Friday, November 12, 2010

Fall Town Meeting : done in two!

We bravely forged ahead Wednesday night, and finished Fall Town Meeting in two nights.

I did something I usually don't do at Town Meeting-- I voted for a symbolic, advisory, "we the people of the Town" national-policy-interfering warrant article.

Yup, I voted to "Bring our War Dollars Home."   The rational side of me says I should have done what I usually do-- abstain, because I don't think national political issues belong at Town Meeting.

But I'm really pissed off at how much money the United States spends on the military in general and wars, and troops, overseas in particular.  If you look at polls of unpopular government spending, "foreign aid" is always near the top of the list.  And if you think about it, most of the military budget is really foreign aid, "defending" countries that are perfectly capable of defending themselves.

So, since I'm really pissed off, and since the warrant article specifically related national military spending to the Town's budget... I voted with my heart.

The only other controversial article this time around was Article 8, which tried to make some concrete changes to our zoning laws so developers are given incentives to do what the new Master Plan says people in Amherst want (and disincentives if they don't).

I hated it when I first saw it.  16 pages of new zoning regulations... bleuch!

But then I read it, and couldn't find a single thing in it that seems like a bad idea.  And the general approach is exactly the right idea-- encourage more of what we want (affordable housing, infill development, environmentally and historically sensitive development, etc) and discourage what we don't (McMansion subdivisions sprawling into open space).

Most of Town Meeting also thought it was a good idea, too... but it failed to get the required two-thirds by ten votes.  The BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone) minority defeated it.

I hope a modified version comes back before Town Meeting.  It would be tragic if the current Master Plan suffers the same fate as our last master plan (the Select Committe on Goals, which I wrote about a couple of years ago), and we continue with "business as usual" for another 40 years.

1 comment:

Larry Kelley said...

BANANA--I like that. Perfect!

It's squishy, lacking a core and yellow.