Live Reports from Boston
Kelsey Flynn is calling in blog entries to The Fray
We just heard a very compelling speech by Rep. Byron Rushing (D-Boston), who called this "a great day, a day of justice" because we're striking down this anti-gay marriage amendment. He addressed some earlier comments that were made about religion and noted that in Massachusetts, you can violate all ten Commandments and still get married.
He reminded us that we continue to broaden the definition of "We the people," and that when the first President was elected, "We the people" referred to less than half the population. Over the years, through legislation and amendments and judgments, more and more people have been able to take advantage of the rights enjoyed by "we the people."
It was a great speech.
Vickery Goes After Reilly
Was at the vigil last night. It was a moving event -- songs, speeches, stories, etc. A great moment was when Peter Vickery took out his copy of the Massachusetts constitution -- a document, he said, that trumped Reilly's -- and read the section on citizen-initiated constitutional ammendments, The Republican says
Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly, a Democratic candidate for governor next year, last week certified the proposed amendment. Supporters still need to collect the signatures of 65,825 registered voters and win the approval of at least 25 percent of state legislators in two successive sessions of the Legislature before the amendment can be placed before the voters.
Because it's an effort by citizens, instead of legislators, the proposed amendment requires fewer votes of legislators to move to the ballot.
In response to Reilly's ruling, about 50 equal-marriage-rights advocates turned out on the steps of Northampton City Hall last night for a vigil. State Rep. John Scibak, D-South Hadley, and Governor's Councilor Peter Vickery were among the speakers. In a prepared statement, Vickery blasted Reilly, saying, "His job is to apply the clear language of the constitution, and the constitution says that you should not use a ballot initiative to reverse a judicial decision."
Here is the relevant passage
Section 2. Excluded Matters. - No measure that relates to religion, religious practices or religious institutions; or to the appointment, qualification, tenure, removal, recall or compensation of judges; or to the reversal of a judicial decision; or to the powers, creation or abolition of courts; or the operation of which is restricted to a particular town, city or other political division or to particular districts or localities of the commonwealth; or that makes a specific appropriation of money from the treasury of the commonwealth, shall be proposed by an initiative petition.
Marjorie Hess for Forbes Library Trustee
One week from today, on September 20th, we have a preliminary election in Northampton to reduce the number of candidates for election day. I want to take this time to endorse Marjorie Hess for Forbes Library Trustee. I am not alone.
Rita Bleiman, outgoing Ward 4 City Councilor released this endorsement:
I would also like to wholeheartedly endorse Marjorie Hess for the
Forbes Library Trustee position. Marjorie Hess worked as the librarian at Amherst College for over twenty years, and has also been involved in a plethora of city, State and National issues. As Chair of the Human Rights Commission, she organized and carried out multiple programs and initiatives in support of social justice. Because of her professional experiences and her proven commitment to the community, I believe Marjorie Hess would an excellent addition to the Forbes Library Trustees.
Earlier this week, the Northampton chapter of PDM released this statement:
First among two endorsements was the unanimous vote among members in attendance to endorse Marjorie Hess, an active PDM member, in her campaign for Forbes Library Trustee. In addition to being a librarian, Marjorie has been involved in Northampton politics and activism for many years. Marjorie has been attending the Forbes Library Trustee meetings for the past year and is ready to apply her knowledge of the library system with her dedication to privacy and diversity to the job of Forbes Trustee.
A letter from Marjorie is attached. Please read, take action and forward to family, friends, and neighbors.
Please note that the Preliminary Election takes place on Tuesday, September 20 and the General Election is on Tuesday, November 8.
The following letter from Marjorie was attached
I am a candidate for one of the vacant seats on the Forbes Library Board of Trustees because I believe that my background as a librarian and my experience as a community activist will enable me to help Forbes address the issues, opportunities and challenges it is facing.
- Northampton resident since 1982
- Charter member, Northampton Human Rights Commission, 1999-2004; Chair, 1999-2003
- Northampton Democrat of the Year, 2002
- Member, Northampton Democratic City Committee: served as 1st vice chair, treasurer, Ward 4 Chair, delegate to State Democratic Conventions, volunteer with many local, state and national campaigns
- Member, Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts, 2003-present
- Treasurer, Mary Ford Mayoral Campaign, 1996-2000
- Member, "Northampton on the Same Page," committee to organize community-wide book discussions, 2003-
- Member, "Books Building Bridges," committee to link and aid local and Iraqi libraries, 2005
- Volunteer proof-reader, Elder Vision, 2003-2005
- Librarian for more than 30 years (MLS 1973): State University of New York, 1973-1981; Amherst College, 1981-present
- Adjunct faculty, University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Library and Information Science, 1984, 1990, 1992
- Instructor; developed and taught workshops for the Amherst Public School librarians
Public libraries play a vital role in a democratic society. They offer information for free so that citizens can make decisions about the kind of society they want; they offer programs from book discussion groups to knitting groups; they provide free meeting places and exhibition space for community groups. People accessing information, exchanging ideas, discussing issues—this is what a democratic society looks like. Yet, today, public libraries are threatened — threatened by the Patriot Act, by censorship, by priorities of a government that places military spending and tax cuts ahead of health care, housing, education and libraries. I would like to use my knowledge and experience to help Forbes meet these challenges and better serve the needs of the community.
