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Election schedule and ‘normal noise’

Two months after an election in which Amherst overwhelmingly decided to adopt a new form of government, a small group of diehard Town Meeting members have sought a delay in the Town Council election, which would result in extra burdens for voters and diminished voter participation. Four of them went to Boston Wednesday to challenge the schedule for the election of Amherst’s first 13-member Town Council. They told a Legislative committee that the schedule would discriminate against students, even though the alternative schedule would make students less likely to vote. Also appearing before the committee Wednesday were Andy Churchill and …

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Should boards restrict public comment?

This guest post was written by Rick Hood, who was a member of the Amherst School Committee from 2010 to 2016 and chair of the Regional School Committee from 2010 to 2012. In a town where only the H is silent, what is “acceptable” public comment? An issue that came up a few times when I was on the School Committee was how to handle critical public comment directed at people, as opposed to policy, program or process. The issue came up again at the May 22 meeting of the Regional School Committee, where many had come to comment on  …

Amherst Connects: a community dialogue

We will have an opportunity on June 6 to move beyond the contentious politics surrounding the end of Town Meeting and the establishment of a Town Council. In an event called Amherst Connects, international peace activist Paula Green of Leverett will encourage residents with different opinions about the town’s new charter to talk with each other, with the goal of diminishing the polarization of the recent campaign. Co-facilitator Pat Romney of Amherst has led similar dialogues here before. Amherst Connects will take place in the Jones Library’s Woodbury Room on Wednesday, June 6, starting at 7:15 p.m.  Participants should use …