Top story disparages Umass undergrads and boxed story under it praises them. Fair-and-balanced indeed.
So almost 30 years ago I learned to grab a cheap headline by simply attending the venerable Amherst Select Board Monday night meetings to use the 6:15 Question Period as a bully pulpit.
And over the years, there would almost always be one of the five who would make the mistake of engaging me--His Lordship Mr Weiss (a signatory on the anti-Gateway petition) once referred to it as my "target practice".
Princess Stephanie has permanently squelched that possibility--with help from the new Open Meeting Law regulations-- by enacting a policy of not discussing anything at Public Comment that has not already been published in advance on the agenda. But obviously, you can still grab a cheap headline--and if it happens to be a slow news week in Amherst...
Amherst Media, formerly ACTV, did recently reair John Fox's full 11 minute diatribe last Monday night (missing half of it during the live broadcast) that in public speaking terms equaled 'War and Peace'--although obviously he's way more interested in war.
And you can certainly tell from his opening remarks that he is indeed a Washington lawyer. Sucking up to the Select Board and praising ARA chair John Coull who just happens to be Princess Stephanie's dad. Kind of like when a lawyer says "With all due respect" right before ripping into opposing counsel.
Although he did make an error of fact saying the Select Board works for "virtually nothing." They actually get paid a whopping $300 per year. In his 7-page diatribe to the Planning Board, extensively cited in this Select Board appearance, Mr. Fox trashes student undergrads:
"To put this in context of future undergraduate housing on Old Frat Row: for every 100 students, 52 can be expected to engage in Binge Drinking, and 28 can be expected to engage in Frequent Heavy Binge Drinking. In the case of 500 students, nearly 250 would be Binge Drinkers, and 140 would be Frequent Heavy Binge Drinkers."
Obviously statistics can be used in many ways: some skinhead member of the KKK, for instance, could easily use statistics showing racial or ethnic minority groups are disproportionately represented in the state and federal prisons, thus the ARA should ban minorities from applying for any housing erected on the Gateway.
The good news is because of the work of Campus and Community Coalition to End High-Risk Drinking This number of "frequent heavy binge drinkers" is actually down 20% from five years ago.
And as I recently highlighted, because of the economic impact of the fine increase to $300 for alcohol, nuisance house, and noise violations (at CCC urging) the rowdy, noisy party houses around Amherst have diminished.
But these NIMBYs will continue to make noise--lot's of it. And in a sense, it's the taxpayers who will pay that penalty.
Part two of his diatribe
And as previously mentioned:
Disclaimer: Although I'm a longtime member of the ARA, Umass graduate, currently a Continuing Education student and 5th generation Amherst resident, I speak here, as I always do, strictly for myself (and for the hard-pressed taxpayers of this town) using that cherished American ideal known as the First Amendment.