Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Blank check petition

UPDATE: Thursday, 8:00 AM

Okay now that the crusty Gazette and Bulletin (Front Page no less) have caught up with this cyber "story" the Overriders should have little trouble getting the remaining 750 signatures or so. Only a slight vested interest on the part of our local media as the Gazette and Bulletin get to charge "open rate" (highest possible) for political ads and Overriders tend to love those boring but large signature ads.

UPDATE: 3:00 PM

Found this blast from the past on the failure of the "Amherst Plan" Override three years ago published in the 5/7/07 Amherst Bulletin:

Although not as decisive as Select Board member Hwei-Ling Greeney would have liked it to be, the vote would send town officials a message, said Greeney, who campaigned hard for the "No" side. "Now I feel we're in a strong position to say, 'You need to go by what the voters want, which is to live within our means.'"

Override supporters said the 267-vote margin hardly constitutes a mandate.

"I think it's pretty positive," said former Select Board member Bryan Harvey, at Town Meeting members Patricia Blauner's and Peter Blier's house, where supporters met on Tuesday night.

"This is the hardest sell you can imagine," Harvey said. "Big number, multi-year, all the risk about - will it work?" There is no harder sell, and the result is we have to change 130 minds. We'll find 130 people," Harvey said.

"We have to figure out what the town really wants to do. There was some doubt about this particular package, but strong support for doing something."

Baer Tierkel, a supporter, said parents hadn't turned out in the numbers he had hoped to see. "It's up to parents to have a voice in how our schools are financed and what their level of quality is," Tierkel said.

He said he was disappointed by some residents he would have expected to support an override.

"Amherst politics always surprises me," Tierkel said. "There are a lot of people who align themselves as liberals, as progressives, as believing in using taxes to distribute the wealth.

"I understand people who are against taxes and big government being on the 'No' side," Tierkel said.

"I don't understand people who believe in government's role in providing for schools and for services to those who can't afford it, aligning with the 'No' side."

#########################################
Update 5:10 PM
(EST rather than PST where petitionsite.com is located) Look who just signed the petition!

Jennie "trash talking" Traschen. You know, the Umass Prof who on the night of 9/10/2001 (about 12 hours before the fist plane impaled the North Tower) pontificated before the illustrious People's Republic of Amherst Select Board that the American flag "is a symbol of tyranny and fear and destruction and terrorism." Yikes!
##########################################
12:32 pm PST, Jan 12,
Jennie Traschen, Massachusetts
To understand a society, look at how it spends money.
#########################################

Original Post 10:45 AM

So these folks--many who work for the schools--want the illustrious Select Board to put an Override on the ballot this March 23rd; and I guess they really don't care if it's for $1 million (costing the average homeowner an additional $150 in taxes) or $10 million--which would cost ten times that spare change amount.

I'm surprised their goal is only 1,000 signatures because in Amherst collecting petition signatures is a popular pastime; and using the crowd sourcing Internet, they should have gotten that piddly amount, like, yesterday.

Maybe somebody should start a petition targeting Governor Patrick demanding state workers get a raise or the Feds to give those living on fixed incomes a Social Security hike. After all, their local taxes are about to skyrocket.

Yes, we the undersigned want to pay higher taxes

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why ask the tax-payers to fund corruption?

Oh wait, shouldn't I be able to answer that question myself?

LarryK4 said...

BIG difference between self-interest and corruption.

Anonymous said...

Oh, is there?

Isn't corruption the ultimate in self interest?

LarryK4 said...

One has a legal implication and the other does not.

Anonymous said...

You better believe it:

"So let's hear it for the state, finally, cracking down on those who would use their government positions--either paid or unpaid--for personal gain: The new Conflict of Interest regulations require online training for all municipal employees and provides real punishment for those found in violation."

No need to worry though, Amherst anarchists have everything under control...

And taxpayers WANT to make SURE they have enough for yoga classes AND those delicious organic Whole Foods mangos they're always craving...

Anonymous said...

