The Boardman Interview: Kern Park

December 16, 2017

Entrance to Kern Park

Kern Park is a 24-acre neighborhood park located in the northeast section of Bristol near Ivy Drive School. The park, plagued by neglect and vandalism since its development in 1970, became a campaign issue for the District 1 council candidates during the 2017 municipal election. However, it may soon see a renaissance.

Boardman sat down with Kern Park for an interview near Sergio’s Pizza one of his favorite haunts. Kern arrived late appearing tired and worn; decades of neglect and abuse have obviously taken their toll. He has some stubble from not shaving and at almost 50 signs of gray are beginning to appear.

One gets the feeling Kern Park is both apprehensive and suspicious of being interviewed. We sat on a curb in the parking lot after hours with nothing, but the light from Sergio’s marquee and the ember of his lit cigarette to keep us company.

Boardman:
In the 1970s the city had trouble funding and finishing you, Kern Park.

In the 1980s you fell victim to vandalism.

In the 1990s the city forgot you existed.

In the 2000s the city tried to sell you to a developer in order to build a box store.

Kern:
What of it?

Boardman:
Why do you think the city keeps doing this to you?

Kern:
Maybe I am unlucky. Or maybe I have a bad PR department. Or, maybe just maybe, it’s because I am not located in the West End or on Federal Hill or on Chippens Hill making me easy to forget.

Boardman:
You appear angry.

Kern:
You think?

Boardman:
In 1986 the then mayor said you, the park, “just never worked.”

Kern:
I forgot about that. Thanks for reminding me. I thought for sure I was going to be turned into placid looking condominiums.

Boardman:
Where are we today?

Kern:
The tennis courts have given way to spray painted expressions of lover’s lament and other tasteless remarks. There is a thicket where the basketball court use to be, you can’t recognize where the swings were and a swamp has suddenly materialized. Under today’s “parlants” they call it an eco-system but it’s a swamp.

Boardman:
Recently, Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu and Councilor Greg Hahn visited.

Kern
Yes. They were very gracious and spent a great deal of time examining the grounds. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to see other than the rife overgrowth and the broken beer bottles. I would have offered them a drink, but as I said all the bottles were broken or empty and drinking is prohibited on park property. Not that it would have mattered though.

Boardman:
You’re bitter.

Kern:
The tennis court located in view of the school was named after Edwin Decker as a tribute to the long-time park department commissioner. I want to know if the graffiti, broken glass and debris scattered all over the court are part of the tribute?

Things You Need to Know About Kern Park to Make it Through Your Day

* Kern Park is named for Herbert Kern a member of the city’s Board of Park Commissioners for 28 years
* Kern Park is two words with 8 letters between the words
* The park is 24 acres which is 97,124.5541 square meters or 32 football fields in length
* The former basketball court offers wonderful vistas of drab colored overgrowth, invasive weeds and thorny burrs – if that is your thing
* According to local druggie “The Owl”, it is the #1 destination in the northeast section for pot smokers

Sourcing:

News Desk Board member to be Honored by New Park
Hartford Courant 25 June 1970: pg 31A
News Desk Council to View Park Plans
Hartford Courant 02 Sep. 1975: pg 58A
News Desk Bristol Parks Official Has His Day at Court
Hartford Courant 05 Nov. 1977: 21A
Lattimer, Elaine J. Residents Seek End to Damage At Kern Park
Hartford Courant 04 May. 1979: W58
Howard, Susan Bristol Pledges Repairs to Park
Hartford Courant 20 Jun. 1979: pg. 17B
News Desk Kern Park Work in Progress
Hartford Courant 23 Oct. 1979: W24
Pach, Peter B. Bristol Park Falls Victim to Vandals
Hartford Courant 19 Jun. 1986 BE2
News Desk Kern Park Intact
Hartford Courant 9 Jan. 2004 A8
Stacom, Don Residents Seek Protection for Park
Hartford Courant 29 Jun. 2005: B2
Stacom, Don Kern Park Efforts Resume
Hartford Courant 08 Dec. 2006: B3

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Mine’s Bigger

October 28, 2017

With less than two weeks to election day campaign signs are everywhere and this year they are bigger than ever as candidates are waging war with their signs.

