Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Her nose keeps growing L-O-N-G-E-R

UPDATE: 6:05 PM

So I just called (from my business) a publicly published Amherst phone number 256-1042—just to see if Mr. Hubley or Ms. Awad were home.

Of course I get voice mail and hang up (actually I was hoping the message would say “this number has been changed to a South Hadley number”)

About 5 minutes later my business line rings and it’s Mr. Hubley asking if I just called his number. “Hey Robie! Yeah, I was just calling to see if you were actually living in Amherst”

All-in-all the resulting “conversation” lasted about 10 minutes. Mainly consisting of Mr. Hubley yelling in a shaky voice about “leaving me alone”, or “it’s a personal matter” and “I hope you go to confession because you are an evil person”.

He refused to explain why he would purchase a $310,000 home in South Hadley while supposedly still living in an Amherst condo half that size and half that price--one that is currently up for sale.

Or why he took out a Homestead declaration on the South Hadley home that identifies it as his and her “primary” residence. Or why they lied in the Amherst Bulletin Letter to Editor saying they had switched the Homestead back to the Amherst condo.

And he sounded real nervous about potential Federal bank fraud charges over the FDIC mortgage that requires them both to live in the South Hadley home by June 10.

And any time he used the phrase “it’s a personal matter,” I would respond with “then why is this all available on a official Massachusetts state database?

At that point he yelled something slightly unintelligible and slammed down the phone.
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6:55 PM: So Mr. Hubley just called me back at my personal home phone number (only available to Amherst Town Meeting members) and wanted to “apologize for losing his temper”.

Apology accepted. But when he insisted, “he was not hurting anyone” I tried to interject that he was shortchanging the voters in his precinct.

Once again he accused me of “tormenting” him and then hung up (although a tad less aggressively).
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6:45 AM (original post)

So now it’s the old “residency is in the eye of the resident,” or like ‘Ultimate Frisbee’ where the players act as referees, or Hampshire College where there are no grades.

Obviously the Amherst Town Manager has been hoodwinked: “If she declares her residence (to be here). I take that to be true.”

But Ms. Awad also declared:

“The homestead declaration, cited frequently by this newspaper (Amherst Bulletin) as proof that we are already living in South Hadley, was an error on our part. We were unaware that such protection can only apply to one’s primary residence. We removed the homestead declaration as soon as we realized the error. It now applies only to our Amherst home as it has for years."

Oh really? A check this morning at the Registry of Deeds shows she has not “removed the homestead declaration” on their spacious South Hadley abode or reapplied it to their (up for sale) diminutive Amherst condo.

So Mr. Shaffer, if she can't tell the truth about the Homestead declaration--how can we the voters take anything she says to be true?

And don’t you just love His Lordship Gerry Weiss’s defense of Robie Hubley: "He goes to every meeting"? So does Frank Well’s cat!

Bad news for Pinocchio

5 comments:

O'Reilly said...

Clearly, one's place of residence is not just what one claims it is... and that is becuase there are facts in evidence that confirm or refute the claim.

It's high time the Select Board, Town Manager or Town Counsel document the requirements for municipal office as recorded in the law, and document the facts in this case so that the people of Amherst know that their representative is legally entitled to represent them.

Here's a head start to make the job easier:

Fact 1: Awad and Hubley bought new home in South Hadley.

Fact 2: Awad and Hubley put residence in Amherst, their condo, up for sale.

Fact 3: they moved their possessions to South Hadley

Fact 4: Indicated their belief that not registering to vote in South Hadley would keep their names on voter roles in Amherst and would technically establish Amherst residence despite their plan to live in South Hadley.

Fact 4: Mail is delivered to which address?

Fact 5: Filed Homestead protection (for primary residence only) on house in South Hadley.

Fact 6: Claims to have removed Homestead protection on home in South Hadley in order to re-establish Amherst residence but has done neither; removed homestead on South Hadley home or re-established Amherst residence.

Fact 7: Hubley's record of attendance is immaterial

Fact 8: Frank Well's cat meets the residence requirement not because he attends every meeting but because he actually lives in Amherst. Unfortunately Frank Well's cat has not registered to vote.

As chair, Gerry Weiss, cannot continue to ignore the question of whether Awad meets the residency requirement to hold Select Board office in Amherst. His refusal to treat it as a reasonable and legitimate question rather than a "ugly" and "mean-spirited" ploy is a failure as chair.

O'Reilly said...

Town Manager Laurence R. Shaffer said he has talked to town counsel, who reported that "residency is in the eye of the resident." An elected official can declare his or her own residency. And he said that Awad has affirmed her Amherst residency.

Shaffer said it's not an issue for him, either.

"I've had the distinct pleasure of working with her. I respect her a great deal. If she declares her residence (to be here), I take that to be true."

Well this is absolute horse shit becuase if Jane Doe who has lived in Northampton all her life and still lives in Northampton wanted to put her name on the ballot for Amherst Town Select Board there is no way Shaffer or Weiss would approve and make the ridiculous statement, "If she declares her residence (to be here), I take that to be true." The only reason they support Awad and Hubley in their claim of residency is because they do not object to their politics, clearly not because anyone believes they are meeting the residency requirement.

I'm tired of Mr Shaffer's buffoonery.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, I thought about hitting the "town attorney" with a Freedom Of Info request about the “decision” (my very able, pro-bono attorney is amazed that something like that would be done orally) figuring he/she would be the last person on the planet to lie, stonewall, obfuscate (unlike town officials).

But, unfortunately, ‘attorney/client’ privilege makes Kopelman and Paige, P.C. immune. Although at this point, any attorney with a brain in their head (and since they replaced able attorney Alan Seewald, I hope they have a brain cell or two) must know that their client is guilty as sin.

But hey, why bite the hand that feeds you?

O'Reilly said...

as you mentioned, town government and town counsel have attorney/client privilege.

It's all well and good that Weiss and Shaffer are satisfied with the legal reasoning town counsel offered to support Awad's and Hubley's residence requirement for office but that does not mean Amherst citizens are satisfied with the legal rationale, at least not until we've had the opportunity to review it and be satisfied by it.

After all, Awad is our elected representative and as such must maintain specific requirements under the law to hold the office.

The correct move here is to ask town government to request the legal opinion in writing and to share it with the public so that we can be equally satisfied with Ms. Awad and Mr. Hubley's legitimate claim to being an Amherst resident. Then the issue will be resolved.

Next time you call their publicly listed phone number, please ask them if they blog and if they want to debate this issue publicly. Just kidding. But it would be responsible to be forthright and honest about the facts, no? Instead of hiding behind the none ya responses...nunya dam business.

Government officials, who are required to maintain a residence in the town they are elected to represent, do not have a legitimate claim to privacy about the facts surrounding their place of residence. Sorry but they don't.

LarryK4 said...

I would hope the BIG-time, corporate "town attorney" has a bit of professional pride.

So even if the Boss Hogg town manager (who does not seem to have an overabundance of it) originally asked for an “opinion” and specifically requested it be an oral one (thus circumventing Public Document Law) that, by now, Kopelman and Paige, P.C. have figured out this issue has taken on a life of its own.

I’m a public official (behold the supremacy of Town Meeting) and I have a public platform (behold the power of the blog).

Hey Amherst! Consider this a legal, public request: Please ask the town attorney to put in writing his/her legal opinion about our local married town officials who purchase a home in a nearby community twice the size and twice the value of their current up-for-sale condo, yet want to remain on as Amherst town officials (until God knows when).