Friday, May 30, 2014

No Do Over For You!

Helen Berg at Select Board meeting 

Helen Berg's complaint about the Town Clerk not following state law by drawing names from a hat rather than alphabetically placing names on the ballot, would have been dismissed even if she had hired an attorney, as the town received permission to do so in the form of special state legislation w-a-y back in 1975.

 Aren't we special

That of course is why everybody forgot about it, and there was some brief concerned about Berg's threat to overturn the election where she lost by more than a landslide.

Now if we could just get the state legislature to approve downsizing Amherst Town Meeting from 240 to 60, we might actually attract qualified candidates armed with something this larger body is sorely lacking:  altruistic common sense.


Anonymous said...

What is the evidence for your assertion that a drastic reduction in the size of Town Meeting would result in a wiser group of people?

The political dynamic driving things for the past few decades would remain the same: "threats" of development would arise around town, whether in the form of soccer fields, low-income housing, student housing, condo developments, you name it. Candidates would emerge promising resolutely to prevent such building. Voters who are similarly motivated would be disproportionately in the small fraction that annually shows up at the polls. Those elected in such episodes remain in office year after year to provide support to others looking to prevent similar building elsewhere in town. How does that dynamic change when reduced by 75%?

The Homer Cowles, the Steve Puffers, the Tom and Edie Wilkinsons, the Eva Schiffers, the Alice Carlozzis, the folks without an anti-development agenda, who just called 'em as they saw 'em, are all gone. They're not walking back through that door. The few middle-aged folk of similar stripe visit for a term or two and leave in discouragement and disgust, preferring not to stand guard for common sense with their fannies in the seats hour after excruciating hour.

I want to agree with you (on the basis of hope alone), but I don't see it. What makes you think that a 60 member Town Meeting would be other than what we have, in all of its self-indulgent, ego-gratifying, time-wasting, wheels-grinding-to-a-halt glory, simply reduced to one-quarter size?

No one is paying attention except you and a select group of residents, so Town Meeting can sing (badly), play the four-corner offense of governance (deterring many from running), do whatever it wants.

Anonymous said...

How the hell do you "forget" about a special law that was passed to permit you to do something that would otherwise be illegal?

Kinda makes you wonder if any other laws have been forgotten....

Larry Kelley said...

Our current form of government is such a patch work held together with duct tape, so I'm sure there are a few more.

Larry Kelley said...

Mr. Morse: My favorite saying about (evil) capitalism is, "When products compete THEY GET BETTER."

Anonymous said...

Says Nelson to Helen, "Ha ha!"