Friday, March 30, 2007

Pride of the ARA

Only in Amherst would a infamous activist call for the “abolishment” of an important state agency—the Amherst Redevelopment Authority—and then run a last minute write in campaign to win election to that very board.

Vince O’Connor wished to win a seat to orchestrate legislative suicide. In a letter to ARA members two weeks ago Planning Director Jonathan Tucker informed them of Mr. O’Connor’s citizen petition that “proposes to dissolve the ARA,” and went on to state: “Before undertaking any action with regard to this petition, the Town wants to understand the preferences of the members of the Redevelopment Authority.”

Anti-garage activist Nancy Gordon won a seat on the ARA (uncontested of course) two years ago, but the ARA has not had a meeting since. Pretty safe bet how Ms. Gordon would vote on the agency drinking that Kool Aid or who leaked the Planning Director’s letter to Mr. O’Connor.

My Blog post (“Vote early, vote often”) and three small ads in the Amherst Bulletin (costing $99.77) provided enough of a one-two punch to garner 67 write-in votes to Mr. O’Connor’s 18.

So now the ARA will not willingly vote itself out of existence. And with all the moderates who won seats in town meeting (60 out of 71 endorsed by sustainableamherst prevailed), it’s a safe bet Mr. O’Connor will be dealt another overwhelming defeat on the floor of Town Meeting.

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