Monday, March 19, 2007

Steal this! (Politicking Amherst style)

Okay…I was lazy (actually I had to teach a karate class at my club till 7:30 pm) so I did not traipse to Town Hall to attend the League of Women Voters Candidate’s night, last Thursday 3/15/07, preferring to stay at home and watch it live on public access TV.

Anyone who has ever attended live events—concerts, baseball games, or Broadway plays—knows that there’s nothing quite like being there (except, of course, if Fox News wants you attend a High School performance of ‘The Vagina Monolgues’). So what did TV viewers miss?

Apparently some folks left flyers from on the table as you first walk into the Town Room that endorsed a slate of Town Meeting candidates (amazingly I’m on that list) as well as Alisa Brewer for Select board, even though there are two seats on the board open and every voter gets to choose two candidate. That’s a not-to-subtle way of suggesting a Bullet Vote for Alisa, rather than voting for two candidates.

The best way to defend Bullet Voting (political lingo meaning you only vote for one person when you, strangely, have the ability to vote for two) is to tell a supporter of one particular candidate, say Alisa Brewer, who may feel it is their civic duty to cast that second vote for either Gerry Weiss or Robie Hubley: “How are you going to feel if Alisa losses by one FREAKEN vote to the candidate you threw your second vote to?”

So if you really are coming out that day for one particular candidate, then vote for ONLY for them.

Meanwhile back at Town Hall:

Pat Church, in a rash response, proceeds to impound the flyers, after getting permission from Select Board Czar Anne Awad, married to Robie Hubley who is up for reelection. And many insiders predict he will be the odd man out at the 3/27/07 election where two of the three candidates are in.

Now some of you may remember Pat Church. She attended the infamous ‘Only In Amherst’ Select board meeting of 9/10/01 (The Eve of Destruction) advocating against the flying of the American flags in the downtown.

And she was also the culprit who took down the Puerto Rican flag in front of Town Hall back in 2004. At the time she was a town meeting member and more appropriately Chair of the Solid Waste Committee; attending her usual Sunday afternoon Peace Rally in town center and somebody told her the Puerto Rican flag was the flag of Texas (to honor President Bush’s reelection the week before).

Here’s a snippet of the Gazette coverage at the time (11/9/04):

'I'm mortified,'' said Church when she learned of her mistake Monday. ''This makes me really embarrassed.''

She immediately asked a friend to fetch the flag from her house and take it to the police station, she said. Town Manager Barry Del Castilho said it would be returned to the flagpole today, she said. Police said today they would not pursue charges.

But the matter didn't end there. Vladimir Morales, the School Committee member who is president of the Puerto Rican Association, says he has demanded a formal apology from Church. The two were active in the campaigns of rival candidates in the Democratic primary for governor's council, said Church, who had not yet responded to Morales' request Monday night.

Removing the flag would not have been justified even if it had been the Texas flag, Morales said. ''You have to respect any flag, no matter where it's from,'' he said. ''Flags are flags. They're symbols.''

And he expressed surprise that a participant in a peace vigil had taken matters into her own hands by removing the flag. ''They're there for peace, for heaven's sake,'' he said.


One of the folks responsible for the flyers called Ms. Church to complain about her thievery. Ms Church defended her actions by saying the flyers violated campaign law. Oh really?

Campaign law bans advocacy within 100 feet of a polling station on Election Day, or anytime at the Town Clerks office. But the town room at town hall almost two weeks before the election is hardly that sacred.

Ms. Church also lamented to the caller about how “divisive” this election campaign has gotten. Well, at least she’s one for two.


Chris Hoffmann said...

Gee, me posting on a Larry Kelley blog. What's next? I don't know what the usual policy on campaign literature has been, but when I ran for library trustee two years ago I'm sure there was a table filled with campaign literature. Am I dreaming or have the rules changed?

Baer said...

Boy, them's some vintage Gordon Liddy/Karl Rove tactics....

I must say I'm pretty amazed to watch someone say how divisive Amherst politics are as they are stealing the entire pile of other people's flyers at an LVW event...and according to my directory Ms. Church is not even a member of the LVW!

Hey Larry - How about an RSS feed of your blog? Makes it much easier to keep track of...

Baer said...


Here's a link on how to set up a site feed in Blogger:


jpo said...

Baer -

You can get Atom feeds (just as good as RSS, for most purposes) from most Blogger blogs, even if they don't provide an explicit feed link. Just append "/feeds/posts/default" to the blog name. Larry's feed is at - works fine for me in Google Reader.

Sorry Larry for this outburst of tangential geekitude on your blog. I'll try to make amends by seeing if I can figure out how many recent SB meetings have gone into Executive Session.

- Jonathan O'Keeffe