Around Amherst: District 5 candidates debate lawn signs

Staff Writer
Friday, July 27, 2018

AMHERST — As the campaign season begins, the six candidates who are seeking to represent District 5 on the new Town Council are talking about whether there should be limits on lawn signs in the lead up to the Sept. 4 preliminary election.

Darcy Dumont, of 142 Pondview Drive, said she has initiated the discussion about how to run elections more sustainably.

“I hope that dispensing with lawn signs will encourage people stop and talk to their neighbors,” Dumont said.

Two representatives from District 5 will be elected Nov. 6 after the six-person field is pared to four candidates. District 5 is made up of the former South Amherst precincts 7 and 8.

In addition to being less wasteful, not using lawn signs could level the economic playing field, Dumont said. “Running for Town Council should not be so expensive that low and moderate income people, can’t afford to run,” Dumont said.

Paul Bobrowski, of 55 Hulst Road, informed his competitors in a group discussion that signs have been a conventional way of campaigning in town.

“I haven’t made a determination yet, and I certainly don’t want to preclude that option if I decide it helps my candidacy,” Bobrowski wrote.

Shalini Bahl-Milne, of 78 Linden Ridge Road, said she intends to campaign in other ways and appreciates Dumont’s invitation to be mindful of the environmental effects and unnecessary waste.

“I also appreciate the collaborative spirit with which candidates are running alongside each other,” Bahl-Milne said.

Samuel MacLeod, of 1114 South East St., said he is undecided as to the approach he will use.

“I am willing to consider it if others in the district have a similar stand,” MacLeod said.

Aaron Hayden, of 1491 South East St., said he likes the idea of fewer signs and, though he is unsure what his practice will be. Still, he welcomes the discussion, noting that the town’s sign bylaw didn’t anticipate having so many candidates up for election at one time.

“Lawn signs are a traditional, effective and very basic means for connecting with constituents, and connecting is as important this season as it has ever been.,” Hayden said.

Jeffrey Lee, of, 815 South East St., said he will not use campaign signs.

“If we District 5 candidates can agree to forgo lawn signs, I’m hoping that the other districts might follow suit,” Lee said. “This would lighten the financial burden of running a campaign for all town council candidates.”

Local riders in Pan-Mass Challenge

Amherst will have 14 riders participating in the Pan-Mass Challenge, the 192-mile ride that takes place Aug. 4 and 5.

The ride raises money for cancer research and patient care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

Those riding from Amherst are David Casey, John Ciccarelli, Robin Diamond, Ted Diamond, Eric Heller, Devorah Jacobson, Paul Jodka, Bob Newcomb, Mark Peterman, Jennifer Siddall, Isaac Souweine, Judith Souweine, John Varner and Susan Zarchin.

During the weekend, more than 6,200 cyclists from more than 40 states and seven countries will gather for the ride, which has starting lines in Sturbridge, Wellesley and Bourne. Cyclists are required to raise between $600 and $8,000.

“After surpassing our goal and raising $51 million for Dana-Farber last year, we are excited to keep the momentum going as we approach our 39th PMC ride weekend,” Billy Starr, founder and executive director of the PMC, said in a statement.

Over the past 38 years, the Pan-Mass Challenge has raised a total of more than $598 million.

Candidates debate

The Center for Human Development is sponsoring a debate between Mindy Domb and Eric Nakajima, the Democratic candidates for the 3rd Hampshire District legislative seat, Aug. 2.

The debate, which will focus on human and social service issues, will run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Woodbury Room at the Jones Library.

Tony Maroulis, executive director of external relations and university events at the University of Massachusetts, will moderate. Attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions to the candidates.

Regulations for shade trees

Select Board members are looking favorably on adopting new regulations for public shade trees drafted by the Public Shade Tree Committee and Tree Warden Alan Snow.

The idea is to strengthen existing policies and ensure consistency in how these are enforced, Snow told the board this week.

Currently, any trees in the public way that have 1 ½ inches caliper, the trunk diameter, at 6 inches off the ground are subject to tree hearings. Snow said the policy, guided by state law, would be changed to only have tree hearings for trees that are 5 inches diameter at breast height, at 4 1/2 inches off the ground.

The other major policy change is placing a reasonable value on the trees being removed.

The adjustments to regulations will supplement a bylaw Town Meeting adopted last fall that allows for the collection of fines from people who remove healthy public shade trees.


MONDAY: Town Meeting Advisory Committee, 12:30 p.m., Glass Room, Bangs Community Center.

TUESDAY: Jones Library, Inc. Investment Committee, 9:05 a.m., Goodwin Room, Jones Library; Bylaw Review Committee, 9:30 a.m., First Floor Meeting Room, Town Hall.

WEDNESDAY: Dog Park Task Force, 6 p.m., community room, police station; School Equity Task Force, 6 p.m., high school library; Planning Board, 7:05 p.m., Town Room, Town Hall.