Irwin Spiegelman: Reacts to column by retired officials

Thursday, February 22, 2018
Reacts to column by retired officials

I was astonished and saddened to see that Ellen Story and John Olver (Nancy Eddy’s service on the Select Board is before my time) have come out in favor of the proposed charter, creating a much too powerful city council for Amherst, in a guest column in the Feb. 16 Amherst Bulletin (“True representation requires accountability”).

Their sole argument, without evidence, revolves around accountability of our representatives, with the Amherst representative Town Meeting utterly failing the test. Period.

Included in the pro-charter coalition are those who still want a mega-school at Wildwood, eliminating K-6 education. This pro-charter coalition also includes those who want a greatly expanded Jones Library after extensive demolition, as well as brand new Department of Public Works, a new fire station and even an expanded Amherst Senior Center. It appears that Eddy, Olver and Story have not looked into the outrageously high salaries, both in town and the schools, which are far above our neighboring towns of our size.

How can property taxpayers and renters in Amherst afford all this extravagance? They cannot, but the pro-charter people’s answer is to dramatically increase commercial and residential development, including the construction downtown of more private University of Massachusetts dormitories.

This wild scheme would be carried out by a 13-person city council, with no opposition from an uncooperative representative Town Meeting.

Irwin Spiegelman