The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Poor Turnout But a Good Time

Pulaski Park bus stop graffiti

The rally in opposition to the Business Improvement District (BID) last night was something of a dud. Not many people showed up, and even the official Poverty Is Not a Crime banner (below) which has appeared at all previous rallies was missing.

Still, it's always good to see activists in action, whatever the numbers.

The littlest protester was Laranetta - age one week old.

Writer and radio personality Mary Serreze came by on her bike.

Also there was Northampton's sweetheart Kelsey Flynn.

It wouldn't be Northampton without dining suggestions.

The real celebrity appearance however was the arrival of the King of the Panhandlers Motown Bernie, shown here with radical leader David Beyer.

Chanting and waving signs, the small band headed towards the municipal office where the City Council was meeting.

Once inside, the protesters lined the back wall of the Council Chamber.

This was the first City Council meeting in Northampton I've ever attended. I went to plenty of them in Springfield, and as in Springfield, Northampton has a public speakout before the meeting begins. However in Northampton the public speakout period is televised. In Springfield the local machine wouldn't allow it, lest subjects be raised and facts be revealed that they did not want known to the wider public.

Here is Motown Bernie addressing the Council.

Sadly, the whole protest had an air of futility to it. The BID has already been approved, and everyone seemed at a loss as to how to stop it from being implemented. There was hope that at some point the Americian Civil Liberties Union might get involved, but until then it looks as though the pro-BID forces are victorious.

Around Amherst

It's raining like mad today, which makes me yearn for the peaceful sunny moments I spent earlier this week at the Amherst Resevoir.

At UMass I like the new landscaping going on behind the science buildings.

This parking lot definitely was not here when I was a UMass student.

People sometimes ask me what has changed the most about UMass since I was a student in the late 70's. They're surprised when I reply, "All the new parking lots." When I was a student going without a car was just one of the sacrifices you were expected to make for your education. The idea was that you would walk today to get the education that would buy you a Cadillac in the future. Damn we were gullible in those days.

Today almost every student has a vehicle, and actually in my day there were in fact some students who had cars. They were mostly girls whose rich daddies bought them for them as high school graduation gifts and who covered all the bills. Those girls had lots of dates, even if they were fat and dull.

Two Artifacts From 1985

Robert Hunter and Jorma Kaukonen in New York City; a ticket for Worcester.

Today's Video

Two riders were approaching and the wind began to howl.

TEACHER: George Washington not only chopped down his father's cherry tree, but also admitted it. Now, Louie, do you know why his father didn't punish him?

LOUIS: Because George still had the axe in his hand....


Don Schneier said...

Hunter played at the Iron Horse a few times, giving his songs a much more intimate workout than they usually got. I recall his once telling the crowd, 'You don't know how good you have it here.' Someone in the crowd asked him how someone from Marin County could be envious of other areas, and he responded by citing how, compared to Marin, it was so inexpensive here, with much the same cultural ambience. That was probably in 1984 or 5 that he made that observation. It should be noted that Hunter has never once attempted to cash in with Big Advertising on e. g. "long strange trip" or "touch of grey".

marginalutility said...

Bill Newman has not weighed in on our debate yet, but Alan Sheinman, a lawyer and an anti-BID property owner who has devoted his days to researching this thing, did tell me yesterday that the solution you propose is legally impossible. I will call Bill Newman on Monday if I haven't heard from him by then.
I'd love it if you were right, but sadly, you're not.

Don Schneier said...

You'll note that I've done more than "propose a solution". I've first suggested that the legislation quite plainly entails anti-panhandling language. Does Sheinman reject that reading of it, and, if so, why? Then, if my reading stands up,the further question of how to respond arises, with my "solution" as one possible response.