The Jones Library: Amherst's living room
Perhaps in addition to the nifty new electronic voting clickers the Moderator should also consider another modern day device to assist him with keeping Town Meeting running smoothly: a stun gun.
In all my 25 years of as a Town Meeting participant/observer I have never seen such a display of unruliness bordering on bedlam. Brought to you by, who else, Carol Gray.
Carol Gray with a loaded weapon in her left hand
Although the Moderator certainly could have handled things better, as "Points of Order" richocheted around the room like shrapnel from a Hellfire missile.
One thing an attorney is trained for is the give-and-take of cross examination. One little slip "opens the door" for a line of questioning that otherwise would be out of bounds.
By allowing the Jones Library delegation to talk about the building project in their presentation he invited Town Meeting members to follow suit, even if it was against his preamble speech to the membership that it would be ruled "outside the scope of the article."
Historical Society property would have allowed expansion less destructive to green space
Not that I think the zoning change -- which requires a challenging two thirds vote -- was going to pass no matter how smoothly the presentation and follow up discussion went.
The privately owned Town Meeting list serve was a beehive of conspiracy theories all these past few weeks, so the failure was hardly surprising.
By killing the chance for the Jones Library to purchase abutting property from a kindred spirit, Town Meeting has set up the future renovation/expansion project for failure.
Even worse, it demonstrated our legislative body takes Ms. Gray seriously. That alone is reason enough to terminate Town Meeting.