Friday, May 30, 2008

No sense of humor

Bully drops a bomb
So His Lordship Gerry Weiss sent a routine housekeeping message over the privately owned (so she can trample First Amendment rights anytime she wants) Town Meeting Listserve, and I of course used the opening to ‘respond all’:

Sent: Thu, 29 May 2008 10:18 pm
Subject: Re: [AmhTownMtg] 20B and procedure

So, ugh, it sounds like Town Meeting will drone on beyond June 10'th. And on THAT DAY, according to a legal FDIC mortgage, Ms. Awad and Mr. Hubley (although by a Homestead decree signed April 10 he has ALREADY vacated the town of Amherst) become "primary residents" of South Hadley.

Could you please do your job and schedule an election to replace Ms. Awad--preferably when it will not cost taxpayers a ton of money. Thanks.

Larry Kelley
Precinct 5
Legal and Spiritual resident of Amherst

Sent: Thu, 29 May 2008 11:45 pm
Subject: Re: [AmhTownMtg] 20B and procedure

A reminder to everyone that this forum, especially the poster of the
last message:

Discussions of a person(s) will not be tolerated on this listserv. This
is the only warning that will be given before removal from this group.

Mary Streeter
Group Moderator

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Pounding continues...

Click to enlarge: Article over on right above the fold.

So Bully for the Bulletin for continuing to question this sad story of aging, arrogant, political has-beens who desperately cling to their “power.”

The first thing I learned in Journalism 25 years ago (News writing and Reporting 101 at Umass) is always check the spelling of a source name. Although most readers will not notice a misspelled name the person you interviewed sure will and they will wonder what else you screwed up.

And the second thing I learned--even more important--was NEVER LIE TO A REPORTER!

At this point (with the Registry of Deed’s office still showing no change in the Declaration of Homestead being South Hadley) I’m starting to question the couple’s sanity.

Unfortunately, the Amherst Town Government Act does not have a provision requiring town officials undergo psychiatric review.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Enough is Enough!

Okay, so here is my uniform for Amherst Town Meeting this evening. And yeah, I sit directly in front of Anne Awad. If the Moderator has me arrested, I will sell "Free Blogger Kelley" T-shirts to make bail.

UPDATE: 10:15 PM. No I didn't get arrested; but then, the Moderator went WAY out of his way (as opposed to the normal just going out of his way) to avoid calling on me for anything, thus I could not stand up and display my nifty shirt (maybe I'll do a print run of 100 and hand them out at the next Town Meeting). But Town Meeting has a few nights left and it's my official uniform until we dissolve--although I did promise Stan Gawle, who sits next to me, that I would wash it.

An 'Only in Amherst' Movement

No blood for oil. And if only Americans stopped mowing their lawns how much oil could we save? Then there would be no need to go to war with Iran.

I remember the night of 11/1/06 asking Amherst Town Meeting to consider what they would do if Iran had a missile warming up on a silo that contained nuclear or biological materials aimed at the heart of Israel?

They overwhelmingly passed the nonaggression, appeasement article anyway. You would think an overly educated community like Amherst would not have to be reminded that those who fail to learn from history (giving Hitler the Sudenland) are doomed to repeat it.

2209 Wisconsin Avenue N.W. Washington, D.C. 20007

Tel: (202) 965-4990 Fax (202) 965-1073

In the Name of the Almighty

December 7, 2006

Ms. Sandra J. Burgess
Amherst Town Clerk
4 Boltwood Ave.
Amherst, MA 01002

Dear Ms. Burgess:

We would like to express our appreciation for the courageous stance of the participants of the Amherst Town Meeting in urging diplomacy with Iran and expressing opposition to any U.S. military action against our country. Your letter along with the attachments was submitted to the office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Upon receipt of any response, this office will notify you accordingly. The staff of this office would be more than happy to respond to any questions you might have.


A. Mohzabadi
for Mostafa Rahmani

Yeah, gotta love that December 7'th date of dictation and the "In the name of the Almighty" heading. Kind of like the last recorded words from the cockpit of United Flight 93.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

By train, bus, or helicopter. Just go!

Okay, so it is now close of business (5:10 PM) Tuesday and still the Massachusetts Registry of Deeds ( clearly shows that Amherst officials Selectman Anne Awad and her husband Town Meeting member Robie Hubley have not “removed the Homestead declaration” on their new South Hadley home or retaken one out on their (up for sale) Amherst condo as stated in a Letter to the Editor last week.

