Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Inside baseball (of the Gay variety)

So that disembodied voice you hear responding, “No, I was hoping the Select Board would comment, so I have no comment,” was indeed me. I had emailed the entire Select Board earlier that morning suggesting they make a (brief) public statement in support of Massachusetts State Senator Stan Rosenberg, who ever so casually mentioned in a Daily Hampshire Gazette July 4th column that he was, gasp, gay.

Even earlier that morning, finishing up a bike ride, I ran into (almost literally) former SB Chair Gerry Weiss and pitched the idea face to face. When I got home two minutes later I emailed the entire Select Board.

From a PR perspective I can see Princess Stephanie’s point (play-it-safe, keep silent), as back when she actually worked for a living as a flak in the Detroit car industry (obviously W-A-Y back in the good old days) you let a negative lie low (or is it lay?) and blow over. Don’t address it because it simply feeds the news cycle. But my theory is that Stan’s being gay is not a negative

And today’s crusty Daily Hampshire Gazette editorial demonstrates (better late than never)they agree with me: What Stan did was pretty damn courageous and should be publicly applauded; while what the Amherst Select Board did was pretty damn cowardly.

Of course the little old Gazette is happy Stan Rosenberg did it on their editorial page rather than their competition the BIG city Springfield Republican. Although I couldn’t help note that when the AP picked up the story they did so from the Springfield Republican's article a few days later and not the Gazette.

Today's Gazette editorial:

Worth noting: Sen. Rosenberg's news

We have to admire the courage of convictions, no matter what they are or how they are demonstrated. It is why State Sen. Stan Rosenberg's disclosure that he is gay generated a bit of news, after it appeared as a brief mention in a guest column on this page.

We live in a time when, right or wrong, we want to know about our elected leaders' private lives, as well as their public pronouncements. Rosenberg, 59, the Amherst Democrat, widely known as a hard worker, good listener and a consensus builder, is not one to speak in sound bites. He didn't do that this time either.

His 750-word column published July 4th spoke to the historical reasons Massachusetts is considered in the vanguard when it comes to tolerance, equal rights and social justice. Halfway through, he offered this insight into how his own political views were shaped: "As a foster child growing up as a ward of the state, as a gay man, as a Jew, I understand what it's like to be cast as ¿the other.' "

It made perfect sense that he would include these pieces of information about who he is to explain a belief system he holds dear.

Perhaps to explain why he has never come out as a gay man before, Rosenberg said he doesn't practice "identity politics" - and indeed the fact that he is gay, Jewish, and was a foster child, does not make him a spokesman for the gay community, the Jewish community or adopted people.

It does, however, make him sensitive to their issues. That's not identity politics, that is simply letting all of who you are guide you in the opinions you hold and the decisions you make.

It is also letting the public you serve know you more fully.

Since the column was published, Rosenberg has declined requests for interviews. Since he does not practice identity politics, we suspect he does not want his hard work on policy and legislation to get derailed by this news.

It is his choice to make such a statement and then move on, especially considering that the only reaction to the column and the news from his constituents has been positive. That may well be because Stan Rosenberg has a distinguished political career of 22 years on Beacon Hill. He served in the state House of Representatives from 1987 to 1991; and in the Senate since then. People see him doing the job they elected him for, and that's what counts.

So, bravo, Stan Rosenberg, for making this announcement and doing it in the way that felt right to you. Your constituents are glad to get to know you a little better.

-----Original Message-----
From: amherstac@aol.com
To: selectboard@amherstma.gov
Sent: Wed, Jul 8, 2009 10:45 am
Subject: A vote of support for you know who.

I hope the Select Board will take a moment at tonight's meeting to remind the general public that the town of Amherst is an "equal opportunity employer" and does not discriminate based on race, creed, color, religion, gender, transgender, sexual persuasion or political affiliation (although the last one I'm not so sure about.)

Larry K


Anonymous said...

This feeble attempt at manufactured controversy, although Mr. Kelley's stock-in-trade, seems like a bit of a stretch.

Ed said...

First, coming out as gay in Amherst is neither brave nor courageous -- now as to coming out as straight, well...

Second, Rosenberg is WRONG on his history and wrong on his historical facts.

I don't care who he sleeps with - his facts are wrong and that does matter....

Anonymous said...

"Second, Rosenberg is WRONG on his history and wrong on his historical facts."

Please explain your position. You do not present any history or historical facts.

Anonymous said...

Just leave Stan alone. Please don't use him to further your own agenda. He was just being honest. He's not looking for proclamations from the SB, TM or Senate. If you really are doing this for Stan, rather than to feed some misguided attempt to bolster yourself, you'll just let Stan go on with his life. If you're doing this to build yourself up in other people's eyes (a) it won't work, and (b) it's inappropriate.

