Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The end of the begining

So I'm preparing a more detailed analysis of the election for my Umass online journalism course mid-term assignment but figured I would throw out some off-the-cuff analysis for now, as I think both sides were surprised by yesterday's margin of victory (and no, unlike Cherry Hill Golf Course I'm not going to blame it on the weather.)

1) The 31.5% voter turnout was almost exactly the same as the Override that failed in 2007 so it's hard to blame voter turnout (although we usually get almost 80% every four years for the Presidential election.) So why the different outcome this time?

Well first off, there's a big difference between $2.5 million (that failed in 07) and the current $1.68 million. And if you listened to Andy Churchill at the forum last week sponsored by the crusty Gazette/Amherst Bully he made it sound like the $350,000 teacher giveback was already factored into lowering the Override amount. Which of course it did not, although town officials claim they will not use that amount by not taxing to the full extent of the new higher levy (one year only of course.)

And this year the Vote Yes folks were smart enough to order lawn signs (in two different varieties no less.) The Amherst Bulletin ran a rather long rambling editorial supporting the Override but then the Gazette followed suit with a tighter one, probably more widely read than the bloated Bully version.

But either way, two bricks-and-mortar newspapers supporting the Override certainly ads a fair amount of value that would have to be made up with paid advertising.

The Yes folks also raised more than the No folks ($5,000 to $4,000) although I still have not figured out how they spent that last $3,000. And I did notice that their "Vote Yes" lawn signs do not appear as expenditures on the Campaign Finance Report.

Their carefully crafted message got out: The town cut $7 million over the past (I heard either "two years" or "three years" and you could not tell whether they were including this upcoming year's cuts into that figure or not.) But the fact remains, the 2007 $2.5 million Override would have generated almost $8 million by now and over $10 million if you throw in next year.

And if THAT Override passed safe bet there would not have been ANY cuts. Yet somehow the town seems to have survived...


Anonymous said...

Sore + Loser = Larry

Anonymous said...

Actually, I see more grace here in defeat than I see from The Big Kahuna Mr. Tierkel shooting his mouth off in victory in the Gazette today.

Maybe he had too many beers.

Anonymous said...

You didn't by chance take the Yes sign off my lawn did you? Or what streets did you swipe the yes signs from?

kevin said...


Hey, we all want the same thing. Give Larry credit for getting us here. And Baer for making the final push.

Larry can have it. I gave it to him off my lawn.



LarryK4 said...

Actually Jonathan O'Keeffe picked up from my house all the green Yes signs a few hours ago.

Since I'm such a good sport, I picked up the signs from EVERY campaign around South Amherst this morning and brought them to this central location for folks to come retrieve them.

And it was a hell of a lot more than the ones I picked up late Tuesday afternoon early evening for 'No More Overrides'.

Anonymous said...

I actually think Larry's report on the override vote is gracious and I do not see any evidence of "sore loser".

Suffice to say Mr. Jeff B's posts this morning were more "poor winner" than graceful which unfortunately is part and parcel with our declasse' society at large.

Elinor R.

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone at the upper echelon of the university be concerned with the small wastes of government funds at the town level? From what I've seen at the university that placed should be investigated. I've never seen such a waste of taxpayers money. I've been to lavish parties put on by upper administrators payed for by the taxpayer. I've seen money spent on tutors, hookers and jewelry for basketball players. I've seen professors pay for personnel expenses using funds from university accounts. I've seen professors without full loads being paid extra to serve on committees or teach an online course. I've seen personnel calls, mail and personnel items sent at taxpayers expense. I've seen university property items at professors homes. I've seen incompetent professors relieved of teaching duties and left with little to do because they have tenure and can not be removed. I've seen university property stolen and destroyed because there is no one responsible for their care. I've seen faculty paid extra to leave during teaching time. I've seen bad hires collect a lifetime of salaries without accountability. I've seen the head of higher education "stacking" to increase his already overblown retirement package. I've seen Chancellors give themselves a raise and a Sabbatical then retire. There is very little oversight at this place and we all know what happens without oversight.

Ed said...

I think that March 23rd will be noted as the day that Amherst went from a college town to Greenwich Connecticut type town.

The middle class will be gone shortly, as well be the students. And you will have the trust fund and otherwise wealthy folk with six figure incomes and the dirt poor welfare people. You will have the former in private schools and the latter consisting of your K-12 schools which fewer and fewer care about.

This is what the vote will do.

Anonymous said...

Next time you are taking something that does not belong to you off my lawn, try not to destroy my flowers that were about 3" tall until you drove over them.

Can you and your readership imagine your response when I go over to your house, today, take something that does not belong to me and drive over something you have cultivated.

If you had some semblance of civility in your presence, I would dimiss it as a bull in a china shop, in which case maybe you shouldn't drive if you can't not run over living things.

However, you are not a nice person most of the time so I'll just say assho;e instead of bull.

See you later today at your place. Got anything I might want to take?

Anonymous said...