And the Registry of Deeds also does not show a new mortgage on the South Hadley home minus that pesky Occupancy clause (saying they have to make it their primary residence by June 10).

I remember as an impressionable 17-year-old, just coming of age with politics, being stunned and amazed our President—the leader of the Free World—could lie to the American people.

And here we are, 35 years later…

Antiquated Amherst Town Meeting: No escape

So on Thursday we celebrated our 25’Th Wedding anniversary with an overnight at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, the second home to Norman Rockwell. And although he painted the famous “Freedom of Speech”—now an icon to Town Meeting supporters while living in Arlington, Vermont the Red Lion Inn proudly displayed it in our suite.

The rustic Inn’s clientele (not to mention the artwork in our bedroom) reminded me of Amherst Town Meeting: rich, retired and overwhelmingly white. About the only diversity I heard was the occasional mid-town Manhattan Jewish accent.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day in Amherst

For the first time in twenty-five years I could actually attend the Amherst Memorial Day parade. My wife and I have an agreement to attend Memorial Day celebration in Southwick, her hometown, but she has a family reunion this Wednesday so she decided not to make the drive today.

The weather was perfect. Naturally the town forgets to put the main flag at half-staff so July 4’Th Parade Committee Chair Kevin Joy did the honors.

An F-15 streaked overhead to get things started

The turnout was great, numbering in the hundreds spread out along the less than a mile route. And no, not a single protester to be found—even on that corner in Town center they have occupied every Sunday for the past thirty-five years.

Blog Guru Tommy Devine chasing down a shot or two (photo that is)

And even former Amherst Democratic Town Committee Chair Harry Brooks who spearheaded the attack on the July 4’th Parade Committee two years ago for not allowing anti-war signs marched peacefully in the lead group without carrying a sign of any kind.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I don't think so

Okay, I’m sorry—most readers of this blog probably consider me “conservative,” although in Amherst that could mean almost anything.

And I’m ever so far from being a Clinton fan—either Hillary or (that lying cheat) Bill.

But this recent hoopla about Mrs. Clinton invoking a personal hero of mine—Bobby Kennedy—and the trumped up ramifications are nothing short of astounding. So does anybody in their right mind actually think that Hillary was saying Obama could get shot dead over the next month, and therefore you need a number two like me still on the campaign trail to take over?


Yeah, that's what I'm talkin about

Maybe it’s a matter of maturity—Hadley being the Motherland celebrating 350 years of existence as opposed to only 250 for the People’s Republic of Amherst, once a part of Hadley.

But on this glorious day--in the Heartland of Hadley--with a Parade celebrating/ commemorating the ultimate sacrifice of so many Americans over these past 232 years, and not a single protester in site.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

South Hadley Town Center

2:15 PM. Yep, that looks like Ms. Awad to me. Would you spend Memorial Day weekend Saturday afternoon landscaping property that you don't intend to make your home?

More from Amherst Town Center

3: 15 PM. Actually .5 miles west (Amity and University Drive)

Naturally, Amherst PD is engaged in traffic control for the Umass post graduation exodus. And as the officers pointed out: "Doing a heck of a good job" Damn right!

Scenes from Amherst Center (Noon)

Note beer truck heading to Umass: Today is commencement for undergrads

College St (Rt 9) Amherst College graduates tomorrow but functions happen today. Note school colors on railroad underpass just shy of side entrance to college

Earthquake Relief aid for China station set up in front of Amherst Chinese (Main St)

No respect for Umass property but hey at least they are flying an American flag.
One mile east of Town Center

Friday, May 23, 2008

Oh what a tangled web we weave

Click to enlarge: Awad letter on left although I have one over on the right

Okay, so as of close of business Friday they have not "removed the homestead declaration" on their new South Hadley home that is twice as big and twice as expensive as the Amherst condo they are trying to sell.

Gotta love the line "We are confident that we are doing the right thing. The propriety of our actions had been confirmed by the town manager, Mr. Shaffer..." Yeah, like he’s renowned for being a bastion of “propriety”.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Under the rainbow

So last night as I headed to Town Meeting at 7:35 PM (five minutes late) a rainbow seemed to emanated from the Middle School location of Amherst’s legislative body.

Silly Irish me, but I considered it a good omen--hoping the first thing Town Meeting would hear is that Anne Awad had resigned, hopped on her broom and rode off into the sunset (rainbow and all).

