Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Election Aftermath: Turmoil in the Making?

 Amherst March 25 election 2014:  Do over?

If Helen Berg -- 3rd place finisher in a 4-way race where the top two win a Select Board seat -- gets her way, Amherst taxpayers will spend another $12,000 for a "do over" of yesterday's election.

Ms. Berg finished 3rd garnering only 379 votes compared to the two winners, Andy Steinberg with 1,843 and second place finisher Connie Kruger with 1,700.

Or what most political insiders would consider not even close.  In fact, you don't even have to be a political insider to consider that not even close.

Helen Berg speaks at  3/17 Select Board meeting

The technicality stems from placing the order of candidates names on the ballot.  Traditionally the town has always drawn names from a hat for order of placement, thus giving our Polish friends with surnames ending in W a chance to be first on the ballot.

At the February 6 meeting of the Board of Registrars, that took about 45 minutes, all the contested town wide races and Town Meeting races were done this way.  Ms. Berg complained about her 3rd place drawing stating the town should go alphabetically, thus placing her first on the ballot.

The town currently operates under the Amherst Town Government Act which was enacted in December, 2001.   And the that document is silent on how to place names on the local election ballot.

Therefore the safest course of action would be to abide by state statute.  

Her complaint did raise a red flag, and it was then the Town Clerk noticed the February 6 meeting of the Board of Registrars had not been properly posted according to Open Meeting Law.

At that point -- with a do over already in the works, meaning a reprinting of all the ballots, both the town attorney and Town Manager looked at whether the town should go by state statute and simply list all candidates alphabetically (as requested by Ms. Berg), or do it the way it has always been done.

They decided to properly repost the Board of Registrars do over meeting for March 5th, redo the random drawing, and then reprint the ballots.  The only change in Select Board order was Ms. Berg moved up a notch to #2 on the ballot and Mr. Boothroyd moved down to #3 from his former #2 spot.

And it certainly seems like being #4 on the ballot did not hurt Connie Kruger any.


Another angry Select Board loser:



Anonymous said...

Can someone wake Ms. Berg from la la land? Her conduct is really unbecoming. Her behavior at the last select board meeting was ridiculous, her interview with Amherst Media she stated everyone should go to the malls in Hadley instead of Amherst and now this?? I think we should break out a section 12 and put her name on it.

Anonymous said...

Why should we be surprised if Ms. Berg does not accept her defeat gracefully?

She has already demonstrated that she's the Tonya Harding of Amherst politics.

Anonymous said...

Go get 'em Helen. This town is status quo and no one likes anyone making waves. They'll label yo nuts, find anything wrong with you they can, make personal attacks but don't let that stop you. Amherst needs some serious ass whooping. More and more people are starting to speak up for what's right in Amherst and not settling for what's been done this way longer than anyone can remember. Don't let the loss of this election stop you. Fight for what's right. You have supporters and the list is growing.

Larry Kelley said...

I can see why you didn't sign your name to that.

AL Wilbur said...

If I"m going to bad mouth, I"m not going to hide behind ANONYMOUS. I hardly ever like the results of our towns people decisions or way of thinking, but GROW UP... If I know who I'm going to vote for,, I could care less where their name is located on a ballot.. I look for that name and check it off. This is such a perfect example of how our town officials make a mountain out of a mole hill. Put some real people with realistic ideas in there.. I used to love this town forty years ago.. You're as good as Obama care.. And by the way,, I"m not a robot and I still can't read your ridiculous words I'm supposed to retype. I still haven't satisfied the computer. Welcome to the new world..

Larry Kelley said...

Hey Al,
Sorry about the darn security thing.

It even pops up for me once in a while and I have trouble with the letters.

Thanks again for the bear photos!

Anonymous said...

A publicly random selection of places on the ballot is an indication of something deeply wrong in Amherst? As opposed to a mindless alphabetical order on the ballot? This is your idea of an injustice?

Anon 2:29 pm, you are just looking for a fight, any fight.

Anonymous said...


Wake up. We have perfectly good people serving on our Select Board and Library Trustees. Your rant is several years out of date.

And this business about blowing out the word "Obamacare" like some kind of right-wing mantra.....well, we've heard it all before.

Anonymous said...

Larry, if the town isn't going to comply with a state statute (even if it is an asinine one) then why should the UM students comply with town ordinances they consider equally asinine?

What moral authority do you have to tell them to comply with the town's open container & noise ordinances when the town itself isn't willing to comply with a state statute which (apparently) requires alphabetical listings.

And for what it's worth, if I wanted to vote for someone's whose name started with "W", I'd do the same thing I do when I am looking in the phone book for someone whose name starts with "W" -- how difficult is this to do???

Larry Kelley said...

Yeah, yeah, yeah go ahead. Bring Martin Luther King into it.

Anonymous said...

OK- Let's do alphabetical-
by first names :)

Anonymous said...

Ms. Berg, if you read this blog and have the slightest bit of humility, please reconsider your actions regarding your contesting the vote. You clearly lost and it has not a whit to do with the order of the four names on the ballot. Causing the town, and we taxpayers, to spend more money so you can prove a point is diametrically opposed to every pledge you made during your campaign. Do not use my hard earned money to fund your vain attempts at this sad attempt to rail against Authority. You lost. Get over it.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Berg is complaining about losing to someone that was listed 4th?

And as to John's letter, he is correct that it is highly likely the Markerts Pond is almost empty due to the redirection of the streams. Many in that neighborhood are upset and town officials have been contacted about it.

Anonymous said...

How many voters went to the booth on Tuesday?