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Carl Erikson and Sarah McKee: Give reaction to Charter Commission


Saturday, September 16, 2017
Give reaction to Charter Commission

Amherst residents need to read the new charter that the majority of the Charter Commission has proposed.

It is not just esoteric governmental details. By abolishing Town Meeting and the Select Board and giving dominant control to a 13-member Town Council, it would turn Amherst’s bottom-up government into a top-down government. Top-down government usually ends up being more interested in preserving the power of its dominant officials than in serving the needs of the citizens. It would also encourage corporate (developers’) political money to control town decisions and actions.

Yes, members of our present Town Meeting/Select Board government structure can find it difficult to deal with contemporary speed and issues. This can be substantially eased without terminating the broad citizen input into town issues we now have.

The proposed charter would also transform us into a city hiding under the “town of Amherst.” This doesn’t sound like Amherst directness at all. If Amherst people are known for anything, it’s their directness about their local government.

We need to make our views about this proposed charter known to the Charter Commission by Sept. 29, when it starts considering the charter version that will be submitted to the voters in spring 2018.

Carl Erikson

Amherst

Sarah McKee

Amherst