May 18, 2009 Post-Meeting List

Called to order at 6:30 p.m.; adjourned at 10:27 p.m.


  Unanimously in a single vote to approve the "Save Our Stop" Rail Service task force charge, with slight amendments, and to grant the task force Special Municipal Employee status

  Unanimously to approve the proposal for distributing emergency shelter and fuel funds from the Waxman case with slight amendments

  Unanimously to recommend the Town Manager's Town Budget as presented at the 5/11 meeting (recognizing that the recommendation is based on current - 5/18 - State aid information and expectations, and reserving the right to amend the recommendation regarding funding for the War Memorial Pool at our 6/1 meeting, should State aid allow for cuts only at the Tier 2 level, rather than the expected Tier 3 or 4 levels)

  Unanimously to approve the Special Liquor License for a UMass event, per the motion sheet

  Unanimously to approve the April Select Board Report

Agreed, without votes:

  That SB members would offer comments to Dave Ziomek about the Open Space and Recreation Plan by e-mail, and copy the Select Board; that the SB will schedule another discussion of the OSRP for the 6/1 meeting, to address any significant disagreements about policy; that a letter in support of the plan will be drafted for consideration at that meeting (we didn't discuss this, but Stephanie will do this unless someone else wants to)

  That until the SOS Task Force is listed on the Citizen Activity Form, applicants should use one of the blank spaces on the CAF to indicate interest in that body

  That the SB continues to support not allowing Town equipment in the Fourth of July Parade, unless the Parade Committee opens up participation to all comers; that if that committee changes its policy this year, the SB supports Larry allowing Town equipment; that SB members can march in the parade at their option, without any official banners or other such accoutrements

  That Alisa and Diana would research the technicalities of amending the ZBA's charge to include information about the one-year terms for Associate Members, and bring a recommendation to the Select Board; and that they will bring a recommendation to us regarding an individual's desire to be reappointed for one year of a three-year term; that SB members would consider and comment at the next meeting on Diana's draft reappointment policy from last week (which she will re-send to us, to make sure we all have it)

  That Alisa will bring a recommendation to the 6/1 meeting regarding how participating Select Board members will be conveyed (by float, car or foot) in the Hadley 350th parade, June 14th

  That it sure would be nice if a private donor or donors contributed the $41,000 needed to run the pool this year, and to do so by June 1st, so that it could be expected to open by July 1st


  That the SB be notified when the current placeholder sections of the OSRP are finished and available on the Town's web site

  Not directly, but by implication: that the SOS Task Force be added to the CAF as soon as possible

  That future updates on any neighborhood's use of private security include information about how that arrangement is positively or negatively impacting the workload of the Police Department

  Not directly, but by implication:  that both the original Tree City USA plaque and the mythical Select Board parade banner be located (the sense being that someone on staff may know where these are stored)

Items to be added to 6/1 agenda:

  Follow-up discussion on the OSRP and consideration of a draft support letter

  Summer meeting dates and agenda plans (postponed due to the late hour)

  Consideration of a draft committee reappointment policy

Items to be added to a future agenda, not necessarily the next one:

  ZBA charge and reappointment details

Materials to be brought back to the next meeting:


Issues not resulting in actions and other topics considered:

  Public Comment:  Dave Keenan spoke about a plan he will submit to help provide heating assistance to low-income residents in the form of firewood, and spoke in support of funding the War Memorial Pool.  Rob Kusner spoke in support of using the Mutual Aid Agreement as a way of achieving cost-savings via increased collaboration between the Town and UMass police departments.  Larry Kelley spoke in support of allowing Town equipment in the Fourth of July Parade.  Carol Gray spoke in support of funding the War Memorial Pool and urged that budget cuts be distributed fairly across all departments.

