Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Status Quo Election

Steinberg, Kruger and Appy it is

No big surprises as the 255th annual Amherst town election is now history ... but hardly historic.

Select Board winners -- the insiders -- Andy Steinberg (1,843) and Connie Kruger (1,700) far outdistanced outsider candidate John Boothroyd (259)  and particularly far out candidate Helen Berg (379).

The School Committee contest was the only race that seemed to generate any enthusiasm where incumbent Katherine Appy was given a scare by the populist nature of newcomer Vira Douangmany's campaign but still won a resounding victory 1,532 to the challenger's 1,012.

As consolation prize Vira was the top vote getter for Town Meeting in Precinct 7 for a three year seat with 239.  Her vote total in that Precinct for School Committee was only 158.

With the Amherst schools embroiled in yet another racism/bullying scandal the racial difference between the two candidates could have played a major role, but Douangmany did not overplay the race card.

The same can be said for the other low-key contest for a seat on the Amherst Housing Authority, where insider incumbent Peter Jessup easily bested newcomer Tracylee Boutilier 1,371 to 905. Although Ms. Boutilier did win a three year seat in Town Meeting representing Precinct 6.

Although the Amherst Redevelopment Authority has not met in over a year the open seat vacated by former chair John Coull had to be filled.  Pam Rooney won the tightest race of the evening against Paige Wilder 999 to 905 respectively.

But Wilder was #1 vote getter in her home Precinct 10 for a three year Town Meeting seat with 95 votes.  She also trounced Rooney in that particular Precinct 89-26.

 Voter turnout was a lousy 13.4% (which I called almost exactly), sad to say, about usual for a local election -- although not nearly as bad as last year's pathetic 6.6%.

Two years ago the Presidential election had a 69% turnout.  Historic all time high for Amherst was in 1992 when 89% of the voters turned out -- mostly for Bill Clinton.


Anonymous said...

Good for Pam Rooney! Congratulations!!!

Larry Kelley said...

To the other winners as well.

Or just all the candidates who offered themselves up to public scrutiny and, ugh survived.

Anonymous said...

It's disturbing that 379 souls in this community thought that Helen Berg would be acceptable as a Select Board member.

Walter Graff said...

Larry that moron who posted recently with the comment saying who wants anyone on the school board that is going to shake things up is a perfect example of why Amherst is such a failure and how it fails it's students. Appy is a shill. She's about as good for Amherst schools as is her unqualified muse, Geryk. Matters little, the Amherst school board is a store front. It does little and has little say. Let them stay there for life. What needs to be done first and foremost is to get rid of Maria Geryk. If anyone has failed the system it's her.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the endorsement, Walter! :)

Anonymous said...

Yes, let's get rid of Maria, so we can spend $100,000 on a search so we can get someone that will quit in 6 months. Brilliant!

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:02, I totally agree. Those nearly 400 people that voted for Berg should colonize Mars and start their own alien race. She is a real space cadet, for sure!

Anonymous said...

From the Gazette: "Meanwhile, Berg said she intends to contest the election based on an 'irregular balloting procedure' in which candidates are not listed alphabetically."

The only thing irregular about this election is Helen Berg.

Anonymous said...

I hope "Sustainable Amherst" got the message that we can do our own homework, thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

I think the SC election better represents how people in Amherst feel about the schools. It was basically a 60/40 split. 60% think the schools are fine and they are happy with how they run. 40% feel there is a real problem and change is necessary to fix the problem. People like to get on this blog an claim that those complaining about the schools are a very small minority. While they may be a minority they are not small by any stretch at 40%.

Let the SC and the administration keep ignoring them. Best keep on hoping the 40% keep moving away before they reach 50%.

60% approval rating is pretty horrible for a town spending close to 20K per student.

I would advise the local leaders to think about these numbers but I know they would just ignore that advice anyway.

Anonymous said...

I attended the School Committee meeting last night at which over 100 residents representing a broad cross section of Amherst came to speak out against the attacks on ARHS math teacher, Carolyn Gardner.

Imagine my surprise when I saw that our newly reelected School Committee member, Katherine Appy, could not be bothered to attend. Apparently, her election campaign was more important than listening to the concerns of a faculty member and 100 plus residents. This won't be forgotten.

