Thursday, December 29, 2016

Runner Up Story Of The Year





A new Town Manager, a water ban to prevent the recurrence of the great 1980 UMass shut down, and an almost unheard of handgun murder at Southpoint Apartments all made my short list for top local story of the year, but not quite #1.

And perhaps I'm a little too attached to the story that comes in at #2, especially since I predicted one year ago around this time that it would be the #1 story of 2016.  Oh well, close enough for the internet I guess.

 9 member elected Charter Commission sworn in by Town Clerk April 5, 2016

In fact if the Charter Commission had not, finally, come to a (straw) vote on December 19 to ditch Town Meeting their doings over the past nine months would not even have made my top ten list. 

The previous Charter Commission came within a whisker of updating our antiquated local government from Selectboard/Town Meeting/Manager to Mayor/Council/Manager.   Their straw vote to ditch Town Meeting, however, came a little earlier in the process.

Our current Charter Commission has to produce a draft version of their proposal by July, 2017 and it will go to the voters at the March, 2018 annual election.  This recent vote to terminate Town Meeting was a h-u-g-e step in the right direction. 

Now they just need to avoid the fatal mistake made by the previous Commission keeping an unelected Town Manager with more authority than the Mayor, who was more figurehead than actual leader. 


40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Make sure they have recallprovisions

Larry Kelley said...

They will.

Anonymous said...

The Maria Geryk debacle at the regional school brought on by the very vocal school nuts clique promulgated by Kippy Fonsh and company who profess " The schools can do no wrong" was a very critical development after two years of back to back disasters like the Ma Gardner settlement -all of which seems to exonerate those critical of school performance issues with union boosters and insiders-teachers-illegally serving on the school commitee in blatant direct violation of conflict of interest laws-designed to protect the community from just such perverse abuses of authority .

Anonymous said...

Prediction: Within 5 years, Marijuana legalization will have the same end consequences that the 18-year-old drinking age did:

1: An ENFORCED 21-year-old age.
2: Serious crackdown on OUI.
A: Lower BAC (.15 to .08).
B: Officer training & special enforcement.
C: Roadblocks, implied consent, etc.
D: MUCH stricter penalties.
3: Restrictions on 21-year-old drinking.
A: End of "3 martini" lunches -- no beer at lunch.
B: Ban on "Happy Hour" specials.
C: Keg restrictions, registration, bans.
D: "Open Container laws.
E: Fewer venues serving (e.g. Laundry Club, Newman Ctr.)
4: Complete change in college culture
5: Change in social attitudes (similar to smoking).

I once thought nothing of having a beer with my lunch and going back to work -- I'd never do that now. That's how much society changed, and the same thing is going to happen with Marijuana.

The folks who currently use it responsibly are going to get screwed..,

Dr. Ed said...

I was right.

For years I said that Maria Geryk would implode spectacularly, and she did.

Did she ever.......

The untold story is how much of this was restricted from public view, and how much more would have been but for you, Larry.

Amazingly, there are those who still wish to erect the Megaskool, a.k.a. "Maria's Penis", in spite of all of the aforementioned.

Anonymous said...

I would think that a " Mega-Skool" would be a very expensive mistake-surely calling for plans to raze it within decades-urban renewal-the " Critical mass " of students can only hope to achieve one thing-anti-social juvenile delinquency and delayed social-educational performance-small-community village schools the way to go-re-camp existing infra-structures-add another village center facility's-greed got us to Ms Gardner and Maria Geryk-almost forgot-what of " For the kids?!!!"

Anonymous said...

Yeah, who wants a trained professional running the daily operations when you can have a mayor that doesn't have to have any experience, training, or skill.

Anonymous said...

The new school has nothing to do with Maria. It has to do with replacing our moldy, aging, out-dated schools.

Anonymous said...

Ed, why don't you have a life?

Anonymous said...