  Town Manager's Report:  Talked about an informal survey being conducted to gather information form passengers at the Amherst Amtrak station, and the intent to present some of that info at the 5/20 meeting on local rail service at the Clarion Hotel in Northampton.  Reported on the Kendrick Park Committee's final report to be issued at a picnic (at Kendrick Park, 5:30 p.m. on 5/20) and the plan to present that to the Select Board at an upcoming meeting.  Informed us about and invited our participation in the Memorial Day Parade:  starting at 9:30 a.m. at Boltwood Avenue and Spring St., and ending with a 10:00 ceremony at the War Memorial Pool. Provided an update about on-going discussions with PVTA about Route 32.  Provided an update on neighborhood concerns relating to properties on Amity and East Pleasant Streets, and on the use of a private security firm by the North Prospect St. neighborhood.  Announced the 5/19 Community Budget Forum with Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki, at  6:30 p.m. in the Town Room.  Gave an update on the Fourth of July Parade, and sticking to the decision to not allow Town equipment to be used unless the Parade Committee allows participation by all who wish to march.

  Alisa said that the Annual Report is still being edited, and that once done, it doesn't require SB or other approval, and it will be posted on the Town web site.

  Liaison & Representative Reports:  Diana talked about the Public Shade Tree committee, and tree planting efforts including those by the Girl Scouts.  Stephanie talked about the Campus and Community Coalition and bylaws adopted recently by Belchertown and Hadley, aimed at deterring problem behaviors often exhibited by college students.  Alisa talked about the 250th committee and recent picnic on the Common.  Gerry talked about the Committee on Homelessness' reconsideration of its original vote on the proposal for distribution of the Waxman funds, and their interest in using some of that money to provide permanent shelter.


Larry Kelley said:

Hmmm... So I gave you a loud and clear heads up at the 6:30 Question Period about the "there he goes again" town manager's July 4'th Parade vendetta and the best you folks could do over an hour later was that?

Pretty pathetic!

I don't share your "there he goes again" view. As I stated Monday night, I believe that not allowing Town equipment unless a suitable compromise was achieved was a Select Board directive to the Town Manager (as documented here,) and I continue to support that.

I'm thrilled that Chief Scherpa will march, because I think it's a great opportunity for the community to show its appreciation for his service. And really, showing appreciation for our public safety personnel is what this parade is about. It is the men and women who dedicate themselves to this extraordinary work that we honor. The equipment is vital to how they do their jobs, but it is not the equipment that we're celebrating - it's the people. I hope Chief Hoyle will reconsider.

YourAdmirer said:

An excellent analysis of the situation!

Larry Kelley said:

God, I sooooooo hope Catherine Sanderson runs against you when your anointed term is up. At least she has balls, or ovaries as the case may be.
(Speaking of balls)

Abbie said:

I probably missed something but can the "Larry Kelley" private parade "rent" the equipment. If they pay a fair price (although fair doesn't seem to be in the vocabulary of LK) and not a cent of tax money is used then even I would let it slide.

I still don't get how the 4th of July (Independence day) has been appropriated to celebrate firefighters and police. They deserve thanks and recognition, but how does it relate to the 4th of July?

Larry- you are so terribly rude. Especially to someone who actually has admitted to liking your parade (Stephanie).

Just because someone disagrees with you, it doesn't make them wrong. Actually, in your case, it almost certainly makes them right...

Helen said:

Hi Abbie;

The parade was started after 9/11 as a way to honor police, fire, ems and military who worked so tirelessly after that horrible day in 2001. The town of Amherst had given up holding a parade after 1976, and July 4th was chosen as a day to honor our independence as a country and those brave people mentioned above. I'm a member of the original committee from 2002 and still a member of the committee.

As stated on our mission page (

"Banners and signs should be kept within the spirit of the parade, which is a celebration of the 4th of July, and honoring all police, fire and emergency personnel and the military, past and present, who served our country. "

I hope that answers your question.

Marcy said:

I appreciate your clarification related to the *private* parade committee's mission Helen. And I respect that mission. But what I don't respect is the hateful criticism coming from supporters of the private parade who can't seem to let go of the fact that the town doesn't endorse the limited nature of that mission. Why does this group think that they deserve to have it both ways? It is a privately, as opposed to publicly, conceived mission, and yet the expectation seems to be that they should have access to public assets in their efforts to carry out that mission. This really doesn't make sense. And frankly, I'm sick of all the grandstanding and whining about it. You set the rules, you deal with the resulting consequences. It's as simple as that. And using Chief Hoyle's retirement as a pawn in the power struggle is not only pathetic, it does a disservice to his proud legacy. It is what it is. Get over it.

