Monday, January 18, 2010

Let the Judge decide!

State Ethics Commission, Enforcement Division
One Ashburton Place
Room 619
Boston MA 02108

Dear Sir or Madam,

I wish to file a formal complaint over the inappropriate use of a taxpayer funded town digital asset (High School website) to further a partisan political cause--the passage of a Proposition 2.5 Override ballot question.

Although the Amherst Select Board has not yet formulated the structure or amount for the Override, Select Board Chair Stephanie O'Keeffe has publicly confirmed they will place an Override question on the March 23 local ballot.

On January 14 an ad appeared on the Amherst Regional High School Parent Center, a page contained within the High School website (

Petition for a Prop 2 1/2 Override
Submitted by Baer Tierkel on January 14, 2010 - 6:10pm.

Override Petition If you are interested in supporting a Proposition 2 1/2 override to help avoid the most drastic cuts to our schools, libraries, and town services, there is a petition being circulated at:

Since the Override online petition drive is clearly an effort to influence the outcome of the ballot question, it should not be promoted at taxpayer expense.

Sincerely Yours,

Larry Kelley


Anonymous said...

Larry, I kiss your feet. You, are incredible!!!!!!


Anonymous said...

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Say hello again to Fearful Larry.

This is the guy who deep down doesn't think he can win the argument.

Rich Morse

LarryK4 said...

It helps when the playing field is level.

Anonymous said...

thank u cridder, it costs soooo much money.

Anonymous said...

I have to add a question about the photos they have used too. The first one was taken at graduation, did they get permission to use it in an ad? Was this one taken just for this purpose?

Abbie said...

The Jerk strike again!!

LarryK4 said...

Maybe they found it at Google Images sorted by "labeled for reuse."

Or maybe not.

Anonymous said...

"thank u cridder, it costs soooo much money."

Larry is not a cridder, YOU my liddle prozac sucking anarchist, are a cridder...

Now come closer, so I may sweep you away with the bristles of my broom...


Anonymous said...

Well said Rich. Not only does Larrey raise the white flag, he waves it back and forth so noticeably everyone from Hadley to Boston sees it.

LK Anklebiter, choosing the wrong fight for 50 years.

Anonymous said...


Let me put this to you in traditionally male terms:

Your bullhorn is still way, way bigger than his bullhorn.

Even in the dark.

Rich Morse

LarryK4 said...

Yeah: "Behold the power!"

Anonymous said...

April 20, 2007

"School system is 'dysfunctional'

To the Bulletin:

A little while ago, a group of University of Massachusetts teachers noted the increasing emphasis on administrators over teachers at UMass. I don't know if it's a general pattern, but the same sad story is true of the Amherst school system.

On a personal note, under the previous school administration my family experienced a harmonious, collegial relationship with the principal and teachers to the benefit of our children. However, since the arrival of the new superintendent, we have had to defend our child against central office administrators and their attorney. The process has been unpleasant and expensive.

It also compels me to vote against the override. The school system has become dysfunctional - increasingly committed to feeding a bloated bureaucracy rather than supporting teachers and students. When the Amherst public schools return to a policy of putting students and teachers ahead of high-priced administrators, it might make sense to put more money into the schools. But at this point, increased funding would just add to the dysfunctionality.

Wolfe Lowenthal

Anonymous said...

Animal Welfare Officer: 259-3000

Carol Hepburn

Board of Assessors: 259-3024

Michael Bell
Connie Kruger
Donald Wise
David Burgess, Assessor

Board of Health: 259-3077

Epi Bodhi, Director
David Ahlfeld
Maria Bulzacchelli
Nancy Gilbert
David Kaufman
Sandra Sulsky

Board of Reg. of Voters: 259-3035

H. Oldham Brooks
Joyce Crouch
Gladys Rodriguez

Building Commissioner: 259-3030

Bonnie Weeks

Clerk: 259-3035 Fax 259-2401

Sandra Burgess

Comm. Preserv. Act Committee: 259-3035

Denise Barberet
John Gerber
Louis Greenbaum
Michael Jacques
Peter Jessop
Ellen Kosmer
Vincent O'Connor
Mary Streeter
Stan Ziomek

