Thursday, June 21, 2012

Shutesbury Library Drama Continues

Shutesbury Community Church managed major renovations with private fundraising

Andy Warhol once said "Everyone would be world famous for 15 minutes," and lawyers in the contentious Shutesbury Library $1.4 million override election had their 15 minutes before a trio of judges at the Boston Court of Appeals on Tuesday morning trying to convince the justices that Hampshire Superior Court Judge Mary-Lou Rup was either as wise as King Solomon or wrong as a stopped clock.

Boston attorney William McDermott, representing two of the original 10 class action Yes voters, squandered precious time trying to get the justices to allow into evidence interrogatories that Judge Rup had not allowed on a technicality (they were unsigned). The justices pointed out to Attorney McDermott that if the Paczkowskis voter status is upheld the Pills (yes) votes would be moot.

Attorney Alan Seewald, hired by 3rd party "intervenors" from the No side, shared 15 minutes before the justices with Shutesbury town attorney Donna McNicol who argued the Board of Registrars correctly allowed the yes votes of Shoshana Holzberg-Pill and her brother Jacob Holzberg-Pill as well as the No votes of Richard and Joan Paczkowski, long-time residents who winter in Florida (bringing the vote to a 522-522 tie).

Oddly, Attorney MacNicol as part of her defense of the Pills also defended the behavior of Christopher Buck the only vote thrown out by the Board of Registrars and barely mentioned in the original case brought before Judge Rup.

Alan Seewald, the Pro from Dover, defended Judge Rup's decision but was questioned sharply by justices about "disenfranchising" Shoshana Holzberg-Pill and her brother, who attended the hearing, Jacob Holzberg-Pill.  But Attorney Seewald had never requested Judge Rup simply throw out the Pills yes votes only that, "If your honor were to disenfranchise the Paczkowskis, you must do the same with the Holzberg-Pills."

Shutesbury Town Administrator Becky Torres, a new-library supporter, also attended the appeals hearing.

The Appeals Court is expected to rule before June 30 thus giving the town time to tap into the $2.1 million state grant dangling in the wind since the heated political theater began.  If the court upholds Judge Rup's decision the vote ends up 522-520 in favor of NO.  If the court reinstates the Pills votes but fails to overturn the Board of Registrars decision on the Paczkowskis, the vote will be 522-522 tie, ballot question fails.

In order for the election outcome to change the appeals court has to allow the Pills votes and disallow the Paczkowskis, a seismic overrule of Judge Rup and about as likely to happen as a snowstorm blanketing the area later today.

Look for a safe, tidy compromise:  the justices will reinstate the Pills votes, but keep in the Paczkowskis thus bringing the tally, once and for all, to a 522-522 tie, the $1.4 million override fails.

Quaint Shutesbury M.N. Spear Memorial Library


Anonymous said...

Thank-you Larry. You are the best.

Anonymous said...

The judges don't have to compromise with anyone.

This blog has some cred on discussing Amherst politics, but predicting how appellate judges are going to come out? I don't think so.

LarryK said...

At least I put my name on my predictions.