No such luck.

Pride, indeed, goith before the fall.

Yesterday’s Gazette lead (click photo in yesterday’s post to enlarge) clearly stated the couple “have reversed course, declaring their Amherst home their primary residence.”

So what did they do, shout it from the doorstep of their new home in South Hadley? Because according the the official Registry of Deeds website that is almost instantly updated daily they have not rescinded their Homestead declaration on the South Hadley home or taken out yet another redeclaring Amherst as such.

In their Letter to the Editor coming out later this morning they claim “Our decisions about moving to South Hadley will be guided by our commitment to the community of Amherst.”

Well, it you had any commitment to Amherst you would not be moving in the first place.

And does anybody actually believe they would put their Amherst condo up for sale and buy a $310,000 home in a nearby community without intending to live there? If things were reversed—they had purchased a $165,000 (768 sq ft) condo in South Hadley while living in a $310,000 home in Amherst you could easily shrug it off as an investment, summer vacation home, or escape house to get away from demented bloggers.

So let’s start a fund to raise the money to buy their Amherst condo. And then they will be out of alibis. We can turn it into a monument to the Eighth Deadly Sin: Arrogance!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The noose tightens...

Frequent contributors to the Bully Commentary Page know the deadline is Monday morning 9:00 AM (even for Big Shot public officials). Thus, the whiny Letter that will appear in tomorrow’s Bulletin was written before the beleaguered couple realized folks (well… bloggers anyway) were on to the Mortgage scam.

And notice in today’s Gazette article they hide behind “no comment”--as in none of your damn business--when questioned about the mortgage agreement with Florence Savings Bank that stipulates both of them take up “primary residence” at 4 Jewett Lane, South Hadley by June 10.

As I said yesterday, they are either lying to the voters of Amherst or they lied to Florence Savings Bank on April 10 when they signed a legal document swearing they would both use the home in South Hadley as a “principal residence” by June 10.

Of course Florence Savings Bank is a federally insured bank. And it is a Federal crime to lie on a mortgage application to a bank insured through the FDIC. The Amherst Town Government act also forbids anyone convicted of a Federal crime to serve in public office.

Soooo…. we will be rid of Awad and Hubley soon enough—one way or the other!

“I/we fully understand that it is a Federal crime punishable by fine or imprisonment, or both, to knowingly make any false statements concerning any of the above facts as applicable under the provisions of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001, et seq.”

As was said to disgraced British Prime Minister Nevel Chamberlain on the day he resigned: "You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What you lookin at!

Above the law?

UPDATE: 2:30 PM Now my sources are telling me that they switched back their Homestead to Amherst after this matter became public last week. Hmmm...But they still have to explain the matter of the mortgage with Florence Savings Bank that clearly states they will reside in the home in South Hadley by June 10. Or maybe the will remortgage by then.

Request to remove Amherst Town Official for residency violation

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108
May 20, 2008

Dear Attorney General Coakley,

According to the Amherst Town Government Act,
“A town meeting member ex officio or elected town meeting member who removes from the town shall cease to be a town meeting member.”

On April 10’Th, after winning election to Amherst Town Meeting on April 1’st, Robie Hubley signed a Declaration of Homestead on a house located at 4 Jewett Lane, South Hadley.

The notarized legal document clearly states: “I own and am possessed and occupy said premises as a residence and homestead under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 188.”

According to the Secretary of State’s office: “A Homestead can be declared only on an applicant’s ‘principal residence’. A person can have more than one residence but the statute only allows the protection on one’s legal domicile.”

On Monday, May 12 a Town Meeting member made a “point of order” over this residency issue and after a very brief discussion Moderator Harrison Gregg squelched debate with the terse statement “That’s all we’ll deal with that at this meeting.”

Last night (May 19’th) Mr. Hubley again attended Amherst Town Meeting, sat in the member’s section and participated in a Tally Vote on a Warrant Article.

Please consider this a formal application for the Office of the Attorney General to initiate a ‘quo warranto procedure’ to remove Mr. Hubley from Amherst public office due to this residency violation.

Amherst voters in Precinct Nine have been and continue to be deprived of a representative who resides in their own District, one who shares the same experiences and possess a vested interest in that neighborhood.

The public interest requires a prompt resolution of this matter.

