Monday, January 12, 2009

Freedom of the Blogosphere

UPDATE: 3:00 PM So the Super has granted me permission to attend the School Committee meeting tomorrow night. Gee, that's right up there with "being allowed" to attend a Town Meeting (or root canal).

He attaches a memo from Ronald Bohonowicz explaining that they purposely keep water temperature down in the bathrooms (so I guess they could turn it up if they wanted) and he includes the Uniform State Plumbing Code that restricts temperature to a maximum of 110 but have no minimums.

But the Mass Department of Public Health has the following:


410.190: Hot Water

The owner shall provide and maintain in good operating condition the facilities capable of heating water. The owner shall also provide the hot water for use at a temperature of not less than 110°F (43° C) and in a quantity and pressure sufficient to satisfy the ordinary use of all plumbing fixtures which normally need hot water for their proper use and function, unless and to the extent the occupant is required to provide fuel for the operation of the facilities under a written letting agreement. The hot water shall not exceed 130°F (54° C).

The Board of Health agent, Gary Courtemanche visited the school on Friday afternoon (01/09/09) and found the temperature at the Boy's bathroom to be 86.7. At the kitchen sink it was fortunately at 110 and the dish machine washed at 154 and rinsed at 182.

On Jan 12, 2009, at 10:22:27 AM, wrote:

Co-Superintendent Sprague:

Please consider this a formal written request for permission to set
foot on Amherst School property--specifically the Amherst Pelham
Regional High School--to attend the School Committee meeting tomorrow
night January 13 at 7:00 PM where I believe the water temperature issue
at Wildwood Elementary School will be discussed.

Larry Kelley


Anonymous said...

Always better to ask rather than to create conflict through confrontation.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't have recognized his authority to do this and instead filed for an injunction.

He has no authority to make you ask for permission, his trespass order thus was a violation of your civil rights and you should be appealing it along those lines. Via the process, but making an issue of the fact that you protest his action in the first place.

It would be like his saying "women not allowed" somewhere and a woman asking for permission to be exempt one time from the decree -- not challenging it outright.

Anonymous said...

I agree.

LarryK4 said...

Well the problem is the School Committee meets tomorrow night. So I'm not sure how quick and easy it is to get an injunction.

Although the Super did seem to get the Trespass Notice fairly quickly.

So just for the record: I believe he had no right to trespass me and I will appeal it, but until then I wish to attend the SC meeting and he could--and probably would--call the police if I simply showed up.

But you're right, I should have stated something to the effect that this written request for permission was "under protest;" and I probably should have CC'd the entire School Committee.

He has yet to respond.

Anonymous said...

You can still do that... before he gives "permission".

Alison said...

Never to late to cc the School Committee. In case the Super doesn't respond in a timely fashion, perhaps one of our elected officials will bring up the issue at the meeting on Tuesday.

I think you did the right thing and your email was not an admission that you think the trespass order was justifiable. I will be interested to see if you receive a response.

Anonymous said...

You should fight this Larry. You're being persecuted. Take it to the Supreme Court or even higher. Go to The Hague. You should sue for $10 billion in damages. They have sullied your good name. Your right to measure water temperature in a boys bathroom shall not be infringed. I say we all take a day off and grind this town to a halt. Let's lie down in the middle of the road and stop traffic.

Free Larry Kelley!

Anonymous said...

Hate to point this out but you can't sue him personally. He's executing his job as a school official and he's indemnified by the town. You have no grounds to prove that he did anything criminal or negligent (a decision you don't like doesn't count) so case closed.

Just make nice and they'll let you back in. Perhaps you should start with an apology and a statement that you will follow their directions in the future.

No running with scissors either.

Anonymous said...

"I say we all take a day off and grind this town to a halt. Let's lie down in the middle of the road and stop traffic."

You can lie down in the middle of the road. Please.

Anonymous said...

"Just make nice and they'll let you back in. Perhaps you should start with an apology and a statement that you will follow their directions in the future."

