Sunday, March 31, 2013
News About Nothing (Seinfeld)
While not up there with the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the lack of an $ Override question on the April 9 town election ballot is only a borderline miracle, especially in light of the recent outcry over school budget cuts.
Town officials are 1-2 over the past six years with one $1.68 Override passing in 2010; but a larger more hard fought $2.5 million Override campaign failing in 2007 (mainly because of campaign director, Rick Hood).
Any marketing guru will confirm trying to get people to voluntarily raise their own taxes -- especially in a trying economy -- is a tough sell. Even more so, the prospect of trying to raise money to buy media to sell consumers on the idea of paying more for something most people take for granted: public services.
Especially when the town has $6 million stashed away in reserves and the Regional Schools another $1 million. The old "why should I take money out of my savings account so that you can keep money stashed in yours" routine.
Of course the major downside now is the April 9 local election, with no town-wide contests and half the town meeting precincts with not enough candidates to fill the open seats, will get an abysmal turnout ... under 10%.
And no, 14 UMass students running for Amherst Town Meeting will not stimulate the vote in the least (other than the 14 who come out to vote for themselves -- if indeed they bother to vote that day).
Last November, however, the Amherst turnout for a non competitive (in this state anyway) Presidential election was 69%.
But for matters that more directly impact them -- The People -- it's the local election that really counts. And yet there, we always come up lacking.
Amherst: where even the H is silent.