Sincerely Yours,

Larry Kelley
460 West St
Amherst, Ma 01002
Amherst Town Meeting Precinct 5
Amherst Redevelopment Authority

A matter of respect

You may not want to click to enlarge

Child pornography laws strictly forbid the publishing of sexual explicit photos (or even suggestions thereof) but it’s perfectly fine for the Daily Hampshire Gazette to publish this stark Front Page photo showing the remains of a child who suffered a violent death?

There were other--less shocking--ways to illustrate this terrible tragedy in China.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Books or Balls (as in golf)? Only in Amherst!

Amherst Bully (for them) article

Sent: Mon, 19 May 2008 11:11 am
Subject: A chance to keep the Jones Library open on Mondays!

Town Meeting members have demonstrated how important the Jones Library is for our community. That doesn't mean we always agree about the right method for funding the library or the right venue for making changes to the budget.Here is an opportunity for all of you who love the Jones Library to keep the library open on Mondays. An anonymous donor has offered to match any $20 dollar gift with a $10 match. For any of you can afford it, please show your support for the Jones Library, and stop by the library with your donation!

Julia R

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Get out of Dodge

So Ms. Awad told a reporter she was going on vacation to Cape Cod. But why would you leave on a Wednesday and be photographed (by a crazy stalker blogger sitting comfortably in his car rather than hiding in the bushes) on early Friday afternoon at your new estate in South Hadley?

Morning in America

Friday, May 16, 2008

Yeah, I know...

Aftershock. It registered 5.5 on the Richter scale as opposed to the original 7.9 monster that has left 5 million Chinese homeless and perhaps 50,000 dead--all too many of them children.

I talked to my adoption agency guru late this afternoon (based in Manhattan) and she reported that they have a small office in Nanjing, located on the 16'th floor of a highriser, 700 miles from the epicenter of the original quake . The building actually swayed. Kind of like our World Trade Center North or South Tower absorbing the initial blow of an incoming commercial aircraft.

Jada, located only about 150 miles from ground zero, is fine. But: so very, very many are not.

Guess who?

Click to enlarge (looks like Ms. Awad to me)

Okay, if you had purchased a new home in South Hadley strictly as an investment to rent out, would you be doing gardening in the rain on a Friday afternoon during lunch hour?
Gazette Reporters take from a long time ago
So how sagacious is Mary Carey????: “I could even envision Awad leaving the board before her term is up in 2009” A-freaken-Men!

A smoking gun

Click to read

Soooooo…According the notarized Homestead Declaration he willingly signed, Mr. Hubley is now and has been a citizen of South Hadley since April 10’th AND according to the Mortgage covenant with Florence Savings Bank his spouse, Anne Awad, WILL BE or HAS TO BE (see Clause 6: Occupancy) a citizen of South Hadley two months after the signing date (note initials at bottom of each page) or by this coming June 10’th…just in time for the Amherst Select Board to add her open seat to the September 16 primary election.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Just Go! (I like my headline better)

You know the drill: click to enlarge (yeah, pretty wimpy--but better than nothing)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Good Omen?

Click to enlarge
9:35 PM Amherst Town Meeting. Note empty chair (all night) behind "Anne Awad" name tag. Yeah I was tempted to sneak up and add "Former Czar" in magic marker, but I like to be subtle. (Note pensive Rodan pose of Town Manager on far left.)
UPDATE: 11:00 AM: Two Select-persons report they have no idea why Ms. Awad was MIA last night (but then, she never tells them anything.)

Home is where the heart is...

Click to enlarge

Or where you sign a legal document saying it is (notarized no less). At the very least, as far as being an Amherst town official is concerned, Mr. Hubley is toast.

And when the Amherst Bulletin editorial comes out later today, Ms. Awad will be scrambled eggs.

Suffering knows no bounds

We’re confident Jada is fine as her orphanage is in South West China, about 150 miles from ground zero. But the reports coming out are simply devastating. An entire Middle School (not much smaller than Amherst’s--and I will be thinking that as I enter it tonight for Town Meeting) instantly collapses entombing 900 kids.

The People’s Republic of China can mobilize government employees en mass like no nation on earth. And yet, confronted with nature’s wrath, they are powerless.

Note to terrorists: no mater what your diabolical depraved minds conjure up, you are no match for Mother Nature.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

And now, the end is near...

