Kevin Collins: Use creativity, not negativity

Friday, September 25, 2020

When I read Steve Bloom’s letter of Sept. 16, “Power play in Amherst,” I was reminded of another time in Amherst, when ad hominem attacks were not permitted. If Jim Pistrang was in charge, there certainly would have been a loud gavel sounding as soon as it began. It seems that some people are taking advantage of Town Council President Lynn Griesemer’s newness to this job by attacking people and their reputations, because they think they can get away with it.

When the voters of Amherst, in the largest turnout in our history, voted to choose a new form of government, they chose government that is open and accountable. If Mr. Bloom does not like the council’s decision, he has the same right as anyone else to vote the council out.

He does not have the right to attack their reputations. The Planning Board nominee’s were chosen in an open and transparent process, in accordance with the law. If Mr. Bloom doesn’t like that, the charter has clearly defined options, which do not include ad hominem attacks.

The Planning Board is a state-mandated board, and they are held to a higher standard than even the council or town manager. Under MGL 40A Sec 1, Zoning Definitions, the board must “protect the health, safety and general welfare of their present and future inhabitants,” not just Mr. Bloom. Such attacks compromise the integrity of the process and must not be permitted.

We, in Amherst Town Meeting, adopted a state-mandated Housing Plan for 2,000 new housing units by 2020. As Sandy Pooler said, “In actuarial science we have a saying, ‘the longer you kick a can down the road, the bigger it gets,” and we have run out of time and options. When Town Meeting failed to pass form-based zoning, they determined what Amherst would look like and if you don’t like it, look no further. Or fix it.

The time has come, as my mother would say, to “use our creativity.” Not our negativity.

Kevin Collins