The members of the SB are anything but cowards. If you think ignoring your attempt to make this into a bigger issue than it is represents cowardice, well... oh, never mind. I'm sure you'll call me and everybody who disagrees with you a coward or something else. Just let it go.

By the way, it's also inappropriate to put words in the SB Chair's mouth. There is no reason to believe that she considers the issue negative, so why do you assume she does?

Anonymous 28

LarryK4 said...

Anon 28

Damn I didn't know there were THAT many of you.

My "agenda" Hmmm. I'm painted as a Red-Neck Conservative Republican, and being vocally pro-Gay works into that exactly how?

The Gazette published the original coming out column on July 4, wrote a Front Page follow up story a few days later and TODAY did the belated editorial.

I tried to get the Select Board to show public support WAY back (almost a week ago) when the news cycle was still fresh.

Princess Stephanie should have known better; but she's been out of the communication business for a while now as evidenced by how often she updates her blog.

Although I did like the nifty scarf (and earrings) she was wearing on a warm summer night.

Anonymous said...

The blogmaster wants the Select Board to congratulate Stan Rosenberg publicly for being gay? Can anyone imagine how that would go?

Is this the absolute dumbest thing you've ever heard of?

LarryK4 said...

And what exactly did the Daily Hampshire Gazette do today with their editorial?


Anonymous said...

Anon 28 is right. Why make any more of Stan's identification as gay than of his identification as a Jew or as someone who spent time in foster care as a child? It is only you, Larry, along with a collection of your deranged readers that I have heard attach potentially negative connotations to Stan's disclosure. Making more of a deal about this would only serve to highlight a perceived "difference", which is entirely contrary to the message of equality and acceptance embedded in the editorial in the first place.
Anon 29

LarryK4 said...

Well then, take it up with the Gazette editorial board (they have a slightly higher readership than yours truly)

Anonymous said...

Larry, you're such a tool.


Max Hartshorne said...

Larry just because something was published in the Gazette doesn't mean the Selectboard should put out a proclamation about how great it is that Stan wrote that. We all know it, we don't care, and there are many more important things for the board to do. This one's going nowhere.

Anonymous said...

I didn't hear the Gazette denouncing the Amherst Select Board or the Northampton City Council, for that matter, for not making a public statement of support for Stan. Which is why I don't feel the need to take the issue up with their editorial board. Only yours.

Anonymous said...

"Princess Stephanie should have known better; but she's been out of the communication business for a while now as evidenced by how often she updates her blog."


Um, Larry is stupid.

Anonymous said...


Larry must have gay family. Sorry about that Larry...

Anonymous said...

Just back the white truck up to the Amherst Athletic Club and load him in.

If you say all the right things to him about Larry Shaffer, Cherry Hill, Gerry Weiss, and town government in a low tone, he should go quietly.

Anonymous said...

i like to bang chicks.

there i said it it ....what a relief holding it in all these years!

select board, will you make a public proclamation about this please? that's what town govt is for....praising sexual orientation.....isn't it?

larry, i think you are gay. who else would write "gasp"?

LarryK4 said...

I believe Amherst Town Meeting spent 10 or 20 minutes this past session to enact a by-law in support of Transgenders (and they had a $60+ million budget to pass.)

The Mass Attorney General just filed a case against the Feds to redefine marriage (and I believe she has other pretty big fish to fry)

And this morning the Gazette published a very nice letter from a Rabbi defending/praising Stan.

Anonymous said...

"I believe Amherst Town Meeting spent 10 or 20 minutes this past session to enact a by-law in support of Transgenders (and they had a $60+ million budget to pass.)

The Mass Attorney General just filed a case against the Feds to redefine marriage (and I believe she has other pretty big fish to fry)

And this morning the Gazette published a very nice letter from a Rabbi defending/praising Stan."

Larry, um, no.

Just... no. Okay?

LarryK4 said...

No what Niwit--got problems with my facts?

Alisa Brewer emailed the first two facts to the entire Select Board that very morning in response to my request.

Or did you not think the Letter to the Editor in today's Gazette was "very nice"?

Anonymous said...

Time to take your meds.

LarryK4 said...

Sorry, no beer on weekdays (or before 12:00 noon for that matter)

Ed said...

FACT -- the Danvers (not Salem) Witch prosecutions of 1691-2 and the Gay Marriage of today were IDENTICAL in that they BOTH were JUDICIAL EDICTS by OUT OF TOUCH JUDGES.

Stan starts out condemning Judge Sewall and then ignores Judge Marshall and praises the people of Massachusetts and the legislature of MA for voting for gay marriage.

Would be nice, if were true. The court imposed gay marriage, the people voted (via petition) to send it out to a vote, and the legislature voted to ignore their Constitutional duty and send this out to the people.

So gay marriage in Massachusetts is no more legitimate than lynching witches....

