Saturday, June 25, 2016

Show Me The Money!

Only the Select Board can place an Override on the ballot
Amherst Select Board  June 20th

The Amherst Select Board heard a presentation/update from school officials concerning the proposed $65+ million Mega School on Monday night but had very little to say about it.

Interestingly in the packet of material presented to them a timeline which appeared to be chronological showed the Override question being put to the people before Town Meeting.

 Click to enlarge/read

Naturally I asked about that and Chair Alisa Brewer was a tad vague saying since it was "To Be Determined" those two items were not necessarily in chronological order like those ten items preceding them.

Although she not overly convincing.

The way it has worked in the past Town Meeting by a two-thirds vote approves an Override and then it goes to the people, where about half the time they have failed.  Only once (March 30, 2004) has an Override -- for the schools naturally -- been presented to the voters prior to Town Meeting approval.

 Annual Town Report 2005

While that one was successful a higher amount put on the same ballot (called a "pyramid override") failed.

Only once has the Select Board agreed to place an Override on the ballot after Town Meeting failed to muster a two-thirds vote of support.  And that new elementary school Override failed badly.  

The advantage of going to "the people" first is the Override question only requires a simple majority vote.  With that in hand it should be easy to convince Town Meeting to then support it by the two-thirds needed.

Especially now with Town Meeting possibly being legislated out of existence by a Charter Commission report that could (and hopefully will) come back with a Mayor/Council form of government.

And Town Meeting would probably have a hard time convincing voters they best represent them if they should not uphold an Override vote of "the people."

Especially since that Override will be on the November 8th Presidentail ballot which will see a 75% to 80% turnout in Amherst compared to the 10-15% pathetic turnout we usually get for a municipal election in the Spring.

But if Town Meeting does turn down the Override when they meet in mid-Novermber even if voters approved it by majority vote on November 8th, school supporters would then have 5 business days to collect the signitures of 5% of the registered voters to "referendum" the action of Town Meeting.

Which may not be all that easy since the active voters will be at an all time high (last Presidential election the Town Clerk reports 7,000 new voters signed up prior to the election).

Even then that ballot question would require a two-thirds vote of the people to overturn Town Meeting.  Additionally it requires a minimum turnout of 18% of the voters, something that rarely happens with a local election.

As my Chinese friends would say, "May you live in interesting times."





40 comments:

Anonymous said...

whose behind the flashy new BOLD website PR effort for the new "Wildwood" project? Hood? + others? Couldn't find a single name associated with it.

Anonymous said...

It probably would have helped the central administration if the elementary teachers actually supported this expensive new school and grade change--but they don't. Banking on voters knowing as little as possible? Why doesn't Brewer just admit the tactic?

Anonymous said...

didn't Anastasia Ordonez's spouse help create the website? that's what I've heard at least --- not that it says so on the site anywhere.

Anonymous said...

I have heard a number of elementary school teachers say that they will retire or otherwise leave the Amherst schools rather than teach at the new school building. I wouldn't be surprised. The new school(s) will be a major change for all -- the biggest change to the schools in decades.

kevin said...

The schools were paid off years ago. We should started setting aside money in a special account for new schools a long time ago. So what did Town Meeting do? Voted it down. And why? Does anyone remember why we thought it was a good idea to vote it down? There must have been some reason why.

Dr. Ed said...

UM students vote in Pres elections -- and a LOT will be voting in this one.

Explain to them that THEIR RENT will go up if the override passes (it will) and Maria is defeated. But Larry "no fun" Kelly is the only one to do that...

Interesting times indeed.......

Dr. Ed said...

Kevin, duly elected, I went to a grand total of ONE town meeting, upon seeing how biased the moderator was against UM students (and a quite unprofessional comment from Catherine Porter), I saw no purpose in ever returning.

Hence I can't speak to any specific TM, only in general terms.

HOWEVER, Some of us expect governmental buildings to be built well enough to last for a while. Some of us consider bonds to be an investment for future generations and not just rent. Some of us are of the mentality that bonds are a TEMPORARY means of establishing public facilities that are PERMANENT -- or which will at least outlive us.

It's like umASS (and I'm hearing rumprs of criminal charges relative to this)-- when bonds are issued to build, say, North Apartments, the revenue is supposed to retire the bonds, at which point they are supposed to be gone. It's not supposed to be like an over-limit credit card where once you have paid down your balance, you can make new purchases up to the limit.

The town bought a school, they expected it to last...

Anonymous said...

Translation: When poor little Ed discovered that in Town Meeting, unlike here, he wasn't allowed to shoot his mouth off whenever he liked, he stamped his feet in frustration and left in a snit. No reason to hang around... except, oh yeah, to vote on behalf of those who "duly elected" him. Better they should be left without any representation than that civic-minded Ed should be muzzled by The Man!

Biased against UMass students? Really, Ed? So you raised your hand and failed to get recognized? Given that you were 40+ years old, how did the moderator even know you were a student (let alone a UMass student)? Paranoid much?

Anonymous said...

Ed as usual was all talk and no action.

Anonymous said...

What is the priority among all these projects: fire station, DPW building, Jones Library, new school building? Anyone going to fix the roads? Any leadership on this to sort this all out or just go to the voters randomly and see what they will vote for?

Anonymous said...

