Saturday, July 26, 2008

Meet the Manager

So, I’m sure the Town Manager will report to the Select Board Monday night that we had a cordial meeting of the minds, everybody got a chance to speak, everyone seemed to listen, no raised voices, no name calling; and, in the end, no deal.

Well, actually the Committee did not take a vote. Probably next week. But I get the distinct impression it will be “No deal!”

Essentially the Town Manager wants to bribe the Committee with insurance and a police security detail (under $1,500 value, and something we have managed to pay for the past seven years). And he would throw in police and fire vehicles (even though the Select Board indicated no town equipment next year for any parade).

In exchange, the Private committee would allow a “protest division” that the town would administrate. A parade within a parade if you will. The town manager would issue a separate permit for the town protest division, but it would still be part of the private parade.

If I’m correct and the answer is "no deal", then the town manager said he would have to meet with the Parade Committee Chair and talk about the time and route of the private parade next year so it does not conflict with the town parade.

So let’s hope the Select Board shows some spine on Monday night during the discussion to make it perfectly clear the town should not waste time and tax money organizing a July 4’th Parade next year.


Neil said...

The town manager sides with protest advocates - he believes their right to free-speech includes marching and protesting in the private Parade Committee Independence Day Parade.

I continue to ask the question, why is the town advocating for one party and not the other? Why is it advocating for either? Why does the town not tell protest advocates to submit their own parade permit, seriously?

As it stands, the town that did not want to run an Independence Day parade is prepared to run one because of a small minority of folks who want to protest but won't organize themselves or create their own opportunity. No, they've successfully convinced Larry Shaffer to do it for them... at our expense.

So is this Shaffer's grand bargain? The Town will pay a $1500 cash stipend, permit the use of town emergency vehicles, and not threaten to assign the Parade Committee's parade a different and undesirable start time? Did I miss anything?

Protest advocates have plenty of support for voicing their views on Independence Day. They could easily finance and run their own parade or rally - I don't know why it's up to the town to do it. In fact, I think it is quite clearly NOT the town's responsibility to organize and/or finance a parade or rally for protest advocates.

Isn't it clear that shoehorning protesters into the Parade Committee parade is a bad idea? Shaffer is a boob. He wants Select Board to support his effort to "work this out" and then comes up with an insulting offer, $1500, police participation, and a treat to reschedule the Parade Committee Parade. This is the same guy who has demonstrated he's prepared to use all the resources of town government for a town run parade. So, his grand bargain is more threats, you won't be able to have the parade at the time of day you've had it for the last seven years.

LarryK4 said...

I don't think the Town Manager is going to have all that many options, as I'm fairly sure the Select Board is going to rule out a town-sponsored parade next year.

Maybe not this coming SB Monday meeting as Anne Awad is still lurking about, but certainly at some point after the next election when somebody from the ‘sensible center’ replaces her.

Robert Phillips said...

Well, Anne Awad may be hanging around a little longer than you think Larry, OR, we may be one person short on the Select Board until December.

The Select Board is hearing a proposal to move the special election from Sept. 16 to Dec. 2

If Anne Awad does leave on Aug. 31 as planned, this would leave 20% of the Select Board vacant during the time when they are working on the warrant for Fall Town Meeting, Fall Town Meeting itself and the next budget.

This is a foolish idea and needs to be stopped. NOW!

LarryK4 said...

Hey Robert,

Could not agree more!

But of the two, I would MUCH rather have the SB one person short until December, RATHER than have that washed-up, X-Czar stay on her token throne until the snow flies.

At the risk of pissing off my conservative friend and perpetual defender of Umass students Ed Cutting, I will post something on this 'Only in Amherst' incident in-the-making before Monday night's SB meeting.

(So little time, so many goofy issues...and only so much bandwidth.)

Anonymous said...

Notice how they won't consider an election on the day that everyone EXPECTS elections to be - election day, i.e. November 2nd.

Now why is that?

I really don't think this is about UMass students. Call it a hunch but I think something else is going on here....