Conservation Commission: 259-3045

Harvey Allen
Briony Angus
John Gerber
Elisabeth Hamin
Daniel Kaplan
Otto Stein
Todd Walker

Council on Aging: 259-3060

Daniel Clapp
Joan Golowich
Joel Gordon
Doris Holden
Rosemary Kofler
Kathy Koplow
Mary Jane Laus
Barbara Sutherland
Juana Trujillo

Electrical Inspector: 259-3030

John Bigelow

Emergency Manager: 259-3082

Mike Zlogar

Finance Committee: 259-3022

Marilyn Blaustein
Philip Jackson
Kay Moran
Bob Saul
Douglas Slaughter
Andrew Steinberg
Marylou Theilman

Finance Director: 259-3022

John Musante

Fire Chief/Forest Fire Wrdn.: 259-3082

Lindsay Stromgren, Interim

Historical Commission: 259-3040

Gai Carpenter
Lyle Denit
Louis Greenbaum
Michael Hanke
Elizabeth Sharpe
James Wald

Housing Authority: 256-0206

Judy Brooks
Jean Haggerty
Peter Jessop
Joan Ross-Logan
Stephan Rogers

Human Resources: 259-3009

Eunice Torres, Director

Leisure Services: 259-3065

Michael Bell
Peter Blier
James Patulak
Afraino Torres Neto
Monica Wisnieski
Stan Ziomek


Jones: 259-3090

Bonnie Isman, Director

Munson Memorial: 259-3090


North Amherst: 259-3099


Moderator: 549-1199

Harrison Gregg

Pioneer Valley Planning: 259-3040

Aaron Hayden
Select Board Member

Planning Board: 259-3040

Denise Barberet
Bruce Carson
Jonathan O'Keeffe
Ludmilla Pavlova-Gillham
Richard Roznoy
Stephen Schreiber
Jonathan Shefftz
David Webber

Plumbing Inspector: 259-3030

Andy French

Police Chief: 259-3000 259-3016

Scott Livingstone
Post Office:

Amherst 549-0523

North Amherst 549-0418

Public Works Department: 259-3050

Guilford Mooring, Supt.

School Committee: 362-1810 Kathleen Anderson
Andrew Churchill
Irvin Rhodes
Steven Rivkin
Catherine Sanderson


Kathleen Anderson
Andrew Churchill
Tracy Farnham
Debbie Gould
Farshid Hajir
Marianne Jorgensen
Irvin Rhodes
Steve Rivkin
Catherine Sanderson


Crocker Farm 362-1600

Paul Wiley, Principal

Fort River: 253-9731

Russ Vernon-Jones, Principal

Marks Meadow: 549-1507

Nick Yaffe, Principal

Wildwood: 362-1420

Amherst-Pelham Reg. High: 362-1700

Mark Jackson, Principal

Regional Junior High: 362-1800


Superintendent of Schools: 362-1810
Alberto Rodriguez

Selectboard: 259-3001

Alisa Brewer
Aaron Hayden
Stephanie O'Keeffe
Diana Stein
Gerald Weiss

Tax Collector: 259-3020

Claire McGinnis

Town Accountant: 259-3026

Sonia Aldrich

Town Attorney: 549-0041

Joel Bard, Esq.

Town Engineer: 259-3050

Jason Skeels

Town Manager: 259-3002

Laurence Shaffer

Tree Warden: 259-3045

Alan Snow

Veterans' Service: 259-3028

Kathleen Pollard

Water Commissioners:

Amherst Select Board: 259-3001

Water Superintendent: 259-3050

Robert Pariseau

Zoning Board of Appeals: 259-3040

Eric Beal
Thomas Ehrgood
Barbara Ford
Hilda Greenbaum
Mark Parent
Thomas Simpson
Albert Woodhull

Tom said...

