Monday, January 17, 2011

BANANA byproduct

So it comes as no surprise that "new growth" is down fairly dramatically, and if some people had their way the town would see zero growth--as in a BANANA Republic (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone.)

In 2005 a Texas company tried to build 200 units of upscale student housing (50 of them "affordable") just off campus--a project that today would be generating a half million dollars in property taxes.

Town Meeting recently voted down a development modification to the zoning bylaw that would have encouraged smart development--something highly recommended by our expensive Master Plan.

Critics seemed to make it a referendum on the Gateway Project, a mixed-use commercial development that will significantly improve the main approach to Umass, add desperately needed housing stock to a terribly tight market, encourage pedestrian traffic into our downtown, and provide significant tax revenues. A win-win squared. video

20 comments:

Ed said...

Larry, perhaps -- like an alcoholic -- Amherst has to literally hit bottom before it is willing to change its ways.

Much as Detroit had to collapse to save the US Auto industry, much as the PennCentral and Boston&Maine had to go bankrupt to save the concept of rail transportation (which is coming back, government mismanagement notwithstanding), maybe Amehrst has to go into a Springfield-type recievership in order to learn the errors of its mistakes.

I predict that (a) if Maria G is hired, (b) the BANANAs allowed to reign and (c) people like you (yes, you, Larry) are allowed to continue to attack 25,000 young people for the misdeeds of a couple hundred -- I predict that if this is permitted, Amherst will be in receivership (i.e. BANKRUPT), prior to 2020.

It was traumatic enough for Springfield, but I can't imagine the humiliation the townies will feel having a group of Boston Republicans (appointed by a TEA-party influenced Republican Governor) telling them what they may or may not do.

Want a truly terrifying thought -- imagine me being appointed as chair of the control board.... I know the town, my friends in Boston (who will be in power then) know I know it, and they likely would ask me -- and I would do it....

Believe it or not (and no one in Amherst ever would), I would do my damnest to be fair and objective -- but I would still call them as I saw them and I would ask Maria G "and what qualifications do you have now" as I told the town what it was and wasn't allowed to spend on education...

Oh yes, like the alcoholic or person with a serious mental illness, Amherst needs to truly hit bottom before it will be willing to listen to reality....

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, the old "Sometimes you have to destroy the village in order to save it" routine.

I don't require ANYBODY to "allow me to continue" doing what I do. I have the ultimate trump card: It's called the First Amendment.

Ed said...

Open Challenge to Team Maria:

If Maria G has been "published" -- and enough of you are at UMass to know exactly what I mean (had an article published in a reputable peer-refereed journal or the equiv.) then please post the citation.

(I *will* read it. Fairly.)

If you can point to anything that Maria G has accomplished in that district (other than collecting her paycheck and not screwing up publicly), please identify it in detail. Please show how it wouldn't have happened had she not been Superintendent.

If you can point to any education which she has obtained which qualifies her to have an expert knowledge on superintendent issues (supra), please identify and explain it.

A: School Law -- liability, discrimination, employment, NCLB, torts & contracts. (I will grant her ADA/IDEA/504 because of her SPED degree, but you can include specifics on that if you wish.)

B: Supervision and Evaluation -- of (1) Principals & such, (2) Classroom teachers/aides, (3) support folk (janitors, nurses, librarians, etc.)

C: Building Operations -- everything from getting the best price for fuel oil to when the roof needs to be re-oiled (asphalted), from keeping the school clean to when to build a new one.

D: Transportation -- everything from keeping the cost down to keeping little girls (and boys) from disappearing into the cars of child molesters and NAMBLA members.

E: Parental Relations === ability to facilitate and negotiate disputes between parents and school staff, to calm things down and make everyone happy. (OK, if she is so "nice" and everyone "loves her" -- maybe she can do this, but EXPLAIN and EXPOUND....)

For example, what would SHE have done when Larry Kelly went into the school checking hot water temps????

F: Ethics -- she answers to three masters and that alone is an inherent ethical minefield. What knowledge does she have to enable her to avoid innocent mistakes?

G: Malden -- what knowledge does she have dealing with whatever Deval is calling the Dept of Educ this week. NCLB, MCAS and the rest.

H: Cost containment -- how to do more with less money. This will be a big challenge to anyone in the position, but when has she ever had to do this?

There is more, but this is a good place to start -- and if she is so damn qualified that she can walk to Northampton without using a bridge, then I am sure you can find a few things above...

Ed said...

I don't require ANYBODY to "allow me to continue" doing what I do. I have the ultimate trump card: It's called the First Amendment.

Let me restate that -- the university responding to what you write. Amherst really should already be looking at some serious litigation for some of the things that they have bullied UMass into doing -- illegal things...

Gateway supporter said...

Myth: The 2005 project was "just off campus"

Fact: It was on Hobart Lane


Myth: BANANAs were its main opponents

Fact: Security concerns, whose costs could overwhelm any tax revenue, prompted the Police Chief, the Fire Chief and the President of the Pioneer Valley Housing Association (a business group) to recommend against


Myth: Those opposed to the Hobart Lane project also
oppose Gateway

Fact: Ensure that Gateway is truly "mixed use" - residences for graduate students, staff, young faculty and professionals; restaurants and shops serving the broad community; pedestrian and transit friendly - and it will get the needed support

Roach patrol said...

"Open Challenge to Team Maria:"


Team Geryk/Mazur's philosophy: don't respond to anyone.


http://www.gazettenet.com/2010/05/11/free-speech-issue-south-hadley-panel


Know who you're dealing with Ed.


These are cut throat people.

Roach patrol said...

