Tuesday, February 28, 2006

What I think: some general opinions

I would like to see less aversion to change. Change is inevitable, and accepting that and working together to help change occur in the most positive manner and with the most desirable outcome is the best way to proceed.

I would like to see more embracing of and less antagonism toward the University, the other colleges, and the student population. Yes, they have significant impact on town resources, and we need to find the best way to manage those issues. But the bottom line is that this is a college town – and all the culture and dynamism and vibrancy that we love about Amherst are due largely to this being a college town. Directly or indirectly, this is why most of us are here, and it is important to remember that without the schools and the students, Amherst would be no different than countless small, remote Western Mass towns.

Also . . .

  • How we treat the most vulnerable among us is of great concern to me.
  • As an avid pedestrian, sidewalk, crosswalk and litter issues are important to me.
  • Being realistic about cars and their role in our society seems very basic to me. Of course we want to minimize pollution, congestion, impact on the environment etc. – but most of us still need to drive and park.
  • Preserving open space is important to me – and so is smart development, residential and commercial. I feel strongly that we must have high standards, but we must be realistic and practical and find the proper balance in all things.

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Sunday, February 12, 2006

What I think: where I stood on the charter

I was among those supporting the charter initiative. I felt that the town and its budget had grown too large and unwieldy to be managed by such a large “committee,” and one that only meets a few times each year. I felt the system lacked the ability to act with the sort of practical speed and efficiency that would be desirable from a modern government in the 21st century.

But the people have spoken, and that is what democracy is all about. And as the saying goes, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”

This is how Amherst government is going to work, and for it to be the best it can be, more of us need to take part – by paying attention, by voting, by running for Town Meeting, by engaging ourselves in the process.

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Why I am running for Town Meeting

This form of government requires participation. It needs a broad mix of individuals to commit time, effort and diligence to the process of guiding the town. I am willing and able to make those commitments and I would like to be a part of that process.

I have ideas and skills that I believe can benefit Town Meeting and Amherst. This blog is one such idea. Finding new ways to engage people in the local political process – to make them aware and interested – is vital. Blogs are a simple technology that could add a rich new dimension to how voters stay informed about, interact with and participate in town government.

This is the sort of fresh perspective I will bring to Town Meeting if you elect me.

And whether or not I am elected, I hope more Town Meeting members will consider creating blogs. Giving those you represent a concrete sense of your views, and allowing comments and input from them for an open dialog, is the kind of refreshing change that many Amherst voters would appreciate. Information, openness, accountability – what’s not to like?

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