Friday, December 5, 2008

Yes, Virginia, even in Amherst.

UPDATE: Monday, 12/8 9:30 AM As Mary Carey pointed out the great thing about a blog is that you have expert readers who can set the record strait. So I just received an email from an overly reliable member of Amherst PD who wanted to correct one of Ed's comments about traffic control:

The Univ. Police Dept. is ENTIRELY in Charge of the Traffic Detail for Commencement. It is THEIR plan and they hire us. (APD). They tell us where they would like officers to be and which direction they want traffic routed. I believe they use a plan that was designed by the students themselves.

ORIGINAL Post 12/5 8:00 PM Okay so this year the Merry Maple (not to be confused with a Christmas Tree)is a tiny bit more merry than last year when it looked like the poster tree for a North Korean anti air raid illustration. The Umass band under the amiable direction of George Parks was outstanding as always.


Ed Cutting said...

What happened last night is clear and convincing evidence why the Amherst townies DESERVE to have obnoxious UMass students waking them up at 2AM and urinating on their lawns.

There is a social contract. There is something called "civility." There is something about respecting the needs and interests of others - and being basicaly decent. There is also a general expectation to what one living in a community can expect and can rely upon expecting.

People with small children tend not to like to have neighbors having wild keg parties and half-naked and totally drunk undergrads coverting on the lawn, this is not unreasonable.

People past the age of 25 tend to go to bed before midnight and don't like to be woken up by revelers coming home from the bars at 1-2AM, this also is not unreasonable.

People of all ages tend not to like to pick up broken beer bottles off their front lawns and this too is not unreasonable.


TO DO THIS WITHOUT NOTICE TO US! TO DO THIS WITHOUT OFFICERS DIRECTING US TO ALTERNATE ROUTES! (Larry, how many paid officers did you have to hire for the July 4th?)


So thus I ask but one question: why shouldn't the UMass kid wind a beer bottle on your lawn? Why shouldn't he (or she) urinate on your lawn? Why not cut off your arbivite for a dorm-room Christmas tree? Why not shriek and shout at 2AM outside your windows?

Boys and girls, the social contract is a two way street and that means you have to GIVE consideration to others in order to expect to get it from them. You simply can not hire enough police officers to do it by fiat (anyone remember the 55MPH speed limit of the late '70s and early '80s?).

And why should I be upset about my fellow students doing obnoxious things to people who treat *ME* in an equally obnoxious manner?


I am all for Christmas, anyone who knows me knows that. I am all for childrens' activities and the rest. But if the UMass students treated the Amherst townies like they treated us last night, well it would put a tear in the space/time continium....

LarryK4 said...

Well, maybe town officials figured the Umass Marching Band comprises most of the good kids on campus and they were part of the event.

(just kidding).

Hmmm... did they shut off University Drive going south to Rt 9? Or Massachusetts Avenue going west over to Hadley? Or North Pleasant Street that goes by Puffton Village and Hobart Lane to North Amherst center (where you can take a left and get on Rt 116)?

Or just Town Center (where the vast majority of Umass kids could not afford to live)?

Ed said...

Larry, as I am sure you know, the state wanted to re-route Route 9 through Marks' Meadow so as to connect with the relocated Route 116 (which used to be North Pleasant Street before the bypass was built).

The town freaked out and prevented this from happening. And as a result, all of the traffic coming from the UM campus is naturally funneled through downtown. And the merchants like this, and it becomes force of habit.

But when police officers are driving cruisers with at least one leg out the door (a tactic more appropriate for, and quite likely learned in Bagdad) you kinda have to admit that it was a cluster****. ...

And my attitude is simple - if warning signs had been posted days before (as you do with the July 4th Parade), if there had been officers re-directing traffic (as opposed to generally uncontrolled road rage on Amnity street as folks turned around (somehow without anyone getting run over), if the standards of not interfering with the social order that UM students are held to was observed, then I would celebrate this event.

But fair is fair. People can avoid the sports riots too...

Anonymous said...

Nothing is fair, in Amherst. If it were, we would still have Baby Jesus in the manger, and a real Christmas tree, to represent some of the rest of the residents who pay taxes in this town. I guess I will have to come out of the closet and start fighting for the rights that being a tax-payer warrant, but not necessariy guarantee. I am open for a committee to join me in my eneavor.

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me! This happens for the first time time with the potential of only happening once a year. The "Drunken Revelry" happens every weekend, every semester. So Mr. Ed. how do you compare the two. Don't be so tunnel visioned with the Umass needs always coming first. We all will be inconvenienced from time to time, and many times even if it is announced may be over looked, such as the Merry Maple or I think all of us have unconsciously forgot about the graduation exodus at graduation. The point is I have the patience to deal with it and understanding that these are some of the things I as a "townie" will continually deal with. So suck it up we do!

Ed said...

Two responses.

First, a girl was killed in a parade in Texas. So it isn't just the evil UM students that I am worrying about.

I know of a case in North Village where a 10-year-old ran his bicycle down a staircase, destroying it and injuring himself. When asked why he did it, he said that he saw a (bike patrol) police officer do it and it looked like fun.

Have a parade on SATURDAY. Have a good one and do it right. And announce that you are going to do it.

Second, as to UMass, it makes great effort to abate its impact on the town. Draconian (and unConstitutional) punishment of identified student miscreants, rescheduling of events (like the segregated Grad commencement so less traffic), and above all else TELLING PEOPLE about it.

As to the commencement mess, that guilt belongs to the AMHERST police department and how THEY (not the UMPD) route traffic. UMass could do it, bring in State Troopers and direct traffic all the way out to 202 but Amherst might be concerned...

Ed said...

How to get Baby Jesus back on the Common.

It can be done - the same way that I got a Christmas Tree back on the UMass Campus.

First, forget the issue of Religion and go with the "free speech" protections. The argument is one of content neutrality - again not one of religion but that if the municipality allows any *other* form of political/symbolic speech there, it becomes an unConstitutional content-based censorship act to prevent you from having your speech.

Now there is a very large pole with a blue flag on it - that is inherent political speech. And it doesn't matter how many times Town Meeting voted to authorize it, if it is allowed, every OTHER form of speech in a similar manner must be permitted in the same time & place.

So they either take down the UN flag or allow Baby Jesus to be next to him. Doesn't matter which, but this is the law.

Marissa said...

not to say putting UMass first is right ... but without UMass, there won't be any money going into Amherst