Thursday, March 20, 2008

I'm gonna vote for...

I'm gonna vote for Stephanie O'Keeffe on April 1'st. I knew that before going to the League of Women Voters Candidates Forum last night, because I've read her blog and talked with her at Town Meeting over the last year or two. My front lawn has been decorated with an O'Keeffe for Select Board lawn sign for a few weeks now; I think the endorsement I wrote for Stephanie's web site sums up why I'm so enthusiastic about her:
Thomas Jefferson wrote that ‘the whole art of government consists in the art of being honest.’ Stephanie is a master of that art, and is dedicated to making Amherst's government more honest and transparent. I'm supporting Stephanie for the Select Board because I belive her practical, rational, collaborative approach to solving problems will make the Select Board more efficient, effective, and relevant.
We'll get to vote for two Select Board candidates, so I was hoping that the candidate's forum would help me make up my mind on a second choice.

But I'm still torn.

Hwei-Ling Greeney has a lot of the same priorities as me (lets have efficient government, business development, keep our schools strong...) but I'm not sure her "independent voice" will really help move our Town forward. Compromise and consensus and collaboration are really important if you want to get things done.

Irv Rhodes stressed his wide experience, but I wanted to hear less about who he is and more about what he wants to do, and how he'll do it. That's tough to do in two minutes, but I thought Hwei-Ling and Stephanie and Diana managed to do it fairly well.

Diana Stein said that her background as a scientist would be useful on the Select Board; that appeals to me (I'm married to a scientist, after all), but I have questions about some of her economic ideas.

David Keenan was a hoot.

I did make up my mind after listening to Chrystel Romero and Catherine Sanderson, the candidates for School Committee. I thought Chrystel sounded like a politician-- I heard vague statements about the importance of giving the schools more money, and increasing diversity and making them more energy efficient.

I was very impressed with Catherine; she seems very "data-driven" -- she won't be satisfied with trying to solve problems, she will insist that results get measured so we know whether or not what we're doing in the schools is making things better.

That's a process I can support 100%...
EDITED 21 March: Changed to say that I agree with Hwei-Ling's priorities; I shouldn't say that I agree with "many of her ideas", because I really don't know enough about how to run a Town to know whether or not her ideas are practical.

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