What makes a 'downtown?' A sense of Welcome. A sense of Community: as in, COMMON + UNITY. I've live in this area for 25 years, and for 25 years I've been observing how Northampton prides itself on being an oasis of consciousness concerning concepts such as Unity, Diversity, Equality, Tolerance, and so on ('and so on, and shoobee doobee doo-bee')... all of which helped convince me to move here in the first place, as these values are of primary importance to me. I sadly fear it may be time to move on. Gentrification marks the beginning of the death of community. If the City of Northampton were interested in walking its own talk, a community-based solution could be sought through open forum discussions which would include comments and concerns from all parties involved - shoppers, tourists, town residents, homeless and otherwise economically disadvantaged people, who still may BE town residents - with the goal of achieving a win-win scenario which addresses everyone's concerns to the greatest possible degree. A 'solution' which relies on sweeping aside the concerns and contributing factors relating to a specific subset of the population (any population, in any 'developed' or 'underdeveloped' country) is like a fortress constructed of wet sand; things will settle back into their former condition before long, given that the same socioeconomic stress factors are still in play. A community that disowns those of its own members who are trying to survive despite misfortune is no community at all. Perhaps Northampton needs to be identified instead as an industry - enough of the self-promotional, profit-motivated earmarks are there to warrant the comparison. Besides -- most of the panhandlers in Northampton have been sitting on the pavement all along. ...(full comment)
Where is the inaccuracy? He does not understand the financial running of Smith School; how could he when he gave inaccurate information on the costs of running the school omitting the fact that many of the said costs are paid for by tuition; Yes there will be cuts and layoffs; and not once did he show any concern for the students or their education. Clearly he does not have the specialized working knowledge of a vocational school, he is not an educator nor an administrator of a school. He is weak not to challenge Charter schools and school of choice which absorb much of the funding, and like the mayors prior to him, not willing to as re-evaluate the amount of Smith College’s property tax exemption. Yes, his actions are defined as a hostile take over, and yes it is a shameful that he is treating our children and their educational institution as a corporation. You want to talk about waste, start with the rotary at Look Park and work your way through Northampton. As for your comments on busses, transportation to and from Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School is the responsibility of each student’s sending school district. Where has he looked to cut costs within his own administration or elsewhere? How is this takeover "good" for the children attending Smith Vocational as you stated? Actually, my childhood home is in Northampton where it is maintained and taxes are paid. One area you are correct in, is that I do not vote in Northampton, but thankfully I have a very large family that does. ...(full comment)
Clarification: The CPA grant will supplement more than $20,000 that the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst has raised for the actual restoration of the Tiffany window, AND the congregation will spend an ADDITIONAL $26,000 for the protective outer window, new frames for the Tiffany, improved lighting for nighttime viewing from outside, etc. So the total we will spend from our own funds is much more than the $26,000 mentioned in the article.
Janis Gray, Chair, Stained Glass Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst ...(full comment)
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