I heard that we already had some vote on the Mega school by the residence of Amherst could someone explain that to me? Thanks Rebecca

Larry Kelley said...

It would help if we had a Mayor/Council before too long.

Dr. Ed said...

No, Ed took action, I concluded that Town Meeting was a waste of time & that Amherst needed a Mayor, that a Mayor would be more democratic than this farce.

I was also rather pissed that I'd had to miss classes because of the asinine decision to have voting in the Student Union and the even more asinine decision to misinterpret the 150 foot rule.

I really ought to have filed a claim with the town, not that I'd have gotten anything, but the Globe would have had fun embarrassing UM over it. And I wish to thank the CANs for indirectly reminding me of this, which I had forgotten but now will include in my book.

UMass Delenda Est -- Amherst will go down the drain with it...

Anonymous said...

I just realized -- Pot will be on the Nov ballot. Wonder which way the stoners will vote on override?

Dr. Ed said...

Oh, and Larry,thought this was relevant to the MegaSkool....

http://therightscoop.com/david-cameron-made-a-huge-mistake-john-bolton-explains-the-history-leading-to-the-brexit/

Anonymous said...

Ed, we are all breathlessly awaiting your book, which comes out never.

Dr. Ed said...

2022

Anonymous said...

I am sure ed's bedroom is full of little sheets of paper with little scribbles on them. Then his mom yells at him to clean his room and he has to start his book all over again.chater one : Birth "the doctor slaps me on the bottom and I cry but I never forget what the medical establishment did to me".

Anonymous said...

Yes, Mr. Ed took bold and decisive action, just as Sarah Palin did as governor of Alaska: He quit! Twin profiles in courage.

Dr. Ed said...

Besides, I'm going to insist in an unusual clause in the copyright license, similar to the one MLB baseball has on radio broadcasts: this book may not be owned, possessed by or read by any current or past UM employee and/or Amherst resident without the express written permission of the author.

So, folks, you ain't gonna ever be able to read it.

Anonymous said...

What's to read? "How I took 20 years to get a UMass degree and became a bitter whinerbaby."

Gee, sorry I'll miss it. Sounds like a bestseller.

Dr. Ed said...

I neither took 20 years nor only got one degree. Try three degrees in something like seven, not that I'd want to confuse you with facts.

Anonymous said...

People are always threatening to leave when things don't go their way. There's the door! Go.

Anonymous said...

I am sure glad I subsidized ed's education! Ed must have been in one of those tm elections where not enough people ran. He probably won with one vote...his!

Anonymous said...

And another thing, voters could vote no on the new, very expensive school that teachers don't want--and there's still time to do a redesign and renovate our existing school buildings and get state money.

Anonymous said...

10:47
Facts do matter!
Time to degree=22 years
Number of degrees=2

Dr. Ed said...


State's broke -- what happens when it doesn't fund it's share of the MefaSkppl?

It already isn't funding it's share of the CPA.

Dr. Ed said...

5:45 -- That is libelous, and you are stupid.

Too stupid to understand (or read) the confidential records you accesses illegally, and according to Alumni Affairs, I have 3 degrees. And as to how you get 22 years, I don't even want to know.

Anonymous said...

Ed seems to show a little hedging in his post. "Too stupid to understand" his record (though he admits anon 5:45 must have seen it)and alumni affairs says he has 3 degrees! Hmmmm...3 more degrees and he knows Kevin bacon! Ed you make it too easy.

Anonymous said...

Okay, Ed, what are your three degrees? And what year did you arrive in Amherst to start your studies?

Anonymous said...

My tax bill will go up $550 a year to pay for this new building. I can't wait! Check out the tax calculator from the SAVEAMHERSTSSMALLSCHOOLS.WORDPRESS.COM to see how much you will pay.

Anonymous said...

I think ed meant he had 3rd degree burns!

Dr. Ed said...

Libeling me does not negate the fact that the purpose of state aid to build schools was to abate overclouding -- like town hall, which needed a renovation after 100 years, schools should last longer than the bond issue that paid for them.

But spend, spend, spend......

Anonymous said...

interesting that this week's joint Amherst & Regional School Committee (scheduled for tonight) was postponed. Isn't this the SC mtg where the SC shares their evaluation of the superintendent & her performance for this past school year? I wonder what the holdup is & for when the meeting will be rescheduled? No doubt some people may hope that it will be held mid-summer when no one will notice. That's probably not going to happen this year though.

Anonymous said...

How many years did it take you ed to become a "doctor " and what have you done with your 3 degrees? Remember you are the one always pontificating about your expertise! We are lucky to have someone so knowledgeable commenting here.

Anonymous said...

I finally agree with Ed. Schools should not be overclouded. Kids need sunshine.

Anonymous said...

Notice that despite all his cries of "Lies! Libel!", Ed never actually corrects the record. How come, Ed? Because 20 or 21 or 22 years is only marginally less embarrassing than 23?

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one sick of all this backbiting(or rather, Frontbiting) about Ed? Godalmighty just give it a rest. The only thing worse than Ed are the jerks who complain endlessly about him.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:01 has no concept of fun and justice!

Laura Quilter said...

The Whois for the BOLD site lists Anastasia Ordonez' spouse as the domain registrant. See: http://publicdomainregistry.com/whois/

I can't speak to who might have set up the website.