Sunday, December 13, 2015

Story Of The Year

The fog will lift for sure next year

I'm a little ahead of my bricks and mortar media friends with that traditional year end list culminating with the top story of the year.  In fact I'm w-a-y ahead since this is my prediction for the biggest story of 2016.

Amherst has not seen a Charter change battle in over ten years, and this upcoming one is shaping up to be even more epic since this time around it stands a better chance of passing.  And the previous one narrowly came up short out of 4,814 votes cast losing by only 14  -- less than 1%.

Amherst For All members gather at Kendrick Park Saturday for final push

In fact the monumental effort to collect a whopping 3,215 signatures has only been aided by the (over) reaction of Town Meeting cheerleaders thus far:

The threat to challenge "every signature" certified by the Town Clerk for instance underscores their unAmerican desperate way of trying to prevent voters from having a say over the way they are governed.

Or the video upload to YouTube suggesting "conflict of interest" with Amherst For All Steering Committee members, while failing to acknowledge Town Meeting members are exempt from state conflict of interest law (unlike a Mayor or Council).

Talk about throwing stones while living in a Tiffany stained glass teepee.

Amherst For All is more than just a name; it represents something hardpressed taxpayers have not seen in too long a time:  hope.




21 comments:

Kevin said...

Challenge of signatures fell on deaf ears at the Town Clerk's, Larry. The Dinglehoffer's promise that they are "going to pursue this at the State level". Wahoo!

Anonymous said...

No problem.The biggest story will be town meeting won't be replaced with a mayor and cronies.

Larry Kelley said...

Wanna bet?

Anonymous said...

As opposed to Vince O'Connor and his cronies?

Anonymous said...

This is all about opening the barn door for developers. There is no other issue.

Anonymous said...

Vince for Mayor!

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:02, what is wrong with development in this town where 90% of the tax burden falls on homeowners?

Anonymous said...

anon@8:02: how about the issue that many seats for TM elections go unfilled and you can wrtie your name on the ballot to get elected? How about that many TM members lack the intelligence or interest to know what the TM issues are and what the articles mean? How about we have a town budget of over $40 million dollars being decided by a group of folks who seem to think that TM is a social event and that the most appropriate response to everything is just "NO"? How about a TM where there is a fraction of folks who think we should doing everything for the "kids" (no cost is too much) until kids become college students (kids), then they become evil incarnate? How about a property tax rate that is sky-high (without getting outstanding services in return)?

Anonymous said...

Almost all the development will be residential. It won't change that ratio.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:24 is spot on: "..we have a town budget of over $40 million dollars being decided by a group of folks who seem to think that TM is a social event..."

Anonymous said...

The problem with the current Town Meeting system (with apologies to Spock) is that the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many. Relatively few members can derail much needed zoning changes in the name of "protecting neighborhoods." Few TM members have students in the schools anymore, yet many profess to know everything about them - and so the school committee gets its budget rubber-stamped year after year despite mounting evidence of serious institutional problems. And development - sorely needed - is squashed in a misguided attempt to revert to a small, farming town.

Only by changing the charter can we break the deadlock and move Amherst forward. The current system is unsustainable as demonstrated by our shrinking year round population. We need a government that will work with the colleges and university to grow our commercial and residential base to match our real population.

Anonymous said...

This is probably going to be a big deal for the types of folks that allow the government in the town they live in have a big place in their lives. I think these folks are called townies. They do not recognize the vastness of the world around them, they think their town government matters for more than town employees.

Sorta feel sorry for such folks, it's a big world with endless possibilities, but you wont notice if you pay too much attention to petty town debates. Just axe their budget and move on with your own life, with your own resources.

Anonymous said...

@10:04, "Just axe their budget" is not possible under the current system. TM spends every dollar available and then some. And many, including on this blog, are pressing for increased borrowing that will impact budgets and taxes for decades. Repurposing existing taxes to cover capital improvements, rather than bond issues, would solve this. But TM would simply rubber stamp the debt without considering other options.

Anonymous said...

Well, at least people are admitting that this is all about zoning. Break the "deadlock" so a big housing complex can be put in your backyard without any means to fight it. The Boulders doesn't make my taxes any lower, but it sure does wonders for raising our crime rate!

Anonymous said...

anon@11:08, nice try to define "what it is ALL about", it isn't just about one thing! TM is dysfunctional because it is full of folks just like YOU (conspiracy nuts) and Ms Wentworth and her batch of silliness (just look at how laughable her skit is). I will tell you what is partly contributes to our crime rate (one that is supported tremendously by the Wentworth and the Oldham crowd), it is the shelters that attract drunks and drug addicts to our community (largely from nearby towns like Holyoke and Springfield).

Anonymous said...

The problem with 240 elected member Town Meeting is that it become an enormous arms race.
80 members are on Town Meeting for the sole purpose of preventing another 80 members from getting a super-majority. It's basically a Rationalista vs. Dinglehoffer smack-down.
What an enormous waste of time.

I'd much rather have a 9 person council, with 3 Rationalistas, 3 Dinglehoffers, and 3 others.
The results might the same, but we have saved the time of 231 people.

--A Rationalista

Anonymous said...

First those shelters have nothing to do with town meeting, and neither does all the crime at places like The Boulders. People from the shelters aren't taking the bus down there to break in. The kid that lived there with the gun was doing just fine without their help.

Anonymous said...

Many of us are hoping for an outcome that includes holding the school superintendent more accountable. Someone who will say NO and demand changes.

Anonymous said...

Also more fiscal responsibility. Just because taxes CAN increas 2.5% per year doesn't mean they SHOULD!

Anonymous said...

Maybe with a mayor we could get that money-pit of a school system in order.

His world is better than yours said...

"Many of us are hoping for an outcome that includes holding the school superintendent more accountable. Someone who will say NO and demand changes."


Oh pul-leasssssse.


Rick Hood's got that covered.


He's got ~everything~ covered (if you catch my drift).



-Squeaky Squeaks


p.s. Annnnd, he REALLLLLLLY cares!