Ed Cutting

LarryK4 said...

Apparently the Town Clerk issued a memo to the Select Board about why November 2 is a bad idea. Naturally Stephanie mentions it on her blog but does not post it (what a tease).

I will get that Monday and try to figure it out.

So--loving a conspiracy--what's your "hunch"?

Anonymous said...

Protesting the protesters....

You know, if protesters are in their own town-sponsored parade, it would be perfectly acceptable for there to be protesters amongst them protesting them. Unlike the *private* parade, a town-sponsored one is required to be content neutral.

So the town manager has his protest cadre marching in his parade/within/parade and amongst them are counterprotesters chanting such things as "You all are Lying Treasonous Scum."

Remember that UMass is getting several hundred Iraq vets each year as students, more than a few are rather outspoken advocates of the military.

So on the one hand you have the town mangler's friends being shouted down and publicly humiliated -- on the other you have a serious violation of the Federal AntiKlan statutes (section 1983, et al) if he tries to do anything about it.

I keep saying that you folks on the left really don't understand the consequences of what you are doing. ..

Ed Cutting

Anonymous said...

My hunch:

Look at who will be voting on Nov 2nd, and what will be on the ballot.

Question #1 - abolish DOR.
Question #2 - abolish drug laws.
Question #3 - ban dog racing.

These are *statewide* questions and this is one of the few times that students can vote in Amherst for issues that affect their MetroBoston hometowns. Turnout this November - statewide - will be record because people feel strongly on all three issues (and most consider the others reprehensible as well.)

Townie turnout will also be high - in this case folks voting Yes/1 who often don't vote. This is the same sort of situation that existed in the 1990 election.

So if you have large numbers of voters turning out to vote against the tax (including possibly some UM students) you could have a voting block that would vote for even a Republican selectboard member.

This scares the daylights out of some folk, I suspect.

Now as to an earlier election, the parade committee is organized enough right now to put through *their* candidate for this open seat. If you can delay the election, coalitions will break down with new issues coming up and possibly a votinb block that would have voted in uniform might be split.

So - and this is Political Science 101 - the best thing to do is push the election into December when turnout will be lower (and restricted to the expected voters), the parade will be fixed and somewhat tolerated, and thus a favorable candidate will get in.

One other thing -- when is the Town Mangler's APR done? Exactly what is the date of his annual review - this matters because of who is (and by context, isn't) on the board that gives it. I have long suspected that Awad is lingering for some specific reason and wonder if it was this...


Anonymous said...

Is he wearing lipstick?

It sure looks like it, along possibly with some other female cosmetics.

Did you photoshop this, or did he really show up in public looking like that?

Neil said...

The town has an interest in holding the election (1) sooner rather than later, (2) at a time or in a way that maximizes voter turnout, and (3) at a time that reduces marginal cost.

The obvious choice is to hold the election on November 2 unless the Select Board cannot function properly between Aug 31 and Nov 2 with four members.

The Town Clerk will have to make a strong case for why "holding the special [Select Board member] election concurrently with the November general election would be extremely complicated."

LarryK4 said...

No I did not photoshop Mr. Shaffer's photo. I think it was stolen from the town website or the Gazette/Bulletin.

Yeah Neil, I too am interested in why we can't replace Ms. Awad on November 2 when the turnout in Amherst will approach 80% as opposed to the normal 15% or 20% for local elections

And since our Select Board NEVER functions properly anyway, what's a few months of operation shy one member.

Anonymous said...

Larry - check out when the Town Mangler's APR is done and how many members of the selectboard have to sign off on it.

Alisa Brewer was suggesting that she might not be willing to rubber stamp his annual review, if Stephanie O'Keefe went along, it would either be a 3-2 vote or a 2-2 vote on *both* his annual review and on any future vote of "no confidence."

I have the same hunch here that I did with Awad picking up a state retirement pension - she is delaying her resignation for a reason and I am not sure it is pension.

Anonymous said...

He's so pretty. So very pretty....
And this is Amherst, where such things are accepted....

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