Tuesday, May 22, 2007
The Global Village
Okay, close enough. It was supposed to say “"Happy Wedding Anniversary. I love you. from Larry and Kira".
Today is our 24’th wedding anniversary, but since Donna is half a world away in Korea (13 hours ahead) for her it is almost over. Probably an appropriate metaphor for our relationship—as in opposites attract.
We talk twice a day, about 12 hours apart, and of course there’s email. She prerecorded readings from a few books so I could play them back to Kira every night at bedtime.
Yesterday I tried to send flowers via an Internet company that promised “same day delivery”. They could not, however, deliver them until Wednesday and then were going to charge enough to balance our trade deficit with that peninsula.
So I emailed her co-teacher Hyun Suk Lee (American name Jane) who Donna sponsored (more like adopted) at Babson College years ago because nobody else wanted to deal with her shaky English. Jane set up the teaching seminar at Korea University and is acting as interpreter, tour guide, fitness training partner and now our relationship coordinator.
Last year on her Korea expedition Donna was able to tour the mountainous area where her dad was wounded in that “Forgotten War”. On the front lines for less than a day a mortar shell detonated near his shallow foxhole (the frozen ground having the consistency of concrete). He crawled over a mile back to his lines and spent months recovering in various hospitals. To this day he carries charred metal reminders in his body.
Yesterday a town meeting member emailed Donna to complain about me; saying he found it “ironic” that I tried to institute fines for Open Meeting Law violations and yet Donna had sent an email from Korea to her committee that would have garnered a $50 fine.
There they go again thinking Donna—because she shares my surname-- is just like me, preoccupied with local politics. The fines I had in mind were for knowingly and willfully violating Open Meeting Law, something I think happens all too often, and not for the naïve “send all” email discussing your thoughts on a (somewhat ridiculous) issue coming up at a public meeting you can’t make.
Although a white, female, tenured professor who calls The People’s Republic of Amherst home Donna does not exactly fit the mold. Unlike me, she’s a registered Republican, grew up working on a farm in Southwick, doesn’t eat meat (but doesn’t mind cooking it or wearing leather shoes) and until a few months ago didn’t give a damn about local politics.
Last night at the chaotic opening to Town Meeting’s budget discussion when the Moderator called the Select board and Finance Committee behind the curtain to discuss procedures more than a few folks in the audience mentioned the Open Meeting Law, and suggested I crash the party.
A testy exchange occurred when (former Czar) Ann Awad accused the Moderator of a “conflict of interest” because he appoints the Finance Committee and she thought his new procedural protocol gave the Finance Committee an edge over the Select board.
Considering the close vote last night that favored the Select board version of the budget amendment, I guess Ms. Awad was wrong. Certainly not the first time.
And this narrow victory for the Select Board over the Finance Committee sends a powerfully pernicious signal of things to come.