Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Blessings of the Juggernaut

UMass Amherst

Nice to have some good news to report just before the holidays: Unemployment in Massachusetts decreased in November to 6.4%, beating the 8.6% national average, with Amherst, not surprisingly, doing w-a-y better than either at 3.7%.

The November seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate for the state was 6.4%, down from 6.8% in October. Amherst's very low 3.7% is down considerable from the (off season) summer where June was the highest at 7.8% followed by July at 7.6% and August at 5.2%, thus upholding Amherst's reputation as a "college town" where low unemployment depends on the University being in full session.

UMass is the largest employer in Western Massachusetts and the number two property owner in town behind our other tax exempt higher education icon, Amherst College.


Anonymous said...

So, Amherst has half the unemployment rate of the rest of the state, and way below the rest of our poor suffering country. And the colleges account for that? Wow! Now maybe you'll cease your endless bashing of them. They may be exempt from property taxes, but we're exempt from the depression.

LarryK4 said...

Nah, it's not like they employ me or anything.

Although...Amherst College did hire my great, great grandfather in his twilight years as a night watchman.

Kind of nice of them (considering he had only one arm).

Anonymous said...

When will the idiot commenters on this blog understand that no one is bashing the colleges?

We just want what your parents at home get. Peace and quiet in the early a.m. hours and no urinating on our front lawns.

The colleges have nothing to do with that.

Anonymous said...

Another (somewhat) good piece of news coming out of UMass yesterday:
UMass is creating a committee to review the proposed UMass Health Services changes and cuts in service hours. Although I have my doubts generally about creating committees to study issues and make recommendations, perhaps something good can come out of this one.

From a email the Chancellor sent to the UMass community:

The proposed changes announced by UHS, which will be reviewed by the
committee, include a reduction in holiday, night and weekend hours;
elimination of the pharmacy, and reduction of in-house laboratory work with more tests performed by an external lab. The changes would cut 21.5 full-time equivalent positions, or about 10 percent of the UHS workforce.

In addition to Susan Pearson, the special committee will include:
• Bernette Daly, executive director of Health Services
• Donna Yezierski, associate director, UHS
• Three physicians from UHS
• Two UHS staff members
• Three undergraduates named by the Student Government Association
• One graduate student named by the Graduate Student Senate
• One representative from Administration and Finance
• One representative from Human Resources
• Nancy Buffone, executive director of External Relations and
University Events

The appointments to the committee will be completed soon, and the first meeting is expected to be held in January. I look forward to receiving the committee’s recommendations during the spring semester.

Robert C. Holub

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, I just saw that on the Gazette break page.

(Disadvantage of no longer being an online student: no longer getting those email updates.)

I kind of wish they put Chief Nelson or one of his able assistants on the committee to represent the concerns of Amherst Fire Department (which is a big concern of mine).

But hey, Nancy Buffone is no slouch and she is an Amherst resident (and Town Meeting member no less).

Ed said...

We just want what your parents at home get. Peace and quiet in the early a.m. hours and no urinating on our front lawns.

You don't deserve this. Amherst exists as Apartied, there are two groups of people -- those with civil rights and those without -- there are those for whom the police and fire departments exist to serve and protect -- and then those whom they have no intention of serving or protecting but seek to only keep in our place, on the back of the bus.

Inside 13 hours last week, I lost the scintilla of respect I had for both Amherst Fire and the APD -- to me, they are now nothing but thugs with badges, they are not my public servants, they are an army of occupation.

Not unlike the British troops in Northern Ireland. There are two clear groups of people -- and we know it. So why not urinate on your lawn -- you don't respect me, so why should I respect you?

Why? How do *I* benefit?

F*** Amherst -- I now am doing all my shopping in Northampton -- I am a real person over there.

Anonymous said...

Watch the UHS committee carefully. Bermie tipped her hand with the references to the three buildings -- she wants to convert UHS into just a psych clinic with everything else referred out. As it is now, you have to essentially have a psych exam before they will treat a sprained ankle.

Anonymous said...


It's not a basic human right to pee on someone's lawn, or make noise at all hours of the night. Get a grip.

Anonymous said...


Anyone that that violates the noise ordinance or makes a mess in someone's yard get treated the same way. Arrested. Student or non-student it makes no difference.

Anonymous said...

"I now am doing all my shopping in Northampton ..." Yeah, Zanna's and Clays seem to have the same old same old recently ...

Ed said...

It's not a basic human right to pee on someone's lawn, or make noise at all hours of the night.

I did not say it was a human right.

What I said was that the social contract is based on the presumption that all groups benefit from it, and when a significant portion of the society (any society) no longer sees any benefit from the social contract, they are going to stop contributing to it.

I may want to scream at the top of my lungs to impress all the young ladies. I don't do this at 2 AM because (a) I will wake up someone whom I either care about or respect (or his/her/its children) and I don't want to do that to someone whom I care about, (b) the town does a lot of nice things for me (personally) and I have a personal interest in the people who are asleep wanting to continue to contribute to the things that benefit me personally., or (c) I might get arrested.

You have lost (a) and (b) and the problem is that (c) only works when 95% of any population are complying with any rule (or social norm) because you really can't afford to hire enough police officers otherwise.

Anyone remember when the 55 MPH speed limit became a joke in the late '80s -- or how raising it to 65 actually brought average speeds *down*?

If you were willing to accept wild parties that absolutely ended at midnight, where the students all agreed that everything would be done at midnight and they would make sure of that, would you or would you not be ahead if you had to tolerate the occasional loud party up to midnight?


Ed said...

And what is it with urine on the lawn anyway?

Urine is sterile, the worst thing in it is ammonia which makes the grass grow better, and LBJ used to urinate in the Congressional parking lot in front of the tourists.

You have wild animals -- skunk, fox, etc putting feces on the same lawn and feces, even animal feces, is a completely different story. I suspect there are deer in South Amherst -- who knows what else.

Oh, and they urinate on it too. And birds drop lovely gifts from the sky....

Ed said...

Anyone that that violates the noise ordinance or makes a mess in someone's yard get treated the same way. Arrested. Student or non-student it makes no difference.

First, for a town that allegedly is both as liberal (small "l:") and Liberal as Amherst claims to be, I fail to fathom why no on is making a fuss about the "arrest" issue.

The purpose of an arrest is only to identify and to ensure appearance at trial -- not to punish as we do not permit police to do that. Yet we have arrests for what are crimes that do not possibly have jail time in them. And where is the ACLU, et al?

Second, drive around town the weekend of high school graduation and tell me that everyone drinking is of legal age and that there is no noise. Right...

I defy anyone to show me how to distinguish between an 18-year-old ARHS Senior and an 18-year-old UM Freshman. Yet I really would like to see how many kids with parents in town get arrested -- which, in part, is perhaps why they start doing bigger 'n' badder things in their mid 20's, as we have seen recently. Bank robbery anyone?

Third, you argue my point! All Amherst has LEFT is arrest -- force -- and you are at the point that the DDR was when everyone was going over the wall and they couldn't shoot them all...

You really can only use force against 5% of any population. When you get above that point, you face either having to use means so reprehensible that they become repulsive, or your logistics become overwhelmed by sheer numbers, or both.

Right now it is a very thin and tightly stretched blue line -- most don't know how thin and tightly stretched -- and you are in a situation like New Orleans after Katrina, with water coming in a lot faster than you can pump it out.

Right now you have a very real problem that is getting worse. Your police (pumps) are running at full capacity and the problem is still getting worse. Perhaps it is time to think about other options?

Anonymous said...

Would someone please give this Ed guy a job?