Tuesday, January 22, 2008
SELL, Sell, sell the Override
As usual the Gazette on Tuesday gives us one of their typically wishy-washy “on the one hand…but on the other” kind of editorials--although the headline was perfect.
Any Group, Task Force, Blue Ribbon Panel or Ad Hoc Committee--as opposed to just a plain old Committee that has to abide by the Open Meeting Law--formed by Town officials with cherry picked, insider committee members is suspect when it comes to a Proposition 2.5 tax Override.
And the Budget Coordinating Group is the perfect posterchild! They immediately considered raiding the town treasury for $100,000 to hire consultants to lead a “public engagement process,” to package a "bulletproof" Override. Superintendent Hochman even brought a company flack from Unicom ARC to the November 7’th BCG meeting to sell, Sell, SELL the idea.
Unicom’s webpage proudly hypes feedback from a School official that obviously benefited from the hired guns: “They can steer a district through a public engagement process, secure accurate survey data, and guide election efforts to achieve even the most ambitious district goals.”
And after the May 1’st Override failure, Superintendent Hochman and school committee folks are nothing if not “ambitious.”
Select board member Greeney outed the shady aspects of the BCG Override aspirations yet the Gazette thinks, “Ms Greeney needs to exercise caution in making claims that could unfairly tarnish the budget group’s reputation.”
Well, if the Gazette took its watchdog role seriously, maybe Ms. Greeney would not have to act as whistleblower.
UPDATE: 8:45 PM
So somebody on Masslive/Amherst Forum who doesn’t like my Cherry Hill stance (a golfer who plays there) and doesn’t like the Chinese Charter School my daughter attends (parent with kid in Amherst schools) posted a link to my blog because he does likes that I’m keeping tabs on town officials behind the scenes maneuvering.
So he’s probably a homeowner concerned about yet another tax increase. Pocketbook politics indeed makes strange bedfellow.
And O’reilly wanted me to post a link to the town budget. Not that anybody would read it. So I’m posting a link to BCG meetings minutes. Especially interesting is the 11/7/07 meeting where the PR flak gives a free sample of his propaganda campaign. And I especially like the Town Manager’s comment just after the presentation: “Facts can kill a campaign. Message is critical.” Hmmm….