Even though he is just seeking a council seat in the First District, Tony D’Amato’s signs dwarf those of his fellow council candidates and the mayoral candidates too. Not just because they are necessarily bigger but because they are everywhere and not only in the Bristol/Forestville area.

He has weaponized his signs by expanding his operation with a growth strategy by penetrating alternative markets such as China, the Kremlin and a corner of Times Square. The political operative known locally as The Twerp, told Boardman, “Tony is thinking beyond District One because District One is just a formality.”

Other candidates have followed suit. Mary Fortier and Cheryl Thibeault are locked in a battle to the death in the Third District, and are not waging war with yard signs; they have gone to the mattresses with traffic signs.

Brittany Barney, also in the Third, has opted not to get into the sign fray so instead she has hit gold with a Brittany “Awareness Ribbon” to show support and raise consciousness for her campaign.

Andrew Howe in the Second is promoting his campaign with an alphabet soup. “It has no flavor and it has no taste because sometimes you just want soup goddammit and you don’t care how it fucking tastes.” That’s what it says on the can anyway. Okay, I added goddammit because I thought it needed punching up.

The election is Tuesday November 7, 2017. Stay semi-informed with Alan Boardman’s semi-comprehensive and semi-accurate election coverage.


Previewing the Canididates of District 1 / What We Know

October 22, 2017

Boardman, throughout the election season, breaks down the city council races. Today District 1 is previewed.

Overview
Nestled in the northeast section of town is the northeast section of town. Because it lacks the distinctive characteristics of Chippens Hill, The West End and Federal Hill it goes largely ignored until it is not ignored.

There are four candidates vying for two seats in District 1. Consequently when the music stops not everyone will have a seat.

Anthony D’Amato (R)
Anthony “Tony” D’Amato seeks a second term on the city council.

What We Know About Anthony “Tony” D’Amato:

* Tony D’Amato is one third of Bristol’s political power couple.
* Tony D’Amato has a punctuation mark in his last name.
* During his first term on the city council Tony D’Amato sat at the little kids table.
* Tony D’Amato became interim mayor after his name was drawn from a hat.
* Like his spouse in the 2016 state election, Tony D’Amato’s image is everywhere and his signs are, in a word, huge, massive, gargantuan, mammoth, monstrous, towering and colossally big.

Intangible:
The Rockwell Skatepark kids think his bowties are dope.

Greg Hahn (D)
One syllable in his first name and one syllable in his last name; a linguist’s dream. Not since Jack Kemp has there been an easier politician’s name to remember.

What We Know About Greg Hahn:

* Greg Hahn lives in Bristol.
* Greg Hahn speaks English.
* Greg Hahn plays the trumpet.
* Greg Hahn wears black stylistic glasses on his face that are not Buddy Holly, cat eye or Sally Jesse Rafael style glasses. In fact, I don’t know what they are but he wears them and wears them well.

Debate Question for Greg Hahn:
What do you call someone who hangs around with musicians?
Answer: A trumpet player.

Eric Carlson (R)
“Eric Carlson” is apparently a candidate for city council.

What We Know About “Eric Carlson”

Nothing.

His political signs are scarce, his press clippings are on the endangered species list and an Amber Alert was issued for his candidacy.

Other Valuable Information About “Eric Carlson” For the Voter:
None available.

Josh Medeiros (D)

Josh Medeiros is a first-time candidate for public office. He was recreation coordinator and aquatics – blah, blah, blah.

What We Know About Josh Medeiros:

A Google search for the name “Josh Medeiros” shows he resides in Nebraska, Massachusetts, Kansas, and London, England.

According to IMDb Josh Medeiros is best known for his part in Detour to Hell.
He later appeared in Bigfoot and Other Adventures

Josh Medeiros is also the General Manager of Rail Stop Restaurant & Bar, Engineer for the Town of Dartmouth, President of Massachusetts-Vet-a-Dog, and an Assistant Coach for the Mt. Hope Huskies Boys Hockey Team, which won a DIII State Championship in 2016 even though he knows nothing about hockey.

The election is Tuesday November 7, 2017. Stay semi-informed with Alan Boardman’s semi-comprehensive and semi-accurate election coverage.

I have no idea how this sentence got here.