Mothers Out Front
asked all candidates to answer the four questions below. My answers are highlighted in yellow.
Amherst, Northampton and Pelham are currently discussing Community Choice Energy. Is this an idea you support? What are the advantages and disadvantages that you see?
I would enthusiastically support this idea if the arrangement were cost neutral or better. I might even support the idea at a higher cost given the benefits of supporting local regional energy resiliency and the environmental benefits. If the cost is substantially higher or there are any other financial risk factors, then the arrangement would need to be carefully examined.
How will you explain to voters the initial costs and long-term savings of new Town-owned buildings under the Zero Energy Municipal Buildings bylaw?
Highly energy efficient buildings, even if initially more costly, in the long run become cost effective. Reducing our need for energy without compromising functionality is an important priority. Reasonably crafted mandatory guidelines promote creative design and innovation. This bylaw is an investment in our future that is reasonable in cost and appropriate in scope.
What are your ideas for making Amherst more affordable for low and moderate income renters and owners?
We need to set realistic goals in this area. Everyone supports this idea but then ignores the potential costs to the town and its tax payers. Profit making development projects must make a reasonable contribution, direct or indirect, to this type of housing. Publicly funded projects must be considered and researched. The Amherst Affordable Housing Trust Fund will be central in most public initiatives. The new Council must emphasize the importance of this priority for the town manager and town planners. Federal and state funding options need be investigated. . Grassroots initiatives such as the Amherst Community Land Trust (ACLT) must be supported and encouraged. Creative and innovative ideas will be needed from several fronts.
If elected, what will you do to increase racial and class diversity in town government - from Council to committees?
Appointments to boards and committees should reflect the full diversity of our town. This will be the most important method of addressing the current lack of diversity. Board and committee members informed and practiced in public service are likely to run for town government office. Financial support for child care should be available when needed. Public forums must be widely advertised and again include child care options. Public forums must be held in the early planning stages of any important initiative where public input can reasonably be included in the planning. The perception that public forums matter and have an impact on policy and decision making must be demonstrably practiced.
Councilor at Large