Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Declaration of Independence!

Mr. Laurence Shaffer, Amherst Town Manager
$ Boltwood Ave
Amherst, Ma 01002
April 15, 2008

Dear Mr. Shaffer:

For the past 6 years a loyal, devoted and diverse group of Amherst residents have worked tirelessly on a volunteer basis to conduct the Amherst 4’th of July Parade.

The Parade Committee has raised all the funds (thousand of dollars per year) to bring this event to Amherst citizens while dealing with swords in our side. The Parade Committee never anticipated that such a small but politically vocal group could influence the major policy board of our town in regards to our parade that was initially reborn in 2002 to honor veterans, active duty military, fire, police and other public safety personnel who worked tirelessly in the wake of 9/11.

In good faith, the Parade Committee has held 3 open forums for people to vent their concerns regarding any issues with the parade. In addition we’ve had 3 sit down meeting with you regarding inclusiveness in the parade.

We’ve always been inclusive to all who have wanted to celebrate the birth of our nation. What we never anticipated or wanted was offensive signage that would not be appropriate to be viewed by children or not in the festive spirit of the parade. I’ve said numerous times to Parade Committee members and the media that this is a parade and not a protest.

For the past 2 years the Parade Committee has been held hostage with the threat of pulling police and fire apparatus form our town parade. We the Parade Committee have done a great job and I’m proud to serve with this group of people who have successfully run this event for the town. We fell at this time that we’ve exhausted all resources for conversation and dialogue.

If you wish to pull public safety apparatus out of the parade, that is your prerogative. We have already been notified by public safety personnel for our town that they would march as a union if denied their apparatus.

In addition the Parade Committee has received calls from as far away as New York City that public safety personnel would not be allowed to march that they would augment any public safety contingents.

For all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, “It might have been.”

Respectfully Yours,

Kevin P. Joy
Amherst July 4’th Parade Committee Chair
Cc: Amherst Select Board


O'Reilly said...

A few months ago, the town of Amherst did stir some controversy when they tried to impose a fee for holding the event on the town commons. The news reports implied the fee was specifically for Extravaganja, but Shaffer said the fee applies to all events taking place in Amherst commons.

"When we have a large gathering, whether it's the boy scouts or Extravaganja, we have issues like who pays for public safety and who pays for police," Shaffer said. "Our issue is to make sure people's safety is protected and to keep traffic flowing properly."

After the CRC protested and debated with the town, the fee was quickly dropped. The town agreed that is wasn't worth the effort to demand payment from event organizers.

Amherst respects "Extravaganja"
Teresa A. Franco, Collegian 4/16/08

First, its no firetrucks for the parade, then yes the parade can have firetrucks, now its back to no firetrucks.

Similarly, it was boy scouts must go, next they can stay, next they can stay for $800 payment, then they must go, then there will be an open process Kendrick Park Use Policy Committee to determine whether they can stay.

See a pattern here?

Since the CRC had to pay $0 for police for the Pot Rally, shouldn't the Boy Scouts being calling on Mr. Shaffer and asking for their $800 back?

How many boys would $800 send to summer camp? With our upside down town management, the boy scouts are deprived of $800 of their hard earned fund raising so that the senior center can (do what with it?)

Do you like the way Mr. Shaffer implies the boy scouts $800 fee was used to reimburse the town for police or public safety costs? That’s not just an inaccurate statement; it's a deceitful one.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, and did you notice this quote as well from the Collegian:

'Shaffer also mentioned that marijuana is nothing new to him, and it wouldn't surprise - or bother - him to see someone enjoying the herb at an event like Extravaganja.'

Gee, now that's a fine example for the highest ranking town employee to set: encourage folks to break the law.

O'Reilly said...

He does seem to be bragging about his own 'youthful' pot-smoking indiscretions.

I hope he has given it up.

Why do you think they call it dope?

I just figured out what I think he'll do next. He'll pull the town police from the parade and then charge you $1 per marcher and per attendee for the security detail. I know it's funny but would you be surprised?

You could fight to get the payment back but if you do, the senior center will be underfunded and if you don't he'll be in the newspaper saying "When we have a large gathering, whether it's the boy scouts, Extravaganja or Independence Day Parade, we have issues like who pays for public safety and who pays for police," never mentioning that the fee paid by the boy scouts paid for neither the police nor the public safety.