Richard Morse said:

Larry Kelley, who claims to have one of the best institutional memories in town and who reads the blogs of others religiously, seems to have forgotten some of Ms. O'Keeffe's prior remarks concerning the parade. Although I suspect that her thinking on the Parade has evolved over the years, I still think that she is in a fairly friendly position regarding the original intent of the Parade Committee.

But this wouldn't be the first time that Larry has turned on his best friend in a fight without recognizing her as such. (He relies on the tremendous civility of kind people in Amherst like Ms. O'Keeffe who can forgive a harsh word and not hold a grudge.)

My point is that I believe Ms. O'Keeffe and Ms. Brewer are a resource rather an obstacle in this stand-off. If we have movement in this impasse, I'm sure that they will be a part of it. When Ms. Brewer speaks of her "friends on the Parade Committee", I think she means it, and I think that she is trying to carry out her role on Select Board in this matter in as judicious a way as possible.

But someone will have to be willing to swallow just a little pride and listen to these two fair-minded ladies. The minor concessions that Ms. Brewer mentioned will make the day a better one. AND, most importantly, a lot of the energy that fuels this ongoing saga will then begin to dissipate.

And, as we know from our experience in Amherst, once some people hear "the fight's over", they leave and move on to some other cause celebre.

Larry Kelley said:

Yeah Abby you're probably right. I am rude. Although an Anonymous commenter on my blog recently accused me of being too much the gentleman on other Amherst blogs operated by women.

I take personally only a VERY few issues (July 4'th, flying the flags on 9/11 to commemorate those innocent Americans slaughtered that awful day, and--of course--not subsidizing golf at the expense of an outdoor pool in continuous operation for almost 60 years. Oh, and that reminds me: allowing Boy Scouts to sell Christmas trees to raise money for their worthy efforts.

Stephanie is a big girl. As the famous Democratic President once said: "If you can't stand the heat..."

Helen said:

Hi Marcy;
I'm NOT using Chief Hoyle as a pawn. We asked him and Chief Scherpa to be grand marshalls as a way of saying "Thank You" for their years of service to the town of Amherst. We've invited various people from the community for that honor now for 8 years in a row. Chief Hoyle made his decision and I respect that. I'm very sorry he won't be in the parade. If Larry Shaffer says no town trucks in the parade, then I'm sorry he said that too. Would I like Chief Hoyle and the town trucks in the parade? Absolutely, especially since I understand what sacrifice firefighters make on a daily basis, since I have several in my own immediate family. But this isn't personal, nor am I going to make it personal. My goal is to put on a parade for EVERYONE to enjoy, one that is viewable by everyone in the community, including small children (and when you have signs with obcenities on them, then that shows me the people with those signs don't respect those who are observers).
Larry Shaffer and Stephanie are welcome to be in the parade. We invited them and I would never withdraw that invitation. I look forward to seeing them in the parade, and I have thanked them for being there in the past as they walked past me on the parade route. They are members of the community who work very hard towards their goals. I appreciate their service. I know that Stephanie has an especially thankless job being on the SB, and keeping up a blog where she can become a target. People stand by their convictions and that is great. The world would be a mighty boring place if everyone thought the same way. And I realized long ago that I will never completely agree with any politician, even those in my own party. ;-) That said, I am a fan of Stephanie's and think she is doing a good job on the selectboard.
As I stated previously, my goal is to put on a parade that *everyone* can enjoy.

Larry Kelley said:

Yes, Mr. Morse I do have one of the best institutional memories in town…and slowly but surely it all comes out on my blog (for newcomers like you.)

And yes, I do rely on the “tremendous civility” of kind people like Princess Stephanie who “can forgive a harsh word”. I assume you’re talking about my use of the guy-term “balls.”

Hmmm…This is the town that allowed, NO --encouraged –little girls to get up in public and SHOUT the C-word (rhymes with bunt). And, you know, the same town that five years earlier became the ONLY entity EVER to cancel a performance of ‘West Side Story’.

I will work with the Devil himself (I assume he’s male) if the CAUSE is just. And if my “best friend” can’t STAND and DELIVER in a fight where the cause is indeed just, I really don’t want to share a foxhole with her.

Richard Morse said:

It would seem to me that it ought to be possible to draw a line that excludes signs with obscenities on them. If that's the issue, then that is something that should be easily resolveable, as I said, with the assistance of honest brokers like Ms. O'Keeffe and Ms. Brewer.

My belief is that the angry people who want to march will slowly drift away once they get some portion of what they've been arguing for. We're in a slightly different political climate now. We've got a president who embraces both the notions of love of flag and country in combination with some other American values that many of us in Amherst thought were neglected in recent years. I think that the Town is ready to celebrate. (As an example of what can happen, see the video of President Obama's speech at Notre Dame and see how the students quieted the hecklers who wanted to disrupt things.)

I grasp the unfairness of this from the perspective of the Parade Committee. The folks who demand to march apparently have only enough energy and political clout to leverage and argue their way into THIS parade, but they don't have the wherewithal or the energy to put on their own parade. They can't do it. So instead of gratitude for what this Committee has accomplished in reviving a civic holiday in Amherst, all its members get is grief. It's too bad.

But an important additional point is that the Parade Committee also retains what I would call the power of summary execution. If, by making a concession about the marchers and their signs, this event evolves into something they really dislike, they can pull the plug. There does not seem to be anybody waiting in the wings ready to do all the heavy lifting to replace what they have accomplished. And, if the event goes sour for these folks, it won't be their fault if they throw up their hands and decide to walk away. We will know whose fault it was.

I urge the Parade Committee to reconsider its position, and allow the reasonable people of the Town the chance to protect the celebratory spirit of this event. This involves putting your faith in the goodwill and sense of decency in the vast majority of people in Amherst. Yes, we have some utterly shameless people in town, but we still have people willing to signal in more subtle ways than outright exclusion that "that's not appropriate here!"

Marcy said:

Thank you Helen, for your well reasoned (and reasonable) response. It was not towards you, specifically, that I was targeting my remarks, but towards those supporters of your group's mission who can't seem to refrain from spewing hateful criticism at those who happen to disagree with them. The fight, to these folks, seems to be taking precedence over the principles behind the fight. Which is sad, considering what the Fourth of July is intended to signify as an American holiday. As I've already stated, I do respect the mission behind your committee's work. And I respect your ability to articulate and stand behind it in a principled way, despite the frustrating climate in which you are trying to carry it out.

Larry Kelley said:

No Mr. Morse, actually it’s NOT possible to “draw a line that excludes signs with obscenities on them”. And as a Public Prosecutor I’m surprised you don’t know that (within the limits of your institutional memory as a state employee.)

The Supreme Court (by a 5-4 decision as opposed to the 9-0 decision a few years later in favor of a Parade Committee to ban signs they felt were not in keeping with the spirit of the event) said it was just fine for a guy to waltz into a Los Angeles courthouse with a large sign on his leather coat: “FUCK the draft!” No, I’m pretty sure it was not Vince O’Connor, but certainly cut from the same cloth.

The July 4'th Parade Committee ALREADY made a major concession by allowing ANY group to march with a sign that identifies them. And if their name happens to be “Iraq Veterans Against the War” then so be it.

And what happened last year (when I was in China)???

The guy who runs the Amherst branch of that obscure organization Albert Sanchez, a former "Army Reserve Maintenance" dude, (who has not been heard from since) allowed all the aging hippie protesters to march behind his banner.

Although no longer a member of the Amherst July 4’th Parade Committee--but maintaining impeccable sources --I can ASSURE you: the there will be no FURTHER concessions.

So…as I said to the Town Mangler: “keep your head down.”

Richard Morse said:

The case is Cohen v. California, 403 US 15 (1971). Mr. Kelley has the holding in the case quite wrong. The Court (Justice Harlan) held that "the State may not make the simple public display here involved of this single four-letter expletive a criminal offense." The case was not about parades, or the right of a Parade Committee to set ground rules about signs in parades.

But I think that I get the point: we might hope for some sort of accommodation, but it's not going to happen.

Never mind.

SO MUCH bait from Larry, but I’m not biting.

Thanks to everyone else for their extremely reasoned and thoughtful offerings about this.

I don’t have time to write a long comment now, but I will do that as soon as I can. I very much appreciate the support and the constructive dialogue.

Larry Kelley said:

Oh come on Princess Stephanie, we pay you $300 per year! And you can't find the time on Memorial Day weekend? Plus you were once a PR flak for the auto industry, you should be able SPIN in a heartbeat (or maybe two.)

Mr. Morse: I was also throwing in the 1995 Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston; you know, that rare 9-0 Supreme Court decision where they found:

"Under the free speech guarantees of the Federal Constitution's First Amendment, (1) the law is not free to interfere with speech for no better reason than promoting an approved message or discouraging a disfavored one, however enlightened either purpose may strike the government, and (2) disapproval of a private speaker's statement does not legitimize use of the government's power to compel the speaker to alter the message by including one more

JB said:

I just find it sad that on the 4th of July my children will not be able to see fire trucks in the 4th of July parade, at least not the ones that their parents' tax dollars pay for. My god people, it is the 4th of July, and Amherst, its townspeople, its elected officials, and their hires are so enlightened that they can't not do what most every other municipality can do without difficulty, have a parade on the 4th of July. I know I am just a small minded workin' man who does not understand the deep rooted issues that are so complex here. You know what, you are right. I just want to provide for my family and children, and maybe on the 4th of July, go out and watch a joyous fun-filled parade. I can't do that in Amherst. But I will drive 80 miles east to my parents hometown and they do it there every year with no controversy. I am ashamed to live in Amherst. I ashamed of the officials I have elected and ashamed of the managers they appoint to run the town.

Doug G. said:

What is town government's interest in arbitrating a dispute between two private parties - the Parade Committee and the protest advocates?

If you can answer the first question with a good justification, allow me to conclude that the arbitrator, having been given plenty of time, is failing in his efforts.

As an arbitrator in a dispute with merit to both arguments, why would one side be asked to compromise while the other is not. Why are resources usually available to the 7/4 parade being withheld? What is being withheld from the opposing side? It doesn't seem like a very even-handed arbitration once you answer those questions, does it?

Given Shaffer's work there is no way forward. It's time for a reset and a new arbitrator. If not, pull the plug on Shaffer's role as arbitrator. I would prefer we had a professional not a hack, and I would prefer he manage the budget and not complicated disputes between two private parties.

Abbie said:

No one addressed whether or not the parade committee can rent the equipment (quid pro quo) for a couple of hours. If I remember Larry claimed the parade group raises something like $10,000 to put the parade on. I don't know what they spend it on...It can't be just cheap candy (a couple hundred at most).

Maybe this info is on the ACTV shows?

Richard Morse said:

For the benefit of anyone rational who might be reading this:

Despite Mr. Kelley's posts, the US Supreme Court cases have no relevance to the specific issue: whether the Town, through its elected representatives on the Select Board, will decide to resume its former level of participation in the parade.

In another words, I do not believe that the Select Board is insisting that a marcher must be allowed to carry a sign that reads "F__K Dick Cheney" (With the offending letters filled in, of course ), which appears to be one of Helen's concern. And, given Helen's reasonable words above, I see the opportunity to work things out. Perhaps I'm wrong.

To quote Cool Hand Luke, "what we've got here is failure to communicate."

Larry Kelley said:

Abby: the Amherst July 4'th Parade Committee DOES pay(and always has) for an Amherst PD detail (four officers I believe) somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,200 (they have a 4-hour-minimum and since it's--you know--a HOLIDAY it's at time-and-a-half.)

So at the VERY least the town should allow SOMEBODY in APD (who is being paid by the Amherst July 4'th Parade Committee) to LEAD the Parade, and that would of course involve a Police vehicle (which could easily carry retiring Chief Charlie Scherpa as Grand Marshal.)

Mr. Morse: As the the (even grumpier) Town Moderator once famously said to me on the floor of TM "Grow up!". It's not that the illustrious Select Board WANTS to allow some Nitwit to march carrying the sign 'FUCK Dick Chaney', it's simply that somebody COULD, and under the First Amendment is GUARANTEED that right (ESPECIALLY if the town sponsored the Parade, or even if the private Amherst July 4'th Parade Committee simply issued a statement tomorrow saying that anything and everything is allowed.)

Sometimes "communication" is a good thing; and sometimes not.

Abbie said:

Larry (or preferably someone with more credibility) still hasn't answered my question...Can the private parade "rent" out a fire truck or something?

