Last night as the economic summit between the Select Board, School, Library, and Finance Committees met next door (they got the bigger room) the Amherst Redevelopment Authority voted 3-1 not to commit suicide by passing my motion to oppose Town Meeting Warrant Article #32, calling for our “abolishment.”
Vince O’Connor, who crafted our death sentence, showed up fashionably late and insisted he had no personal feelings one way or the other about the ARA. But, of course, he also insists he did not know anything about acquiring 18 write-in votes in the March 28 election where I knowingly ran a successful last minute campaign with 67 write-in votes.
Mr. O’Connor thinks the ARA (4 elected and 1 governor appointee) has “too much power for folks to get elected by write in." I pointed out that the two most recent examples (going back a decade) consist of Curt Shumway, who was originally elected with over 1,000 votes but then forgot to get his nomination papers in on time for reelection; and little old me who was the governor's appointee for over 10 years.
Mr. O’Connor also thinks that since the ARA has not met in two years to exercise all that “power” we should be put out to pasture.
Let’s hope for consistency sake Mr. O’Connor’s next target for extermination is the Cherry Hill Advisory Committee, who have not met in THREE years (when the ailing Golf Course is critically in need of “advisory” help) and currently has SIX vacant positions out of seven.
Interestingly the town provided legal council for the meeting and we were informed that the ARA powers likely extend beyond only the downtown. So we could get involved in Village Centers in North or South Amherst or that somewhat run down area coming in to Amherst from the east.
But even is we simply stick to town center, there’s lots to be done. And with the Town Commercial Relations Committee now revived we could make a potent one two combo for commercial development—something Amherst desperately needs.