And she better get used to it. Anybody with an issue they feel strongly about (and in Amherst that about describes EVERYBODY) where the Select board votes 3-2 and Anne Awad is the deciding vote, will be sorely tempted to take the matter to court.
UPDATE: Wednesday morning:

In a message dated 5/13/08 10:01:01 PM, Amherst AC writes:
To: Town Manager, Larry Shaffer
From: Larry Kelley, Amherst Town Meeting
Could I please get the written opinion of the town attorney (as mentioned on the floor of Town Meeting on Monday night) concerning Select board member Anne Awad buying a home in South Hadley with her husband declaring it a Homestead Estate and the legality of them staying on as Amherst town officials?

Larry Kelley

In a message dated 5/14/08 8:43:03 AM, writes:
There is no written opinion on that topic. I asked for the Town Counsel’s opinion on residency verbally and received the reply verbally.

Larry Shaffer

In a message dated 5/14/08 8:53:31 AM, Amherst AC writes:
Hey Larry,
Thanks, I kinda figured that.

One too many lemons

In typical Amherst Town Meeting penny wise pound foolish mode last night the ageing-into-senility legislative body voted down $11,000 allow the Jones Library to open on Monday’s next year—you know the institution with a great Kids Room and extensive Special Collections with anything and everything pertaining to Miss Emily, the Belle of Amherst.

That argument took about an hour. But when the $1.2 million Capital Equipment article quickly followed with the $22,000 buried in it for a lawn mower at our expensive White Elephant Golf Course, hardly a fiscal conservative could be found.

If the Town Mangler had taken the privatization offer from Niblick Management last year the town would be guaranteed a check for $30,000 without any worries about the weather or expensive landscaping equipment, two-thirds of which is beyond its rated lifespan.

Thus, instead of investing an extra $22,000 now into a lawnmower, that money would be available for something like THE LIBRARY, with enough left for The People’s Republic to finance its Protest Parade next July 4’th.

Only in Amherst (or perhaps South Hadley).

Monday, May 12, 2008


If you live in the circulation area of the weekly Amherst Bulletin and also peruse the Daily Hampshire Gazette, obviously you know that Amherst news appearing in the Monday or Tuesday Gazette is simply reprinted word-for-word (except maybe the headline) in the end of the week Amherst Bulletin.

About a year or two ago, however, that started to improve. The Bulletin follow-up article would have a tad more detail. The most recent edition the changes and additions were nothing if not extraordinary: the headline, lead, closing and almost everything in between.

I am of course referring to the news story about Select board member—and former Czar-- Anne Awad, once the most powerful politician in Amherst, buying an expensive new home in neighboring South Hadley, where our former Town Manager and School Superintendent have also found employment.

Actually I had the tidbit a few days before the Gazette, but was so preoccupied with the 7/4 Parade issues that I did not get around to publishing it. The Gazette exposed it with decent placement (considering they relied on legal notices that appeared in their publication it is not the kind of thing that should win them a Pulitzer).

But of course they only did the who, what, when, where, why routine. I, on the other hand, reminded readers of Ms. Awad’s deception when courting and marrying fellow board member Robie Hubley or her continual disrespect towards anything patriotic—especially the flag or 4’Th of July (A vendetta that garnered her citation from the District Attorney’s office for Open Meeting Law violations).

A couple of my readers jumped in with additional revelations noting her condo is listed for sale, and that her husband had filed a Homestead Act that essentially guarantees they are moving from Amherst (state law dictates if one person in the marriage files such a motion they do it in the names of both).

The front page Bulletin article published the end of the week incorporated all those deliciously devastating details with a sub-headline highlighting their importance.

Now if only the Bully can summon the chutzpa to publish an editorial demanding Awad step down from her Select Board position…

Bully article

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mothers Day

To women (or womyn) all over the world—especially those who have sons or daughters currently crouching in harms way.

Friday, May 9, 2008

To protect the mission

It is with deepest regret that I must resign my position with the Amherst July 4’Th Parade Committee effective immediately.

Working with fellow volunteers these past seven years has been an honor and a pleasure. I have decided however that my, perhaps overly, protective nature simply will not allow me to cease and desist defending our dream: A celebration to make Rockwell proud.

I will of course attend this year’s event and I’m confident from all indications that it will be our (I mean your) best one yet.

And I’m particularly proud that my new baby daughter, Jada, will—just in time--have arrived from The People’s Republic of China; and one of her first experiences will be a good-old-fashioned American July 4’th Parade!

May you continue for many, many years to come.

Sincerely Yours,

Larry J Kelley

cc: Amherst July 4’Th Parade Committee, Media

Umass Daily Collegian Front Page May 8, 2008 (only 2 weeks later):

Town Manager Laurence Shaffer says the organization can still get a permit for its own parade on that day, or even collaborate with the town.

