Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Public safety held hostage

So first we had Jones Library Trustee Chair Patricia Holland boasting that closing Friday afternoons would inflict the most damage to the public for the least amount saved ($8,575): "This will be an argument for the Override," she naively declared.

Now we have the Town Mangler telling the Select Board to place the snuffing of street lights back on the death row Override list (saving $40,000 if 400 are doused due to Override failure) because it will scare the Hell out of old people who vote, and anal cyclists like former Select Board member Rob Kusner, who may still have a friend or family members who vote.

I have been teaching self-defense for over 35 years and the best advice I can give people is not to be there when trouble arrives. And trouble thrives under cover of darkness.

Street lights help to prevent rape, assault, and other crimes too numerous to mention. Threatening basic public safety to score political points is fearmongering at its worst. Only in Amherst--and Iran.

The Blunders Continue

The Internet Petition to support the Override is still floundering, only garnering 631 signatures in six weeks (many from "name not displayed," or kids too young to vote, or folks from outside the state.) Recently Select Board member Aaron Hayden signed on:

12:11 pm PST, Feb 19, Aaron Hayden, Massachusetts
This year the override is a sound investment in the value of our homes, the quality of life in Amherst, in our children and for our safety and well being. This investment is equal to the cost of a cup of coffee each week - it is hard to be wise because it is easy to taste that cup of coffee right now while we don't need the Fire Department's help today and won't need to return our library books for a few weeks yet.


So, 52 cups of coffee divided into the cost of the Override for the average homeowner at $264 works out to over $5 per cup.

Amherst College must pay Mr. Hayden really, really well.


Anonymous said...

So what's next...public toilets that are programmed to flush for every third "visitor?"

Anonymous said...

"Public safety held hostage"

Now there's much-needed perspective on today's news from the screamosphere.

LarryK4 said...

I thought you would like it.

And if this were for Fox News we would have this cute little graphic/logo already for the top right corner that I could use on all the upcoming Override posts.

Anonymous said...

Larry you got this one wrong. Mr. Schaffer was arguing AGAINST taking streetlights off the RESTORATION list. It was ALREADY ON the CUTS list. Mr. Weiss made a motion at the prior meeting to keep the 400 lights (in pre-prioritized less essential areas) off, EVEN IF the override passes. That motion passed three to two and was re-visited on Feb. 8th. when it was overturned, in large part due to Mr. Schaffer's urging IN THE NAME OF PUBLIC COMFORT AND SAFETY. It is now back ON the restoration list. So, if the override passes we'll have the 40 grand to keep the lights on. If it doesn't they will be among the things to be snuffed.

Mr. Weiss's motion, I think, was intended to weed out expenses that are not absolutely essential IN ORDER to get the override number AND BURDEN ON TAXPAYERS as small as possible. Maybe he was trying to get it down to the million or so even you have said you'd support.

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LarryK4 said...

As the saying goes, I think you are being too clever by half.

The video speaks for itself.

If the lights really, really are extraneous (and I doubt all 400 are) then they should be shut off period--with or without an Override.

Otherwise they are being used as a political football.

Anonymous said...

The video can only speak for itself if you play the discussion out in it's entirety. But then it wouldn't fit with your provocative headline would it?

We don't have enough money to fund what we do now. The streetlights are one thing that could go. Schaffer says they matter enough to the public to be included on a override restoration list. Those are the facts, Larry. You can (and will) spin them the way you like. But the realty is, we have a revenue shortfall. A lot has been done to remedy that with efficiencies and cuts over the past few years. Now we need to decide whether to keep going down that road or to take a stop gap measure to preserve some of the things that will be otherwise lost. You want to turn this into an evil conspiracy, but the facts just don't bear it out.

LarryK4 said...

Oh how quickly we forget.

Don't ya remember three years ago when Mr. Shaffer put three firefighters on the cut list that had been hired via a federal SAFER grant, and would only save $80,000 if cut but the grant also had a legally binding covenant requiring repayment to the Feds if the firefighters were laid off within 5 years.

So we would have "saved" $80-K but would have to repay the Feds three or four times that amount.