Bless you Larry for the courage you show in your brave battles for justice and fairness.

LarryK4 said...

Thanks Tommy.

It helps to know some people actually care.

Anonymous said...


American and Japanese big business decided to engage in a competitive crew race. Both teams practiced hard and long to reach their peak performance. On the big day, both teams felt ready. The Japanese won by a mile.

The American team was discouraged by the loss. Morale sagged. Corporate management decided that the reason for the crushing defeat had to be found so a consulting firm was hired to investigate the problem and recommend corrective action.

The consultant's finding: The Japanese team had 8 people rowing and one person steering. The American team had one person rowing and 8 people steering.

After a year of study, and millions spent on analyzing the problem, the consulting firm concluded that too many people were steering and not enough were rowing on the American team.

As the race day neared again the following year, the American team's management structure was completely reorganized. The new structure: Four steering managers, three area steering managers, and a new performance review system for the person rowing the boat to provide work incentive.

At the race, the Japanese won by two miles.

Humiliated again, the American corporation laid off the rower for poor performance, and gave the managers a bonus for discovering the problem.

Hi Wolfe - I tend to agree with you, hope you enjoy this story about the problem. Steven Toplitz

Anonymous said...

Can and anti override petition be posted on the Town website?

Anonymous said...

How do you have an anti-override petition?

LarryK4 said...

Heck, I couldn't even get the Town Mangler to allow a dissenting Comment (concerning Cherry Hill Golf Course) on his town-website-hosted blog a few months back.

Anonymous said...

How do you have an anti-override petiion?
All those opposed to an override please sign below.

How to have an override petition.
All those is favor of an override please sign below.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, and like blogging those petition sites are free and very easy to launch.

Baer Tierkel thought the 1,000 signature petition would demonstrate a voter mandate in Amherst for an Override (although I notice some of the signers are from outside Amherst or not of voting age.)

Now it has been over a week and they barely broke 300 signatures. Looks to me to demonstrate NOT a lot of interest in an Override.

Anonymous said...

You gather signatures if you want to put an override on the ballot. You don't have to gather signatures for an anti-override as it's already not on the ballot.

Anonymous said...

But you do have to gather signatures if you don't want it on the ballot in the first place. Like you need to gather signatures against a casino even if it's not in place.

Anonymous said...

No you can't. It's not like a casino. You can't have a petition to keep an override off the ballot. If they gather enough signatures it goes on the ballot period.

LarryK4 said...

But it's the illustrious Select Board that puts it on the ballot--no matter how many signatures anyone collects on a petition one way or the other.

Anonymous said...

Here it is, Larry Kelley's two hot button political issues, tax subsidized golf courses and the treatment of 9/11 first responders. Watch the third video HERE, and ask yourself, could you give this candidate your vote?

(Be patient, sometimes this load slowly... stupid ads.)

Anonymous said...

Your wrong, you can have a petition for anything. It only shows support for or against. The petition against doesn't mean that the petition for won't gather more votes. It only shows support for a cause. Larry could run a petition on this site. It doesn't have to be binding. You can run a petition to ask someone be removed from office, a roadblock be removed, a library to extend it's hours.

Rick said...

The ARHS PGO site referred to by Larry ( was created by and is hosted by me (for free). It's not part of the the official ARPS or ARHS web site, and does not use tax money. The ARHS site simply has link to the PGO site, as all the school sites link to their PGO sites.

LarryK4 said...

Close enough; it still has a link from the main site which IS taxpayer funded.

If you and Baer purchased 1,000 bumper stickers saying "Vote Yes on the 3/24 Override" and had them displayed on Police, Fire and DPW vehicles, that too, would not "use tax money" but still violates the state Conflict of Interest law.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rick,

Bet you could afford a coupla of overrides...

Eh, cap'n?

Anonymous said...

