AMHERST – Incumbents Dorothy Pam and George Ryan are running for re-election as District 3 councilors, while Jennifer Taub is challenging them for a city council position in the November 2 municipal election.
Taub said she wanted to serve on city council out of concern for the well-being of Amherst, where the increase of nearly 1,444 residents over the past decade came from the University of Massachusetts.
âI’m running for city council because I think the long-term viability of our city is at stake,â Taub said, observing that Amherst has seen over 500 apartments licensed since 2015, but only 61 new single-family homes.
Amherst, Taub said, would benefit from the taxes of landowners, volunteers and a future that is measured in generations rather than semesters.
âWe need to do more to support and expand our community year round,â Taub said. âWe need to attract more families whose children will attend our schools and help reverse the downward trend in enrollment. “
Taub said she also wants to ensure much greater representation of Amherst’s Black, Indigenous and Colored (BIPOC) community on city council and other boards and committees, and ensure Amherst achieves its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.
Although she appreciates the long hours of the council, Taub said the local government has shown a concentration of power in a subcommittee that examines land use and economic development.
“This leaves many residents feeling that their concerns and priorities are not represented on a committee that drafts bylaw and policy changes for many of the city’s most pressing issues,” Taub said. .
Ryan said he brings three years of experience on three board committees, including serving as chair of the governance, organization and legislation committee.
âIn this job, experience matters,â Ryan said. âI feel like I’m only starting to get a feel for the complex challenges we face as a city. I want to be the voice of a careful and responsible government, a voice that emphasizes our common aspirations and our aspiration for a truly just, vibrant and diverse community.
Ryan adds that he speaks to everyone, strives to listen to all perspectives, even those with which he fundamentally disagrees, and that a common goal is a thriving community.
âI try to represent a cohesive and cohesive point of view but open to compromise and conversation,â Ryan said.
Ryan said there are several interconnected issues facing the city, from building a 21st century school to replacing and relocating the central fire hall, and installing the Department of Public Works in appropriate premises.
âIf I had to boil it down to one problem, I would say it’s the challenge of our city living within its means while trying to achieve its goal of a more just, diverse and equitable community,â Ryan said, adding that he wanted to help the business community get out of COVID by accessing American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.
Ryan said he was satisfied with the first three years of the council, which worked for affordable housing, supported the creation of a civilian response program to provide an alternative to certain types of calls traditionally handled by police and a voted to adopt a salary and tip. flight regulations.
The theme of Pam’s campaign is to cherish the past, nurture the present, and embrace the future.
âI’m running for re-election to District 3 city council because these words are more important than ever,â Pam said.
Pam said she was concerned that a push to create more taxable student rental housing would come at the expense of her family quarters.
“We can have new growth, but we need a less rushed, more thoughtful zoning process with good design standards that value the scale, setbacks, trees and shared green spaces necessary for well-being. mind and community, âPam said. “We need stronger, more inclusive neighborhoods, protected from the uncontrolled exploitation that turns affordable family homes into profit centers to rent in bed.”
Pam said voters were concerned that downtown buildings did not have parking and that plans were underway for a new parking lot in a residential area next to a local historic district. Pam said sidewalk repairs also remained a concern for her constituents.
Pam also supports a review of the way public safety is ensured, the implementation of a meaningful and effective reparations program for black residents, and the increase in renewable and sustainable energy systems.
âThe first three years of Amherst City Council have been a blur of intense work. Much has been accomplished, but there is still a long way to go, âsaid Pam.
Scott Merzbach can be contacted at [email protected]