I even went to a SB meeting and handed them the pertinent page from the contract.

Even Gerry Weiss figured it out, and they were finally taken off the list.

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Anonymous said...

Anons 8:25 AM and 9:42 AM

Don't mess with the predetermined narrative, which is now set in stone.

Never admit you're wrong, never ever ever.

Hopefully, some will look at the entire discussion on the ACTV website and try to get it right.

Let's see if the blogmaster has the temerity to post the entire thing and let his readers judge for themselves.

Anonymous said...

You have to watch the ACTV discussion from the beginning of LarryS's talk through the entire conversation involving the Select Board toward the close of the meeting.

LarryS was pushing for the SB putting the lights back on the Restoration with an Override List from the Cuts With or Without an Override List.

Good luck making a big deal of this that muddies up the Town Manager. He was arguing FOR the cause of public safety, not against it.

LarryK4 said...

"Temerity"...I like that.

I'm not going to waste bandwidth uploading the entire discussion--as it tended to drag on and on.

So by all means, watch ACTV for the entire discussion. Amazingly it is already available at ACTV website under "meetings on demand."

I'm the USA Today bite sized colorful commentary, Joe Friday "just the facts", or Monarch Notes version of life in the People's Republic.

Anonymous said...

If you got your "facts" right, there wouldn't be cause for complaint. But in this instance you're way off the mark. Anyone interested in a transparent look at the budget process (from guiding policy directives from SB to Town Manager, all the way to final cuts and restoration lists from the schools, town and library) should log onto the home page of the town website. There are extensive informational links right there front and center, detailing where we are and how we got there... for anyone interested in more than "bite sized clever commentary".

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, I just wish the town website was as transparent as I am by displaying an open public sitemeter so we could see how many intrepid folks take you up on your suggestion.

Actually I said "bite sized COLORFUL commentary." Doesn't matter to me of course, but YOU seem to be pretty anal about the "facts".

Anonymous said...

Thanks for correcting me Larry. I'm sorry for the mistake. It is understandable though, given how clever AND colorful you are.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, must be an Irish thing.

Anonymous said...

Can we request our streetlight be on the list? It keeps us up at night and I'd rather depend on my big dog to keep us safe :)

LarryK4 said...

Yes you can (as long as it's okay with your neighbor).

Shoot Gilford Mooring an email: MooringG@amherstma.gov and I'm sure he will be happy to snuff it for you.

I think he's in need of another 100 or so anyway to keep the Politburo happy.

buster balls said...

so larry, how many rapes, assaults and other crimes are there in amherst? certainly the criminals can find the dark places to lurk.

give us some stats please...amherst, town of dark crimes.

i would turn half the lights off, and fire half of dpw. then get me one of those 5 dollar cups of coffee.

LarryK4 said...

Only takes one Nitwit.

And if you can afford those $5 cups of coffee than you can afford the Override.

Feel free to cover the share of folks on fixed incomes who cannot afford it.

Joe said...

$5 cup of coffee? I thought the average bill for an amherst property owner if the override passes comes out to 69 cents/day. That's no $5 coffee.

And I think there is a rebate system in place for people on fixed incomes, should the override pass.

LarryK4 said...

It's $264 per year Joe--forever (with an increase of 2.5% every year, forever).

Figure it out any way you want. But if you divide one coffee per week into that you come up with $5 per coffee. Pay attention.

Joe said...

$264 divided by 365 days = 69 cents cup of coffee per day.

LarryK4 said...

Joe maybe you need coffee before you come here: Mr. Hayden clearly wrote:

"The investment is equal to the cost of a cup of coffee each week."

"A cup"=1
"each week"=1
52 weeks in a year
Override costs $264 per year forever for the average taxpayer. So the $5 coffee gets more expensive by 2.5% every year.

Anonymous said...

Public safety held hostage?

Try: "Town of Amhesrt held hostage"

They don't care about you or your elderly parents or your ability to put food on the table for your children.

They want to grind your face into the ground while they dine on the the fat of Amherst's earth.

The word that comes to mind?