Thursday, December 20, 2007

Time is running out...

The crusty Gazette must have felt guilty over their coverage of the Grinch Amherst Town Manager’s Select board “report” Monday night on the odious Christmas tree tax: the Springfield Republican splashed their version (with clever comparisons to “It’s a Wonderful Life”) on Page One above the fold no less and the Gazette had a rather perfunctory bland retelling buried inside the second section.

But this morning’s Gazette follows up on the sad story and somewhat contradicts a previous article (by veteran reporter/editor Nick Grabbe) that this entire episode would be a “windfall” for the scouts because all the publicity stimulated donations, and individual tree buyers paying the extra dollar.

Scoutmaster Lyle Denit points out they usually sold out anyway and their stock was usually limited to 800 trees. But this year the Sunday snowstorm killed sales for that important day and—even worse—prevented the scouts from going in the woods and cutting down the final 100 trees to sell to last minute shoppers.

So even with the DPW donation and businessmen Roberts and Shumway giving the town its pound of flesh the scouts will make about the same $8,000 net profit as last year. Seems like an awful lot of work over the course of a very cold month for $8,000.

Ron Chimelis had a great column in today's Republican about steroid abuse from coddled athletes. Our Town Manager could use his sage PR advice (not that Shaffer does steroids, but he could stand to pump a little iron):

I thinks apologies count. Not for full exoneration, but as a necessary step toward perspective and closure.

Saying "I was wrong, and I'm sorry," is worth more now than ever, if only because hardly anybody does.

Let’s hope (sorry to mix movie metaphors) the Grinch has a Christmas nightmare or two over the next week and changes his mind.


O'Reilly said...

Time ran out when the Boy Scouts increased their prices $5 a tree to cover the tax and other considerations:

Knowing that the $1 per tree fee would be charged, the Boy Scouts raised the prices on the trees by $5, selling them for $35 and $40. Of this price increase, Denit said $2 goes to the suppliers, which include both Cowls and a tree farm in northern Vermont, $2 goes to the troops and $1 will be given to the town. - Amherst Record

You see someone earned their Economics merit badge and new that a tax would decrease tree sales.

Well, that and the Weather merit badge. It snowed heavily last weekend and folks stayed home, warm, and dry.

O'Reilly said...


O'Reilly said...

Shaffer has maintained that private use of public land should provide some financial benefit to the town, and is concerned about the Boy Scouts' exclusive use of the park from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

First, land owned by the town for public use is known as "commons". It is anathema to charge a fee for the use of “commons” unless of course the town incurs a real cost as a result of its use. In this case, it does not.

Second, Kendrick Park is much bigger than the corner that the Boy Scouts occupy for five weeks. Their use of it does not prohibit others from using the park.

Third, the Kendrick Estate had a policy of allowing the Boy Scouts to use the land without charge for 50 years. Now that the Kendrick Estate conveyed the park to the town, you'd think the town would determine a deliberate USE POLICY before MAKING ONE UP ON THE FLY. You see, that’s the issue here. Shaffer made it up on the fly because his head was all wrapped around generating town revenue from the use of “commons.” Will someone please explain the use of “commons” to Mr. Shaffer?

Fourth, What is the USE POLICY for the town common? Mill River Park? Memorial Field? And other town-owned public properties? aka "commons"? If there is one, why not the same for Kendrick place. If there isn’t one, then why has it become such a big problem for the Boy Scouts, their patrons and town government?

Why is it that Amherst, which has had little or no controversy over the use of “commons” suddenly, has such an urgent need to create a policy about whether the use of "commons" should enrich the town’s coffers financially? There is no good reason. And there is no possibility of significant financial benefit for the town. It would turn the idea of "commons" on its head. Please, vote these morons out of office.