Sunday, January 26, 2014

Another Snoozer Local Election?

Amherst Town Hall:  pretty in snow

As usual the interest in serving as a venerable member of Amherst Town Meeting -- that bastion of pure democracy -- is minimal at best.  Yes, this in a town that prides itself on being vocal.

Out of 80 three-years seats up for grabs, spread out over 10 precincts, so far only 37 candidates have bothered to take out or file papers.  And considering it only takes one signature to get on the ballot (your own counts) it's not like there's much of a barrier to entry.

The election is March 25 and the deadline for returning papers to the Town Clerk is February 4. 

On the "townwide" front, two more candidates have taken out  papers for Select Board the highest office in town government, bringing the total to six potential candidates (for two open seats).

New entrants include John Boothroyd who helped lead a bitter battle against subsidized HAP housing in his neighborhood a few years ago; and Matthew E. Cunningham-Cook a, gasp, UMass Graduate Student who majors in "Labor Studies."

Every few years a Umass student enters the race for Select Board and at the very least livens up the debate somewhat, but since UMass students avoid the ballot box like an 8:00 AM Monday morning math class, no significant vote tally ever results.

The Amherst School Committee will also see a race as Viraphanh Douangmany has already filed her papers with the requisite 50 signatures.  Incumbent Katherine Appy has announced she's running for reelection but thus far has not turned in her papers.

And she does seem to have a problem with routine paperwork.  


Anonymous said...

The elimination years ago of the 10-signature requirement for Town Meeting candidacies was intended to encourage more people to run.

Oh, well.

Anonymous said...

If we made it mandatory for people running for town meeting to watch 2 hours of town meeting, then that elected body would shrink so small we would have to elect a mayor. That would be a step in the right direction.

It is good however to see that SB and SC may actually be a real race. It would be good to see Appy work for her seat.

Anonymous said...

WBZ-radio's Peter Meade is pursuing a situation where a nurse neglected to renew her nursing license and the state seized every penny she had earned from when the license expired until she renewed it. Over $10K.

And I still say it is a conflict of interest for Appy to be on the School Committee if any of her clients are either children in the schools, or the parents thereof.