Thursday, January 24, 2008
LIve From Amherst!
(6:35 PM. Scroll down for updates) Well, okay almost live. Four or five minute delay for spell check (and Blogger does not allow live text messaging).
First impression: lousy turnout. As in 8 people in the audience—all of them insiders. Only one reporter.
His Lordship Gerry Weiss opens. Talks a lot but doesn't say much.
Ms Awad protests the idea of a Special Town Meeting. We are abdicating are responsibility. “There are alternatives”. She also talks about how the BCG seemed overly interested in the Override. Move the start date of Town Meeting to early April. Not an appropriate use of Town Meeting.
UPDATE: (6:50 PM)
Ms. Greeney (citing a survey of 90 people): Goes after LSSE( Recreation Department). Library branches in No and So Amherst.
New Town Meeting members coming in on April 1, so why get opinion in February from some who may not be around to vote on the budget in the Spring. Not enough information available (state aid) for this early a Town Meeting.
Reads statement from a survey responder who also takes LSSE to task. Keep it simple: summer pool, groomed playing fields but not the bloated empire they have become (Tango lessons anyone?)
Ms. Brewer: To hell with surveys. Not interested in talking about an Override (her nose is starting to grow). At this point not Pro Override (her nose is getting bigger). Not a huge turnover in Town Meeting, so February folks will still be around this Spring to vote on the budget.
Andy Steinberg (Finance Committee and BCG member): Town Meeting stands in for the public. Special Town Meeting on budget would be helpful.
Brian Morton (Finance Committee and BCG member): The idea for this Special Town Meeting is not just the BCG. Some Town Meeting member on a list serve came up with it (damn internet). Any member of the general public can speak at Town Meeting (yeah, but they don't).
Vote is 2-2 . It fails!. Weiss, Brewer "yes"; Greeney, Awad "No". Rob Kusner was not present (and he most certainly would have voted Yes). But Weiss, obviously a sore loser, is talking about bringing it up again this Monday when Mr. Kusner is around.
7:25 PM (I'm home now). As the scant crowd dispersed I asked Select Board Chair Weiss if he knew Rob Kusner would not be present tonight (I had assumed Kusner would rush in at the last minute, bike helmet in hand, to cast the deciding vote). And he said "Yes". I then said something about wasting folks time as even the flagpole in front of Town Hall knew Awad and Greeney were going to vote NO and there are only five Select board members and you need a majority vote for something to pass. Great leadership there your Lordship.