Monday, April 2, 2012

Amherst Voting ABCs


Even with all 240 Town Meeting seats up for grabs, the lack of competition for the highest elected office in town, Select Board, combined with a plethora of status quo candidates for Library and School Committee--a good thing in the former not so good in the latter--will lead to a fairly routine, lousy, voter turnout in the 18% range (while the upcoming November Presidential election turnout will be in the fairly routine 70% range).

On Tuesday Amherst Regional High School will distribute 2nd period "report cards".  For School Committee this election should also act as a report card for the only incumbent candidate, Irv Rhodes:  Fail. 

For the past few years--certainly the entire three year tenure of Mr. Rhodes on School Committee--the exceedingly high average per student cost of Amherst education compared to state average or especially compared to Northampton has been an issue of contention, especially since that steep investment does not result in corresponding high MCAS results.



Most Recent MCAS results: worst in seven years

Former School Committee members Catherine Sanderson and Steve Rivkin brought up this platinum plated disparity continuously at SC meetings, Amherst Bulletin columns and on Ms. Sanderson's high traffic exceedingly public school committee blog--the one Mr. Rhodes wanted the District Attorney to investigate for Open Meeting Law violations.

In fact, a School Budget Advisory Committee was formed in early 2010 specifically to ascertain why Amherst's average costs were $4,000 higher per student than Northampton's.  Four months later they disbanded in disgust due to a lack of cooperation by highly-paid school administrators. 

Apparently the only impression made on Mr. Rhodes by all that budgetary discussion was to develop knots in his stomach. Mr Rhodes also failed to file his campaign financial report due last week.  If he can't properly run a low-budget school committee campaign, how can voters have confidence in him to oversee a $50 million enterprise?

Two other SC candidates--Amilcar Shabazz and Lawrence O'Brien--are also firmly in the blank check, rubber stamp, cheerleaders for highly-paid school administrator league.

Michael Aronson, on the other hand, has made that whopping spending disparity between Amherst and Northampton a campaign centerpiece.  And he has the guts and business experience to do something about it.  Thus the School Committee voting choice could not be more black and white:  Bullet vote for Michael Aronson.

The Jones Library Trustee race (also two seats open for 3 year terms) really is as simple as ABC:  Anyone But Carol!  Carol Gray, that is.

After running off 30 year director Bonnie Isman and seeing her partner in mayhem Pat Holland defeated last year as a result, Ms Gray's ignominious defeat is like a long lost library book:  W-a-y overdue.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more: Irv Rhodes deserves to lose. He hasn't shown any leadership on any difficult issues.
Michael Aronson is the only one asking the tough questions.
Maybe we can even find out what the now ousted former Director of Curriculum, Beth Graham did with her time. And, just what are those "many accomplishments" that Maria G. said Beth G. achieved while she was here for 1 1/2 years; and that we wound up paying almost a quarter of a million dollars for. Michael, please find that out for us!

Anonymous said...

"Thus the School Committee voting choice could not be more black and white..."


Kinda goes without saying.

The Ponziville Times said...

Irv was a little slow but in the end man, could he do that Ponziville shuffle!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for mentioning the necessity of defeating Carol Gray.

Just to be completely clear, please vote for Ely, Sarat, and Erikson. Don't vote for Gray or Gray's sidekick Thatcher.

If you need more reasons to vote against Carol, just read these comments.

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

A number of people have asked me who to vote for in the SC election, so I'm glad to have this opportunity to share my thoughts. If you believe that things are going well in the schools now, in terms of student achievement and spending, you have three candidates to choose from. As Larry notes, Rhodes, O'Brien, and Shabazz have all indicated their lack of interest in learning why we spend so much more than other districts and their intent to adopt all recommendations of the current administration (despite any evidence that the current administration is willing or able to make the type of fundamental changes in our schools that will enable all children to experience challenge, engagement, and love of learning).

There is one candidate - Michael Aronson - who has demonstrated on repeated occasions his willingness to stand up for the children and families in this district. Michael was a regular presence at SC meetings during my three years on the committee (unlike O'Brien and Shabazz), and has repeatedly shared his views about our schools in both the local papers and at SC meetings.

Unfortunately, Aronson has little chance of winning because he is running a very low key campaign - no signature ad in the paper, no lawn signs - and isn't endorsed by Sustainable Amherst (with their wide-ranging email list). So, if you prefer Aronson to the other candidates, you definitely need to bullet vote for him - meaning vote for him and no other candidates (since voting for another candidate could lead that person to beat Aronson by your one extra vote).

Anonymous said...

Hey, Larry,

Didn't you endorse Irv Rhodes last time around? He's your candidate.

LarryK said...

Hey, Anon,
No, actually I did not. (Knew him too well.)

Anonymous said...

Where is Aronson's finance report?

LarryK said...

Like some of the Library candidates, he did not form an election committee, accept donations or spend any money.

Anonymous said...

Aronson's report was filed. Check with the clerk.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, Mike Aronson's performance as a candidate was as weak as the others. His closing statement at the Candidates Forum was cringe-worthy.

Anonymous said...

the really sad part, though, is that aronson and his handful of supporters and endorsers are not willing to accept that they have been complaining now for several years, and even when 90+ percent of the people say "no thanks, please go away!", they will still believe that we are all wrong and they are right, and that they should keep "fighting".

Anonymous said...

What a happy day at the library! Carol Gray is now gone! The voters have now voted out 2 out of the 3 ringleaders of Bonnie's inquisition and the 3rd chose not to run again (seeing the writing on the wall I bet). Bonnie must feel somewhat vindicated. Now the voters must be sure to never vote Carol Gray to any position in the Town of Amherst again. And we all must hope and pray she is never chosen to serve in a volunteer post. She is toxic.

Anonymous said...

What a happy day at the library! Carol Gray is now gone! The voters have now voted out 2 out of the 3 ringleaders of Bonnie's inquisition and the 3rd chose not to run again (seeing the writing on the wall I bet). Bonnie must feel somewhat vindicated. Now the voters must be sure to never vote Carol Gray to any position in the Town of Amherst again. And we all must hope and pray she is never chosen to serve in a volunteer post. She is toxic.

Anonymous said...

There's a RUMOR that CG wants to be appointed to the ZBA

Anonymous said...

I really hope the town is smart enough to not ever appoint Carol Gray to anything.

New in Town said...

To Ms Catherine Sanderson (april 2nd 2012, 7:30 pm):

Hi, i'm new in town. Could you please tell me why a number of people come to you to make their voting decisions for them? Out of curiosity, how many people asked you how they should vote?

Thanks, NIT (New In Town)

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

Hi, New In Town,

I imagine that people want my thoughts on who to vote for since I served on the SC for three years. If you have any questions about the schools you'd like my opinion on, you can easily reach me via email: casanderson@amherst.edu.

Anonymous said...

New In Town is pulling our leg with the faux innocent questions.

Anonymous said...

so how many people approximately asked you who to vote for, catherine?

Anonymous said...

pulling who's leg?