Ed, you are out of touch. Amherst is a farming community as well as a University town, and it will always be that way. This vote will not change that. There is also a large population of people under the poverty level, and that doesn't seem to be changing either. Do you ever leave UMass?

LarryK4 said...

Sorry about that 6:40 AM, There were so damn many of the signs (and I used to the think of South Amherst as the conservative part of the People's Republic) that I let my 3-year-old drive while I scooped them up.

Anonymous said...

Hey 6:40 AM : That can't be right. Is it? Someone actually drove up on your lawn and removed a sign? Without permission? Come on. Really?

LarryK4 said...

Well I assume, you Nitwit, that "someone actually drove up on your lawn" and put it there in the first place!
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2010 16:38:51 -0400

Subject: Lawn sign removal schedule


All -

All the campaigns with lawn signs installed have agreed to work together to recover the signs on Wednesday. I've divided up assignments for various parts of town as detailed below. Larry Kelley has volunteered the use of his yard as a collection point for the signs.

Please pull all campaign signs you find. This includes signs for Vote Yes for Amherst, No More Overrides, Rob Spence, Rick Hood, Kathleen Anderson, Vince O'Connor, and the maroon Save Our Schools override signs. Do not pull other random signs, like the League of Woman Voters "Vote!" signs, or "War is not the Answer" or anything else.

Please do sign retrieval early in the day on Wednesday and bring the signs to Larry Kelley's house at 596 South Pleasant St (shares a driveway with the DPW) by 3pm. Please sort the signs, either as you collect them, or when you drop them off. Please return after 3pm to pick up your signs. Any signs not collected by the end of the day Wednesday will be disposed of.

Collection areas for each campaign are shown below. Let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks - Jonathan

Kathleen Anderson
--- Orchard Valley - Moody Bridge / West Pomeroy and all Orchard Valley neighborhoods south of Moody Bridge / West Pomeroy and west of Rt. 116

Rob Spence
--- Echo Hill - everything south of Pelham Rd and north of Rt. 9 east of East St, including roads off Rt. 9 (Logtown) and Pelham Rd (Thayer, Ward, Bayberry, etc)

Rick Hood
--- Shays/East Hadley - Shays St, East Hadley Rd, neighborhoods north of East Hadley Rd (Columbia, Chesterfield, Justice), Mill Ln, Rt. 116 between Pomeroy and Mill Ln
--- South Pleasant - South Pleasant south of Rt. 9 down to Mill Ln (incl. Memorial, Hillcrest, Jeffrey); Snell, Hitchcock, Orchard, Woodside, Walnut

Vince O'Connor
--- North West - All of Pine St/Meadow St and everything north of Pine/Meadow and west of Bridge St/Leverett Rd, incl Montague Rd, Sunderland Rd, Pulpit Hill, Summer, State, Sand Hill

No More Overrides
--- South East St - South East St south of Rt 9, including Stanley, Valley View, Eveningstar, Swallow Farms. Not Mechanic, Chapel, Middle, Station, Pomeroy, Potwine
--- Southern Tier - All of Bay Rd; developments south of Applewood (Country Corners/Rambling); Chapel, Mechanic, Canterbury, Hulst, Orchard, Stagecoach, Elf Hill, Harris Mountain; Rt. 116 south of Potwine (but not Potwine)
--- South Central - Middle St, South Orchard, Potwine, Pomeroy, Rt. 116 between Potwine and Pomeroy

Vote Yes
--- Amherst Woods - All three entrances (Larkspur, Old Farm, and Wildflower, and everything in between), Station, Iduna
--- Dana/Blue Hills - Rt. 9 west of downtown, Amity west of downtown, and everything in between (Blue Hills, Dana, southern part of Lincoln, S Prospect, Kendrick, etc.)
--- Lincoln - Everything north of Amity, west of North Pleasant, and south of the University - Sunset, Fearing, Lincoln, McClellan, Hallock, N Prospect, Paige, Cosby, Beston
--- East Downtown - Square box formed by Rt. 9, N Pleasant, Strong, and N East, and everything inside that box
--- North East - North East St north of Main St (not Strong St), Henry St, Shutesbury Rd, Flat Hills, High Point, Overlook, Market Hill, Bridge St, Leverett Rd, E Leverett Rd (not Pine, State, Pulpit Hill)
--- East + North Pleasant - E Pleasant St north of Strong and all neighborhoods - Sheerman, Cherry, Van Meter, Harlow, Blackberry, Rolling Ridge, Owen; N Pleasant north of Governors/Eastman, incl Old Town, Fairfield, Berkshire, Fisher, Harris

Anonymous said...

It was probably Anderson, she almost ran me over in the CF parking lot once as she sped in and then parked in the fire lane.

Anonymous said...

Let's not make more of this than we should. I brought it to LK's attention by asking if he tooks signs down. He said he did. I got pissed. He apologized. I accepted the apology.

No, I did not make this up. A section of my lilies the width of a car tire are crushed. A forensics team could make a tire print and match, but that would be a waste of money.

The apology was all I was looking for.