Anonymous said...

Why have no media outlets covered the story of incidents of voter intimidation and destruction of campaign material (signage) against Vira and her supporters? Why did I have to rely on one school committee members report of these incidents on Vira's campaign page on a social media website? Why were these criminal acts covered up?

Anonymous said...

It is time to reconsider whether Amherst needs an over expensive school that is average in quality of education. We pays 2% property tax, and throws money at school problems and problems are getting worse, and there is no solution on sight. It is time to reverse this process, and reduce Amherst tax rate, relieve heavy tax burden on all families and keep the money on family level and give family more choices of educating their children. Big Government, big school system are wastes, they always are. In today's economic stress, families are tired to watch the School committee and school administration keep wasting our money and our children's future. This is not sustainable. We should not throw more money at problems. The first thing to do is to reduce Amherst Tax burden for all families. Reduce school budget. When excessive money is gone, all the jokers, talkers in school system will run away. The real worker will stay to build an efficient and better work system.

Anonymous said...

Katherine Appy also had signs stolen. FYI.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't attend the sc meeting last night but watched what I could on television. I was impressed by most (not all) of the speakers who addressed the recent criminal acts against the teacher at the high school. ANY incidents like these must be exposed and the perpetrators held accountable!

To this end I believe Kathleen Anderson, who spoke last night and is a former staff member at the ARHS, has an obligation to expose the fellow staff member who made inappropriate, harassing, race-based comments to her in a hallway of the school. She reported last evening that a teacher walked by her during work and said to her, "Some of us have to work hard to get a job here." She reported that the overt implication was that she was not properly credentialed and was an affirmative action hire.

What message are we sending our children if we simply let incidents such as these be ignored, and if we do not expose the culprits and hold them accountable? I am surprised that a strong-willed and equality-minded person like Ms. Anderson did not report this incident to school authorities at the time they occurred. We must not tolerate any, even minor, acts such as these in our community, and especially in our children's schools.

Anonymous said...

In response to the concerns about what was allegedly said to Katherine Anderson that's why Affirmative Action is so freaking WRONG!!!!

All you have to do is hire/promote one woman or minority who is less qualified (not un-qualified but merely less qualified) and all the people who earned their jobs will be viewed as there only because of Affirmative Action.

I have long said that I want a Black MD who graduated medical school before 1965, a female MD who graduated before 1975, or a White male who graduated after 1985 -- in all cases, these are people whom I know got no breaks.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:31 PM:

"Allegedly" said to Kathleen Anderson? Do you think she is lying?

Anonymous said...

"Allegedly" said to Kathleen Anderson? Do you think she is lying?

No more or less than I think the cops are about the guy they arrested today in the middle school.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:21 PM:

I don't follow. But I am confused, because Kathleen is the kind of person who gets in your face and starts a movement if you look at her sideways, it's hard to imagine why she just let something like that go, only to report it to us years later at a school committee meeting. She ought to identify the staff member who said that to her--especially if he is still employed at the h.s.--which would send a strong, clear message to the students and staff that it's not acceptable. I can't imagine why she would be motivated to protect his identity.

She also reported last night that a friend told her that a kid told a friend that a white 2nd grader told a black 2nd grader, "I can do whatever I want to you because I am white and I am superior to you."

Anonymous said...

I for one don't believe that story about the 2 second graders. I also have a hard time believing the story about the teacher who made that comment to her. No way she would have let that pass when it happened.

Anonymous said...

Right? Anyone who knows Kathleen even a little knows NO WAY would she just let that slide. She regularly and openly accuses people--individuals--of being racist. She needs to come out and give us more details, who was it specifically, and if she isn't willing to do that it tells me she was just seeking to increase negative tensions.

(For anyone who doesn't know, Kathleen Anderson is the current president of the Amherst NAACP.)

Anonymous said...

Re: Boothroyd rant.

This guy is categorically and undeniably a grade A buffoon. He has thoroughly confused his own preoccupation with "[his] backyard," that he so ineloquently alluded to several times in his campaign 'speeches,' with representing Amherst citizens. This jumbled mess of a diatribe furthers the impression that he is no more than a marble-mouthed bull-in-a-china-shop fool.