Thursday, November 6, 2008

What if they gave a meeting...

7:45 PM
So the Facilitation of Community Choices Committee’s last public forum occurred this evening…errrrrr, sort of. Scheduled for 7-9 PM in Town Hall’s Town Room--the ultra prime location (where the venerable Select Board meets no less) tonight’s extravaganza attracted five committee members (of 10), one spouse, and zero members of the general public.

Considering just over 5,000 residents voted in the May 1’st, 2007 Override (that failed 2,650 to 2,383) you must wonder if maybe everybody is suffering from election fatigue.

Or maybe the failure of the CPA tax increase (a thinly veiled perpetual Override) on November 4’Th sent a message. Let’s hope.

Next week under Article 1: ‘Reports of Boards and Committees’ the FCCC gets to present their report/update to Amherst Town Meeting, a large captive --although clueless-- audience. But I’m told the grumpy Moderator is only allowing them a total of five minutes.

So...these folks have been meeting weekly since May 15, and they are charged with laying out a FIVE-YEAR economic strategy for our $65+ million dollar Ship of State, and they only get five minutes.

Yet we have a plethora of Town Meeting members that will drone on all by themselves for over five minutes about world peace, saving the whales, or taking public transportation.


Alison said...

Larry, yes, the turnout last night was disappointing to say the least. We have tried so hard to raise public awareness and interest. It's just like voting, though...if you can't take the time to vote (i.e. complete our questionnaire), you shouldn't complain if you don't like the results of the election (i.e. our recommendations).

Also disappointing to only get five minutes in front of TM, but we'll make the best of it. All TM members have already received our materials and a copy of our questionnaire in their meeting materials. So they should have some clue what the situation is...

Alison Donta-Venman, member FCCC

LarryK4 said...

Not sure I would ever use the word "clue" in the same sentence as Town Meeting unless attaching the qualifier "less" to it.

Yeah, I know what it's like to work your butt off promoting something and then getting a disappointing turnout (although I have to admit, never quite that lousy)

Maybe take a clue from the recent election: free ice cream went over well in town center for what appeared to be mostly student voters. Although I think a free pint from the Amherst Brewing Company would go over even better.

I know you have no budget whatsoever (a big mistake by the way) but you may be able to talk a civic-minded business into donating bribery goods.

And try to get Hwei-Ling Greeney involved: she pretty much single-handedly orchestrated very successful budget presentations in the Town Room a few years back.