Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Mayor It Is!

All nine Amherst Charter Commissioners present (one by remote participation)

After spending almost an hour discussing a compromise proposal made by Meg Gage to salvage Town Meeting --  although downsizing it from 240 to 60 -- the Amherst Charter Commission stuck to their guns about replacing Town Meeting with a 13 member Council and then after a brief discussion voted 6-3 to support a (strong) Mayor in place of an unelected Town Manager.

In 2003 the Mayor/Council/Manager proposal to replace Select Board/Town Manager/Town Meeting failed by only 14 votes almost exclusively because the Mayor was a weak ceremonial figurehead.

Two weeks ago the Charter Commission heard from Northampton Mayor Dave Narkewicz who assured them professional management comes from putting together a strong team of department heads under the direction of one leader, where the buck always stops.


Mayor Dave Narkewicz (ctr), Mike Sullivan (rt)


When asked by Charter Chair Andy Churchill for any parting advice Mayor Narkewicz replied, "Make roles very clear.  Don't come up with a diluted mish-mash.  Know where the buck stops.  Don't go with a fake Mayor."

Tonight the Amherst Charter Commission took that advice to heart and made a huge step forward towards real genuine change, one that voters will embrace.


38 comments:

Anonymous said...

What is the exact date of the vote?

Larry Kelley said...

Not this year's March 28 local election but next year's, which the Select Board has not yet set the date.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Amherst for finally moving out of the 1600s and into this century.

Anonymous said...

The 1600s? More like 1933! Roll over, Adolf!!

Dr. Ed said...

Nice thing is that the Authority will get reigned in.

It not only answers to a Mayor but has a very different management structure once Amherst is a city.

:)

Anonymous said...

Really? Nazi comparisons? And you wonder why you lost.

Anonymous said...

get rid of anybody from the old guard including some of those who are currently on this board, they will only continue to drag out and delay a real fiscal decisions.

Anonymous said...

Authoritarianism is trending at every level....and being thought of as more representative than representatives....this is interesting and awkward.

Amherst embraces the Trump methods...

Dr. Ed said...

That was supposed to be Amherst Housing Authority, which ceases to exist as an independent entity when Amherst becomes a city.

Anonymous said...

Increased Budgets - check, that's the point.
Increased Taxes - check, everyone wants stuff and to not pay personally.
Increased town authority - check, that's the point.
Decreased personal authority - obviously, that's the point.
Substantive Change - get real, this is about the opposite.
Your Voice - silenced, unless you start a blog, but town already has one.

People vote for change, especially when the status quo sucks. This does not mean they get change, they traditionally get dupped, but deny it until it is too late.


Anonymous said...

The self-righteous will need bigger, brighter, better clipboards!

Anonymous said...

How many women mayors are there? How many women on city councils? How many people of color? Low income? Charter Commission claims diversity is a core value and yet--they can't generate the numbers to show that a mayor-city council form of government increasees diversity. And we all know where that leads us…..

Janet McGowan

Anonymous said...

Screw diversity, screw every self-rightous liberal, let's get this fiscal mess fixed.
Lower taxes and have our tax dollars well spent.

Anonymous said...

Tell that to the Select Board and School Committee. If they don't hear about it a lot, they won't act. Think of them as voice-activated, not as leaders. Most of them were picked to follow, not lead, by the Amherst For All/Development crowd.

Anonymous said...

"How many women mayors are there? How many women on city councils? How many people of color? Low income? Charter Commission claims diversity is a core value and yet--they can't generate the numbers to show that a mayor-city council form of government increasees diversity. And we all know where that leads us…..

Janet McGowan"

Who cares. If you design for diversity you will not get it. The group will not be diverse, everyone will be focused on oppression (one non diverse group despite their skin color, genital organs or what other organs they prefer to play with in their free time), not ready to deal with the diversity of real issues facing government - overly focused on oppression.

This is not an issue we should design representative systems around, what a crazy thought. Representative systems work their way around this stuff. We are allowed to vote for someone because they are black or a man, we are allowed to be bigots in the voting booth, our opinions are not required to be PC, nor do they have to be. We are not better represented when a system is chosen simply to balance out a some kind of fake PC agenda with a focus on reproductive organs we cannot confirm anyway.

