Seaworthiness222 t1_j2sgzuq wrote

LOL. I know! I've got 3 (got caught up in craziness of elections, etc like 5 years ago and too lazy to go unsubscribe. Plus I'm digging having the access to those national/international publications.


SpookZero t1_j2sc94t wrote

Yeah I’m all set with giving rural anywhere extra say in anything. The electoral college has done too much damage on a national scale.


Fit-Anything8352 t1_j2sevac wrote

Ah yes, the irreparable damage that would be caused by every single county in Massachusetts voting Democratic, as they nearly always do.


SpookZero t1_j2sf3n0 wrote

They can have their vote and their representation, they just can’t have extra representation. Why would anyone in America think their vote should matter more than others?


Fit-Anything8352 t1_j2sfb99 wrote

The article doesn't ask for extra representation in congress. Did you even read it?


Fit-Anything8352 t1_j2sfx3a wrote

> Why would anyone in America think their vote should matter more than others?

Funny enough, that was actually motivation for the electoral college--because without it politicians would only campaign in California, New York, Florida, and Texas where the vast majority of the population lives. Or in other words, votes in large states would matter way more than votes in small states, regardless of political affiliation.

Funny right? That it wasn't completely arbitrary?


brufleth t1_j2slzsq wrote

> that was actually motivation for the electoral college

You're leaving out the part where it was intentionally to give disproportionate power to places with fewer (white land owning) people. It was a shitty system to preserve shitty systems.


Fit-Anything8352 t1_j2smd4w wrote

Or in other words "make the (variable size) voting population of each state have approximately equal representation in congress" which is exactly what I said. Because the United States is a union of states, not a giant singular unit of government.

The US isn't and was never intended to be a true democracy like Switzerland.


brufleth t1_j2sqllc wrote

This state would be foolish to hold that up as a model to follow.


Fit-Anything8352 t1_j2sqtho wrote

Also didn't read the article? They aren't even asking for more congressional representation.


brufleth t1_j2suc7f wrote

They're asking for a special representative in the state government be created.


Fit-Anything8352 t1_j2supjp wrote

They're asking for a single officer in the governor's office, something that has been done in numerous other states. A single officer.

Not representation in congress.


PhiloBlackCardinal t1_j2sknsy wrote

>Or in other words, urban votes would matter way more than rural ones.

Wow, it's almost like more people live in urban areas than rural areas and this country's politics should reflect that. Funny right?


Fit-Anything8352 t1_j2sl39x wrote

> Why would anyone in America think their vote should matter more than others?

So are we just ignoring this now? Do you want everyone's vote to matter the same or not?


PhiloBlackCardinal t1_j2slm2p wrote

> Why would anyone in America think their vote should matter more than others?

You should ask yourself this question. Everyone's vote should count the same. One vote is one vote. I don't know what's so hard to understand here. Less people live in rural areas, so naturally, their votes combined should count as less to fairly represent population. If more people lived in farms than cities, the system should stay the same.

Your argument is literally "all votes should be equal, but if everyone has equal votes that bad because rural populations get underrepresented".


Fit-Anything8352 t1_j2smwjt wrote

> Your argument is literally "all votes should be equal, but if everyone has equal votes that bad because rural populations get underrepresented".

The argument for the electoral college is "all states should have equal representation." The United States is a union of states, not a single state of 330 million people(the US is not Switzerland). If you vote by population, a state with a high population has more say in the election than one with a small population, it doesn't even have anything to do with urban vs rural.


PhiloBlackCardinal t1_j2so2yq wrote

The electoral college was a useful tool in the pre-Civil War era of US politics. The era when the federal government was nearly non-existent. Post-Civil War, it makes no sense. It's not 1850 anymore, states don't control the majority of functions in our daily lives. The Federal Government does.

States where more people live should have more of a say than states where no one lives. One person = one vote. It goes against the principles this country was founded on to believe otherwise.


Fit-Anything8352 t1_j2sos73 wrote

What? States do control the majority of functions in your daily life. Traffic laws, physical infrastructure, medical care, health insurance, water supply, electricity, education, etc. are all controlled by state law.

The federal government has very little say in anybody's day to day life.


BlaineTog t1_j2thxsa wrote

You can't win the Presidency with just California, New York, Florida, and Texas. Go after just the urban vote and you're doomed to failure. The electoral college fixes problems that don't exist anymore, if they ever did.


IntelligentCicada363 t1_j2t1xog wrote

The electoral college has nothing to do with this issue, and even if it did, the EC gives more power to rural areas than they would otherwise have.


labrie_sideloaders t1_j2siwip wrote

I should've known better but had no idea so many communists resided in Massachusetts


qmccaffery t1_j2u1yo6 wrote

*so many rich communists in boston metro area who think they know what it’s like to live outside of it…


husqofaman t1_j2s8whr wrote

There are a lot of disparities that people who live in an urban area have probably never considered. Like access to healthcare and other professional services. The state licensing boards could do a lot to incentivize professionals to provide services to rural communities instead of expecting residents of rural communities to be able to dedicate a day to travel to a population center. Or how about departments of public health which are administered on a local level. Meaning that many municipalities in MA have 1 nurse running the whole public health department. This was a huge issue during COVID and hasn’t really be resolved.


