Monday, June 8, 2009

A Mexican standoff

Helen Thelen , Stephanie O'Keeffe, Alisa Brewer, Kevin Joy. Friday

So the trials and tribulations of the July 4’th Parade in the People’s Republic of Amherst is starting to resemble an old Buck Rogers movie serial with every week a new cliffhanger ending to the ongoing sad saga.

At last week's Select Board meeting (out of nowhere) former Lordship Gerry Weiss issued a public “plea” for the private Parade Committee to relent “just this year” and allow “free speech” in the Parade line of march so that the town could allow Police and Fire vehicles so that retiring police chief Charlie Scherpa and Fire Chief Keith Hoyle could lead the parade as Grand Marshals.

I asked the previous week: why can’t the town—just this year--allow the Parade Committee their First Amendment right (upheld by a 9-0 Supreme Court decision) to decide "what not to say" and allow town equipment so that two retiring chiefs with over 75 years of service could be publicly thanked by the people--especially children--in the community?

On Friday Princess Stephanie and Alisa Brewer (one shy of a Select board quorum) came to the VFW to press the issue with the July 4’th Parade Committee. No shots fired, but no treaty signed.

Interestingly last Monday Alisa Brewer said the town’s 250’th Parade Committee had created a superb float that would be in the Hadley 350’th Parade this coming Saturday and the Amherst July 4’th Parade.

Hmmm…even if the float is built with all volunteer labor and donated materials it is still town property. But town officials are allowing this vehicle in the July 4’th Parade even though enforcing a ban on police and fire vehicles unless the Committee surrenders their principals?

Oh, I forgot: the town’s 250’ th Parade is being held to a totally different set of standards than is the private July 4’th Parade.


Anonymous said...

Gerry Weiss wants the parade committee to make another concession - allow a protest section - a concession in addition to it's policy to allow all groups but no protest signs.

Weiss wants the concession in order to WORK AROUND an unjustifiable policy that the Select Board's DIRECT REPORT Larry Shaffer invented in order to "persuade" the parade committee to allow protests.

At the same time, the town' 250th anniversary parade will not allow protests. WTF?

Is the SB and Town Manager for or against protest in parades? If they are in favor of protest, why not the 250th anniversary parade too.

We don't hear Weiss making a plea to the 250th anniversary parade to concede their right of free speech, do we? Why not? Because the Select Board does not want protest in the 250th anniversary parade.

Once again, Amherst government leaders are bending over backwards asking the wrong party to relent.

They should be all over Larry Shaffer for his ineffective and bone-headed arbitration and problem solving ability that has left them in this position.

Also, they, the Select Board, will all march. So much for a principled objection to the parade committee's policy.

LarryK4 said...

I'm pretty sure Ms. Stein and Mr. Weiss are NOT marching (although Mr. Weiss did jokingly offer his car--a veritable anti-war billboard--for lease.

Anonymous said...

Larry, I noticed you referred to Weisses car as anti war. Are you pro-war? Under what circumstances? Are all wars good ones or only those that we are fighting in? Are all wars we fight good wars? What are your thoughts on the Vietnam War?

Don't put words in my mouth and say that I'm not patriotic or that I don't respect military people. I repsect them enough to know that starting a war, or even entering a war, should be the last resort for any country to defend itself. I repsect our soldiers enough to know that sending them to war is sending them to die, perhaps. Is there a bigger decision for any President? Did Bush realize this?

Were you pro Iraq war II? I'd be surprised if you were since you call yourself a journalist and are so interested in uncovering the facts behind the bullshit.

Fact: Bush said we had to invade Iraq because they were threatening us with WMD and had 500 tons of wmd.

Fact: Not one ounce of wmd was ever found in Iraq after our invasion.

What do you think about those facts?

Forget the name calling, Larry, just stick to the facts, please.

LarryK4 said...

Unlike Amherst Town Meeting (who voted unanimously to "continue negotiations with Saddam Hussein" the night before the bombing of Baghdad was televised live on CNN), I was decidedly “pro” first Iraq War; and went on record early and often saying I would not have gone into Iraq the second time the way President Bush did although if I inherited it at the time of “the surge” would have defiantly gone with that strategy (and it seems to have made the difference).

I honestly don’t think Mr. Weiss would take offense at me name-calling his car “anti-war.”

“His Lordship”, on the other hand…

Anonymous said...

Ms. Brewer and Ms. O'Keeffe look tired in that picture of their pow-wow with the Parade Committee.

Is there any doubt that they are busting their asses for this Town?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
LarryK4 said...

Me thinks the Parade Committee is pretty tired as well.

Anonymous said...

I prefer "Irish standoff," or "English standoff," or "white nitwit stadoff."

Anonymous said...

I mean "Madoff."

LarryK4 said...

Certainly in your case NITWIT would apply (and that term, like Lady Justice, is blind)