Notes from our coalition meeting on November 1

We had a good meeting last night. The only bad thing is that our host, Northampton Community TV, is expanding to facilities at 33 Hawley Street. This will affect our next meeting as we can’t meet at our current space behind Northampton High School. Hopefully by January the issue will be resolved. So expect our next meeting location to change.

There’s a lot going on. Our principle topic of discussion was doing more outreach.

  • Big thanks to Paradise Copies, Carol MacColl and Davin at Paradise Copies for designing a brochure and banner for us, not to mention a new logo. Paradise is providing free graphic and printing services to support our work! It’s no small investment. You can see our brochure here. We have 150 copies of the brochure to start and can get more when needed at no cost!
  • We currently have 209 electronic signatures on our petition to the Mayor and City Council. Thanks to all who signed. Please continue to promote the petition with your friends and neighbors! The link is on the sidebar of our website, or you can give them our short code URL: We’re a small core team doing all we can, but this effort cannot succeed without networking inside Northampton. With your help we can end Comcast’s effective monopoly on Internet service in Northampton, lower your costs by about a third for life and bring reliable 1 gbps fiber to your home!
  • We spent most of the meeting figuring out how to do more effective outreach. Some things we have learned:
    • Anyone can petition on the streets of Northampton, but we were advised by the Department of Public Works to contact the captain at the Northampton Police Station to let him know about our work before petitioning. If there are a lot of people doing this at the same time, it can impact the flow of pedestrian traffic, mostly downtown.
    • We can get a permit from the Department of Public Works to put up a temporary table to promote our effort. The permit costs $25 and is good for up to a week at one location. Downtown there are very strict requirements about where such things can be placed so it does not impede pedestrian traffic.
    • We inquired with Thorne’s Marketplace about whether we could set up a table inside their building. Unfortunately, they could not let us because it would show the bias of the management. In general they never allow such efforts. We also sent a query to the Downtown Northampton Association and haven’t gotten a reply.
    • Most of the farmers markets won’t let us set up a table. They are for farmers only, so that nixes the market near the parking garage, the Florence market and the one on Gothic Street. There is a winter farmers market on Conz Street which has a table for such events which begins in late November. We may be allowed to set up there from time to time.
    • We asked at the Lilly Library in Florence if we could set up there and that was not allowed either. However, we can post our brochure on their bulletin board and use their meeting space if we can book a time.
    • We potentially can set up a table near the farmers market on Saturday on Gothic Street, perhaps at the corner of Gothic and Main. We’d need a permit and it would have to be outside the boundaries of the market.
  • We are going to try to bring our banner, booth, petitions and brochures to the following events, if allowed:
    • November 10th near the farmers market on Gothic Street
    • December 2nd at the Hot Chocolate Run
    • First Night on December 31
  • We tried a Facebook ad over the last month. We got over 4000 impressions, but little in the way of electronic signatures on our petition. It may be that we are doing these ads inefficiently. If you have some experience in creating well-targeted Facebook ads, reach out to us.
  • We reached out to the Daily Hampshire Gazette newsroom to inform them of our effort and to suggest they might want to interview us. So far we have not heard from them.
  • We will be reaching out to WHMP radio to see if they might want to interview us.
  • We discussed whether we should have bumper stickers printed but decided for now to see how outreach goes. Some of us think they are tacky. What’s your opinion?
  • We did reach out to Indivisible NoHo who promoted our effort in their email newsletter. We know we got some signatures that way.
  • One of us attended a Florence Day this week and talked about our effort and handed out brochures.
  • We are willing to talk to any community groups. If you belong to one and would like us to be a speaker, please contact us.
  • Al Williams, the director of NCTV, said he is willing to put together a 30-second spot for us. We’re working on those logistics.
  • We welcomed a new member Penny, who will be doing a lot of “shoe leather” work with the Department of Public Works and the police so we can set up tables at events.
  • We’re creating a new version of our paper petition that includes a place for an email, so signatories can optionally get emails containing news of our effort.
  • We will reach out to more formally to let them know about our effort.

We hope to meet next month on December 6 at 7PM. The location right now is unknown but will be placed on the website, Facebook and other locations when known.

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