Kevin Collins: Democracy prevails in Amherst

Thursday, November 11, 2021

In Massachusetts, the balance of power is shared among three institutions: the executive, the legislative, and the voters. On Jan. 30, 2017, Amherst Town Meeting made its final vote to fail to approve the bond authorization for a 5% override for two schools that the voters had approved.

By overturning a fair and legal election, a small, self-elected group in Amherst got a taste of absolute power which they, to this day, refuse to give up. Anyone can see the results of the vote at Tallyvotes.org, click here: https://bit.ly/3G65HFZ

Subsequently, the voters, in the largest turnout in Amherst history, exercised their right to choose their form of government by changing to a manager/council form, in which our representatives are directly accountable, every two years, to the voters.

People will do anything to prove they are right, someone said, and this is true of many in Amherst who believe it is their job to decide what is right, not the voters. And certainly not the law, in which Town Meeting, as a technical detail, authorizes a bond issue for the override that the voters accepted. Yet did not.

This the same as the Jan. 6 ratification of the Electoral College in the U.S. Congress — only in Amherst the invasion succeeded and we are stuck with what John Musante used to call “unintended consequences.” Yet the “No” faction persists, having once tasted absolute power, the ability to overturn a fair and legal election.

Anyone can be against something. You don’t need a plan to be against something. The negative is impossible to prove. Only this time, it will be the voters who will have the final say, not Town Meeting. Even if it is by only one vote, the majority will prevail. It is called democracy.

Let us never forget what it was like when government by a small, self-elected group gave itself final say, when government behind closed doors on a closed Yahoo group was OK. Just vote, the life of your grandchildren depends on it. Just vote.

Kevin Collins