Monday, September 15, 2008

Mister Chicken turns into Miss Saigon

Amherst has lots of restaurants (especially pizza places). It had one fewer over the summer-- "Mister Chicken" went out of business. No worries, though-- it's being replaced by "Miss Saigon."

I find that oddly amusing...

(and I wonder: will there be any controversy over the name? I just hope they have good Bánh chưng, a dish I haven't had since I lived in Palo Alto...)

9 comments:

Baer said...

Yeah man! I've been dying for good Viet food since the bay area....

LarryK4 said...

Maybe that's why "Mister Chicken" went under: sexist name.

Should have called themselves "Mr. and Mrs. Chicken" or "Mister and Mizz Chicken"

Gavin Andresen said...

Well, remember last year:

"Rooster's Restaurant, which for more than 30 years has served breakfast and lunch to the North Amherst community, has closed..."

Maybe they woulda stayed in business if they were "Hen's Restaurant."

I don't think the gender-neutral "Fowl's Restaurant" would have worked, though.

LarryK4 said...

Fair is foul...

Anonymous said...

Hi Gavin,

my local data expert. In today's Bulletin, Phil Jackson claims "It is well-documented, however, that the current PILOT payment structure does not adequately compensate the town for its services or the university's impacts." Do you know where it is clearly documented? I have long wondered whether this was the case but without the numbers (i.e. PILOT payment amount and a sum of University impact) its impossible to determine this is in fact the case.

Abbie

LarryK4 said...

All you need to know about PILOT is that the state formula only considers square footage and not what is on that square footage.

So Wendell would get the same reimbursement as Amherst for hosting the Wendell State Forest if it equals the square footage of Umass (which it may very well do)

Obviously the cost to the town is greater if there are tens of thousands of people associated with the square footage in question, as with highly developed Umass.

Hint: Umass has no Fire Department so they rely on Amherst Fire Department that cost Amherst taxpayers $4.8 million this year; and Umass attracts about one quarter of their business.

They send about 60 kids to our schools at $14,000 per child (including the new Chancellor's two children) and only a few years back purchased "Frat Row" taking it off the tax rolls at a cost of $30,000 per year.

And of course the Campus Center Hotel ignores the local lodging tax that everyone else--including Amherst College Lord Jeff pays--to the tune of $70,000 per year.

So yeah Abby, it is pretty well documented.

LarryK4 said...

Oops, sorry...did not mean to spell your name wrong

Gavin Andresen said...

Abbie:

I haven't tried to figure out if the PILOT money covers expenses.

But, last year I did some back-of-the-envelope calculations to try to compare Amherst's per-person spending versus Hadley and Northampton. That sort-of gets at figuring out how much extra the non-taxpaying students cost the town; I'll polish it up and post it. It's tricky, because the students certainly help the local economy; I suspect that they use fewer town services overall, per-person, than non-students, although that obviously varies depending on whether you're talking about (they certainly strain our police force on balmy fall and spring weekend nights...).

As for PILOT money being based on acreage-- that's very interesting, but maybe beside the point. Maybe Wendell is getting a hell-of-a-deal, and Amherst is just breaking even.

Oh, and on the subject of tax-exempt educational institutions:
"On the whole, the case for taxing education rather than subsidizing it is really quite plausible." http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2008/08/public_goods_ex.html

I'm not sure I agree, but the argument sure seems pretty sound...

LarryK4 said...

And just for the record: the state pays us a tiny bit over $100,000 annually in PILOT for ALL of Umass.

And the town mangler allowed them to use that as part of the supposed $420,000 they are paying us in the "strategic agreement" (not deducting, of course the $40,000 in effluent we are now giving them for free)