Published in Amherst Bulletin, Feb. 10, 2017 – link
Thank you Amherst Town Meeting. Thank you for opposing the bond authorization for the flawed co-located elementary school plan that was supported by only the slimmest of margins by Amherst town residents. Surely no mandate and surely we can do better.
Thank you for voting your conscience which is your duty as members of Town Meeting. And thank you for lending your voice to those of low-, moderate- or fixed-income people who already are burdened by the high home prices, high rents and high property taxes of Amherst. No wonder enrollment in our Amherst elementary schools is declining. Fewer and fewer young families can afford to live here.
Opponents of Town Meeting will likely use this “no” vote as reason to eliminate Town Meeting. Don’t be fooled. To the contrary this is precisely why Town Meeting needs to be preserved.
The rigorous discussion and debate over the last few months is direct democracy in action. You won’t get that with a mayor and town council form of government.
Town Meeting works! And it has never been more obvious to me than it is right now. Amherst ranks as one of the best college towns in the country not in spite of Town Meeting but in large part, because of Town Meeting.
Let’s all remember this when the Charter Commission and “Amherst for All” supporters look to eliminate Town Meeting in the upcoming months.