"They have put in a request, and there is more than one street," he said. "This is not about preventing their parade, it's about allowing ours. If they have a different street in town or a different time, we will be happy to look at it."

Note to viewers: No desks or chairs were injured in the making of this film (well, maybe slightly). Since somebody asked the "I'm going to get killed," comment at the very beginning was not Shaffer or Weiss anticipating a pissed off patriot it was me anticipating my wife who expected me home a half-hour earlier.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Something that needs to happen to Amherst's current antiquated form of government.

And speaking of the unelected Town Manager who thinks he’s Boss Hogg, Mayor Daley circa 1968: Last week at a ceremonial tree planting to honor former Assistant Town Manger, and forever DPW chief Stan Ziomek, when called upon to turn a ceremonial space or two of earth the Town Mangler announced he would do it like the DPW. So he made one stab at the ground, dropped the shovel while announcing, “break time!”

Gotta love the cartoon
(And if any of them thought it libel they should flunk)
UPDATE: 8:30 AM Mary Carey (acting as Professor) reports that none of the kids thought it libel. There's hope for them kids.

Of course if any of them were a fan of Poe's 'The Purloined letter’ they would realize Mary would not have published the cartoon on her blog if it was libel. Duh!

Hustler (not that I ever read it) got away with publishing a cartoon of a (drunken) Reverend Falwell having sex with his mother in an outhouse. Although former Amherst resident Max Karson was arrested for comments in a classroom a day after the Virginia Tech massacre and recently caused a stir with a satirical column about declaring war on Asians.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Only in Amherst (forum)

Umass Daily Collegian covers the Parade controversy
Typical brain-dead, knee-jerk, uber-liberal response on Amherst forum to the pernicious parade soap opera that keeps marching on and on.

Townie ‘Anne12’ (probably not Anne Awad although I heard that rumor once) started a string by saying Memorial Day is approaching and it’s too bad the Memorial Day parade is not getting the same press as the 7/4 parade, echoing a point I made when hammering the Bulletin editorial that suggests Memorial Day or Veterans Day are less “cherished” than the 4’th of July.

Ryan Willey, who selflessly started “Operation Going Home” where he will honor any local war veteran with a free formal funeral sendoff via his skilled bagpiping, responded:

The worry here is if it ever became an event that was attended then the protesters would want to march. Then the Memorial Day parade would end up just like the 4th of July parade a political pinata hung up for a beating. No thanks keep it small and attended by those who honor and remember.

LloydLoar, detonated an IUD:
So, now do YOU support the War for Lies?

Another frequent female townie ‘Cavemansgirl’ (hey, it’s the internet) responded:

How do you read someone's wish to keep a Memorial Day parade on topic about remembering the fallen, and get out of it that they support the war in Iraq? Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for soldiers of wars stretching back to the dawn of our country. Wanting to keep it protestor-free does not mean that someone is gung-ho about Iraq. Calm down and keep your head about you.

LloydLoar, supposedly a peacenik, countered with the combative: “Having trouble answering the question? Having trouble with things all over the place these days, eh?”

Normally you would brand LloydLoar the quintessential ultra-left wing whacko, who gives liberalism a bad name. But then, look at current Select board Chair, His Lordship Gerry Weiss (or better yet look at the bumper stickers on the back of his car): pushing a town bylaw to handcuff police from enforcing immigration law or pressuring a local chapter of the Boy Scouts to publicly repudiate their national organization's stand on gay scoutmasters in order to use public land to sell Christmas Trees?

And of course encouraging Larry Shaffer, the unelected Boss Hogg Town Mangler, to nationalize the July 4’th Parade without the full Select board input.

Yeah, “normally” is a word not often heard in reference to the People’s Republic of Amherst.
UPDATE: 10:00 PM (yeah I know it ‘s only been 20 minutes since I uploaded but loquacious Loyd just posted a doozy): You raise an excellent question.
by LloydLoar, 5/7/08 21:27 ET
Re: Memorial Day Parade... by Anne12, 5/7/08
I'm always ambivalent when facing this issue. Here's a detail or two that troubles me. When I see men my age marching in their Vietnam era uniforms, tears come into my eyes for them and for us all- I'm sad, torn when it comes to celebrating their service because I think we ALL let them down for allowing that action to be so deeply politicized and wrongly prolonged. I'd say that everybody in my age has complex and deeply troubled felings when we see them marching.