Yes Mr. Sprague. Yes, my master.

Anonymous said...

My rights are being violated! I have a constitutional right to take photographs in the boys bathroom of every elementary school in Amherst. I pay their salary! I have rights! I will not be intimidated! I will not back down!

Anonymous said...

I hear there's a burned out lightbulb in the hallway, you better investigate!

Anonymous said...

He called your bluff Larry and like any bluff you had no cards.

Anonymous said...

I guess you missed the day in social studies class when they explained freedom of the press. It's the freedom to write anything you want not go anywhere you want.

Ed Cutting said...

First off, Larry *can* sue him personally, in US District Court, for a violation of his civil rights under color of law. These are the old Anti-Klan statutes that was known as the Civil Rights Act of 1871 and still are in effect with their civil and criminal penalties. (As to the latter, anyone remember the *Federal* prosecution of the LAPD officers for violating the civil rights of one Mr. Rodney King?)

See, for example 42 U.S.C. § 1983 which reads (in part) "[e]very person who under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, Suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress...."

Now if Larry was to sue the Supt in *state* court, *Massachusetts* law states that the *school district* (not town) would have to pay the damages, but I have been told by cops (who are quite familiar with 42 USC 1983) that they have been told that they are on their own in this kind of a suit -- that the AntiKlan statute was written so that the towns couldn't assume the liability of the individual actors.

The right of a citizen to attend a public meeting is an inherent civil right that is being violated. The Supt of Schools will just be too busy to answer Larry's letter (although having Sheriff Knightly deliver it would be a good investment of $40).

And I still say that it is a good thing that they are dealing with Larry and not me, because I would have already filed for an emergency injunction against tomorrow's meeting being held in the school building.

And the true irony of all of this is that the uberLeftist Amherst Regional School District is in violation of laws written to punish the Klu Klux Klan....

Ed Cutting said...

One other thing -- the Town Mangler's comment in Saturday's Gazette that he has a legal opinion that the 4-unmarried-person bylaw is unConstitutional (note "married" and you can see why) -- but that he doesn't care and will enforce it anyway -- well that is 42 USC 1983 as well....

Sorry folks....

Anonymous said...

Ronald Bohonowicz:

He speaks, must be the truth, he NEVER lies, right!

Anonymous said...

"(As to the latter, anyone remember the *Federal* prosecution of the LAPD officers for violating the civil rights of one Mr. Rodney King?)"

Rodney King? Great example. That was about an equivalent level of harm. Beaten to a pulp vs. asked to leave the premises.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear the temperature for the dish machine is just fine. Maybe they can tweak the bathroom mixing valve and Larry can back down from Def-Con 4.

O'Reilly said...

Larry, I think you made a good choice by complying with his arguably illegitimte trespass order to obtain the right to access by written request because

1) your are cooperating and that puts you in a good light when you choose to challenge the trespass order through official channels

2) in does not diminish your claim when you do challenge it. It is still an unreasonable burden not expected of others and not justified as to cause (in the order or elsewhere)

3) he's going to get tired of answering your requests and responding in writing. Keep it up. I'm sure there are many legitimate reasons and you will think of them all.

Anonymous said...

Get a clue Ed. Its Unrelated, not unmarried.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah Anon 3:38 PM, and they should (in fact probably did so a couple days ago) But 86.7 is still too low.

Why is the water at the sink station in the kitchen at 110 (where it should be)?

Well obviously because you want to make sure adult food handlers kill critters on their hands effectively, otherwise they could infect a fairly large number of kids by passing germs on via the food.

But what about the individual kids not having the same benefit of more efficient germ killing temperatures in the bathrooms?

They pass the germs to themselves from hand to eye or mouth, become infected and then later perhaps infect a sibling or parent at home.

Ed said...

> Rodney King? Great example.
> That was about an equivalent level
> of harm. Beaten to a pulp vs.
> asked to leave the premises.

Actually, being asked to stop for an officer versus being asked to leave the premises. Neither, itself, being really grounds for the suit -- it was what was done later.

