LWVA Election Guide for 2021 Municipal Election

The LWVA Election Guide will be published in the October 29 Amherst Bulletin. The PDFs are attached at the bottom of this page.

See also the Amherst Affordable Housing Coalition web site. (LWVA is a member of this coalition.)

Candidate for Councilor-at-Large
Vote for 3
What are your thoughts about development in Amherst? How can the Town Council support racial justice work in Amherst?
Robert E. Greeney
76 McClellan Street
Community College Professor
https://bobgreeney.wixsite.com/mysite
Amherst needs to broaden its development priorities and strategies. The Town Council, CRC, and Planning Board needs to include a greater diversity of people, ideas and strategies in their work to meet the diverse housing needs of our town. Including all voices will lead to better outcomes. Supporting racial justice work includes ensuring an appropriate diversity of voices are included in policy formation and decision making. Financial support in good measure is also required. Collaborative work diminishes divisiveness and will lead to greater unity and better outcomes.
Viraphanh Douangmany Cage
12 Longmeadow Drive, Unit 21
Associate Director, BakuCare Adult Day Health
https://voteforvira21.com/
Amherst has been made prone to the greed of developers, investors and speculators to the detriment of achieving the people’s goals of climate, racial and economic justice including preservation. We want sidewalks, and safe streets to bike on. We want a viable downtown where big buildings don’t loom over us. Let us move on reparations, move on fully funding Community Safety Working Group proposals, support a strong public school budget & library budget where our lowest paid workers, library technicians, on-call firefighters and para educators do not have to fight for a living wage. Police budget is out of control.
Andrew J. Steinberg
17 Hitching Post Road
retired Legal Aid lawyer
http://www.andyforamherst.org
To increase the budget, we need new development. Downtown and village centers provide the best opportunities. We must assure that downtown development fits a realistic community vision and has sustainable retail, art, music, restaurants. Downtown can have some residences, they cannot dominate. Village centers must be consistent with surrounding neighborhoods. (1) Listen before making decisions. (2) Be accessible. (3) Recruit and include diversity on committees. (4) Assure that timing and length of meetings are not barriers. (5) Have staff provide support as requested. (6) