My Goal in Blogging

I started this blog in May of 2008, shortly after my election to the School Committee, because I believed it was very important to both provide the community with an opportunity to share their thoughts with me about our schools and to provide me with an opportunity for me to ask questions and share my thoughts and reasoning. I have found the conversation generated on my blog to be extremely helpful to me in learning community views on many issues. I appreciate the many people who have taken the time to share their views. I believe it is critical to the quality of our public schools to have a public discussion of our community priorities, concerns and aspirations.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Nominations open for Amherst's annual town election

Springfield Republican
By Diane Lederman
October 15, 2009, 2:45PM

AMHERST – The 2010 Annual Town Election is more than five months away, but at least two incumbents will not be running again, one on the Select Board and one on the School Committee.

Papers are now available in the Town Clerk’s office for anyone who would like to seek a position.

The election is slated for March 23.

Select Board member Gerald S. Weiss, who has served two terms on the board, will not be running for re-election. He expressed his intentions earlier this year. Two-term School Committee incumbent Andrew M. Churchill will not be running again. Churchill is chairman of the Amherst School Committee and a member of the regional committee.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time,” Weiss said Wednesday. “I wouldn’t trade it in for any other experience, (but) the demands of the position are too great for somebody with a full-time job and family.”

Besides meeting almost weekly, board members also serve as liaisons to town boards and committees. He said when he cares about an issue he wants to research it to know about it, yet that takes a lot of time.

Board member Alisa V. Brewer, who has served one term on the board, said she will be seeking re-election. Brewer is a former School Committee member who in her first race for Select Board defeated incumbent Robie Hubley.

In an e-mail, Brewer wrote that she is running for another term “because I want to continue making progress on the issues I identified when I ran against the incumbents in 2007, including controlling spending, seeking new revenues, and preserving vital services.

“Select Board membership and activity have undergone a major overhaul starting with my election in 2007. We’re making great strides in communicating our community’s priorities to the Town Manager in a systematic way, rather than providing random individual inputs on our personal passions. And we’ve increased the transparency of town governance activities in multiple ways while realizing we can continue to do more.”

Churchill said he is ready for a break. “It’s been a good six years; I’ve learned a lot and hopefully helped some, but it takes a lot out of you, so I’m ready for a little break. And I’d like to see my kids a bit more before they head off to college (they’re in 10th and 8th grades now),” he wrote in an e-mail. He said it’s not easy to leave “but it was made a lot easier when I heard Rick Hood is planning to run.” Richard B. Hood has already taken out papers for the seat. “

The seat of Kathleen D. Anderson, who has served one term on the School Committee, is also up. She could not be reached for comment.

John W. Coull has taken out papers for re-election as elector, Oliver Smith Will.

The terms of Jones Library Board of Trustee members Louis S. Greenbaum and Kathleen Wang are also up for re-election.

Papers must be signed by at least 50 registered voters in the case of townwide office and by one for Town Meeting from the precinct in which the candidate lives. Papers must be filed with the Town Clerk’s office by Feb. 2 at 5 p.m.

Officials meanwhile, over the next few months, will be discussing whether to put a question on the ballot asking voters to support a Proposition 2½: property tax override.


Anonymous said...

Can't wait for the override issue to begin. I've been stock piling material which will blow anyone's attempt out of the water. Bring it on!

Anonymous said...

Good. Please make sure you post it.

Anonymous said...

And when you've blown that override attempt out of the water, then what?

Or is stopping such initiatives the limit of your civic involvement?

Anonymous said...

Joel Wolfe for Town Meeting.

I didn't see his name on the current membership list. Usually I defy people to run, but in Mr. Wolfe's case, I encourage it.

I like the fire; I don't even mind if he turns it on me. I like the ability to cut through the bull, even when it's my bull. And, usually but not always, I agree with his analysis, especially his concern about hypocrisy, of which we seem to have plenty in Amherst these days.

We need people like this on Town Meeting.

Nomination papers are available at the Town Clerk's Office after New Years Day.

Rich Morse

Anonymous said...

I respectfully disagree with you Mr. Morse. I am in Joel Wolfe's precinct and I really hope he does not run - I would not want him representing me in Town Meeting. Sometimes I agree with what he says and other times I disagree. However, I usually am dismayed at the way he says things - he comes across as a very angry gentleman. His posts many times are filled with anger, mean-spiritedness and sometimes are demeaning.

Can one have fire without anger? I don't know - perhaps its the anger that fuels the fire. So, I'll give him that. But I do know that one can be fired up without being mean-spirited or demeaning. It is those two qualities more than anything that really turns me off. I would not want him representing me in Town Meeting.

Anonymous said...

From Traci Wolfe (sorry, no Google account):

As the person who is married to Joel Wolfe, I feel compelled to respond to the last few posts. First, thank you, Rich, for saying such kind things about Joel, but I don't think Town Meeting is the answer for us right now. I bow down to our neighbors who serve, particularly Rob Spence and Mike Jacques, two of the representatives I know the best.

As for Anonymous 2:16, I'm sorry that you've found some of Joel's posts "angry." But to be honest, I find yours cowardly. My mother always told me that if you can't sign your name to something, you shouldn't write it in the first place. I find it fascinating that people can say nasty things and then hide behind their "anonymous." That's angry, mean-spirited and demeaning, in my opinion.

So Anonymous 12:16, the next time you see us in the neighborhood or at Fort River, in town or on the campuses on which we work, please do make sure to introduce yourself.


Anonymous said...

I rarely use the word "cowardice" in ordinary conversation.

But the Plague of the Anonymous Posters has a tendency to bring the word to one's lips.

And if you have a "community" filled with cowardice, there are a lot of things you can't do. You can't enforce the law (at all), since most crimes don't occur in view of the cops. And we have something in the Constitution known as the Confrontation Clause, which means you get to face the witnesses against you. (Trust me: cowards make really, really lousy witnesses.) And you can't "think outside of the box" in formulating public policy, because cowards will fear what other people think of them when they do so. In fact, if you have too much cowardice in a place, you may not have any community at all.

So to paraphrase First Corinthians, there's meanness, and anger, and cowardice. And the worst of these is cowardice.

Rich Morse

Rick said...

“...there's meanness, and anger, and cowardice. And the worst of these is cowardice.”

True, but really the worst is cowardly + meanness + anger, which happens a lot on blogs.

One difference between blogs and the pre-blog world is this: people have forever said things about a person to other people that they wouldn’t say to that person’s face – unfortunate, but true. But at least in those situations, they are generally saying it to a very few people (should be zero people). When you say it on a blog you are saying it to a LOT of people.

Another problem with blogs is that even non-anonymous posters tend to be more caustic than they would to someone’s face. I have done it myself. So, you gotta always think “would I say it like this to that person’s face” and if not, don’t say it, or say it differently.

And if you screw up and say it wrong, just apologize.

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

My responses:

Anonymous 5:36 - my hope is that those on all sides (pro, con, undecided) will enter the override with open minds and carefully consider ALL evidence before deciding how to vote on an override. That's one of the reasons why I have yet to make up my mind about whether I would support one -- I want to see the data before I make a decision.

AKB - I'm sure there will be much posted on all sides of this issue (here and elsewhere!).

Anonymous 9:49 - not much for me to comment on here!

Rich - I agree that Joel would be great. He's in Precinct 6 -- I will definitely encourage him to consider it.

Anonymous 12:16 - I think it's really amazing that you would criticize someone in such a mean way who dares to use his name -- whereas you do not. So, I find your post to be full of anger and demeaning, and yet I can't make a decision about voting for you or against you because I don't know who you are. Joel signs his name when he posts, and thus stands by what he has to say -- which is exactly the type of person we should have in Town Meeting. Has it occurred to you that his anger is perhaps a natural and normal reaction to particular circumstances that he's experienced (e.g., being told that his kids go to a "big box" school, etc.)? I wish you had the courage to sign your name to this post -- so that you, like Joel, would need to stand by your words.

Traci - well done. Bravo!

Rich - thank you. Very well said.

Cathy Eden said...

I too think Joel should run for town meeting -- and I live in Precinct 6.

Actually, before Rich Morse posted, I was going to encourage him to run for SC...

Anonymous said...

I think Joel Wolfe should run for Town Meeting. I respect his posts, his use of data for analysis, and first hand and hands-on experience of being an active parent in the school community.

Go Joel!

Anonymous said...

I (obviously) think it's perfectly ok to want to be anonymous while posting. But it is paramount to try to be respectful. This is where I think you could - politely - fault Joel Wolfe (with whom I almost always agree, on substantive issues.) He is not anonymous, but he can be mean to people with whom he disagrees. This blog seems to be saying that as long as you identify yourself, you may be rude if you choose. I disagree with that.

Anonymous said...

Why do people need to associate an opinion with an individual or personality? Are we trying to know each other on a personal level here, or discuss changes for Amherst schools?