Ed said...

> Get a clue Ed. Its Unrelated,
> not unmarried.

I believe it is actually "unrelated by either blood or marriage."

So lets say that six people decide to share a house. That is a violation of the ordinance. Lets say three decide to marry the other three (gay, straight, whatnot). That would not be a violation.

And you can't have any ordinance that treats people differently because they aren't married.

QED, your ordinance (written back when you *could* treat people differently because they weren't married) is now illegal. It isn't us conservatives who made the law this way....

Ed said...

I always thought that dish machines had to wash at 160 -- although there may be new detergents certified to wash at lower temperatures.

Of course, exactly how difficult was it to have the town sanitarian go down there with his fancy IR thermometer and see what the actual temp was/is? And why wasn't this done the FIRST time that Larry raised this issue?

Who is issuing Supt of Schools certificates -- are they now in Cracker Jack boxes???

Anonymous said...

Go ahead fight it Larry. This should be fun - middle age man fights to have access to the little boys room so that he can take pictures. By the way, why didn't you test the water in the teachers bathrooms?


LarryK4 said...

And if I had NOT taken the one single picture on Thursday afternoon with the School Principal standing there the entire time (total of about 3.5 minutes) after twice verifying with him that no children were present, nitwits like you would be saying I lied about the under 80 degree temperature readout that the photo clearly shows (after two minutes in the water).

And as I said, Principal Behnke was with me the entire time, so it would have been hard for me to have introduced an ice cube into the mix.

Anonymous said...

from another thread:
Anonymous said...
from the blogger:
" So yeah, if it makes you feel any better I'll say it more clearly (my kids are now in bed):

You're a FUCKING nitwit!"

Earth to the blogger: this stuff stays up until your kids wake up/ until they are old enough to read/ until....well... it's archived forever!

January 12, 2009 2:23 PM

Everybody should be careful what they write in public forums. These things can come back to haunt years later.

Anonymous said...

I had a nearly identical experience several years ago dealing with the Exeter (London England) school district. Very exasperating. I spent weeks running the gaunlet through several levels of bureaucracy before actually getting the district to seriously address the problem. I actually had to threaten legal action in order to get them to investigate the cause of the frigid toilet water. As I suspected, it was the Gerry's. Have you checked to see of there are any Gerry's in the physical plant? I bet there's a Gerry there.

Wiston Churchill.

P.S. If the whole tepid water crisis isn't consuming all of your time, could you turn your laser investigtive eye towards ferreting out why skim milk costs so much more than whole milk? I mean, it comes from the same cow.

I determined that the low water temperatures were due to the Jerry's. I told them that it was unacceptable and that we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing-grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, Anon 8:34 PM:
Thanks for making my point about "Vagina Monologues" performed by High School kids (and remember, the Bulletin would not even use the word Vagina in a headline)

From another post (where I always use my name)

Anonymous said...

Your theory that only 110 degree water will kill germs doesn't hold water. In fact, cold water will kill more germs than warm water. Only if the kids dipped their hands in boiling water would the heat be enough to kill germs. The soap and the friction of hand washing are the main way that germs are removed. And my kids that go to Wildwood think the temperature is fine, and i don't want them burning their hands. And they have a good case to trespass you because you didn't sign in the first time, and left a broken piece of glass there without reporting it. But please, don't waste town money by making a federal case out of it. Perhaps a mediator can be used to resolve the trespass thing?

Anonymous said...

Larry did you check and make sure the schools don't live buy a different set of rules for this?

They always live by a different set for everything else.

LarryK4 said...

Hot water makes the soap work better. Yes, if it is heat alone you would need scalding hot water to kill the little critters (why water in the tank itself has to stay at least 140).

There was no broken glass as the glass part of the thermometer did not break, it only broke away from the plastic backing when it hit the sink (not the sink that spewed filthy brown water) and then disappeared (if it shattered the red dye (that is NOT MERCURY) would have made it pretty easy to find.