Larry Kelley said:

NO Abby, they cannot (try to pay attention):

According to Chief Hoyle's written response to Kevin Joy (you know, a reliable/credible source) dated 5/18/09--and very soon now available on my blog:

"On March 27 I received a memorandum from the Town Manager directing that NO Fire Department equipment be allowed to be used in this year's parade. My appeal of this order was denied."

What is it about "NO" you don't understand?

Larry Kelley said:

Sorry Abbie about misspelling your name--a cardinal sin in journalism. But it’s been a long day and promises to be an even L-O-N-G-E-R night.

The heart felt letter (on town stationary) from retiring Fire Chief Keith Hoyle to the Town Mangler is now available on my blog.

Abbie said:

Larry (aka the Jerk):

I understand that the parade is not being given the LIBERTY of using (for FREE) the equipment. Like I said, can I get a real answer? Its fine if the answer is "no, the private parade cannot rent fire trucks". But I don't want (and wouldn't give credence) an jerky answer from LK.

Larry Kelley said:

Jerky? I thought it was pretty straightforward.

As was the official letter of regret from the retiring Fire Chief to the Amherst July 4'th Parade Committee concerning the draconian edict of the UNELECTED Town Mangler.

Abbie said:

Alright, a straight question-

Did the people representing the private parade offer to "PAY" a fee for the use of the equipment (and then that offer rejected). If an offer was made, how much? Did they haggle for a negotiated price?

Alternatively, did the Town Manager offer to "RENT" the equipment and this offer was rejected? Again if an offer was made, how much, etc.

How much simpler can I make it?

Larry Kelley said:

Well to the best of my knowledge there Abbie (you're starting to sound like a Prosecuting Attorney) NO, an offer was NOT made to "PAY" a fee to rent town equipment--mainly because it probably never occurred to the folks on the Amherst July 4'th Parade Committee that a municipality in the United States of America would require payment to put on a show for family and kids celebrating the birth of our great nation.

BUT, since Mr. Shaffer did "tax" the Boy Scouts $1 per tree to use land they have used for free going on 60 years, yeah, maybe it SHOULD have occurred to them.

But I'm no longer on the Amherst July 4'th Parade Committee, so I only speak for myself (and God and Country)

Abbie said:

Yes, it is VERY clear (to probably everyone) you think you speak for God and Country.

I finally got my answer though, the one you tried SO very hard to side-step. Its a PRIVATE parade, why wouldn't they have to pay a fee to use town equipment? It would then have to be a policy applied to all similar uses. I would have no problem with this solution. I wonder if the Town Manager and Select Board do. Would you? Or would you be too afraid to step down from your fight, which you think is based on some really important principle?

Anonymous said:

It was stated at some point that the equipment was not out for hire either. It was at a select board meeting but I do not recall how long ago. I assumed that was why it was not pursued.

Richard Morse said:

Let me state it again: The First Amendment does not guarantee the right of a person to march in a parade with a sign that reads "F__K Cheney", despite the claim to the contrary being made above.

If we're going to cite cases, we need to read them (and then maybe think about what they say?). In one of the cases cited by Mr. Kelley, John J. Hurley & South Boston Allied War Veterans Council v. Irish American GLB Group of Boston, 515 U.S. 557 (1995), Justice Souter in his opinion states, "The Council (i.e. the Vets) clearly decided to exclude a message it did not like from the communication it chose to make, and that is enough to invoke its right AS A PRIVATE SPEAKER (my caps added, for emphasis) to shape its expression by speaking on one subject while remaining silent on another."

In other words, the Parade Committee has a perfect right to exclude such signs, because it stands in the same position as Hurley and the South Boston Vets. By upholding the First Amendment rights of the Parade Committee, the case takes us out of problems with the First Amendment rights of participants. The question instead is whether the Select Board is insisting that the Parade Committee, within its rights to include and exclude as a private speaker, allow the carrying and display of signs with obscenities on them before the Town will permit its equipment to return. I believe that the Select Board is not.

The specific question is a matter of drawing lines on what will be permitted: it does not involve any Supreme Court cases or the First Amendment. The issue is strictly between the public entity, the Town and the private entity, the Parade Committee. The private entity wants something from the public entity, and the public entity wants something from the private one. But I believe in all the heat and furor that has been generated in this particular flap, mainly by Mr. Kelley, what the public entity wants has been blown out of proportion. I believe that the two sides are closer together than Mr. Kelley's perpetually overheated rhetoric (in which for not the first time he turns on the people who would be the most help to him) would suggest.