"3. The town employs approximately 920 employees. Ten earn between $100,000 to $157,000; 24 earn between $80,000 to $100,000; and 433 earn between $50,000 to
$80,000"

Are innocent Amherst residents/tax-payers and ESPECIALLY ~employees~ WAITING for an apology?

Are they expecting ~this~ situation to right ITSELF???

It's all in the push-back people.

Knock knock knock, anybody home?

Anonymous said...

This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home...


http://blogs.reuters.com/frontrow/f

iles/2008/12/rtr22q4a_comp.jpg

Anonymous said...

Yes, we the undersigned want to pay higher taxes in order to preserve the services we currently receive. We want quality schools, roads without potholes, streetlights, police and fire protection and are willing to pay for it.

Anonymous said...

you try to sound like being anti-override is PRO change, and yet efforts to stop any override will keep our revenue levels at outdated and ineffective levels. As long as we're not adequately funding our schools and other town services, nothing is going to change. Well, actually that's not true. Lots will change as we regress.

Anonymous said...

if you don't want an anonymous feature on your blog, figure out how to get rid of it.

but don't blame those of us that don't want to be personally attacked by the bully that runs this blog.

I've noticed when readers respond positively with an anonymous signature, they're not criticized. But when readers are anonymous and oppose the blog's point of view... they are criticized for lacking courage.

LarryK4 said...

Pretty sagacious for a Cowardly, Anon, (and worst of all Whiney) Nitwit.

Anonymous said...

I'm still trying to figure out why folks come back time and time again to say how much they hate this blog. Must be some sort of compulsion disorder.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, and notice they NEVER show up for a time/date certain face-to-face with this humble bully.

Anonymous said...

"As long as we're not adequately funding our schools and other town services, nothing is going to change."


And as long as we ARE "adequately" funding, nothing is going to change about the corruption, the lies, the abuses, AND the THREAT of job lose for those speaking out.

Amherst is NOT a wholesome place, no matter how the prozac makes you feel.

Do you understand?

Anonymous said...

I admit that the salary profile in Stan Gawle's article, if accurate, surprised me: there were more big salaries than I expected.

I figured maybe five between $100K and $150K and maybe 12 between
$80K and $100K, not the kind of numbers I see here.

As someone who makes below both ranges for my salary as a prosecutor of 19 years, trying criminal cases on a conveyor belt, I can see the point Stan is making. Wow, we're laying out some serious bucks here for town employees.

I remain pro-override, but I don't see the case for it even beginning to be made. Does anyone realize that there's a burden of proof to be met here? Once again, the anti-overriders seem to be out front.

Rich Morse

LarryK4 said...

Oh, I can assure you Mr. Morse the figures are dead-on accurate.

Just another benefit of the Public Documents Law (something the Gazette/Bulletin should use a tad more often.)

Anonymous said...

Larry instead of character attacks (some lady 9/10 tyranny etc)...

Why don't you post the numbers comparing what Amherst spends on public schools per student versus what Northampton spends on public schools per student versus the state average?

There's not a reason for anyone to pay one dime more in taxes until Amherst public school cost structures are in line with results.

LarryK4 said...

Sure, since you asked so nicely (for a freakin Anon). This from Catherine Sanderson's school committee blog:

"I also think such comparisons are very useful in thinking about finances.

So, I examined, using public records (http://finance1.doe.mass.edu/statistics/) comparisons between the Amherst Regional Schools and Northampton. Note that Amherst is very similar to Northampton in multiple ways -- they serve just about the same number of kids (2,800 compared to our 3,086) in the same number of schools (6), and the populations are quite similar (except they have a higher percentage of low income kids -- we have 17.3 and they have 26.4 -- and a higher percentage of special ed kids -- we have 18.6 and they have 21.8). Yet they spend almost $1,000 less than the state average per pupil ($11,613.94 compared to the state average of 12,448.78) and we (Regional Schools) spend $3,500 more than the state average ($16,131.11). So, you have to ask do kids in Amherst get a better education for this considerable extra money?

And I don't think so."

lightcarver said...

Whether it's in the ring, or verbally, Larry, they all learn eventually... ;)

Anonymous said...

you asshole.

my buddy Chris was on Flight 11 and you are a bigger jerk than anyone for using that reference in the same breath as the override.

asshole.

