Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Way We Were

Who needs first run airings of Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” or Stephen (I could have been a contenda) Colbert’s “The Colbert Report”, Amherst Town Meeting is back. Ah…the humor, the irony, the ZZZZZZZZZZZ.

And we're off to a typical start. Town Meeting (supposedly) begins at 7:30 pm; the required quorum didn’t happen until 7:45 and we didn’t start discussing article #1 until 8:00 pm.

If you want the blow (hard) by blow (hard) description then go to Stephanie’s Town Meeting Experience (whenever she awakens and posts).

Last night’s most interesting presentation goes to feisty Nancy Gordon who dared to speak against spending a quarter million to add modular classrooms by suggesting we close down Marks Meadow the smallest of our four elementary schools.

Marks Meadow overhead consumes over $1.5 million and the structure has aged into obsolescence. Umass owns it and they refuse to give Amherst any more space nearby or renovate or expand the building.

The Town Manager admits he spent most of his time on Marks Meadow while negotiating the “strategic agreement” with Umass; resulting in the same status quo going back a generation--except an acknowledgement from Umass that these kids do exist and do cost Amherst taxpayers significant tax dollars (estimated $600,000 annually)

1. “If, in the future, the Town builds a new elementary school and vacates the Mark’s Meadow facility, the Town, AES, ARPS and the University will negotiate a new agreement in which the University may reimburse the Town for a portion of the net costs of educating students living in University tax-exempt housing.

Don’t you just love that waffle term “may reimburse.”

Heck, for the $600,000 Umass annually costs our education budget they should donate us the darn building.

And pay for their effluent, and the local hotel/motel tax, and the property tax on recently demolished Frat Row property, and Amherst Police World Series overtime ...


Mary E.Carey said...

I wonder what that guy in the Rockwell painting is saying. Probably something about the town getting out of the golf course business.

LarryK4 said...

Actually you may be close. Donna's uncle Dick Hagelberg (his wife also a WW2 veteran, still lives in Arlington, VT.) knew Rockwell, delivered milk to him and later posed in his military uniform for the famous 1945 cover: ‘Thanksgiving: Mother and Son Peeling Potatoes’.

He said the guy in the Town Meeting cover was someone (who he also knew) speaking out about a zoning issue and he was about the only one in the room who had that opinion; and although outvoted overwhelmingly at least he had the chutzpa to get up and speak.

That’s why the Mayor/Council will always have a public comment period before every meeting.