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Community Participation Officer Explained

Participation in government by the residents of Amherst is extremely important. And that participation can take many forms. The simplest and possibly least involved is voting. It is also one of the most important, as it is the best way to gauge the public’s opinion on the issues raised in campaigns1. But there are many other ways to participate — running for office, writing letters, attending meetings and joining a board or committee.2 But how does a resident know what’s happening and what openings there are? And, how do Town officials make sure that the residents who are interested in …

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Who approved those tall buildings?

  It’s amazing to me that some Town Meeting supporters are pointing to the size of the two new buildings at the northern end of downtown as reasons for retaining the current political system. The size of these buildings was approved under the current system! That’s right, five stories in this part of town are allowed because of a Town Meeting vote in 2013. There are some questions about that vote, and I’ll get to them. But first, let me speak to those who don’t like the appearance of Kendrick Place and One East Pleasant, which is under construction. Whether …

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Checks and Balances – Let’s Compare

As we have noted previously, opponents have made a number of misleading claims about the new government proposal. The latest exaggeration is that the new system lacks “checks and balances.” This claim is particularly misleading because it implies that our current system has checks and balances that will be lost if the new charter is adopted. However, our current system has practically no checks and balances at all. No matter how you vote in March, Amherst won’t have a government that allows the executive branch to veto the actions of the legislative branch. Arguing that one should vote “no” on …