Friday, November 19, 2010

Dig this

"Activists" Vladimir Morales and Rob Kusner facing camera--and probably not buying vegetables at today's final Amherst Farmers Market of the season.

UPDATE: Sunday morning. Somebody alerted me to the discussion that took place over on Mother Mary Streeter's antiquated town meeting listserve over the past few days concerning this tempest in a teapot.

Leave it to Isaac BenEzra to dub his PR event a "LOVE IN". The 60s must have been good to him.

From: Isaac BenEzra
Date: Fri Nov 19, 2010 9:40 pm
Subject: Re: [AmhTownMtg] SAVE THE MARKET
Send Email Send Email

Dear Gerry,
John Musanti has moved a meeting with Mr. Spineti from January 2011, to next Tuesday, That is a positive step to early resolution.
Saturday's LOVE IN at the Market (11:30am) will contribute to affirming how we feel about the folks who put the food on our table.
The proposed plan to reduce the walkway between farm stands by 18 feet needs to be revisited by all concerned.

On Mon, Nov 15, 2010 at 11:07 AM, Isaac BenEzra wrote:


The Amherst Farmers' Market's space and future are in jeopardy.
Please join with the farmers and Friends of the Market on
Saturday, November 20,
8 am - 1:30 pm
to show your support for the market?

P.S. Pass this along!

Original Post Saturday afternoon.

So this one really takes the (carrot) cake. Our dilapidated downtown is finally getting a much needed makeover--with state money no less--and the folks who have used a central prime location rent free for 37 years are whining about being moved 100 yards or so next year.

And the guy leading the charge, John Spineti, is not even an Amherst taxpayer.

Talk about self righteous gall. But hey, they are farmers and the Farmers Market is right up there with Mom, Apple Pie--and if this were anywhere but the People's Republic of Amherst--the American Flag.

Local activist and former Mayor-Daley-like Boss at ACTV (now called 'Amherst Media') Isaac BenEzra took his ever so, um, fair-and-balanced cable show (one sided) "Conversations..." on the road today (an entire half mile) to the Farmers Market in downtown Amherst, where he pretty much hangs out every Saturday anyway, so why not drag a few unpaid interns along to shoot this one-sided propaganda.

And being the consummate PT Barnum spinmeister, BenEzra even pre-alerted the Daily Hampshire Gazette that he would be taking up this cause to highlight the unfairness of the evil DPW paving paradise to put up a parking lot (not to mention sidewalk). Don't it always seem to go?

BenEzra even compares this to the Boy Scouts Christmas Tree fiasco thee years ago (a story I broke) where the scroog-like Town Mangler suddenly charged the Boy Scouts $1/tree "rent" for using Kendrick Park, a downtown location they have traditionally inhabited every December for the past 60 years.

Kind of a big difference in that Kendrick Park was not about to undergo major construction.

Any business owner who has ever endured a construction project in their front yard understands that short term inconvenience is more than made up for by the long term benefits--not just to the businesses--but also the local citizens who fund it all.

Talk-show host targets forced relocation of farmers
Staff Writers

Friday, November 19, 2010

AMHERST - The possible displacement of the weekly farmers market next summer from its long-time home on Spring Street will be the focus of a forthcoming installment of the "Conversations with Isaac BenEzra" program on Amherst Community Television.

BenEzra said Thursday that he will be interviewing both farmers and customers at the Saturday market beginning at 11:30 a.m.

The Only in Amherst Christmas Tree Fiasco


Anonymous said...

Can we move the community fair from the common too? As UMass now leaves before the fair happens- the fair could be set up in one of their parking lots!

LarryK4 said...

Yeah I suppose...but if some kid falls from the top of the Ferris Wheel, better to land on the soft green earth provided by the Town Common rather than concrete.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the publicity, Larry: for the Farmers' Market itself, and for our local farmers and food artisans!

Happy Thanksgiving,


P.S. And right you are about the vegetables - I grow them at mostly at my own place now - but I did get some very nice bread today....

LarryK4 said...

Well if you still have the old clunker classic car up on blocks in your driveway, you could always use it as a giant planter.

Ban Ezra (the idiot) said...

What's this now?

A little cross section of Prozac sucking radical Amherst males acting like sniveling, entitled, selfish, pussy whipped crybabies?!

Oh, you have just GOT to be kidding me!


Anonymous said...

Where can we read the rest of the story? When are they moving, to where and for how long?

Anonymous said...

What's the story on the winter farmers market using the middle school?

Anonymous said...

There must be an ongoing controversy going on at all times: usually a battle between the self-appointed Smartest Persons in Town (Ben-Ezra, Kusner, Fox, O'Connor et al) and those who actually get things done.

LarryK4 said...

Anon 5:59 PM
Well if the Gazette did not hide behind a paywall you could read the rest of the story.

Since I just gave them $99 for a subscription I don't mind stealing it for your consideration (Geeze maybe like 'Cooks Source' it will be my downfall):

John Spineti of Agawam, who since the early 1970s has organized the market that includes 30 farmers, is attempting to delay the project because he is worried it will hurt the farmers - even if the market is only moved to an adjacent parking lot.

