Friday, June 4, 1999
Banking on Community Benefit
It was good to hear that although North Middlesex Savings Bank did not receive approval to construct a bank at the old Saint Irene site on Bedford Road, officials did not intend to march out of town and forget Carlisle. Instead, bank representatives are reconsidering the space next to Daisy's Market where they have already stepped in to provide a loan for site contamination clean-up.
At the May 11 Town Meeting, Carlisle resident Charlie Ferraro, a consultant in the banking industry, pointed out why a mutual savings bank, such as North Middlesex, would be such a positive addition to the community. He pointed out that mutual savings banks, as such, are owned by depositors who are thus given a voice in the operation. According to the Community Reinvestment Act, under penalty from the federal government and state regulators, if a bank takes deposits in a town, it must reinvest in the community. Ferraro envisions support from the bank for recreational, cultural, educational, library, and D.A.R.E. programs. The institution could offer financial education for seniors, jobs for young adults, as well as provide valuable resources to attain affordable housing goals. In addition, a primary focus of the business is residential home loansan obviously good fit in a primarily residential community.
In order to ensure maximum benefit for the town, Ferraro suggested that the selectmen appoint a small committee to negotiate with the bank, obtain seats on the board of trustees and/or corporators and determine how the bank plans to be a good neighbor. The vote at Town Meeting, 102 to 108, was embroiled in zoning and historical commission issues. The center site now being considered is commercially zoned and could be an ideal location for a commercial business, such as North Middlesex Savings Bank, with community-wide benefits.
Who Needs NATO and Kosovo?
There was no greater cold warrior than I. I supported any act by this country that would thwart the aim of the Soviet Union and Communism in general. This included the Vietnam War. I also supported any war in which our national economic interest was at stake. The Gulf War was an example of that. Given my belief that no war should be undertaken unless national interests are at stake, I have a hard time understanding our involvement in NATO's war in Kosovo, because I do not see anything really at stake for the U.S. in Kosovo.
Why are we there? Is it because of so-called "ethnic cleansing?" As bad as it may be, it has been going on for centuries. Hundreds of thousands of Serbs were forcibly removed from Croatia in a process that could be called ethnic cleansing. Did we go to war over that? Is genocide taking place in Kosovo? Not even Clinton has suggested that. Is it because of a threat of expansion from the Soviet Union? The Soviet Union doesn't exist now and hasn't for some time. So why are we involved? If one goes back in time to the end of WWII, millions of Germans were pushed out of what are now large parts of Poland and replaced by Poles. In turn, Poles were deported from what is now White Russia and exiled to central Asia, where they still are. The point is, whether we like it or not, such evictions have always been a part of many nations' national policies, based primarily on issues of national security.
In my opinion, the basic reason we are bombing in Yugoslavia is that NATO would lose face if it backed down. It made demands of Serbia, which Serbia could not accept, and NATO's hand was forced. We, as a leading member, led in the miscalculation and were forced into this war along with our NATO allies. Before taking this step, we should have asked what would have happened if NATO lost face. My feeling is that nothing would have happened, because NATO has no purpose anymore. The cold war is over. We won. So why isn't NATO disbanded and why aren't the troops brought home? I believe the answer can be found in a comment I recently heard on the radio. Someone called NATO "a bureaucracy in search of a purpose." If NATO were disbanded, the bureaucracy would be forced out of workso it has to find something to do.
This war will go on until Milosevic finds a convenient time to say "let us negotiate." At that time, NATO will declare itself the winner and the terms of the agreement will give Serbia basically all that it ever wanted. Everybody will claim to be happy, except for the U.S. taxpayer and the families of any service persons who happen to die in this farce.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito