Saturday, November 28, 2015

Anti-Charter Cheerleaders

Typical TM demographic:  Older, white, with 2 much time on their hands

If this is material that passes for a hatchet job these two country bumpkin impersonators may want to start patronizing a better arms dealer. 

First off they need better props.  Who in Amherst still reads a newspaper?  Yes an older crowd for sure, which is the prime make up of Amherst Town Meeting.  But invoking that particular demographic is pretty much preaching to the converted.

Over one-third of the registered voters in our little college town are "college aged youth," and they have not picked up a newspaper since the last time they used a phone booth.

And if you're going to call out people by name at least get their names right.  "Suzie" la Cour, the Business Improvement District director, may have been a cheerleader in her youthful past but her name is Sarah.

And her husband Niels left Town Hall Planning Department for UMass, at least according to former Town Manager Larry Shaffer's announcement on the floor of Town Meeting, because he got a $10,000 raise.  So who wouldn't leave?

Just as one must assume Hope Keenan recently left her marketing gig at the Business Improvement District in favor of a UMass job because of better pay.

Or maybe it was just to have less dealings with entitled socialistic has-beens-and-never-weres who wish for our downtown to stay forever locked in the Eisenhower era.

When asked why he frequented a fixed game the gambler responded, "Because it's the only game in town."  Which is why of course 13-of-20 Amherst For All Steering Committee members are Town Meeting members.

And anyone who has spent so much as one night in Town Meeting knows all too well how outmoded, cumbersome and naive it is.

Can you imagine a multi-million per year corporation being run by a group of 135 or so (out of the 240 who bother to show up) rank amateurs who come together 10 or 12 nights per year to run things?

Apple Inc would be in the business of selling real (organically grown) apples.

The other laughable charge directed at Amherst For All Steering Committee is that they are  "All white, with no disabled and no low income."  Talk about the pot calling the kettle of color.

Anyone looked around the floor of Town Meeting lately?  (Or anytime over the past 256 years).

Amherst Town Meeting counted standing vote May, 2014

Amherst For All is now over two-thirds of the way to target goal of 3,215 signatures of registered voters who agree it's time to study our current form of government and come up with a better one.

Thus these two Town Meeting cheerleaders will someday soon be out of their obviously all too coveted volunteer job.

Friday, November 27, 2015

And So This Is Christmas

 The sign itself should be declared historic

Okay NOW the Christmas season can officially begin -- the Boy Scouts have set up their 60+ year traditional fundraiser selling Christmas trees at Kendrick Park in the north end of downtown.

Some of you remember when then rookie Town Manager Larry Shaffer first demonstrated what he was made of when he proposed a controversial $1 per tree tax on the Boy Scouts operation that was met with a tsunami of criticism and eventually dropped.

Of course the Town Manager went one better not long after when he tried to cancel a July 4th Parade because organizers would not allow rag tag protesters to march.  Again, after a Desert Storm of criticism and threatened lawsuit by the ACLU, he backed down.

The Merry Maple (a PC version of a Christmas Tree) in town center -- the BIG original maple tree of old -- scheduled for lighting December 4th continues the grand traditions leading up to the most holy of Christian holidays.

Crews spent three days decorating the ye old Merry Maple so it should be good

Marking Our History

Christopher Thompson had temporary marker at town's 2011 commemoration ceremony

The Amherst Historical Commission on Monday night voted unanimously to approve placing a request before the Community Preservation Act Committee for $5,000 to purchase a granite marker to remember Christopher Thompson who is buried in sacred West Cemetery.

Although it is not known exactly where he is buried the marker would probably be placed next to his son Charles Thompson.  Both father and son served in the 5th cavalry, a black regiment, during the Civil War, the bloodiest conflict in our entire history.

The funding request came via the newest member to the Historical Commission, retired Amherst College professor Bob Romer.

In September, 2011 Mr. Romer was instrumental in motivating the town to host a ceremony at West Cemetery to commemorate the five black soldiers buried there who fought in the Civil War, including Christopher Thompson and his son Charles.

Bob Romer, Veterans Agent Steven Connor, Reynolds Winslow, Dave Ziomek 9/18/11

Likely image of Christopher Thompson

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Over Amherst

7:20 AM, 400 feet up looking east
Around same time looking north
Downtown 3:30 PM looking south
Downtown 3:30 PM looking north

Bramble Hill Farm 4:10 PM 175 feet up
 Bramble Hill Farm 4:20 PM 400 feet up

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

DUI Dishonor Roll

Kaitlyn Vahey, age 19, stands before Judge William O'Grady

As usual I'll let the public court documents speak for themselves but would again point out that a rear end collision caused by driving with a blood alcohol concentration almost twice that of the legal limit, on Main Street at 4:12 PM, in the busy college town of Amherst, could easily have resulted in the death of a pedestrian or cyclist.

Click to enlarge/read
Patrick Homyak, age 26, arraigned before Judge O'Grady

Interestingly enough, a police Statement of Facts cuts both ways.

Safe bet Leandro Celadilla's attorney will point out the BAC showed .06 which is a tad under the legal limit of .08. But the Commonwealth does not exclusively rely on the Breath Test results, although one over the limit pretty much makes prosecution a slam dunk.

 Mr. Celadilla was in lock up so no photo available

And since Mr. Celadilla was also charged in the same incident with domestic abuse (but that Court document is impounded) the state will still have plenty to bargain with when his case comes up for pre trial next month.

Don't Feed The Trolls

Page seems to have been active only since November 22. Already removed UMass logo

A raging fire requires two things:  fuel and a source of ignition.  In other words if you enter a dark building and smell the strong stench of gasoline, don't use your cigarette lighter to illuminate the immediate area.

Anyone who has spent more than a day on the Internet should realize the new "UMass Amherst Area White Students Union" is a parody account.  And their sole reason for being is to incite a response -- especially a negative one.

So the rules of engagement are pretty simple:  ignore them.  Unlike this morning's Daily Hampshire Gazette which splashed them across the front page, above the fold no less.  Suckers.

Dog bites man story:   Internet trolls are a pain in the ass 

Terrorists unleash the most horrendous public act possible in order to attract media attention.  And I don't agree that names of mass murderers should be withheld in order not to give them the notoriety they seek.  Usually, before the presses run, they are already dead.

Because they are a billion dollar corporation who, like all mega corporations, is averse to negative publicity, chances are Facebook will pull the account.  

And since they are not the government they can ban whatever content they wish without regards to the First Amendment.

Just as Smith College or Amherst College, as private entities, can ban reporters from covering an event on their campus even if it is blatantly newsworthy.  It's just kind of stupid to do so.

But again, if you've spent more than a day on the Internet, you know all about stupid.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Party House of the Weekend

Considering how nice the weather was on Saturday, and the fact that booze first started flowing at the UMass football tailgate at 9:00 Saturday morning, I'm surprised there were not a few more Party Houses for me to illuminate.

But the fewer the better as far as I'm concerned -- and they are becoming far fewer over the past year or two.

Although with the Patriots now 10-0 the town and UMass should already be planning for a Superbowl eruption should the Patriots win it ... or lose.

Click to enlarge/read
Patel and Parikh both accepted the standard plea deal offered by the state:  pay one of the $300 tickets and stay out of trouble for the next 4 months.  Charges were dropped before arraignment for Bahnam because his name was not on the lease

The hard to miss little yellow house at 219 East Pleasant Street, just barely outside town center, is certainly a frequent flyer when it comes to attracting a police response.

The town's Noise and Nuisance bylaws do allow for fining the landlord $300 after the 3rd offense, but to date the town has not done that.