Taxpayer Funded Blog Commenting?

by Scott Morales

Taxpayer funded blog commenting? Maybe. If the loquacious Ray Guarino that mercilessly comments on the Nashua Patch, is the same Ray Guarino that’s a Transportation Planner at the Old Colony Planning Council in Brockton, MA, a government entity, then it appears so. It may not be. They may not be the same person, or he’s retired, on leave, or on break. But from what I gathered, I have a strong suspicion that taxes might have been used to fund political comments for the Patch; at the very least, if my suspicion is correct, there’s the appearance of it. I wonder if taxpayers in Abington, Avon, Bridgewater, Brockton, East Bridgewater, Easton, Halifax, Hanson, Kingston, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton, Stoughton, West Bridgewater and Whitman, Massachusetts know they may have funded content for the Patch. Not their local Patch, mind you, but Nashua’s Patch. Alas, I should include that this planning council also gets funds from various State and Federal departments, so you might have paid, too.

How’d I get here? Well, a little over a month ago, I started receiving a more than usual barrage of comments on blogs of mine. There were some that occurred during the weekends and over Thanksgiving break, but what caught my attention were the unceasing posts during usual work hours. Tons of them. Some slightly edited, too, as if the author submitted the comment, then thought of a better way to say it, deleted the original comment from the blog, and submitted another. I noticed because I receive emails for all comments submitted to my blog (don’t get any spam ideas out there… you know who you are 😉 , so when I opened my email, I was virtually smothered by an  avalanche of ineloquent vituperation. There were so many that I thought I agitated a paid operative (bonus points for me!). I’m not alone either. At least one other wondered if Ray is paid to comment. So, naturally, I decided to take a look into the author of the logorrhea.

Ray’s first Patch comments post was on November 16th. There’s nothing wrong with posting comments, and on a personal note, I enjoy reading everyone’s, pro and con, because that way I know at least someone’s reading or misreading my blog. There also may be nothing wrong with posting during the day. But if you’re employed and hold the usual work hours, like those of Old Colony Planning Council (OCPC), whose hours of operation are M-F, 8:30 – 4:00, then this is odd. Check out the attached images of some of Mr. Guarino’s posting history:


One is a list of Ray’s Patch posts from a week ago. Last Tuesday. A work day. Another from earlier in the month, also a work day. They’re ridiculous (and they’re not anomalies, see for yourself, but beware there are almost 40 pages worth at the time of this writing).

The weekday pattern in his posts does seem to indicate a commuting time. Usually, the posts start between 8:30 am and 9:00 am, though I have seen it as early as 8:20 am. Sometimes several posts will stretch about an hour and a half into the typical workday. Then a few others posts get sprinkled in before lunch break and they stop (maybe he had to get out of the office, you know, to stretch his legs a bit). Then they resume a little in the afternoon and then stop, presumably for his commute home around 3:30-3:45.

Maybe they’re not the same Ray Guarino. Maybe he was off all of the days on which he posted.  Maybe he’s been on hiatus for months, or he’s no longer employed, or he works different shifts. Those all are possibilities. He’s posted almost every day at least multiple times for little over a month, so that could easily indicate he’s not working normal business hour work days. But what if he was working normal business hours and is the same Ray Guarino that works at OCPC and was working there while he posted during work hours?

So, he comments a lot. Big deal. His work might not care at all. What makes me suspect that he’s a Transportation Planner that transporting content to an out-of-state web site? Well, his comments for one. Really. Look at some excerpts. A few are in reply to me. When I first received them, my impression was that he was a teacher. (Note: Some of these excerpts cannot be linked to consistently because the url changes as more comments are added. To find Ray’s original postings you’ll need to go Ray’s comment page on the Patch and find the date.)

9:25 am on Wednesday, November 21, 2012 – You should try looking at how municipal services run from the inside out instead of jumping to false conclusions while looking from the outside in.

Does this not imply that he has knowledge of “…how municipal services …“ are “… run from the inside…”?  Wait, there’s more and, yes, during normal work hours:

9:02 am on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 -… towns, cities, and states do in fact operate as independent entities…

2:32 pm on Monday, November 19, 2012 – City Planners are making plans…

City Planners? Towns operating as independent entities? Who talks like this? Bureaucrats do. Planners do. Also, hobbyists with heavy affection for Big Government. You know the type, one those who has a poster of Obama on his bedroom ceiling.

Then, there are these excerpts from Ray’s Nashua Patch comments, again on workdays during OCPC’s work hours (emphasis mine):

11:03 pm on Thursday, December 6, 2012 – Did anyone do any speed studies to find the prevailing speeds?

10:26 am on Friday, December 7, 2012 – …engineering standards for limited access highways (also called ‘freeways”) 60 to 70 MPH.

9:35 am on Friday, December 7, 2012 – Design speed for freeways 60 to 70 MPH – Traffic Engineering Handbook, 6th Edition.

Do you use any of those terms? I haven’t. Have you read Traffic Engineering Handbook, 6th Edition? Have you even heard of it? It’s a “…a must have publication in the transportation industry,…an all in one source of principles and proven techniques in traffic engineering…two new chapters have been added-’Planning for Operations’…”. Anyone have any doubts about the plausibility of Ray’s interest in transportation? He appears to be quite knowledgeable about it.

Having knowledge about Traffic Engineering and planning doesn’t mean he is a Transportation Planner or Engineer. Maybe that knowledge comes from his past. Maybe he was in the Army Corps of Engineers, or maybe transportation study is his hobby, or maybe he was a Hot Wheels fan that went a little overboard with realism when he was a kid. Who knows. The point is, he does appear to have knowledge about transportation engineering concepts. It’s origin and use are anybody’s guess.

Are these two people the same person? As I said at the beginning, the Old Colony Planning Council in Brockton, MA has a Transportation Planner with the name of Ray Guarino. The Ray Guarino on the Nashua Patch appears to have knowledge of things that a Transportation Planner would have knowledge of. These two people may not be the same person, but is it unreasonable to suspect that they are? And, if they are, does it not give the appearance that OCPC funds might have been used to post comments on a blog given the times of so many of Ray’s posts? There’s a scarier question: what if OCPC is cool with its employees commenting negatively against conservatives and advocating pro liberal, big government, Democrat positions and policies? The state working against some of its citizens. Paging George Orwell. Paging George Orwell.


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