LarryK4 said...

Now you're starting to sound like Mr. Tierkel. Hmmm...

Anonymous said...

Ohhhh loooooky the lit-tle cridders signing that list...

Myyyy myyyy myyyy...

Must be a SWEEEET smell to get them to come out into the light like that...


Hurry you liddle buggers! Hurry!

LarryK4 said...

Nah, just the "Usual Suspects."

Most of them signed those boring half-page Amherst Bulletin "signature ads" three years ago when the last Override went down in flames.

Anonymous said...

I found the following from Stan Gawle's article very alarming,

"Special education costs for the elementary schools in Amherst increased $1.6 million in the period 2000-2009, but the special education population increased by only one student, from 233 to 234."

WOW! How on earth can they justify that? Until things like this are cleared up I will NOT be supporting any override. Looking back at the "Amerst Plan" they were pushing for the last one I have to wonder why many of the items weren't done anyways? Look it up and read it again. What were they waiting for?

LarryK4 said...

And the $215,000 squandered for Mark's Meadow portable modular classrooms that never hosted any students occured AFTER the failure of the "Amherst Plan" Override three years ago.

Anonymous said...

"Nah, just the "Usual Suspects."


Liddle cridders is more like it...

Anonymous said...

Check your shoes people, somethin stinks.

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

"Special education costs for the elementary schools in Amherst increased $1.6 million in the period 2000-2009, but the special education population increased by only one student, from 233 to 234."

WOW! How on earth can they justify that?


Special Ed is a huge unfunded mandate. I am glad it is provided for, but the whole idea of local municipalities paying for most of these services is insane.

And what is it with with the anonymous commenters here? Ifyou want privacy, set up a pseudonymous handle. It is not that hard, guys.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, and now the Quinn Bill has become an unfunded mandate.

State legislators fiddle while our cities and towns burn.

Xenos said...

Wasn't there a state commitment to fund the transportation of students from outlying communities to regional schools? I wonder what that line item amounts to in the Amherst town budget.

If I keep asking questions like this I am going to have to start going to town meetings, and then I will know that I have lost my mind.

Anonymous said...

"If I keep asking questions like this I am going to have to start going to town meetings, and then I will know that I have lost my mind."

And your town...

Anonymous said...

Larry,


Where can I find a complete list of all the town's departments... yes every single one AND the names of each of their "administrators" (with that title or another).


Thanks

Anonymous said...

try the towns website
www.amherstma.gov
it probably isnt all on one page like you desire, but it is all there.

LarryK4 said...

Anon 11:33 AM:

Keep in mind that a website will be forthcoming with a searchable data base of ALL town employees, their job title, and salaries.

Just as the Springfield Republican and Boston Herald uploaded one on Umass employees and another for ALL state employees.

One reason we know Mr. Morse, the grumpy prosecutor (with 19 years experience!) earned under 80-K last year.

Anonymous said...

Need that info right now Larry.

I'm on a mission.

LarryK4 said...

Sorry, somebody else has that info (and he's out of town for a bit).

Anonymous said...

Do your own homework anonymous twit. Don't ask Larry to do it.

Anonymous said...

"Do your own homework anonymous twit. Don't ask Larry to do it."


Gonna sweep you with my broom you lidder cridder.

Run!

Run!!!

Anonymous said...

Ha! Ha! No worry, you can't even copy some names off the town website.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that's funny is it?

I wonder, is there a correlation between top salaries and certain other things, like departments for example?


What does the yummy data tell us?


Anyone?

Where are those top earners working?

Anonymous said...

"# 196: 3:35 pm PST, Jan 13, Scott Auerbach, Massachusetts
Just like Baer says: there are some things we cannot control, and others that we can. Loss of quality in our schools affects EVERYBODY regardless of whether one has kids in school or not. Keeping our schools strong is what separates strong communities from those going down the tubes. Let's be one of the communities not going down the tubes.


AND ISN'T THIS THE RUB?


