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.