3

Parking questions await answers

When the new Town Council is seated, it will address several downtown parking questions, from the enforcement time on meters to a possible second garage. But one parking issue the Select Board hopes to resolve soon is how many spaces will be lost when the area extending from the parking lot in front of Town Hall to Spring Street is turned into a more attractive space. The board may make a recommendation on the North Common project next Monday night, and hope that the Town Council ratifies it. The plans have gone through numerous public forums over the past five …

12

Candidate survey is helpful but incomplete

A helpful survey of Town Council candidates’ positions on important issues is now available online. The questions on the survey are specific and non-partisan, and the answers are revealing about the candidates. Unfortunately, only 15 of the 26 candidates responded to the survey by the deadline. That’s mostly because the survey was conducted by Amherst Forward, which had previously endorsed 14 of the candidates and formed a political action committee so it can raise money to inform voters. With three exceptions, the endorsed candidates responded to the survey and the unendorsed ones didn’t. Jim Pistrang and Steve Braun were not …

9

College students: bane or boon?

Some Town Council candidates and others have made statements that seem to demonize college students, asserting that the two new buildings downtown are “dorms.” This is a revealing misstatement. Dormitories are generally defined as housing that is owned by educational institutions and restricted to students. These two buildings are privately owned and include many non-students, so it’s more accurate to call them “apartment buildings.” It is revealing because the word “dorms” functions as a slur against a class of people who are regarded as fundamentally different from you and me. It creates a stereotype about a disfavored group. Many people …

39

Candidates debate building projects

How should Amherst prioritize new buildings for the elementary schools, the Jones Library and the Fire and Public Works Departments? There was a plan to creatively finance all four projects, costing over $100 million, without significant tax increases. But that plan was disrupted by Town Meeting’s unwillingness to borrow money for a school project and the subsequent loss of $34 million in state assistance. Now what? That was the question Tuesday night for six candidates for three at-large seats on the new Town Council in the Nov. 6 election. Jim Pistrang said he rates a new fire station in South …