So, despite the smoke being blown up our collective behind from Mr. Kelley, I continue to stand by what I said:

Helen, I appreciate the tone of your post above. I'm sure that there is a way to draw a line that excludes signs with obscenities on them that would satisfy both the Parade Committee and the Select Board. If your sincere concern about such signs is the major sticking point, it should be possible to work something out. And I am grateful for all the hard work that the Parade Committee has done to keep this event going.

Richard Morse said:

I heard an interesting expression that may capture what's happening here(and on other occasions in Amherst):

"When two guys fight over a girl, it's the fight they want, not the girl."

Larry Kelley said:

Mr. Morse, as usual, you are missing my point. Yes off course the July 4'th Parade Committee can craft a rule that bans obscenities but allows protest slogans; BUT, if the town "took over" the Parade--as the Town Mangler boasted 13 months ago (in clear violation of the First Amendment), as a public entity the Town of Amherst could NOT so easily ban obscenity yet allow protest.

But guess what? The town is NOT running the Parade and has not since 1976 when my cousin (then a SB member) Sheriff Bob Garvey was the Grand Marshal; and I bet is you ask, him he would relate what an honor it was.

And the League of Women Voters would enjoythe same freedom to easily allow protest but ban obscenity. But guess what? They found out it requires time, commitment and money to organize and promote a July 4'th Parade, so they too are taking a pass.

Richard Morse said:

OK, you've shifted the ground of the argument then. I'm talking about 2009, this year, and what this private Parade Committee might be able to do to get the Town's equipment back in the parade. This year. The Town taking over the parade never came up.

I started out talking about drawing lines, and you said that it can't be done by the Parade Committee. And on that you decided to argue.

I'm confident that the people who read this blog can spot what you are doing. You absolutely LOVE the current impasse.

Larry Kelley said:

When I responded to you with:

"No Mr. Morse, actually it’s NOT possible to “draw a line that excludes signs with obscenities on them”. And as a Public Prosecutor I’m surprised you don’t know that (within the limits of your institutional memory as a state employee.)"

I was talking about a TOWN run Parade (when the Town Manager threatened to "take over" the Parade he WAS talking about 2009) And as you well know the ACLU sorted him out over that but Shaffer did not actually issue the Permit until after receiving a second threatening Letter from Bill Newman dated 1/13/09 that closed with: "Please issue the permit not later than the close of business January 16, 2009. If you refuse to do so, please advise as to the attorney who will be representing you in this matter."

No, actually I do not "LOVE the current impasse." But I sure as Hell know who's right.

Anonymous said:

JB, you are right on.

The audience for the parade is G so why do we have to be subjected to an R rated show for language. As I try to tell my children, using a curse word just means you have not figured out how to communicate.

moot pool said:

9/11 was an inside job
wake up sheeple!

Larry Kelley said:

If this were Gerry Weiss's blog, you would find more editorial support for your whacked conspiracy theory.

Helen said:

Hi Everyone;

One problem with even considering "renting" out the equipment is that it needs to be available at all times in case the fire department is called out, which actually did happen the second or third year of the parade. The trucks were able to get back into the parade towards the end, which we were happy for because it was a false alarm.

But I'd like people to think about this: If I walked into your home and I started to shout about how wonderful a political party or politician was that you did not like, wouldn't that be bad manners on my part? Would you not be upset? Isn't that the same as trying to jump into a parade for which you aren't invited, aren't paying for, and yet think that you have the right just because you want to be heard? To me, there is no difference. I wouldn't want someone to behave like that in my house, and I don't want someone to do that in a parade that does cost many thousands of dollars to put on and hundreds of hours to plan.
As we like to say on the parade committee; it is a parade, not a protest.

Abbie said:

Hi Helen,

I don't see that the possible need to leave the parade would make it impossible to "rent" the equipment. The rental time would simply include the time spent at the parade. This seems simple. I am sure that an official log is kept of when a call goes out...

I absolutely agree with you, its your party and you get to invite or include who you want. The flip side is that it is YOUR party so why would the tax-payer have to under-write it (with the use of town equipment)?

You can't have it both ways...



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