Let's invest a bit more of our hard earned money in our schools, keeping our home values relatively high. Let's do this now."


Oh you liddle cridders you...

Inflating a false image to keep those property values up...

Naughty naughty... At whose expense?


And to think, scum like this guy want to take bread out of the mouths of town employees making 30,000 a year or less...

What a sweet racket they run in this town. Showwww me the moneyyyy!


http://samson.chem.umass.edu/

Anonymous said...

"12:37 pm PST, Jan 13, Cindy Nelson, Massachusetts
Amherst is known for good schools; consequently


it has protected our property value...


Give the schools the resources they need to get the job done... Don't be penny wise but pound-foolish!!!"


Liddle cridders.

Anonymous said...

asshole

Anonymous said...

I mean you, Larry, in case you couldn't tell

LarryK4 said...

Actually, I couldn't.

Another reason I don't like Anons: can't tell them apart.

Anonymous said...

I like what Bill O'Reilly said. At least somebody agrees with you.

All right. All right. Mr. Kelly, a sad situation in a very beautiful town. Thank you very much.

LARRY KELLY, "THE AMHERST BULLETIN" COLUMNIST: Well, I think they're afraid of you, Bill. Amherst is kind of a giant bubble, and they don't want to deal with people from outside of the bubble, you know? Oftentimes, Amherst is referred to as the People's Republic of Amherst...

O'REILLY: Amherst is out of control. Where are the folks? Where are the parents of the students who go to this high school?

KELLY: Well, they're...

O'REILLY: You know, you gets the government you deserve, Mr. Kelly, sometimes. Now you're a lifelong resident of the town, and it looks to me...

KELLY: Yes, sir.

O'REILLY: ... that the people of Amherst just simply don't have the courage to...

KELLY: Well, Bill -- well, first of all, Bill, we're working on changing our form of government. We have a charter revision vote that will be coming up next year to do precisely that, and I hope it passes.

Well, if they can't deal with the school committee meeting where practically everyone agreed with them, then how can they -- how are they mature enough to get up and yell out the C word at the top of their lungs and do some of the other graphic things that exist in the play?

O'REILLY: Yes. Well, believe me, they'll find a way.

Last question for you. You say the P.C. atmosphere in Amherst, Massachusetts -- if you speak out against something like this, people will scorn you? What will happen? Say I showed up and said this is wrong. What would happen to me?

KELLY: Well, I mean, basically, I had, you know, one of the -- a teenager today on a Web site was saying, you know, Larry, if you don't like Amherst and you're always criticizing Amherst, then why don't you leave? That old, if you don't like it, get the heck out of here kind of thing.

But some of the parents told me off the record, because they know I write a column, and they -- they got nervous, saying, Larry, you can't quote me on this, but I'm afraid that some of the P.C. teachers might retaliate against my child.

O'REILLY: All right. All right. Mr. Kelly, a sad situation in a very beautiful town. Thank you very much.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, I was hoping for a job as Bill's sidekick but it looks like Sarah Palin scarfed it up.

Anonymous said...

No chance. The problem was you were completely inarticulate.

"Well, I mean, basically, I had, you know, one of the..."

Probably kicked too many times in the head when you were younger.

LarryK4 said...

Actually I can count on one hand the number of times I have been kicked in the head--even after 30+ years of people trying.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear that

LarryK4 said...

I'm sure you are.

But even at my absolute peak way back then, or diminished capacities now that still far exceed the average Joe, I never forget how easy it is for some punk Nitwit to get their scrawny hands on a gun.

And head kicks are simply no match.

Anonymous said...

"Only a slight vested interest on the part of our local media as the Gazette and Bulletin get to charge "open rate" (highest possible) for political ads and Overriders tend to love those boring but large signature ads."


Good call Larry.

Anonymous said...

In case you hadn't noticed, newspapers are not making money these days.

The idea that they are in it for the money is facile, facetious, and flip.

You are how old?

LarryK4 said...

Old enough have to a name and proud enough to use it.

Anonymous said...

Wow.

Slam-a-rama.

Anonymous said...

This blog gets more childish everyday.