And Stan's *real* act of bravery was telling the town to be careful in trying to go after UM for money. That, not announcing whom he sleeps with (have we the partner's name yet? why not?) was true bravery.

Realist said...

I think I'm going to have to agree with the folks who are saying "let it go" on this one, Larry.

I've read Stan's letter several times and it appears to me that he imbedded the "I'm gay" message into the text in an "Oh, by the way..." fashion for a reason: he doesn't want or need any special attention for it. Sounds like he just wanted to release a truth that he's been holding on to for quite a while & he would probably like to just leave it at that...no flashing signs, no proclamations, no marching bands. I think if you, or anyone else who reads the letter, wants to acknowledge his courage (and I agree that it WAS indeed a courageous thing to do) they should just shoot him a private letter/email telling him how you feel & leave it at that. Anything more than that will make it into a bigger deal than I think he wants to make it & would thus penalize him for doing what he did. Just a thought...

By the way - it appears that some of your most ardent supporters on this blog have turned against you on this particular topic, so I say "good for you!" for taking a public stance on something that you most likely knew wouldn't appeal to some of your more conservative readers.

LarryK4 said...

Could not agree with you more (and we apparently disagree on occasion.)

So...why is everybody holding me to a higher standard than the venerable Daily Hampshire Gazette?

I'm kind of used to taking stances where my most "ardent supporters" are not overly happy (wait until you see the next one.)

As Popeye would say, "I yam what I yam."

Anonymous said...

No one is holding you to a higher standard. The Gazzette reported an event. You reported it too and then added an additional level of advocacy when you started pushing for the Select Board to make a public statement. You were no longer serving the same role as the Gazzette.

Realist said...

I agree...the standard is not "higher" for you, it's just that you decided to take "the next step" which I think - and others seem to think - was one step too many.

The Gazette was merely delivering an "atta boy" to Stan for his recent letter, which was appropriate given that the letter appeared in their paper. You had delivered a similar "atta boy!" in this blog and that, I believe, should have been sufficient in this case. Anything more begins to step into the gray area of sensationalism, self-promotion, and the like, and those areas are just too unseemly for something like this. Again, just another opinion to toss onto the steaming pile of opinions that this topic has generated (a topic that must be approaching some kind of record for this blog in terms of # of hits/entries!)

And good "teaser" re: your NEXT entry...can't wait to see what you've got up your sleeve given that intro!

LarryK4 said...

Anon: 1:29 PM
Learn how to spell, Nitwit.

The Gazette (sort of) reported the event on July 4 (when most people were not paying attention) then did a follow up Front Page story many days later, then yesterday did an EDITORIAL (that in journalism is totally removed from the "who, what, when, where and why" reporting)

And even TODAY published a Letter to the Editor.

LarryK4 said...


You will know it when you see it.

Anonymous said...

Anon: 1:29 PM
Learn how to spell, Nitwit.

That's right Mr. Kelley! The Anon Nitwit at 1:47 PM should learn how to spell. Gazzette, come on now!

Although, the comments made at 1:29 PM were yours. Maybe you should learn how to read? Hmmm?

Imagine that? Nobody's perfect. We're all one step away from being a Nitwit.

Welcome to the club, brother Nitwit!

LarryK4 said...

Yeah and I OWN THIS club, Nitwit.

Anonymous said...

Meaning that you are the biggest of all? I'll second that.

LarryK4 said...

Wow, the old "I know you are but what am I" routine.

Stop wasting my bandwidth Nitwit.

Anonymous said...

I always love it when you degenerate into a name calling bully. How mature.

Anonymous said...

Blogger -
You gotta find humor in this. You criticize the Gazette (and everything else, but that's another story) on an almost daily basis. Then you get criticized for an absurd position, and you say "So...why is everybody holding me to a higher standard than the venerable Daily Hampshire Gazette?"
So now the Gazette is your benchmark? Hmmmmm......

I'm also trying to figure out what it means to be "vocally pro-Gay."
What on earth does it mean to be pro-Gay? Pro-Gay???? Somehow, that doesn't sound the same as being accepting varied sexual identities.

Anonymous 29

LarryK4 said...

Whatever my "position" Nitwit, at least everybody (to quote Cheers) "knows my name."

Anonymous said...

Indeed they do. Indeed they do.

LarryK4 said...

Although, they could spell it correctly (just to keep P.T. Barnum and my mother happy)

Anonymous said...

You could consider restraining yourself, if only to "defuse" a lightning rod for Ed.

LarryK4 said...

Hard to say who is who when posting as an Anon, wouldn't you say?

ex-Gazeteer said...

"I couldn’t help note that when the AP picked up the story they did so from the Springfield Republican's article a few days later and not the Gazette."

Ha! What a stinging rebuke!