Victor_Korchnoi t1_j2t2kbx wrote

How do you want the licensing boards to incentivize doctors to work in rural areas? Allow doctors with lower board scores to only operate in rural areas?


husqofaman t1_j2u110o wrote

Those are some bad ideas you have. I would suggest discounted licensing fees for practitioners who serve rural communities, even part time. Or maybe limit the number of licenses given per county, but that seems unlikely.


Victor_Korchnoi t1_j2u564e wrote

My point was the licensing board doesn’t have that many levers it can pull to influence that. I don’t think the cost of licensing is a big enough incentive to change any doctors behavior


TheTechOcogs t1_j2sccuy wrote

This has been an issue since Shays rebellion


March_Latter t1_j2t8k3e wrote

I don't think it needs a new form of representation but it isn't hard to stop legislating against suburban and rural communities as the government in Massachusetts and specifically Maura Healy has done for at least a decade. The "Berkshires" isn't the only area of Massachusetts that is sick and tired of Boston pushing Boston style zoning and laws on the rest of us.


bostonmacosx t1_j2tyw3x wrote

Yeah but in these forums if you promote that (that not everyone should live in a city) | you're a .... {fill in term of the moment here}


March_Latter t1_j2umw6k wrote

Remember when their vocabulary was lower and it was just "nazi"....applied at random regardless of any thought process.


ggtffhhhjhg t1_j2wnexb wrote

NIMBY people in your towns are pushing those laws on you. Don’t blame the state.


March_Latter t1_j2y8sl9 wrote

The states the one who took away our zoning control. Now we have houses in wetlands and on roads we never intended for houses. Condo associations putting houses right next to each other instead of spaced like required. The state is also the one who mandates how we replace buildings with the absolute most expensive method possible then looks away when its bid time. I have turned obvious no bid contracts over to the AG, she called the person who wrote the bid to ask if they did anything wrong. Reinterpret laws to get what she wants though? Absolutely. She should be disbarred.


ArsenalBOS t1_j2sdapf wrote

It’s a short piece basically asking Healey to create a “director of rural affairs” position since the legislature is so dominated by urban and suburban reps.


deadlyspoons t1_j2t4wt2 wrote

OP’s title is misleading. This is an op-ed piece by a rural consultant, not a Globe editorial.


ExternalRespond1870 t1_j2tahbk wrote

We are the BREAD BASKET of Boston, Western MA. We have food security and water security here that will one day prove important.


MiloMinderbinder-22 t1_j2upknb wrote

Dafuq you talking about? Since when is Massachusetts known for its agricultural output? New England in general has poor soil.

Edit: I'm getting a lot of downvotes about a state that is ranked #47 out of 50 in agricultural output (ahead of only New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Alaska) and whose biggest crops include greenhouse and nursery commodities (mmm, good eatin'). This sub is weird.


thomastodon01027 t1_j2utr02 wrote

I have to say I’m a little surprised to see a few comments on here getting upvoted. As a little perspective, I am a lifelong resident of Western MA, and I’ve spent my adult life working in public policy, including 6 years in elected office. Nobody out here is suggesting that the people of rural MA be given more votes in the legislature, or anything like that. But the truth is that there are a lot of people in key decision-making positions who have huge blind spots when it comes to some of the communities outside of 495.

This really isn’t some zero sum game where anything that comes to the rural parts of MA has to come at the expense of Metro Boston. It’s just a matter of making sure that people who make public policy understand the unique needs of all Massachusetts’ communities. And right now, I can tell you, a lot of people straight up don’t. They don’t understand how delivering services to vulnerable people is different when you have zero public transit. They don’t understand the first thing about agricultural economies. They don’t understand the ways that having an aging, declining population leads to a different kind of housing crisis than what they have out East.

If your opinion is basically “fuck those dumb hicks”, then the status quo is great. But there are a lot of people who are actually tasked with providing government services to all of the Commonwealth’s citizens, and in a lot of cases, they would be doing a better job providing those services to to rural communities if there were people from rural communities at the table voicing their needs.

And to folks saying that the legislative delegation from those communities is enough, to me, that just suggests that you don’t pay attention to state house politics. The MA state house is one of the most top-heavy, least transparent legislative institutions in the country. It is not a place where honest public servants go to discuss the needs of their constituents. And unless your rep and senator are part of the leadership, they don’t have a tremendous amount of contact with the decision makers in the executive branch, which is what this editorial is actually about.