They have a leader and they have a plan:



http://www.gazettenet.com/2011/01/18/questions-arise-over-amherst-superintendent-search-leverett-offi

LarryK4 said...

Actually there NIMBY Anon 11:20 AM, it was between Hobart Lane and Rolling Ridge (about a mile from campus, which I consider "just off")

And the ringleader, retired Umass Professor Dick Minear lives on Rolling Ridge.

You remember Professor Minear don't you? Back in 1987, when he was SB Chair, he orchestrated the taking of Cherry Hill: a golf course we could have had for free but ended up paying $2.2 million, the most expensive eminent domain taking in town history, all to stop the development of a lousy 134 units.

He was also aided back then by immediate neighbor, and owner of much rental property, Hilda Greenbaum, who now sits on the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Gateway will truly be a "mixed use" combining attractive storefronts and quality housing in a package to make us proud.

Ed said...

OK folks, gotta get back to writing my dissertation...

Ed said...

Myth: The 2005 project was "just off campus"
Fact: It was on Hobart Lane


Actually, it was to connect Hobart Lane to Northeast Street (as was the initial intent (look at the map sometime, Hobart goes all the way on paper) -- and the objection was that -- heaven forbid -- people would have another way to get across town. Instead of having to go onto campus and then back off, folk could go down Hobart to North Amherst.

What you folk don't understand is that Hobart is the way it is because it is a dead-end street. That means that the police can't simply drive through nonchalantly, that means that there isn't through traffic going through, and thus it becomes the isolated place it is.

And the police chief at the time was an anti-student twit who ought to have been fired for the Hobart riot if not the press conference afterwards. He claimed that some student broke a Glock with a beer bottle -- right....

And what you folk don't understand is that you drive the students out of town, your jobs go with them...

Anonymous said...

Larry, aren't you just a little annoyed with people who keep telling you that you don't understand? I know I am. It happens to me every day -- from people who really don't understand.

Congratulations, Ed, you are about to join the ranks of the highly educated but unemployable due to a negative outlook. Just be unemployed somewhere else; you have become tiresome.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah I'm tired of a LOT of things, and that certainly is one of them.

Ed said...

Congratulations, Ed, you are about to join the ranks of the highly educated but unemployable due to a negative outlook.

I would not be so certain about that -- do the numbers 1-20-13 mean anything to you?

Just be unemployed somewhere else; you have become tiresome.

You know, I really am tired of cowardly anonymous schmucks and spoilt brat hypocritical leftists. From this to the schmucks up in Leverett who think they ought to be able to dictate that Amherst hire Maria G as Superintendent without even a search.

You (and you know who you are) think that you are entitled to a lifestyle subsidized by the work of others. Subsidized by the parents of Eastern Massachusetts, subsidized by the property taxes paid by people who have land taxed as buildable but who are not allowed to build on it, subsidized by the working parents of Amherst who, increasingly, are paying twice for education as they increasingly seek educational alternatives.

F*** Y**. (No, children don't need to see that - and those to whom it is directed will know what it means.)

Any monopoly first becomes inefficient, then corrupt, and then replaced by new technology. This happened to the railroads, it happened to the auto industry, and it is soon to happen to the education industry. And this region will soon resemble Detroit, where they are considering abandoning entire areas of the city into wildlife preserves...

I say again, Amherst (and I include Pelham, Leverett and the rest) all have to hit bottom and soon will...

Anonymous said...

I object to the "hypocritical" part. By the way, I support myself. Do you?

Anonymous said...

Ed,

This just complete malarky. As is the rest of your tired arguments. In your version of reality, UMass will soon be closing up shop and leaving this area a wasteland when in fact they have ambitious expansion plans. All you have to do is drive through campus and look at all the new buildings that are better than the ones they replaced.

You live in a negative fantasyland filled with supposed wrongs and fictitious lawsuits. Go ahead and file all your imaginary suits. Then see what kind of job you get when they do a background check and find out what a blowhard you are.

Anonymous said...

Ed:

Someone give Ed a timeout ! Take a deep breath Ed, and calm down.

Anonymous said...

" this region will soon resemble Detroit, where they are considering abandoning entire areas of the city into wildlife preserves..."

Ed, you have blinders on. You haven't noticed that this area is doing better than most of the reast of the country? This isn't Toledo. It's not like they're moving UMass to China, unlike the wonderful corporation that just shafted the taxpayers for millions as it moved its solar panel business to China after taking millions of our tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

"Subsidized by the parents of Eastern Massachusetts"

Huh? Parents from all over the state and all over the world send their kids to UMass. They aren't subsidizing anyone. They are paying for a service. The education of their children, which is provided by the people who live in this area, including Amherst.

Ed said...

You haven't noticed that this area is doing better than most of the reast of the country?

There are many who firmly believe that the "higher ed bubble" is going to burst soon just like the housing bubble burst. And do you remember how well the housing industry was doing in places where it truly isn't doing well now?

Salle Mae is just as shaky now as Freddie & Fannie were a few years back, Obama has propped her up, but that will only go so far....

It's not like they're moving UMass to China,

Actually, much of the third world (India in particular) is now starting to build up their own higher education system and when they get it on-line, they won't be sending their students over here anymore....

Ed said...

Huh? Parents from all over the state and all over the world send their kids to UMass. They aren't subsidizing anyone. They are paying for a service.

A service that the Commonwealth could (and arguably should) provide in the counties in which they reside. Imagine if the jobs currently at UMass were in the regions where the parents paying for the education resided -- they might be able to enjoy the multiplier effect...

Look at the Springfield Project -- they want the jobs, it is that simple, and this is what I am talking about.