In the real world men and women are quite different. People of different races are quite different. These folks come from different cultures. Most people are quite biased, bigoted and make decisions based on surface attributes and want to continue to do so because we don't have the time to understand everything about everyone nor do we care, even when we sometimes pretend to.

Some people may want leaders that are not from an oppressed group because being from an oppressed group may make one think that oppression is the biggest issue or that focusing on it will make it better....when there are so many more issues out there and there is never an end to oppressed groups, even the woman majority.

You can, though, perhaps get a Mayor in that agrees with you and she can then staff the town with Chinese black Polysexual women. But isn't this the methodology that Trump used pick his staff, that folks are being critical of?

Anonymous said...

Diversity for diverstiy's sake is ridiculous. I have a bridge club of peace- loving women happening. One of them invites a war- monger who proceeds to trash the game and ... A non-diverse group becomes diverse to its own detriment. So much for diversity as a good thing.

Anonymous said...

It's not diversity for diversity's sake, it's to share power more fairly. It may come as a surprise to people, but African Americans, women, Hispanic people, etc. want more political power.

The issue the Charter Commission is dealing with is who will have the power to make decisions, to spend tax money, decide zoning and bylaws? Amherst For All was led and financed by large property owners, developers and the people who work for them. They want the power to control zoning and build larger buildings to "leverage the asset," as Jerry Guidera famously said when talking about why he filed the articles to rezone downtown Amherst. Our town is an asset to be leveraged, to make money from.

So, who should decide this and other bylaws and issues of budget? 9 or 10 people? Who will they be? Who will be able to raise $40-50 thousand to run for mayor, like in Northamption? The $15-20 thousand to run for city councilor?

Me, I'd rather give the power to volunteer citizens, a lot of them. To the ordinary citizens that sit in Town Meeting several times a year, to the Select Board and yes, even to our (currently and sadly dysfunctional) School Committees. I know my voice is heard in Town Meeting. I know it's easier for people long outside the usual political process to be heard. I know it's easy and cheap to get onto Town Meeting--and I know Town Meeting weilds a lot of political power. The voices of citizens will be shut down in a city council/mayor government. I actually think this it the purpose of charter change, to take political power away from regular citizens and Town Meeting, a poltical body that is half women and has many more different voices.

I trust the decisions of the many over the decisions of the few. I think the proof of this in what a great place Amherst is to live. New England is a great place to live.

Janet McGowan

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Yeah. Who is it who's killed six million jews this week?

Anonymous said...

We're a diverse nation. That and $4.95 gets you a cup of coffee.

Anonymous said...

Other groups may want political power but I am not supposed to recognize that people are in different groups. This does not add up, seems like the real goal is domination by minority groups....didn't folks hate when the minority won the presidential election? But isn't this giving more power to a recently oppressed minority? Seems like as opposed to the precious sucessful method of everyone integrating, we want to use the unsucessful method of every staying in groups, pretending to be equal, seeking power for their group, while we pretend their group both is and is not different. We need to be extremely color sensitive while being color blind. You cannot add 4 and 2 to get 3486, thus this bs conflict will never be resolved. This will lead to walls being built.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I think white males, who dominate political offices, are in the minority. Women, in contrast, are the majority and make up half of Town Meeting members.

JM

Anonymous said...

Janet McGowan wrote: "Amherst For All was led and financed by large property owners, developers and the people who work for them"

Janet--you know those are alternate facts.

Here's the steering committee:
http://www.amherstforall.org/who-we-are/

You know us all. Who are the large property owners? The developers?

The names of the funders is public information. I recall that the largest single donation came from one of our neighbors who works for the Bitcoin Foundation.

Anonymous said...

"Screw diversity, screw every self-rightous liberal"

Screw the old, no longer sexy if you ever were, uptight, uneducated redneck northern hillbillies! Yee Haw! And take that under sized rat, squeaky with you back to the tobacco barn to plan yer next, lol, up rising.

Yea you Trumpies really got us this time. He sure listened to you. That's why he packed his cabinet with billionaires. Yep, those are your kind of people, hmm huh. Keep telling yourself that and get back to us when your lives have improved dramatically as a result of the orange haired, tiny hands, pussy grabbing president with an illegal alien wife. Then you and all the Trumpies can kiss Putin's ass.

