Tuesday, February 14, 2012
When products compete
For the third year in a row there will be no competition for Amherst Select Board, the highest elected office in town, as incumbent Aaron Hayden was the only one to return nomination papers with 50+ signatures. Definitely shows the 5-member board, unlike a few years ago when ideological zealots ruled the day, has become normalized. Not a bad thing I guess.
Half the ten town meeting precincts do not have the full complement of candidates needed to fill 24 seats--even with the bar set frightfully low at only one signature required on the nomination paper (and that signature could be your own).
The School Committee race promises to be the most interesting with four contenders--two black (Irv Rhodes and Amilcar Shabazz), two white (Michael Aronson, Lawrence O'Brien), all male--vying for two seats.
Race became an issue last week when Mr. Shabazz was passed over by the Select Board and School Committee, who jointly voted to fill a vacant seat up till this April 3 election by choosing a white high school student over Shabazz, creating a backlash of disappointment.
In the venerable Amherst schools, children of color are disciplined more often than their white counterparts while the vast majority of teachers and administrators are white, although the superintendent is a woman.
I am not rerunning for the Amherst Redevelopment Authority, a position held since 1997, as I believe the ARA will not be a major player over the next few years, therefor, I suppose, it's safe even for anti-development queen Pat Holland, the lone candidate, to get on board.