- Defending the civil rights of library users: Libraries are threatened by the Patriot Act, which allows the government to obtain information about circulation records of individuals, information that should be confidential. Additionally, some libraries have been threatened by groups trying to censor collections and displays. As a member of the Northampton Human Rights Commission I organized and spoke at forums educating people about the threats to our civil liberties from sections of the Patriot Act and about libraries’ responses. I have spoken out in public forums against discrimination and social injustice.
- Meeting the information needs of an increasingly diverse community: As the diversity of our community is enhanced our library needs to provide books, programs and displays for all members of our community. As a member of the Northampton Human Rights Commission I have worked on issues such as bilingual education and multiculturalism.
- Integrating new technologies with traditional services: Forbes needs to take advantage of new technologies such as electronic databases without sacrificing traditional books and programs. As the Head of Cataloging at Amherst College for 21 years I was responsible for converting the card catalog to computerized form. I have taught cataloging at the graduate level and in local workshops.
- Funding for programs, collection, staff, building: Funding has been reduced for libraries as it has for schools, housing, and other social programs. As treasurer for the Democratic City Committee and the Mary Ford Mayoral Campaign, I understand the crucial role of fund-raising. I will work with the other trustees, library staff and community members to find creative funding solutions that maintain the library as a free resource where all members of the community are welcome.
There are a number of candidates for the two vacant positions. It is exciting to have so many people willing to work on the library’s behalf and I look forward to a lively campaign.
I would love to have your support and help with my campaign -- thanks to those of you who have already offered. Here is how you can help:
- E-mail this letter to your own lists with your endorsement.
- Distribute brochures at the Farmers’ Markets and the Recycling Center.
- Introduce me to your neighbors by holding a coffee or walking door to door with me.
- Write letters to the editor supporting my candidacy.
At this point I am not asking for money and hope that it will not be necessary (although I very much appreciate those of you who have offered.)
I am happy to say that Diane Welter has agreed to be my campaign manager.
If you would like to talk to me about my campaign, please call me at 586-5569 or e-mail me at hesstal -at- crocker -dot- com. If you wish to volunteer, please call Diane at 586-1849 or e-mail her at dianewelter -at- hotmail -dot- com.
I am honored to have received the following endorsements:
It has been my pleasure to work with Marjorie on several projects and I have seen her love for and knowledge of books and libraries. Her energy, commitment and thoughtfulness make her an asset in any group. She will be a valuable member of the Trustees of Forbes Library.
- Nancy Felton, Co-owner, Broadside Bookshop
Northampton is lucky to have Marjorie Hess. One of our most dedicated and passionate citizens, as evidenced by her years of committed work as head of the Human Rights Commission, Marjorie is also an able administrator and a terrific librarian. I endorse her wholeheartedly for the position of Forbes Library trustee.
- Barry Werth, Author, The Scarlet Professor
If loving to read, community participation, experience as a librarian and social activism are prerequisites to serving as a Forbes Library Trustee, Marjorie Hess is an ideal candidate. I volunteered with Marjorie on the "On the Same Page" Committee. I know Marjorie will be an excellent addition to the Board of Trustees.
- Lucy Hartry,Vice Chair, School Committee
Marjorie and I worked together on the city’s Human Rights Commission and several other committees. Perhaps because of her long career as a librarian, she is an extremely competent, organized team player who has exceptional listening skills.
- Mark Carmien, Co-owner, Pride & Joy
As Chair of Northampton’s Human Rights Commission, Marjorie worked for equity and justice for all sectors of our community. I know she will continue that commitment and help Forbes Library become an even more vital resource for our city’s residents.
- Kim Gerould, Bi-lingual Coordinator, Jackson Street School
In addition to her outstanding professional qualifications Marjorie brings a long history of involvement in the life of this city. Because she has been advocating locally for human right issues, campaigning for various elected city officials and supporting numerous community organizations, Marjorie has a deep understanding of Northampton and those who live here. Her commitment and motivation are truly exceptional.
- Michael Bardsley, City Council President
I have known and worked with Marjorie professionally for 20 years through Five College Libraries' activities. I respect her intelligence and diligence, and have enjoyed serving on committees with her. She is conscientious and well qualified to serve as a Trustee.
- Jim Montgomery, Head of Technical Services, Smith College Library
Marjorie puts her principles into action in every aspect of her life. Forbes and its users will be well served by such a responsible, hardworking Trustee. We can trust Marjorie to protect our rights, resources and privacy.
- Diane Welter & Alex Ghiselin, Councilor, Ward 5
Thank you for your support.
DON’T FORGET TO VOTE!
Preliminary election: Tuesday, September 20
General election: Tuesday, November 8
Marriage Equality Vigil Tonight
Vigil in Northampton today to support marriage equality. Bring your
friends and family members.
Tuesday, September 13th
7:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Northampton City Hall, 210 Main St