Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Post Mortem

The only thing that surprised me about the Amherst results in this Mother of All election was the razor thin defeat of the CPA tax increase doubling to a plush 3%. I thought in this trying economic time and with "sensible center” types like O’Keeffe and Brewer campaigning against it (while simultaneously promoting an Override) that it stood about as much chance of passing as Question 1.

But if you asked me three months ago I would have predicted it to pass handily. I guess politics is like New England weather…

With Hayden’s hands-down, slam-dunk victory for the Select Board that body now tilts towards the center (about as center as you can get in the People’s Republic.) So His Lordship Gerry Weiss, although still Chair, will have to start reigning in his socialistic ways.

He already telegraphed that recently with his “compromise” edict on flying the flags on 9/11 (as idiotic as that compromise was but at least they flew this year.) He knew a head-to-head vote such as I have requested annually over the past five years (although once or twice I believe Czar Awad did not even allow the Select Board to formally vote on it) would have resulted in a 2-2 tie. And they were already getting hammered in the mainstream media.

Of course now you also have an entire Select Board that is overly fond of Overrides. And they do not need Town Meeting approval to place an Override on this coming Spring election ballot for any amount they choose.

So our wallets and purses are, barely, safe from the plundering of a CPA tax increase for now; but we better watch out for the shirts on our backs this coming Spring


Ped, Amherst said...

Entertaining take as always. I like what the CPA does for our town, but I voted against it precisely because of the override vote next Spring. I don't know yet whether or not I'll vote for the override, but in the current economic climate, I didn't think it would be responsible to ask my fellow tax payers for both.

Hayden looks like a good pick - will be interesting to see what level of override he supports.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, it will. He’s pretty smart--but after his support of both the CPA tax increase and an Override, I’m starting to think Amherst College pays him too much in salary (not to mention benefits that allowed him the day off on Tuesday to campaign).

But he will learn from the CPA defeat, and since Stephanie used to be a PR flack for the auto industry she knows about “price points.”

Look for an Override low enough to sell, Sell, SELL but still too much for us average “Joe Plumbers” to afford.

Alison said...

Larry, et. al...

An override item on the spring ballot is not a pre-determined fact. The Finance Committee has yet to make its formal recommendations on the FY10 budget and the Facilitation of Community Choices Committee will not make its five-year budget recommendations until December.

There is still time to weigh in on the topic! Visit our web site at and complete our questionnaire...tell us what YOU think the solution to our budget crisis is.

And come to our last Public Forum tomorrow night, November 6th from 7-9PM in Town Hall. For an override? Against an override? No matter. All opinions are encouraged so please come tell us what you think.

Alison Donta-Venman, member FCCC

LarryK4 said...

Hey Alison,

Yeah I’m starting to hear from reliable sources that the FCCC may actually “call them as you see them” and not Ra Ra Ra an Override. A BIG disappointment to certain town officials who created you as The Perfect Weapon to spearhead an Override this spring.

But hey, what are they going to do--fire you (from an all volunteer committee that donates tons of free labor)?

Alison said...


I would think all anyone would have to do is look at a list of our committee members to know that there was not going to be a pre-determined,unified opinion among us!!

The one thing we have been able to unify around is the need to solicit as much public feedback as possible. Along with the need to provide as much information to the public as possible.

We hope to continue this public information-sharing by posting the results of our questionnaire and our final report on our web site.

Thanks for helping us spread the word!


O'Reilly said...

I can see why you'd be disappointed about McCain but I see no joy in your reaction to theses clear wins:

1. No CPA tax increase
2. Hayden on SB

If Hayden gets three weeks of vacation and used a day to campaign, so what?

You forgot to count this win:

3 No on Q1

The reason I say that to you is that if Q1 had passed, Amherst WOULD vote for a prop 2 1/2 overide, no questions asked.

Anonymous said...

There's a simple reason for the surprisingly close vote on Question 4: the heavy turnout for the presidential vote. You'll note that Question 4 was on the presidential ballot and NOT on the separate Select Board ballot, which apparently a lot of voters didn't pick up.

Because of the heavy turnout to vote for Obama, the composition of the electorate was completely different than the usual Amherst town election. And, as a person who voted YES on Question 4, I must admit: a lot of those new arrivals (or visitors) to our town electorate yesterday were probably NOT property taxpayers. That tilted the numbers in the "yes" direction on Question 4.

In my opinion, it was a sucker's bet that a NO on Question 4 would lead to a majority YES sometime in the near future on an override. But, given the close margin of victory for NO, that was the bet that O'Keeffe and Brewer sold to their followers, and their advocacy put NO over the top. Congratulations to them, but this is essentially "Let's Make a Deal" for taxation. I'm not holding my breath for that override hiding behind Door Number 3.

Rich Morse

LarryK4 said...

Hey o’reilly

I gave up showing joy or disappointment over elections 25 years ago just as I always tried not to show either during athletic contests as well.

Question 1 had no chance whatsoever of passing. The establishment was caught napping (as our military has once or twice over the past hundred years) so the first time it came very close. This time around forces were ready.

Although I’m amazed (and quite frankly disappointed) that California reversed same sex marriage (after $75 million spent to save it and advanced polls showing it would not be reversed.)

Yeah, Aaron can spend his personal, sick or vacation days anyway he wants. I was just throwing a well-cushioned elbow to let him know that although I voted for him he gets no honeymoon with me (but he probably already knew that.)

And sure the CPA going down was a good thing indeed (hopefully I had a tiny impact and since it only went down by a couple hundred votes…). But it does somewhat increase the likelihood of an Override this Spring (Yes, the impossible passage of Question 1 would have guaranteed that).

Okay, just for you…here goes: (I just did an Irish Jig)

LarryK4 said...

Yes Mr. Morse, good analysis. When you get over 10,000 folks in Amherst voting on a Question obviously most of them are not normal voters you can count on this coming Spring.

So pro-Overriders should "see no joy" in these results.

(Yeah, I just did another Irish Jig.)

Anonymous said...

When will the open container ordinance be amended to possession of pot?

Right now, there is nothing that the police can do other than hand out tickets, and enforcing those against out-of-state non-students will be impossible.

Scherpa made it simple, the cops need to be able to arrest.

So why not just amend the open container law? Beer is legal, pot is legal - but neither on the streets of Amherst....

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, good point. Our local government moves at a snails pace but we should be able to handle that pretty quickly (especially now that the Select Board "new majority" is somewhat NORMAL (pun intended).

I'm actually hoping we can make some money off those $100 tickets (although I'm not sure what the split will be with the state)

O'Reilly said...

Pot is not legal.

It has been decriminalized for possession of an amount less than 1 oz.

I don't think the referendum changes the laws about smoking pot in public.

Sherpa mat be able to arrest and hold until the substance is weighed and identified, then release as the ticket is paid.

The local town keeps the whole fine.

Mr. Morse may be able to offer an opinion on the issue from a strictly personal opinion perspective, naturally.

-- -- -- --
Is the Town of Amherst budget public information? I would like to take a scalpel to it before discussion of an override begins.

I'm quite certain it is loaded up with at least 20% non-essential services that most towns do not incur because they don't believe that town government should fund such enterprises.

Alison said...

O'Reilly, we have information on the various areas of the budget as presented to us by the individual budget managers on our web site. Enjoy

Alison Donta-Venman, member FCCC