'Ed, why don't you have a life?'
ED PLESAE LEAVE US ALONE...YOU ARE A DELUSIONAL MAN...THE TOWN OF AMHERST, THE SCHOOL DEPARTMENT THE UNIVERSITY ...EVERYONE YOU PERCEIVE AS HAVING "SCREWED" YOU ...REALLY COULD CARE LESS ABOUT YOU...YOU ARE JUST A LOSER......IF THEY DID SCREW YOU A LAWYER WOULD HAVE TAKEN YOUR CASE...BUT INSTEAD YOU JUST PUT YOUR DERANGED VIEWS ON BLOGS....
ED WE IN AMHERST JUST THINK YOU ARE AN UNEMPLOYED MAN WHO LIVES IN HIS MOTHERS BASEMENT...YOUR VIEWA ARE OFF BASE...JUST REMEMBER ED NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOU ...GET A LAWYER..SUE..
JUST GET LOST FROM HERE.....WHEN WERE YOU LAST IN AMHERST???? KEEP THAT STREAK GOING....MR ED THE UNEMPLOYED DR ED

Anonymous said...

Hi Larry. Based on only the sheer number of comments/replies, what was the #1 story of 2016?

Anonymous said...

Was the Gardner story the all-time winner? Terrell?

Anonymous said...

Vote Vince!

Dr. Ed said...

'Ed, why don't you have a life?"

And that's relevant, HOW?

The fact that erecting Maria's Penis is a colossal mistake is something independent of me. So how am I relevant to the objective facts.

NB: I am not conceding the legitimacy of this crap, only asking how it is even relevant.

Anonymous said...

How is it relevant that someone who doesn't even live in our community should have an opinion that matters about our issues.You just crave attention.

Anonymous said...

By almost every measure Amherst is a very successful town, the result of it's volunteer citizens and local businesses and higher educational institutions and its government-town meeting and select board for 400 years. The Charter Commission wants to throw out the government because……? Amherst is a great college town, with thriving businesses, lovely neighborhoods, miles of trails and acres of conservation land, musueums, restaurants, the number one employer (UMass). etc. And a mayor will? Some information please and how much better cities do with mayors…Holyoke, Lynn, New Bedford, Greenfield, Pittsfield, Fitchburg….not a list of notables. The Charter Commission is thick with opinions but not so great on facts.

Larry Kelley said...

Taxes are W-A-Y too high, public schools K-12 are in disarray and the commercial tax base is nothing short of pathetic.

Nina Koch said...

Here we go again with the schools in disarray. It's your strategy to say things over and over to try to make them true. The schools are not in disarray. If you walk into a school building, you will see students in classes learning from very dedicated teachers. Why don't you contact Derek Shea and ask to do a walkthrough of Crocker Farm? Then do a story on what you found. It won't be disarray.

There are challenges, of course, but that is true everywhere. You do the community a disservice with your false impressions.

Larry Kelley said...

I like to think I give them an incentive to improve.

Anonymous said...

"Taxes are W-A-Y too high"

I agree. And gold-plated projects, such as the unneeded new DPW, or the Jones Library expansion, will only drive them higher.

Anonymous said...

55% of the tax base is commercial and rental properties, not too shabby. Boston's public schools with mayoral control don't look so hot, nor does Holyoke's and a long list of cities.

Larry Kelley said...

According to our esteemed Assesor our Commercial tax base is just a tad under 10%.

Nina Koch said...

A real reporter would actually visit the places he writes about and would talk to people with direct knowledge and experience of the situation.

Larry Kelley said...

Well, alas, I always have you.

Although you don't work there anymore.

Anonymous said...

It's a free country, bud. Are you saying Ed has no right? You're wrong.

Anonymous said...

I still think nothing of having a beer at lunch...but it is not a free country....far from it. That's more of a BS advertising slogan. We are also not a Democracy, but folks love that marketing word too. We are also a country of primarily two religions - Democrats and Republicans.

...and find Ed's comments to be more on point than most of those that are critical of him. I think the folks that think that Ed is not qualified to have an opinion on a town that needs massive funding from outside its borders because he does not live there are the same types of folks that think that voting for someone would make them qualified, more so than someone trained.....of course unless it is Trump or the same folks that say you should not be prejudice against other religions, unless that religion is Republican (NOTE: political parties are religions who's gods are living and elected and hate is hate).