Then along comes a Vietnam era jeep with an anti-aircraft gun mounted on the real and I'm reminded how many non-combatant women and children were killed indiscriminately by these weapons.

It's THEN I begin to wonder HOW can we "Support the Troops" when the effort was WRONG, ILLEGAL, DEEPLY DAMAGING TO ALL INVOLVED and the US Crime of our Lifetimes up until the IraqAttack/War for Lies/Endless Occupation.

Lastly, when faced with the Gulf War and returning from Iraq and Afghanistan vets, all I can think of is the HUGE numbers deeply injured by PTSD,the VA debacle unfolding before us,.....

What's to "celebrate"?

A (war) story worth telling

Click to enlarge

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

How far the mighty have fallen

South Hadley seems to be collecting Amherst’s castoffs: Former School Superintendent Gus Sayer, Town Manager Barry Del Castilho and now Select person (former Czar) Anne Awad.

I find it hard to believe you would spend $310,000 on a new house and then rent it out.

As to whether she legally changes her address and steps down as an Amherst town official because of this relocation, Ms Awad tells the Gazette that she will “let them know.” In other words, none of your damn business!

Ms. Awad carried on a long-standing relationship with Robie Hubley then married him before telling voters--including the time leading up to his election on the Select board she chaired. Hubley paid for it last year when Alisa Brewer trounced him by a two-to-one margin.

So it’s a pretty safe bet she stall for a year, the time remaining in her Select board term, before publicly announcing this important decision.

The Amherst Select board is already struggling with image problems after allowing the Boss Hogg Town Manager to make policy: kicking the Boy Scouts Christmas tree sales off town land, or nationalizing the July 4’th Parade—something Awad tried to do a few years back when she was at the peak of her power.

The Select board, if they wish to remain relevant over the next year, need to call a Special Election and bring aboard a new member vested in the community.

The $12,000 cost of that Special Election is money well spent.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Bully strikes out

Journalism’s #1 cardinal rule is FACTCHECK! The Amherst Bulletin failed miserably that basic concept (yet again) with their editorial Sieg Heiling the People’s Republic of Amherst arrogantly nationalizing the July 4th Parade in 2009.

First and foremost, the ELECTED Amherst Select Board NEVER voted to “back Shaffer on the question” (asserted not once, but twice).

The Boss Hogg, unelected Town Mangler deliberately dictated to the Select Board (like banning Boy Scouts from selling Christmas trees at Kendrick Park next year) his decision: Kill the private committee’s 7/4 Parade and “take over” a prime patriotic holiday Amherst discarded in 1976.

And how dare the Bulletin suggest we “find a better home on a holiday that is not so closely aligned with the cherished principles of free speech and independence.”

A group of affluent white, middle-aged men declare independence from a stodgy monarchy; but it was the ultimate sacrifice of the fledgling military—honored on Veterans Day and Memorial Day—that made it happen.

In addition to retracting the erroneous Select Board vote that NEVER OCCURRED, the Bulletin owes all Veterans an apology for pronouncing July 4’th more “cherished” than Memorial Day or Veterans Day.

Yes indeed, Shaffer’s “stance creates a hundred and one headaches for himself and other town officials before Independence Day rolls around in 2009.”

Amherst is a $65 Million enterprise that is a $1 million or so in the red. Perhaps our highly paid, appointed Town Manager could find better ways of spending his valuable time?

And if Gazette/Bulletin editors can’t find the time to properly research their viewpoints, then perhaps they should spike these editorials altogether.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Why is Northampton different?

Click photos to enlarge.

So I went to the Gay Pride Parade yesterday in Hamp—their 27’Th year. No I’m not Gay--not that there's anything wrong with that, I just love a Parade (and support Gay Rights).

Could not help but notice the lack of anti-war signs, or homophobic signs from some Religious fundamentalist group. And even the 'Raging Grannies' left their anti-war placards home. Also noticed almost a dozen police officers doing traffic detail and I bet the city picked up that cost.
But when one of the 'Raging Granny' spokespersons called me last month inquiring about the Amherst July 4’Th Parade she was ever so quick to announce she was in a wheelchair (Yes, we allow wheelchairs) and equally quick to ask if we allow anti-war signs:

No, you can carry a banner designating your group and sing all the anti-war signs you like (did not even ask if they know the Star Spangled Banner) but no extra signs dealing with politics-be it war, abortion or gay rights.

