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Daniel DeMaina
Associate Regional Editor for: Somerville, Arlington, Winchester, Medford, Malden, Melrose, Stoneham, Wakefield, Lynnfield, Reading-North Reading, Wilmington, Tewksbury.
Email: danield@patch.com Phone: 781-510-1451 Let's see, I enjoy long walks on the beach, candlelight dinners ... wait, that's not right. (Ahem.) Born at Lynn Hospital to a father from Hyde Park and a mother from Revere, I spent the first seven years of my life growing up on Reservoir Avenue in Revere in a home either adjacent or directly across from the homes of my uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents.  A nice way to spend your childhood. My family then moved to Lynnfield, where I attended Lynnfield Public Schools, then St. John's Prep — Eagles on the warpath, hoo rah — and then Boston University, where I majored in journalism with a concentration in political science. Why journalism? I must've been 14 years old in a freshmen English class at the Prep taught by Mr. Reilly — who tolerated my youthful ignorance and propensity for rabble rousing — when I wrote a review of Soundgarden's album "Superunknown." That paper earned me the first decent grade and positive teacher comments since elementary school — thanks Mr. Reilly — and led to an early decision that whatever I chose to do in life, I'd want to spend it writing. I've since written for the North End-based Post-Gazette (formerly La Gazzetta del Massachusetts), the Lynnfield Villager and, most recently, the Melrose Free Press, where I spent three-plus years covering the city. While at the Free Press, I won three journalism awards: a third place History Reporting award from the New England Press Association (NEPA); a first place History Reporting award from the newly formed New England Newspaper and Press Association (NENPA); and as a co-winner of a first place Investigative Reporting award from NENPA. When I'm not out covering Melrose, I'm often at a concert somewhere; a pianist and guitarist myself, I prefer live shows to recordings. Some of my favorite concerts in no particular order: Radiohead at Suffolk Downs; Tori Amos at Avalon; Bob Dylan at the Worcester Centrum; George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic at the House of Blues; The Who at Great Woods; Muse at the Garden; Plushgun at T.T. the Bear's; and every time I've seen Pearl Jam (up to 19 Pearl Jam shows, I think, as of May 2010). I also enjoy anything written by David Foster Wallace, Dave Eggers, Charles Bukowski, Neil Gaiman, G.K. Chesterton and W.G. Sebald — "Rings of Saturn" remains my favorite book ever — and tend to read a lot of philosophy and non-fiction. I'm a fan of all four major Boston sports teams, although the Celtics and Patriots take precedence (I always hope for a primetime Pats game on the day of the Victorian Fair). Your Beliefs At Patch, we promise always to report the facts as objectively as possible and otherwise adhere to the principles of good journalism. However, we also acknowledge that true impartiality is impossible because human beings have beliefs. So in the spirit of simple honesty, our policy is to encourage our editors to reveal their beliefs to the extent they feel comfortable. This disclosure is not a license for you to inject your beliefs into stories or to dictate coverage according to them. In fact, the intent is the opposite: we hope that the knowledge that your beliefs are on the record will cause you to be ever mindful to write, report and edit in a fair, balanced way. And if you ever see evidence that we failed in this mission, please let us know. POLITICS: I've been a registered member of the Libertarian Party since 2000, but I keep meaning to change to unenrolled, mainly so I can vote in non-Libertarian Massachusetts primaries, but also because of my disdain for party politics in general. I have no use for ideologues who view ideas such as "small government" or "the government's moral duty" in a vacuum; such ideas do not exist in a vacuum. They must be considered in a historical and cultural context. I also have no use for people who always assume the other side is negotiating in bad faith or take a stringent "us vs. them" stance on every issue. That said, my basic political philosophy begins with judging government actions by using the Law of Unintended Consequences — put in a more familiar way, that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Then, I look for arguments made for and against that are made in good faith. To cite a few influences: "Rationalism In Politics" by Michael Oakeshott; "In Defense of Elitism" by William A. Henry III; "In Praise of Doubt: How to Have Convictions Without Becoming a Fanatic" by Peter Berger and Anton Zijderveld; and every debate I had with WBZ broadcaster David Brudnoy, who was twice a professor of mine at BU and, later, a friend and mentor. RELIGION: It's complicated — isn't it always? — and something I take very seriously (and why my nickname, Dann, has two N's. Long story). While I don't currently consider myself a member of any one religion or attend services, after years of being a devout Christian — by choice, not upbringing, although my family members are practicing Catholics — and later considering myself a borderline atheist, I'd have to describe myself today as something between an agnostic and a believer, whose head pulls him toward the former category, but his heart yearns for the latter. I have great affinity for religious institutions and the important role they play in society, but ascribe to theologian Ivan Illich's distinction between Church-as-She, which he called "the surprise in the net, the pearl ... the kingdom among us," and Church-as-It, "the institution, the temporary incarnational form." I also find illuminating the writings of Reinhold Niebuhr, St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. HOT BUTTON ISSUES: When isn't there a hot button issue in Melrose? Some that jump to mind: The Park Commission exploring the construction of an athletic field at Mount Hood. Everyone agrees that there is little space in Melrose for a new field and that the current field conditions aren't adequate, but not everyone agrees a field at Mount Hood should be even considered as a solution. The ongoing evolution of the Melrose School Committee. Dating back to last fall's election of two new members, the committee has undertaken some changes to its agenda and meeting format to try and address concerns or desires expressed by the public. The central questions seem to be: 1) How much of a direct role in curriculum and student achievement should the School Committee undertake, and how much should it leave to school administrators and principals? 2) How much direct public involvement is necessary to tackle the real issues facing the School Committee, and how much should elected officials be trusted to do their jobs — but watched carefully — with the public weighing in on the job those officials have done at the voting booth? On another educational note, Melrose High School is up for re-accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges this year. 2010 will be an exciting year in Melrose politics. Richard Tisei is vacating his state Senate seat to pursue the lieutenant governor's office, while Katherine Clark is vacating her state representative seat to pursue Tisei's seat. With multiple candidates seeking both aforementioned seats, there'll be no shortage of political intrigue. Melrose has weathered the recession and state budget cuts far better than most communities, thanks to meticulous budget planning, consolidation efforts such as the combined Melrose-Wakefield Health Department, and some hard choices, such as city unions approving a one-year wage freeze and cuts in the DPW's trash collecting division. Will this coming fiscal year be the one that breaks the city's back? Or has the city survived the worst of the fiscal storm and is ready to surge ahead?
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Daniel DeMaina deleted post in June 4, 2013 at 01:14 pm