Tuesday, June 21, 2011

There they go again

Town Meeting 5/16/11: Solar Farm wins resoundingly

This from the minutes of the June 6 Town Meeting Coordinating Committee meeting (which I missed, but had planned to go just for the photo op):

Photography at Town Meeting: Several non-TM people were conspicuously photographing during some sessions this year, including a Daily Hampshire Gazette photographer, a local blogger, and someone shooting in support of an academic paper. There was concern that these may have been distracting or intimidating to speakers. The committee discusses whether flash photography should be restricted, and whether photographers should be restricted to certain areas of the auditorium to prevent them from interfering with proceedings. The committee agrees to discuss this with the Moderator.

Of course you know who the "local blogger" was; and yes, I'm "non-TM" but did indeed toil almost twenty years in that aging institution. At one point, from my photographer perch, I almost had to revert back to my bar bouncer days to separate an obviously teed off Vince O'Connor from another member a few years older than Vince, who used a speech stopping 'Point of Order' to distract Mr. O'Connor (more so than my camera).
Vince O'Connor angry

But hey, at least I'm in good company with Carol Lollis otherwise known as "the Gazette photographer".

Now the Middle School Auditorium is, you know, rather l-a-r-g-e and town meeting members are many, and they do sprawl all over the place.

Can you imagine chaining a photographer to a single desk way off in a corner like they do the two reporters at a Select Board meeting? Obviously town meeting is a (occasionally major) public event and its members are, for that brief period, public officials.

Ironically Rockwell's revered illustration (especially by town meeting aficionados) for 'Freedom of Speech' used a local town meeting for inspiration as he captures a member speaking his mind in bucolic Arlington, Vermont during the war years.
But the First Amendment also holds equally sacred freedom of the press. Even more ironic that TMCC discusses these new restrictions on June 6th, a day many aging Americans pause to remember the ultimate sacrifice made by thousands of men who charged head long into harms way to defend these freedoms.

This photogenic dude spoke against the Solar Farm


Mary Streeter, TMCC member and owner of a town meeting listserve of 153 members--more than a quorum (a violation of Open Meeting Law if not for town meeting being exempt), uses an in-session photo on her website.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you Larry for bringing this to light. Ali

S.P. Sullivan said...

The notion that you should restrict the recording of a public meeting of a public body in a public place because there was a few to many photogs one night is a little bit silly.

Especially at an age when nearly everyone owns a device that can record photos and video.

LarryK4 said...

That's the scary part: It's Amherst Town Meeting--they specialize in silly.

Anonymous said...

Who still uses a flash? You would be amazed what one can get with just existing light and a long lens - my infamous picture of a UMPD officer whacking a student in the head with a stick comes to mind.

And a good .avi video file is often priceless -- that, more than anything else, is what started to put the end to the left's tradition of disrupting events -- video of it started showing up on the internet, much to the chagrin of the admins.

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons I won't attend these meetings is because I don't want a camera in my face or my name and reputation slandered online by someone who might disagree with my opinion. I find it a form of bullying and intimidation in the age of Google.

Larry, I do like many of the topics you broach, but there should be some respect and professionalism along with that. I believe the Gazette and any reputable news publication would request rights - most likely in writing - were they to publish a photo and/or caption of someone. I don't feel the world - or future employers or customers or colleagues or friends or family - has to know about my personal business. There is a little thing called online privacy that happens to be important to many of us.

LarryK4 said...

Well then stay the Hell out of the (public) kitchen.

Anonymous said...

I do stay away from public meetings - and, as such, you have one less person showing support for many of those issues you push so heavily. Sad that the only people who attend those silly meetings are folks who crave paparazzi.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, I hate it when I scare off Cowardly Anon Nitwits who support those $50+ million projects that will so benefit the entire town.

Anonymous said...

"a violation of Open Meeting Law if not for town meeting being exempt'

Translation: It's illegal except that it's not.

What a dumb statement.

LarryK4 said...

Or I suppose I could also have written "Mass state legislators often meet behind closed doors in sessions that would violate the Open Meeting Law except they conveniently exempted themselves from the law when they passed it."