I ended up at a gathering of local elected officials from Western MA last year. Some representatives from the state were there, and they discussed a bunch of government initiatives to help with technology, infrastructure, etc. As the officials asked questions, it became clear that in nearly every case, their communities either weren’t eligible for the funds, or they didn’t have the administrative resources to even apply. These folks from the state drove 2-3 hours to present on this stuff, which they presumably would not have done if they understood this. But I seriously doubt a single thing has changed since then.


[deleted] t1_j2vfbo4 wrote

I think it annoys people that rural folk are openly hostile to government… until they need it.

I appreciate what you wrote and we should do better, but I think if rural folks want more from their government then they should start with more belief in our society to begin with.


thomastodon01027 t1_j2wwvz3 wrote

I think it’s a big generalization to say that all rural people are hostile towards government. I would challenge you to look at town-level election results in MA and back that statement up. What I do think it is fair to say is that it is more difficult to deliver government services in rural areas, and rural people understand this. The police response time for the farm where I grew up is about 20 minutes, so when my mom thought she heard footsteps outside her window, she didn’t call the cops. She called the bikers down the street, who were there almost immediately. Turned out to be nothing but the point is, you get used to the idea that certain sorts of government services (public safety, public transit, water/sewer, etc.) might not be available. That said, I think there are areas where the government could take actions that would really benefit rural people, but they won’t take those actions unless they understand those communities.


ggtffhhhjhg t1_j2wnnpr wrote

Around Thor Worcester area the MAGA crowd is large and vocal.


cowboy_dude_6 t1_j2tgx06 wrote

Rural Americans have been consistently overrepresented in all levels of government for literal centuries, but sure, keep playing the victim.


riefpirate t1_j2sjq3t wrote

Being from Berkshire County I disagree with the globe, we have our representation and the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.


Puzzleheaded-Phase70 t1_j2urop8 wrote

TLDRing here, but, is this suggesting that "rural MA" be given extra power beyond their existing, equitable share in the electoral and lobby processes?

That sounds like bullshit to me.


Diomedes413 t1_j2v1zq3 wrote

Part of the reason rent and real estate prices are so sky high in urban areas are because rural areas are unlivable with no jobs or modern infrastructure. By investing in these areas fewer people would be fleeing to the cities and driving up costs.


Maronita2020 t1_j2s915y wrote

It would be nice to know what the discussion is. The Boston Globe will NOT permit me to see it unless I want to spend money.


great_blue_hill t1_j2t8yth wrote

Why would they spend money writing articles and then give them to you for free?


Maronita2020 t1_j2venb9 wrote

Why post a link that can't be read without spending money. Why shouldn't the OP just give a synopsis of what it says and post the link as the source. People then can give them their opinion. Otherwise why wouldn't the online magazine/newspaper subscription not just have someone posts links and asking for peoples opinions as a way to bring income in.


ggtffhhhjhg t1_j2wo732 wrote

If you bothered to read the comments in this thread there is a link that would give you access to every paper for free for the rest of your life, but you couldn’t be bothered because you probably think we’re communist groomers.


SweetFrostedJesus t1_j2vlpkh wrote

The state capitol should be Worcester or Springfield. Some place central that better represents the economic realities of more Massachusetts residents. As someone who used to live in Western Mass, it's like Beacon Hill forgets we exist, and the only realities are inside of 495. Living in Boston, I had access to world class hospitals and doctors. Meanwhile, the only hospital in North Adams closes because "it's not profitable" and all we got in return is a glorified urgent care center.

Where does most of Boston's drinking water come from? From a reservoir that destroyed towns in central Mass in the 1930s. We're a Commonwealth - not an empty forest for Boston to use when it has needs.


Ok_Neighborhood5832 t1_j2whrka wrote

I wonder if this will change due to the shift in people leaving areas closer to the city and moving further out. Although I am not sure that would impact Western Mass, it could impact areas right outside the 495 belt.


bangharder t1_j2snvzj wrote

She don’t even know they exist


mattgm1995 t1_j2sdj3i wrote

Also she should listen to moderate and conservative voices (not MAGA but actual conservatives) too. Will she?


imFreakinThe_fuk_out t1_j2so13h wrote

Healy is way less crazy than a lot of conservatives think, quite based in some aspects.


mattgm1995 t1_j2sp7xs wrote

I agree! Just, in this election, I absolutely did not feel represented. I’m an independent and couldn’t bring myself to vote for her, and I definitely wouldn’t vote for idiot Deihl


TurnsOutImAScientist t1_j2s70un wrote

OTOH, Boston would probably be able to have nicer things if it could break away and become it’s own state.


Bobbydadude01 t1_j2s7b6z wrote



TurnsOutImAScientist t1_j2s95y8 wrote

We could build more infrastructure if we didn’t have to have it approved by the non-Boston part of the state.


Bobbydadude01 t1_j2s9mph wrote

This is an extremely shortsighted and narrow view.

Urban areas subsidize rural areas because rural areas are still important.


[deleted] t1_j2vfpkf wrote

I have far more sympathy and will to cooperate with rural folks than I do suburban folks. Suburban towns cosplay as the country while adding nothing of actual value.