Amherst is a college community, a dynamic one with about 40,000 perm residents AND about 4,000,000 concerned and vested citizens worldwide who spent time in, own business in, have kids in and/or have history in the town. In some respects, the 40,000 are always in service to the 4,000,000 and not the other way around. The 40,000 carry the torch. Former taxpayers of Amherst, tourists even because they are taxes on purchases, are also invested. We have woven a very non libertarian web, where everyone is obligated to everyone, Amherst is far from independent or self sufficient.

For the ignorant, that is likely why Ed comments, he is one of the 4 million. There are many people who are also more vested in Amherst than the residents, like non-resident business owners.

There are also a great many who are heavily investing in the schools and don't get much of anything from it or easily much less than they pay. A great number of them are also outside the community because the community needs the subsidy.

Most children in the community are destined to leave, like Ed did (if he did). Perhaps we should treat them with the same respect Ed is given. The children are a drain on the community vs. what the community provides for them, surely more of a drain than Ed.

Just sayin, lots of BS.

Anonymous said...

Think of the children! DO NOT build this megaskool!! It is a fiasco along with the Jones Library redo, the DPW megagarage, costly round-a-bouts, too many town employees, etc. etc. The taxes are way too high. No more spending! Only accountability in fiscal affairs.

Anonymous said...

Ta Anon 5:15. You sound far worse than Ed!

Anonymous said...

Since 50 percent of our homes are rentals, the 10 percent is clearly not an accurate reflection of the amount of property that has a commercial use.

Larry Kelley said...

Take it up with Mr. Burgess.

Anonymous said...

One would think that elementary school administrators would know the importance of having first and second graders together in the same school building! The proposed grade configuration (pre K-1 and 2-6) makes little sense.
It's one of the many issues with the school plan and design.

Dr. Ed said...

Since 50 percent of our homes are rentals, the 10 percent is clearly not an accurate reflection of the amount of property that has a commercial use.

How many of that 50% have outstanding mortgages?

That is just a different form of "rental."

Anonymous said...

The only way Amherst can sustainably increase and diversify its commerce tax base is by annexing Hadley - that's what the Charter Commission should recommend, and the combined town could simply be called "Hadley" (as it was between 1659 and 1759) or "Norwottuck" (as it was known for many centuries before).

Anonymous said...

Beg your pardon, Nina ?!!! Now you school union booster cheerleader nuts want your cake and eat it to-your own union klatcher Appy & co were begging for state intervention due to " profound calamity" just a while back- Nina-what a short memory- what's' with all that-anyhoo ?!!!$&@$$$

Anonymous said...

You can't get away from the fact that 45% of the taxbase is from rental properties-homes owned by landlords. Rentals are a business. 45% is from people who own their homes and live in it. 10% from properties used for business--store fronts and apartment complexes. Those are facts. So less than half of Amhert's tax base is from homeowners. Again, not to shabby.

Also, Amherst's population is 38,000--a majority being students, not year round residents. At least 20,000 students live on campuses. Amherst is a small town surrounded by students mostly fed and housed by academic institutions. We don't need a city form of government.

Anonymous said...

Yes but there foisting globalist left-wing doctor in on these kids. Would you like to see some balance?

Anonymous said...

It is a free country. And no we do not live in a democracy. Or mob-ocracy. We live in a constitutional republic.

Anonymous said...

UMass has 27,500 students of the 30,900 students at the 3 schools. That puts Amherst at about 10,000-12,000 non-student residents.

Larry Kelley said...

But half of them live off campus making then "residents" of Amherst.

As a matter of fact the 13,000 or so who are housed on campus are still "residents" of the town.

Anonymous said...

There is a BIG difference between temporary residents and permanent residents. Maybe this is where some of the conflicts are formed. Think of it as temporary taxpayers and permanent taxpayers. Get it?