"Richard Hood graduated with a BS from Brown University in 1979 and an MS from MIT in 1981. In 1981 he entered the family marine business, The Ted Hood Companies, located in Marblehead, MA which later relocated to Portsmouth, RI in 1986. He was President of that business from 1991 until 1999 when it was sold to the investment group Bain Willard Companies, LP who had earlier bought a competitor, Hinckley Yachts. In 2000 Richard left the company to launch a new career in freelance web development, video and graphic design."

Hmmm, now what comes to mind when I read something like this?

Rick said...

Ha... I wish. People who build boats don't make the money of people who buy them.

LarryK4 said...

But you did get paid $4,500 last year in tax money to redesign the ARHS website (just under the $5,000 limit that would trip competitive bidding on the project.)

If you do get elected to the Amherst School Committee those sweetheart deals will cease.

Rick said...

Yup. No more "sweetheart" deals.

I came in under the $5,000 because they needed it done fast. I knew it would be more than $4,500 and it was - about $7,500 - so I "lost" $3,000 on that one, but for a one man shop it just means working more hours.

I continue to work on it for free as needed.

LarryK4 said...

And maybe somebody else with a "one man shop" (or one woman for that matter) could have done it just as fast for a few bucks less if went out to bid. Maybe.

Anonymous said...

Larry will probably find this interesting. I am a former ARHS student who as part of my website design studies had been offered the chance to revise the ARHS website along with another student, our work guided by the then network administrator. This would've been an excellent learning experience and would obviously have cost the school no money as it would be completed in return for school credit.

Always wondered why they changed their mind at the last second. Good to know something that could've given my portfolio a leg up was farmed out to this Rick guy for $5G.

LarryK4 said...

$4,500 because $5,000 would have sent up a flare.

And I'm sure somebody will come back and say "you get what you pay for."

About a dozen years ago Town Manager Barry Del Castilho wanted an Override (only $2.7 million) to renovate Town Hall.

One of the talking points was pigeon poop in the attic. Dave Keenan volunteered to clean it up for free. The town sent it out to bid and spent $40,000 having it done.

The Town Manager wrote an editorial for the Amherst Bulletin in support of the Override (attacking Mr. Keenan in particular).

I complained to the State Ethics Commission and they found in my favor that Barry had violated the Conflict of Interest law by writing the editorial during work hours, on a town typewriter (remember them?) and using town paper.

So that's why I'm pretty confident this use of the official town website--even if only for a link--is also a violation.

Epilogue: The Town Hall Override failed twice and then Town Meeting appropriated the money anyway by borrowing, thus circumventing the voters.

Rick said...

It wasn't the ARHS site that was re-done, it was the main ARPS site. Nina Koch does the ARHS site. She also worked on the ARPS site with me. The "then network administrator" is the same guy it is now - Jerry Champagne.

LarryK4 said...

Thanks for clearing that up Rick.

Nina must have been soooo busy Commenting over on Catherine Sanderson's blog that she simply did not have the time to do the main ARPS redo all by herself.

Rick said...

Mainly she's busy being a great teacher.

LarryK4 said...

And she apparently has two other career options: Webmaster and PR flack.

Anonymous said...

Remember, Rick Hood:

We read and then we filter what we read.

So none of this crap about you is sticking.

There are a lot of problems in town government in Amherst, but corruption is not one of them. This is why LarryK's recent obsessing about the Open Meeting Law inspired no comments for days.

Our municipal system does us a disservice in several other ways.

Rich Morse

LarryK4 said...

Yes Rick, do not take your keyboard and go home.

Anonymous said...

Isn't there any other way to raise revenue other than a prop2 1/2 override? Why do we go to the same well looking for water? In my household if the budget doesn't balance I either reduce spending by thinking of ways to lower costs or try to raise revenue by either selling off assets or working more to raise my income. I only go to Mom or Dad in case of an emergency.
This should be the Town Managers job and it looks like he's trying or
to reduce costs. However I do believe it's better to try to increase income from some other means than going to the taxpayer. How to raise income? 1) go after those not paying there fair share 2) try to entice revenue paying business to operate in Amherst
I know Larry K has been a big proponent of items 1& 2 for a long time and as only received opposition for it.