But yeah, I love mediation.

Anonymous said...

Daily Hampshire Gazette Headline:

After complaint, Amherst school water found to be OK

Oh, well Larry, never mind. Time to find some other nonexistent crisis to worry about.

LarryK4 said...

Anon: 10:36 AM
I did find this on the Department of Education website:

1.Water Temperature. The school shall provide both hot and cold running water in sinks, tubs, and showers. For preschool and severely disabled students the water temperature shall be no more than one hundred twenty degrees Fahrenheit and no less than one hundred ten degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature may be controlled through regulation of the boiler or a mixing valve in the faucet

So if the younger the child the more careful you have to be with water temperature I would find it strange the DOE regulates minimum temperatures at 110 for "preschool and severely disabled student" but not for older elementary school students. But who knows, maybe this will become one of those "there ought to be a law" scenarios.
If there are “no minimums” then you could simply shut off the hot water entirely to all the bathrooms and just buy a small water heater for the dishwasher.

Anonymous said...

"There was no broken glass as the glass part of the thermometer did not break, it only broke away from the plastic backing when it hit the sink (not the sink that spewed filthy brown water) and then disappeared (if it shattered the red dye (that is NOT MERCURY) would have made it pretty easy to find"

So what do you think about the finding of the glass? Do you think they whipped up a story? I do.

Anonymous said...

can someone post the text of the gazette article. Thanks.

LarryK4 said...

All I can tell you is when Sprague showed it to me last week while accusing me of lying in our previous phone conversation the thermometer was still working.

And if I was getting a Trespass order over the thermometer then why did he not issue it on December 11 when the incident first happened?

Anonymous said...

Because he didn't know at the time that you are an obsessed busybody that won't go away.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Larry, I have seen numerous people leave a bathroom and never stop at a sink. I guess, therefore, why the need for any kind of H2O. I betcha the ones that are calling you a busy body are the ones that hate handwashng. I would not want to dine at their home, if that is the case. It's like washing your hands at the Franklin County Fair, NO HOT WATER, and no suds from the soap. Keep up the good work. Amherst needs awakening.

Until later...........

LarryK4 said...


Yeah, I've seen that as well.

The Center for Disease control states:
"“Hand washing is the single most important means of preventing the spread of infection.”

And if the sink in the Wildwood kitchen is at 110 (because higher temperatures are more effective) then why not the rest rooms?

Tony said...

Your doing the proper thing requesting permission to attend the meeting, since whether or not you should even have to won't be determined in time. It's good to hear that in fact there is hot water in the building for washing, but still disturbing that kids have to wash up with cold. Good job bringing (plenty) of attention to the issue. Poor job of the super for not immediately addressing a very real concern with a simple explanation.

LarryK4 said...

Hey Tony,
Thanks. The funny thing is as I was just starting to get on a role, School Committee member Kathleen Anderson sort of shrugged and said--somewhat under her breath but loud enough for most to hear--something to the effect that there's no hot water in the High School either.

School Committee Chair Andy Churchill quickly shushed her. Hmmm....

And when I said that if there indeed are "no minimum" temperatures mandated for restrooms then that means they could simply shut off "hot water" system entirely (and keep it one or two degrees above freezing). He shrugged and said to take it up with Public Health.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if they had an override they could afford to heat the water.. oh yeah that's right you were opposed to the override.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah that's right I was (and if you remember, a majority of Amherst voters agreed with me). Mainly because of nonsense like this!

And there is little-to-no cost savings going down from 110 to 86.7 degrees.

Ed Cutting said...

My personal favorite: At the same meeting (a few hours later) the Mark's Meadow Principal invited everyone to "come spend a day, or even a few hours" in that school so that they see why it shouldn't be closed.

So, like, concerned members of the public will get trespassed from all schools for going into Fort River, yet they are all encouraged to go into Mark's Meadow. Makes sense to me...

Anonymous said...

eh.. interesting post )

Anonymous said...

и всё эе: благодарю... а82ч