How funny is it that all you right wing nuts who so long screamed about the evil empire are now lining up with Trump to kiss that bald headed Russian's ass. Pucker up cowboys and girls. Will you spit fake nails when a Hampshire kid burns the Russian flag?

Anonymous said...

A vagina does not diversity make. Nor does skin tone.

Try diversity of thought, Amherst. If you have the stomach for it.

Anonymous said...

5:48. Check out the 10 largest donors to Amherst For All. Check out the original list of supporters of Amherst For All later scrubbed from their website. Check out the slate of Charter candidates selected by Amherst For All-each one of them supporting a mayor. Check out the victory picture on Amherst For All webpage and see the people who work for property owners, go in front of local boards supporting development projects (and school committee members Appy and Ordonez who likely used Amherst For All email list to collect the petition signatures). Check out what large property owners would have benefited from rezoning downtow but never publicly spoke out for the rezoing. Guidera and the BID La Coeur to speak for the owners hiding out in the open.

Anonymous said...

In the words of B. Dylan: "I imagine it would be some kind of change."

Anonymous said...

Identity politics. A way pf life here. You're a victim. You're a victim. You're oppressed. Whites are bad. America bad. This group good. This group bad. Sickening. But huge in our schools. Diviide us up into groups. Never uniting us.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with being rich? Oh we hate the rich. Except we all wanna BE rich. Hypocrites.

Anonymous said...

I love it. Conservatives are always referred to as "right-wing nuts". Got any more cliches to hurl at us? Hey, here's an idwa... go burn a campus . Or cry.

Matt said...

I love how the tired old cliche of greedy developers vs selfless homeowners is being trotted out in this debate.

Who is really greedy? Who is really for diversity? Cui bono?

NIMBY homeowners can make millions and keep their towns lilywhite by blocking new housing. They claim they want to protect "character", but this is a code for, at the very least, their tax brackett. They'll object to a market rate apartment or condo building for having expensive units -- and object to an affordable development for being a "project" or bringing "those people" to the neighborhood. And isn't it funny how the zoning codes they support: large minimum lot sizes, no places zoned for multifamily housing, high parking minimums, granite curbs, large setbacks, extensive design review and all the rest of it all mean that even new single family homes are unaffordable unless one is already quite wealthy and more likely than not to be white. And homeownership is a big indicator of political involvement.

If you want a diverse, affordable Amherst, an Amherst where workers aren't spending well over 30 percent of their hard-earned income in order to compete with college students renting with mom and dad's money, an Amherst where Black and Hispanic people have security of tenure and an opportunity to become homeowners, than one must support more development and especially dense, walkable development. Walkability and a lack of parking would also cut down on the DUIs.

It's all about supply and demand.

http://yimbytown.com/

It's your fault said...

"Screw the old, no longer sexy if you ever were, uptight, uneducated redneck northern hillbillies! Yee Haw! And take that under sized rat, squeaky with you back to the tobacco barn to plan yer next, lol, up rising."


"How funny is it that all you right wing nuts who so long screamed about the evil empire are now lining up with Trump to kiss that bald headed Russian's ass. Pucker up cowboys and girls. Will you spit fake nails when a Hampshire kid burns the Russian flag?"



They'll never like you.


They'll never ~BE~ like you.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5pSe2zRaQI



Ever.



-Squeaky Squeaks


p.s. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEbvkvESo5w


Idiot.

Anonymous said...

True. The individual? Never heard of her. Or him. You only exist as a member of a group. Oppressed or oppressor. Tiresome.

Anonymous said...

I joined a group of non-smokers. I am a smoker. Diversity bad! Lol

Anonymous said...

Libs are already Marxixts. I'll take Trump any day.

Anonymous said...

Why is it important to count women mayors? Is there supposed to be some quota? That's news to me.

Anonymous said...

Fairly? Where is it written that power needs to be shared fairly? Is this a socialist idea? Like redistributing wealth? Give me capitalism any day.

Anonymous said...

Who cares who it is as long as they do a good job.

Anonymous said...

Screw the young. Ageist morons.