Thursday, May 19, 2016

A Precious Thing

The Evergreens in October

While Town Meeting was somewhat unanimous in agreeing The Evergreens and First Congregational Church are priceless images that bring majesty (and foot traffic) to our Main Street Dickinson Historic District, there was still plenty of discussion about $390,000 in Community Preservation Act tax money for fire suppression systems.

Town Meeting approved $390K for First Congregation Church & The Evergreens 

The separation of church and state concerned some with the $200K request from the First Congregation Church, and even more were concerned that The Evergreens is owned by Amherst College, our #1 landowner who sits on a $2 billion endowment.

But supporters pointed out the College is matching the $190K request for The Evergreens and they contribute 15% of the annual operation costs to the Dickinson Museum complex.

Carol Gray in her usual acerbic way reminded Town Meeting that Amherst College was about to demolish the Little Red Schoolhouse to make way for a $200 million Science Center.

Little Red Schoolhouse facing west (Stone dorm in immediate background)
 Carol Gray locked and loaded

I voted "yes" simply because I worry that a No vote would have significantly delayed the installation of the sophisticated fire mitigation system, and I know all too well the devastating damage fire can unleash.

And it only takes minutes for the beast to grow unstoppable.

I did however abstain from the individual vote on First Congregational Church because I didn't want to mess too much (by voting no) with God.

 Town Hall had sprinkler system installed as part of $4 million renovation 20 years ago

Perhaps Town Meeting was a tad more civil last night (Carol Gray notwithstanding) because we started with cute kids from the Middle School presenting their warrant article to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day.

 Amherst Regional Middle Schoolers present to Town Meeting

As the town curmudgeon I usually vote "no" to these, but I figured there was no harm in showing empathy for wrongs committed a long, long time ago.  Besides, one of the petitioners is my daughter's BFF.

The article is only "advisory" so it has no real power to influence a Federal/State holiday, but it does send a symbolic message that Amherst is sensitive to the slaughter of innocent people.

The motion passed almost unanimously, to the great delight of spectators in the back of the room -- something not often seen or heard in sedate Town Meeting.

Yes, this is the same legislative body that voted down -- by two thirds vote no less -- my 2007 advisory article requesting the downtown commemorative flags fly every 9/11 for as long as the Republic stands to remember the innocents slaughtered on that unforgettable day. 

Maybe I should have had my daughter make the presentation.


Anonymous said...

So, why bring up the little Red School House? To suggest the Amherst College is bad at historic preservation?

Rick Hood said...

I voted Yes on both. But I thought Leo Maley and Rich Morse had really good points about church v. state. I went with Jim Wald's argument about this being about the structure and not the org that is in it. Not really sure which argument was "right".
I thought this was an example of a good debate.

Anonymous said...

It's too bad CPA money can't be used for economic development. But it's good to see it being used for purposes other than taking land off the tax rolls.

Anonymous said...

I am astonished that we are being taxed to provide money to churches!!!

In this town!

We are being forced to subsidize religion.

How is it that there isn't more outcry about this?

Anonymous said...

Hope they make the kids go to school an extra day sense they want to change the name of a holiday. Changing the name doesn't change facts. Changing history doesn't change what happened. How about making the furture better and not dwelling or worring about the past so much. Good and bad things happened. Work towards a better furture and stop trying to change what happened before most these kids were even a thought.

Anonymous said...

Indigenous peoples day? If it was up to the indigenous people in western MA, Amherst would have been burned to the ground in 1673 along with every settlement in western Massachusetts. Nearly every indigenous tribe in the area practice violence, genocide, and torture on European settlers as well as on other tribes. The mohegans however, aided the western MA settlers. Columbus has his issues of violence, genocide, and torture as well but to imply the acts of the many western Massachusetts indigenous tribes committed were any less severe is naive. Amherst should know better. Amherst, Northampton, Hadley, and Deerfield suffered enormous harm from the surrounding tribes in the 1663 king Philips war and in the many Indian wars for 100 years thereafter. I understand the colonists also committed vile acts. But changing the name to indigenous peoples day implies Columbus and the colonists should not be celebrated because history has now judged them poorly. The indigenous people were not that different in behaviors we now find apauling. The technique of having children write a report on Christopher Columbus and then pressure the school district and town to change the name of Columbus Day to indigenous peoples day is hapenning all over the country. Northampton has already begun the process as well. Again, beginning with a "spontaneous" effort by schoolchildren. This has more to do with liberal academics trying to tarnish any event this country might use to instill patriotism and/or nationalism in its people. Indigenous people should be celebrated in some way. They are part of the history of this country and members of this country. But their celebration should not be made at the expense and defamation of others that are also celebrated for their contribution to this nation.

Joshua Orlen

Anonymous said...

What does that mean: "in this town?"

Anonymous said...

I, personally am sick of outcries.

Anonymous said...

It's possible to have both days. But leftists hate this country. (Certainly their president does. Otherwise why would he have had the desire to fundamentally transform it?).

Anonymous said...

I try not to feed trolls, but can't resist this one. @12:52, we leftists have never had a president. Centrists have had plenty though, including the current one.

It's cute how you characterize us as the haters, when in fact it's you "rightists" that bang the hate drums against anyone that doesn't agree with you. Threaten us with guns, take away our civil rights, and so on.

I'm proud of you, though, for using multisyllable words like "fundamentally transform". Your publicly funded education is serving you well. I suppose you would have opposed the fundamental transformation of the Old South from a slave-based economy? And I expect you'll also refuse Social Security and Medicare, as your pride will prevent you from accepting government handouts. Perhaps you'd like to fundamentally transform our society into one that rejects immigrants, or eliminates social welfare programs? Of course, that would mean giving back your education, tearing up your street, etc.

Just let us know and we can get started on that. ;-)

Anonymous said...

If B. Hussain Obama is a "centrist" then I am an anorexic lesbian gymnast.

Social Security & Medicare will be insolvent before I am old enough to be eligible for them.

North Pleasant Street dates to 1887 -- towns managed to maintain public ways in the 19th Century, "King Street" in Hamp dates back to, umm...

And I paid for my education, damn it. And I want my country back!

Anonymous said...

During the Cultural Revolution, the ChiComs used the children as well.

The adults who exploited these children ought to be ashamed of themselves.

Anonymous said...

I vote for whatever my BFF tells me to. What an ass you are Kelley. No wonder nobody respects you, loser.

Larry Kelley said...

Actually it was my daughter's BFF. Pay attention.

Anonymous said...

Fuck you