Thursday, March 29, 2012

Whiny to the bitter end




The Joint Capital Planning Committee voted 7-1 this morning to approve $3,153,200 in recommendation to the Town Manager that backtracked only slightly from last week's fireworks laden meeting, mainly to now include $20,000 for 16 Jones Library surveillance cameras and $10,000 for maintenance work at the town owned Hitchcock Center building.


Hitchcock Center
After the camera initiative was properly vetted by IT directory Kris Pacunas, the price had precipitously dropped from $60,000 to $20,000 and will certainly provide peace of mind for patrons made nervous by frisky teens frolicking in the unattended downstairs, or the homeless wandering in looking for a place to sleep.

Library Trustee Carol Gray took exception once again to cuts that were upheld: $150,000 for fire protection system and $15,000 for building insulation, which she claimed would return about $3,000 in annual energy savings, or a five-year payback. Although she neglected to factor in the $15,000 that was approved last year for insulation and never spent, thus the payback period is really ten years.

And of course being a former lawyer she held up the architectural study commissioned by Library Trustees that highlighted minor deficiencies in the current fire protection system suggesting the town would be liable for any injuries sustained in the (unlikely) event of a fire.

Ms. Gray also took a cheap swipe at $90,000 earmarked for planning studies split between two major projects:  Last fall "Form Based Zoning" failed to garner the two-thirds vote necessary (119-79) at Town Meeting--with many opponents saying the article required "more study"--that would have rezoned North Amherst center and the Atkins Corner in South Amherst.

And the Gateway Corridor Town Center rezoning study, a $40,000 item to bring Form Based Zoning to the commercial downtown and the contiguous corridor leading to our largest employer, UMass.

Former Library Trustee (Chair) Pat Holland, who was defeated last year because of her tag-team involvement with Ms. Gray in running off long time library Director Bonnie Isman, is running unopposed for the lone Amherst Redevelopment Authority seat in the April 3 election.

The ARA spearheaded, nurtured and delivered the Gateway Project plan over the past year-and-a-half, but will probably have little future involvement for Ms Holland to sabotage.

12 comments:

Thomas Stratford said...

How much will it cost the town, to man the cameras? Does the budget cover for this?

Sounds like we need a little cheese with that wine.

LarryK said...

They will all feed to a central console but nobody will be monitoring them full time. If an incident occurs, they will just check the camera.

Just the fact that they are there will keep people on their best behavior (unless of course they first vandalize the cameras).

Anonymous said...

I hope it is the end for Carol Gray. We can ensure that she is not reelected by voting for the other candidates in the April 3 election. Please vote for Austin Sarat and Tamsin Ely. For the one year term, vote for Carl Erikson (since Joyce Thatcher is Carol Gray's sock puppet).

Anonymous said...

And then when you get into a Jason Vassel situation? The cameras made him look like the bloodthirsty murderer that he is -- except that people didn't want that shown....

A Library Watcher said...

Oh Carol. In a fit of pique, she is the only member of JCPC to vote against the capital plan. In a huff, she promises a "minority report." What a waste--as though anyone wants to see that.

Come on, Amherst. Let's get rid of her. Tuesday is the election. Let's make it the unelection for Carol Gray.

Anonymous said...

Ely and Ericson. Two bullets for Library.

Anonymous said...

The difficulties with Carol's form of participation are NOT something you can pick up from an interview on ACTV or in a candidate's forum.

She has an incredibly difficult time not getting her own way, and it leads to some fairly awkward and sometimes ugly situations.

She has found her way to a political system, i.e. Amherst town government, that is wide open to the efficacy of one ornery person putting a stick in the bicycle spokes of governance, and bringing things to a halt or at least a slow-down. In short, should Vince O'Connor be unable to fulfill his duties in that regard, Ms. Gray is the heir apparent.

Anonymous said...

Is there any board or committee that Gray has served on who would vote for her? She brings arguing to a whole new level, even for Amherst.

Anonymous said...

All ironies and paradoxes are intended in this statement: she is one of the most ruthlessly public-spirited people you are ever going to meet.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, Anon March 29 11:05, for the Joyce Thatcher as Carol Gray "sock puppet" remark.

Forewarned by that comment, I watched the Candidate Forum and, lo and behold, Ms. Thatcher kept on saluting Ms. Gray. I couldn't decide whether she reminded me more of Shari Lewis's sock puppet Lambchop or Captain Kangeroo's Mr. Moose.

I'll be voting for that handsome book-shelving guy, Mr. Erikson.

Anonymous said...

I am offended that anyone would make a comparison of Carol Gray to Captain Kangaroo. The Captain was a loving, caring, thoughtful person.

Anonymous said...

Please bullet vote: Tamson Ely and Carl Erikson. Many library staff will be grateful. Your votes count!