Friday, January 17, 2014
What If They Gave An Election ...
I've been told I left out an important point in my most recent report on expanded school regionalization where I bemoan the h-u-g-e disparity between Amherst school committee members (probably 5) for a total vote strength of 55.5%, compared to Pelham and Leverett (probably two each) considering Amherst makes up 88% of the Region.
I say "probably" because the governance issue is all kinds of hypothetical at the moment and besides, Shutesbury could still come around and join the party.
If that happens, then the (proposed but never officially voted on) plan is for each of the three hilltowns to have two members and Amherst will have 7, giving Amherst 53.8% of the vote.
Now the counter to all this and what makes it legal from a Constitutional (one man -- err -- person, one vote) perspective is all 9 members of the new super committee (or 13 if Shutesbury joins the party), will be elected in a regionwide election.
In other words, Amherst voters will help choose the Leverett and Pelham representatives thus giving Amherst voters 100% say in the make up of the new super committee. Likewise, Leverett and Pelham voters get to help choose the Amherst representatives.
Which is all well and good if you have energetically contested elections, which we rarely do. Hard enough now to get Amherst voters excited about their own candidates; safe bet Leverett and Pelham candidates will have zero name recognition.
Besides, what if Amherst only fields 5 candidates for the five available seats and Leverett and Pelham each manage to field only two candidates for each of the two seats? Not much "selection" going on there.
Hometown ties run deep. Will a Leverett or Pelham representative be less likely to support closing down their elementary school for the good of the Region?