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, ShafferL@amherstma.gov 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.


O'Reilly said...

Town Manager Larry Shaffer's explanation in the video is sorely lacking specifics, specifics discussed on the public record and any specifics discussed with town counsel. I give him a D- for his mastery of the facts and his ability to present them. Does Shaffer not know the requirements and the issues at hand? If he does, is he keeping them a secret?

Daily Hampshire Gazette: Amherst official buys home in South Hadley
Larry Shaffer said he has known Awad and Hubley for about two years, and likes them both very much. "I wish them nothing but the best and hope things work out to their definite advantage"

What do you suppose he means by “their definite advantage"?

Shaffer says Awad lives wherever she says she lives. How can that be true? If she says she lives in Amherst but she goes home every night to South Hadley then it is surely false. If it is false, then Shaffer has willfully misrepresented the truth and done so on the record.

I suppose Awad has a leg to stand on until the condo in Amherst is sold but after that, I don’t think so. Here’s why: Shaffer argues that since Awad says she lives in Amherst, she can continue to be one of five-member elected Select Board. This faulty opinion rests on the stated requirement that if Awad remains on the registered voter list then she meets the qualifications. But the question of whether her voter registration is still valid when she no longer lives at the address she registered or more importantly, no longer at any Amherst address, is a question that has not been tested. I assert that her voter registration, the documented requirement for a select board member, will not longer be valid when her place of residence is South Hadley and she has conveyed her residence in Amherst to another owner. I am not a lawyer but I’m willing to put money on that argument.

After Shaffer's briefly stated opinion/conclusion with no substantive explanation or justification, Town Meeting is told by the chair that the subject isoff limits. WOW! Is this Amherst, the home of the Bill of Right’s 1st amendment freedom of speech, is this a town government that gets to the bottom of issues and explains them to Town Meeting members or rather, is this the heavy hand of tyranny, the tyranny of the elected.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, that's our Mister Moderator all right. He rules Town Meeting with an Iron Fist. He can even call in the constables/police officers who are always present way in the back (about ten years a previous Moderator did so on me).

The Town Manager's response was sorely lacking. There is a BIG difference between letter of the law and the spirit behind it.

You can't see it on the video but it was Hubley who had his hand up and since he was sitting only two seats to my right I could hear him saying, "I want to clarify the Town Manager's statement."

Soon enough this circus sideshow will grow beyond distracting (I like the idea of pitchforks and torches, although South Hadley is a pretty long hike for an angry mob.)

dominique said...

Not to beat a dead horse (or the rear end of one) but Ms. Awad has said where she lives -- the legal effect of the homestead declaration is a statement that SHE LIVES IN SOUTH HADLEY AND HAS DONE SO SINCE APRIL 10TH.

O'Reilly said...


Umass has a legal aid program. Ask them if they are interested in writing an opinion, legal research, etc. If the opinion argues against Awad's qualifications to keep her seat then submit it to town manager and request that it be brought up at Select Board meeting.

LarryK4 said...

Umass legal aid is only for Umass students (and I graduated a L-O-N-G time ago).

Perhaps if the Bricks and Mortar media get motivated they could ask their attorney for an opinion.

Mark said...

They bought a $310,000 house in South Hadley but, live in a 768 sq foot house in Amherst? I guess they can continue the charade until they sell the Amherst condo.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, at this point I'm tempted to buy it just to be rid of them.

And of course my Youtube retrospective upload will have "Ding,Dong the witch is gone" as a soundtrack.

The Husbandist said...


The Husbandist said...

(sorry about the 'test' comment, Blogger always gives ma a hard time.)

forget getting an opinion from the town counsel - not likely to get done. If you have an afternoon free, go to the law library at the basement of the Hampshire County Superior court and check the Mass Practice Series book on Municipal law. The library is public, and the librarians love to be helpful.

Look for the info on residency requirements for town officials. If there is a case on point on this issue, it will be listed.