Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I am the God of Hellfire!

That is until he runs into the Goddess of Good: Queen Stephanie, the new--and vastly improved-- Amherst Select Board Chair. Just watch how she sorts out Larry Shaffer, the appointed Town Manager at the end of the rather brief discussion of this 'Only in Amherst' July 4'th Parade controversy.

And she was smart enough at the outset to announce that this was an internal discussion so NO comments/discussion from the general public. Two parade Committee members and two members of the League of Women Voters attended, looking 'locked-and-loaded'.

Key points: The private group who revived the Parade in 2002 (less than 10 months after the Twin Towers came down) WILL get their permit--and for the optimal time parameters, without being bullied into allowing war protesters or the KKK to march.

Don't worry about the Town Mangler babbling something about the Police Chief having concerns. In a Club for patriotic, law-and-order, stand up guys Chief Charlie Scherpa would be President.

In fact, he actually worked in uniform this past 4'th of July, and we know the Town Manager (with a much higher salary) certainly did not.

Of course Shaffer now has only two bargaining chips: use of town equipment (police cruisers, firetrucks and ambulances--you know, the kind of equipment that many other towns have unconditionally provided) and the threat from rogue elements of the League of Women Voters promoting an "ancillary" Protest Parade (with help from the Town Mangler of course).

The Select Board backed him up on the former but not the latter.

Alisa Brewer jumped in and suggested Shaffer could not deem either event the official "town parade," as to show favoritism (and we know which group he would try to anoint with officialdom).

Interestingly one of the members of the League of Woman Voters present, Robert Romer, also attended that 'Eve of Destruction' September 10, 2001 Select Board meeting where he spoke for less display of the American flag.

As a long-time, card-carrying member of the ACLU, he dubbed the original letter to the Town Manager and Select Board six months ago as "one ACLU lawyer's opinion, and is not representative of all ACLU members." Hmmm, that would be the award-winning lawyer Bill Newman, who has been Director of the Western Massachusetts ACLU forever?

And that letter had to be approved by a bevy of other ACLU attorneys before it was ever sent.

The most recent strongly worded, eyeball-to-eyeball, follow-up letter (see yesterday's upload) demanding the Town Manger stand down and issue the permit immediately--otherwise go to war--was never even directly mentioned last night; the proverbial 1,000 pound gorilla in the room that everybody tried to ignore...but whose influence was undeniable.

The Town Manager most definitely blinked.
video

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

stephanie is doing a great job of keeping the meetings running on time, minimizing/eliminating the rambling comments of the board, and reducing citizen hijacking of the meetings. she is also doing a great job of trying to build in accountability for mr. shaffer, who pretty much does what he wants. remember who hired him: awad, hubley, kusner, greeney and weiss.

Ed said...

Three things:

First, I am not so sure that Charlie Scherpa is the angel some think he is. I was NOT impressed with how he handled the Hobart affair, on either level (student or townie) and the biggest question was if he knew who was selling the beer to the underaged UM students (and he did because he handed out a printout of the website at the subsequent press conference), why didn't he simply arrest that/those persons?

No beer, no riot. It wouldn't have happened....

Second, assuming there isn't an injury issue, I think it BETTER for the Firefighters and Police to be marching without their equipment (or perhaps riding on the back of, say, a Cowls Lumber flatbed truck).

The community needs to see who they are - as people - and this is far better than the shadow behind the wheel of the car. Seeing the cop marching in uniform might be enough to get the teenager to come forward and tell the same cop (in the same uniform) something on a Friday night that otherwise might not get told....

Third, isn't it ironic that the League of Women Voters, who are supposed to be impartial, are the ones who have become partial here. They have put my respect for the organization into the toilet.

Fourth, as to Bill Newman, anyone confusing him for a conservative is obtuse. He is in a difficult position because he is having to tell his friends that they are wrong. And I respect him for it.

And as to the town manager, lets find out where he got his Masters Degree in Town Mangling so that we can all not go there.....

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, 'His Lordship' is the only one left and he will be history when his seat is up

And by then, we will be well on the way to a new--more accountable--form of government anyway.

Ed said...

Recall provisions?

What is the recall provision for a Town Manager? One would think that there be some sort of something....

LarryK4 said...

Hey Ed,
We posted simultaneously--you owe me a beer.

Anonymous said...

Time to bring the charter/mayor question back into the spotlight? Who is going to collect all of the necessary signatures this time around?

Anonymous said...

The town manager says he has 30 years in college towns. What other college town(s)?

Yes, I can research through my networks if I know WHICH college towns (and hence colleges) to make inquiries at.

And maybe if we bring up his past we can deal with the present....

Anonymous said...

Ithaca College (NY) and Keene State (NH)...happy hunting!

maryd said...

I just have one question so I'm clear on this since I didn't see anything besides the clip you provided. Police and fire will be allowed to participate in uniform?

Anonymous said...

awad, hubley, kusner, greeney and weiss.

actually, they made the final approval, but the manager was selected by a special committee...a. terizzi sat on that committee, i don't know who else

O'Reilly said...

"I have no reason whatsoever to deny it. I intend to approve the permit, as is. As a matter of fact, not only will I, I can't not sign it, so um, I have to sign it."

While he may still believe the moral or ethical or even American thing to do is force the acceptance of protest in the parade, he clearly knows whose job approval he needs to remain employed in Amherst (not that a threat was made just that he gets it.)

I think his familiarity with Amherst finances and the confidence SB members have developed in him, is very important at this time. Equally important is his ability to take direction (on matters of policy as determined by the SB) in both town issues and town finances.

Enough about Shaffer. Here's an idea for protesters. I hereby suggest that a July 4/Amherst Free Speech rally be conducted at the end of the parade route, with music from marching bands, a program of speakers, candied apples, dunk the clown, wading pool, Amherst High Chorus singing God Bless America, sack race... you get the idea. We used to hold family events on 7/4 on Community field as recently as 1976. Why not organize a post parade event whereby parade attendees follow the end of the parade to this post-parade event?

Anonymous said...

YAY Queen Stephanie and YAY Prince Larry!!!!!!!!!!


Making Amhesrt the place it SHOULD be!!!!!!!!!

LarryK4 said...

Hey Mary D:
Yes, police and fire can march in uniform (in either Parade--if indeed certain members of the League of Women Voters follows through with their "ancillary" Protest Parade.)

Anonymous said...

Can the league *force* the police and fire to march????

That could be interesting....

Anonymous said...

No.

Anonymous said...

if the lowv,or anyone else for that matter, wants to protest, then go get a permit and organize the damn thing. i don't understand why the town government needs to organize a protest against the government. i think the harry brooks (and others in town) are just plain lazy. they want the town to do all the work to give them a platform to whine. yeesh.

Ed said...

> LarryK4 said...
> Hey Ed,
> We posted simultaneously
> --you owe me a beer.

Were I to give you a beer, and then you to do something that the Amherst Town Manager didn't like, UMass could kick me out of school.

It doesn't really matter if the beer influenced your decision, if what you did was technically illegal, or even if it was a Constitutionally-protected right of free speech, if the Town Manager is upset with what you do, and you attended a social event in my domicile (even were it to be a house that I own, that had been in the family since the Revolution), UMass is happy to appease Amherst by punishing me for you.

Is this legal -- no. UMass gets sued with some degree of frequency and it quietly issues 6-figure settlements with equal frequency. And sooner or later, Amherst is going to get named as a defendant (possibly with the 4-person bylaw) and that will be yet another budget item of concern.

And yes, I would sue if necessary - but it is a whole lot easier not to have to be the lead plaintiff in a case.

And hence, no beer for Larry....