After the Pride Parade I took my darling daughter Kira to the Amherst Common School Carnival, where I also noted a lack of anti-war protesters or politics of any kind.

And last year Kira proudly participated in the other July 4’Th Amherst (Bike) Parade in South Amherst for kids that has been happening for over 100 years: also no war protestors.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


So when I wrote that teaser yesterday about a major breaking story coming up later in the afternoon I had no idea it would be purely personal:

After waiting almost three years for the phone to ring heralding good news from China, the call, unexpectedly, came.

On Wednesday I made the mistake of going to The Rumor Queen, a blog for waiting parents and read reports/rumors suggesting our call would not come for another three months.

Then I made the BIG mistake of reading the anguished comments (she had 83 that day) from parents in the same slow boat as me. Heartbreaking. And yeah, I had Town Meeting—the ultimate torture--later that night.

But somehow we managed to make this month’s cutoff; just how I have no idea, and--for once in my life—I’m sure not going to ask questions. We will travel in June before the Olympics rush, stay two weeks, and then return home--thus increasing the population of Amherst by one (from one People's Republic to another).

Oh yeah, the major breaking news event I had in mind did occur but I can’t talk about it just yet. Suffice it to say, it will bring a swift conclusion to Amherst’s embarrassing Parade fiasco
Amherst July 4'th Parade page
UPDATE: 11:30 AM
Somebody just called on his cell as he was driving through Hamp and wondered if the Gay Pride Parade would allow protesters to march with anti-gay sentiment? Hmm...
1'st Amendment Tolerance in NoHo

Friday, May 2, 2008

You can run but you can't hide

The Town Mangler should really consider a medical checkup…he is hard of hearing. In today’s Gazette he’s quoted: “Excluding certain signage is inherently political.” Shafter said.

Hmmm…what we’ve been saying since Day One is that ALL political signage is relegated to the sidelines on that day, for that brief hour. Meaning NOT JUST ANTI-WAR SIGNS. Also Gay Rights, Immigration (note Gazette photo next to 7/4 article today) Gun Control, Abortion, Baby Seals, etc

Meanwhile over at the rats are abandoning ship. His Lordship just posted saying it was not his decision:

The only thing the SB has decided is to hold a longer conversation with the public after Town Meeting ends.And I believe that the entire SB agreed to do this. Despite what appears to be a Weiss/Shaffer decision for the Town to hold a parade, it was entirely a Shaffer decision. The SB has not voted on this matter.

Let's not forget that we got to this point because of an impasse. The path is not permanently closed; it is still under reconstruction. Dialogue can lead to a satisfactory resolution. I'm willing to wade through these postings to look for suggestions that lead to an unblocking of the path... Posted by: Gerry Weiss | May 2, 2008 08:31 AM

Sometimes, you gotta use dynamite for "unblocking the path."
Posted by: Larry Kelley | May 2, 2008 08:48 AM

I will have a MAJOR breaking update later this afternoon.
And yeah, I plan to respond to the Amherst Bulletin editorial in good time. They may want to read Weiss comment above and plan a correction for next week (if, of course, they have any journalistic integrity--which at this point is suspect)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

"Gave proof through the night..."

So last night at venerable, archaic, always boring Amherst Town Meeting I asked--now that the town has decided to “take over” the July 4’Th Parade—thus violating that age old adage “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it," where exactly is our cash strapped municipality going to find the $10,000 required to launch their extravagant Protest Parade?

Actually I think my figures ran anywhere from $10,000 to $90,000 as I pointed out our privately run event at one hour in duration will cost $10,000 this year (and the Committee is all-volunteer) but the People's Republic is planning a nine-hour marathon Parade on July 4, 2009--so that could easily cost nine times more.

The Boss Hogg Town Mangler responded as though I were some pimple-faced Jr. High School student daring to challenge his supreme authority: “All the money will be raised privately,” he said dismissively.

Hmm…Kind of sets the stage for the 250’Th Anniversary Committee coming before Town Meeting later this month to request $25,000 in tax monies for the Anniversary Parade scheduled for September, 2009.

If it’s that easy to privately raise money for a Parade then why not have the LSSE empire raise the $25,000 for the Anniversary Parade; after all, unlike the July 4’Th Parade it only happens once every 250 years!

Springfield Republican Rides to the Rescue Let's hope the AP is having a slow news day.

Our web cite is UP!