That too is pretty dumb (the practice, not the statement.)

Anonymous said...

Ah, the paradox of Town Meeting service:

Politics without the publicity.

Politics without the accountability.

Ask any resident to name their TM members and see how far into the list of 24 members per precinct each one gets.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, well if you look at the number of mayors who have gone to prison in recent years (Chicopee to Providence) you can see that we are way ahead with town meeting. You don't have anyone taking bribes or handing business to their cronies with no bid contracts. It's an old fashioned form of government that has never gone out of fashion. Most of the towns in Massachusetts still have town meetings, thank goodness.

LarryK4 said...

And most of the towns the size of Amherst became cities a long time ago.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I guess no one told Wellesley, Natick,and Framingham, to name just a few. Framingham has twice the population of Amherst.

Greasy and gray haired said...

The town is run by 90 year olds.


What happens in 10 years?

Anonymous said...

Sure, you don't have corruption if you divide up the power of governance into tiny little bits so that no one has any authority whatsover.

I'm just not sure that the extremes of Providence and Amherst are the only choices we have in municipal government.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps someone with actual knowledge of the law could confirm or deny whether my understanding is correct:

What you do in public, say in public, is publishable.

LarryK4 said...

It is.

Otherwise I would have been arrested a l-o-n-g time ago.

Anonymous said...

People not from Amherst must look at the likes of Vince O'Conner and the other well groomed dude and laugh their asses off. I'd love to see these two in a debate together. It would look like the Hatfields and McCoys were back at it. I love seeing TM pictures just for the entertainment value alone. I think Amherst could make a fortune producing their own reality series LOL!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with "June 23, 2011 4:42 PM". Watching TM is entertaining and always good for a laugh.
You look at some of those people and have to ask yourself, are they for real????

Under 70 not in control said...

Right. When this creaky cabal crokes, the insanity finally stops.


Liiiike a brrrridge overrr troubled water...

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but its not just bloviators. Barry Roberts is a town meeing member and he's a man of a lot fewer words. Honest as the day is long too.

Anonymous said...

Middle aged hippies: Trust funded counter-culture?

Anonymous said...

Especially when they are wasting time on gitmo detainees and other stupid resolutions that mean nothing.

Anonymous said...

Since he wants us to attend to his every word, just how does the ever-self-righteous VOC support himself?

Anonymous said...

Well...obviously Vince isn't spending what little money he probably has on a hair cuts or clothing.

Anonymous said...

don't you believe it...it costs quite a bit of $$ to live the "simple" life of all organic, all natural fiber...

Anonymous said...

it's really important tp focus on people's appearances and not on what they have to say

Anonymous said...

Apparently you have never listen to Vince O'Conner go on one of his many letures to the captured audience at town meeting after being told many times his time was up and to sit down. Also at times it is about appearance if I'm to entrust how my money is spent in town I would much rather have a someone who looks like they know how to handle money to it. Not some trust funder that has never truly had to work for a living, and yes our buddy Vince is a trust funder and who knows what the heck "Cotton Eyed Joe" does for a living.

Anonymous said...

Once again you are using copyrighted material without permission. Don't hold yourself out as some sort of journalist if you don't abide by the most basis journalistic ethics. Even a google image search will show that any image posted on google may be subject to copyright. This one certainly is. Did you license it?

LarryK4 said...

Once again you're being a Cowardly Anon Nitwit.

That particular print was cranked out in the millions by the War Department as part of a WW2 US bond drive (Rockwell was very patriotic).

Anything put out by the US government is free to use. Yeah, I even used a NASA photo of the Challenger exploding a while back.

Anonymous said...

Not so fast.

"this image of the war-time poster (not the painting alone) is in the public domain."

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, and Smokey Bear (not "Smokey The Bear") is protected by a special law--the 'Smokey Bear Act of 1952'--so the trademark is not in the public domain but his image is.

Violations of that confusing arrangement is a Federal offense.

Guess I'm lucky I did not use the photo I took of him at the Amherst July 4th Parade this year.