In such dangerous times it seems especially important to try and shed light on the insidious sources of deepest harm.
While the Melrose Community Page (MCP) on Facebook has contributed a great deal when it comes to having a forum for the routine stuff--where to look for a reputable house painter, alerts when there is a traffic accident, lost pets, shout-outs for notable community events--it is the belief of quite a few that the Melrose FB Community page has done great damage overall when it comes to public discourse over the most important topics. The owners/moderators of that page are hugely biased and will not tolerate anything "negative" if it goes against their personal views, though they actively encourage less than ethical posting if it is in synch with their "all is wonderful and Melrose is One and Open to All" view.
There is a saved collection from that MCP of long strings of literally hundreds of comments on certain hot-button topics (schools (OCR, Override, bullying), MHS Red Raiders, Mystic Valley charter school, water rates, and many others), many of them containing truly hateful and personalized/targeted bullying that were never removed, while others have had relatively innocuous posts removed and been blocked as posters afterwards. Anyone who somehow believes that MCP site is operated fairly is sorely mistaken. It reeks of the personal bias of those who run the site, and that personal bias is totally centered around a sycophantic and infantile "support" of the majority of the politicians (the minority voice is mostly absent in any discussions on that site), the realtors, the school administration.
To quote from another string here: "The page is controlled by Melrose cheerleaders who have done immeasurable damage by squashing the facts and open discussion. Improvement comes from acknowledging your mistakes and discussing opportunities for improvement. The Melrose cheerleaders have no interest in improving the system because they will not acknowledge failure or that there IS room for improvement."
The alternate FB "Uncensored" site emerged in response to the blocking of certain posters on their site. There is genius there on Uncensored, especially in Ted Cummings brilliant SNL-type pieces. There is also a lot that is hard to stomach, particularly when it devolves into overt racism or other really sick postings (pretty rare lately, which is good). This MelroseMessages site has had its share of troubled postings as well, but usually the worst are either removed, along with any spam, and/or counter-balanced with sensible posts by what seems like a pretty wide spectrum of community members. It also has its genius posts (search Melrose Scallion).
If MelroseMessages posters can continue to bring a seriousness to the real topics (which scares the beejeebers out of the local crooked and ignorant pols), the truth will continue to be available and a real dialogue will fuel the changes and actions that need to take place to correct the ills of this community and make it a better place. This site is truly a real check and balance in a city sorely lacking in fair and balanced coverage of the truth. Thank you Richie and Patty for starting this, and thanks to MelroseCares for the hard work of resurrecting it and keeping it going!
What's most troubling about the Melrose Community Page is its lack of seriousness or maturity about the real issues. That is where melrosemessages really excels, and it's so great that it's back in service. In truth, journalists even from the Globe acknowledged that they had (and hopefully can have again) looked here for the "real news" since it obviously is censored out of the "free press" or other local media outlets supposedly of record. The great harms to checks and balances and to the Truth caused by the Dolan/Brooks Ball (former MFreePress editor and chief sycophant/censor) alliance have insidiously continued into the present.
The power of the local pols and realtors in squashing the truth is the basic mode here for the last 15 years, where the editor of the other actual free paper was once told by a superintendent that realtors would pull all ads if any more negative pieces were published. The current superintendent and school committee under Driscoll made haste to divert around $9,000 a year towards a PR firm, Guilfoil, in response to the regional negative press and earned condemnation stemming from the OCR (US Office of Civil Rights) findings that administration had created and allowed a racially hostile environment. [An eighth-grade history teacher and head of the teacher's union told her only student of color to "go back to the plantation," for starters. The teacher didn't get fired, but instead got promoted to the high school, where her vile attitudes could follow the group of students she'd already damaged. The school committee chose to reward the superintendent with gushing applause instead of condemning such outright awful and incompetent conduct! The mayor was part and parcel of all that happened, including actively concealing the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on attorneys and consultants, all of which continues to date. The BOA rubber-stamped the whole thing with a budget that paid for the unexamined wrongdoing with Melrose tax dollars that were supposed to be for educating the kids!] That PR firm is still being paid monthly with Melrose tax dollars that are supposed to be targeted for the education of Melrose students! Instead, education tax dollars are being spent to whitewash and spin the news, cynically targeting the naiveté and good will of Melrose residents who genuinely want what's best for the community and are easily misled by the slick deflecting of anything negative away from their eyes and ears.
Aside from the wrongness of using education tax dollars for a PR firm (or paying lawyers working to support a corrupt and incompetent school administration with their own wrong and incompetent legal determinations), this also stinks of the harms being inflicted on the national front by the party now controlling all branches of government and the courts. The irony is that this squashing of checks and balances in Melrose comes almost entirely from the local Dems (who in fact don't actually seem to represent democratic values when they do this kind of thing, or when they vociferously support a corrupt school administration or, or, or it goes on and on).
These are the kinds of things parents need to understand and explore further. How anyone could think that an administration that pays education dollars to a PR firm (brought on after such a condemning reflection that the OCR situation continues to be) is credible when it demands a tax override is beyond the pale. Melrose parents have been so duped! Most just don't have the time or energy to delve into these things and have to count on the truth surfacing in the press. It's really bad that the local press is so ineffective and so in the pockets of the pols and realtors here. Yes, it's actually dangerous.
FYI, if anyone thinks that bigotry of many varieties is not alive and well in this feel-good MAAV-walk Disneyland, they are really naive. If anything, the bigotry is worse than it was in 2014 when that horrible teacher did the many things that a lot of us know about. There is a lot of press about how "Open" Melrose is, but it just isn't true.