"My concern is farmers are an endangered species and every additional hoop they have to go through affects them," Spineti said.

Spineti recently submitted petitions to the Select Board's office asking that the lot, on the western end of Spring Street, be kept intact and that a temporary halt be put on the project to allow time for a different plan to be developed.

The intended work involves narrowing the roadway, installing 14-foot concrete sidewalks using the same diagonally scored pattern that exists in other parts of the downtown, and adding bumpouts, sidewalk extensions, to ease road crossing and improve pedestrian safety. The project was designed in 2008 and was originally scheduled for this summer to coincide with the project to renovate the Lord Jeffery Inn.

Department of Public Works Superintendent Guilford Mooring said the current plan is to work on the section of Spring Street between Churchill Street and Boltwood Avenue, which has been under construction since May. Once this is complete, Mooring said the work will roll up the hill to complete the road and parking lot improvements.

Mooring said the project ties in with the ongoing downtown streetscape improvement plans that has featured rebuilt sidewalks and crosswalks with new decorative bricks, new benches, bicycle loops and street lights. "This will be a promenade through the common to get to that section of town," Mooring said.

Compromise elusive

Mooring said he has had a dozen or so discussions with Spineti, giving the market three options for next year, including staying in the current lot during construction, moving to the lot next to Main Street and using a portion of Boltwood Avenue.

None of these are attractive to Spineti.

"The adjacent lot is much too small to accommodate the market," Spineti said. "Any time a market is moved, even if it's only a short distance, it does affect the operation of the market."

Spineti said he doesn't want to use the lot while it's being constructed because of possible liabilities.

Town Manager John Musante said the farmers market, which runs from late April until late October, is an important draw for people from outside the community. He said he would like to see the work done with minimal disruption and ensure continued success of the farmers market.

"I'm happy to meet with them to discuss how we accommodate the needs of the farmers market during construction," Musante said.

Bitter feelings

Mooring expressed disappointment that Spineti collected signatures for the petitions and sent a letter to the Gazette complaining about the roadwork. "This is kind of a stab out of the blue," Mooring said.

Mooring said the town has done a lot to accommodate the market. For instance, the sidewalk will be constructed in such a way that farmers will be able to use it for their staging. "The sidewalk is set up so they can park up on it," Mooring said.

Spineti said he believes the town is fast-tracking the rebuilding of the parking lot because it wants to curry favor from Amherst College. He refers to the project as the Lord Jeffery Inn Promenade.

Besides the problems, he said another reason to slow down is the lack of publicity.

"Almost no one knows about this project," Spineti said. "It's the best kept secret in Amherst."

LarryK4 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

On the other hand, many of us live on Amherst Streets that are filled with potholes and without sidewalks.

My neighbors and I would not protest if the town fathers decided to use the money originally planned for Spring Street improvements to improve our street.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, the old "no interest like self interest" routine.

Anonymous said...

That's the Amherst way, Larry.

Anonymous said...

Is there a time limit for unregistered clunkers on cinder blocks?

LarryK4 said...

If you're a Puerto Rican living on state assistance in Southpoint apartments, probably.

But if you're a white, ultra-liberal, highly-paid Umass professor living on the other side of the tracks, maybe not.

Anonymous said...

hey maybe i am just another stupid anon nitwit....but this whole thing has been thought out over time..(hasn't it?)
so per usual in amherst wait to the last minute and try and change things instead of attending planning meetings, etc and not putting yourself in this position and actually causing the town employees to spend more time on crap...and ? more money to appease "the LOVE IN" people

We will scatter them said...

Oh, the "love in" people left 40 years ago. What we have now are underground anarchists manipulating an entire town for its' own vicious radical agenda.

How many town meeting members have supported organizations (with $$) that underwrite terrorist organizations all over the world?


Bet the CIA and the FBI would like to know, eh, roaches?

Anonymous said...

Hey, Larry, I want to have a party -- on your front lawn. That's the equivalent of putting the "community" fair on UMass. property.

I love the idea of the fair, I just don't like the fair itself. It has always been too expensive for most families (the rides are expensive). Yet it remains a giant attractive nuisance.

Max Hartshorne said...

I love that Larry has the nerve to call the farmer's Market out for its own sense of self importance. Yeah we like it, buy veggies, etc, but you can suck it up and move goddamn it and then go back to the same old place after work is done.

Anonymous said...

Or folks could just check out the North Amherst Farmer's Market, instead. Seems much less pompous.

I much prefer it to the original market. Check it out. (No connection between me and the N. Amherst market except that sometimes I go there).

Anonymous said...

To Ben Ezara:

LOL, loved your comment, but really? Do you have that much faith in Amherst? I cannot wait until they destroy the will/desires of the Kendrick family and defame the property and install some un-godly oddity that they want/need at our expense!
Prob, D. H. Jones involved...keep in the club boys!!!! U rock.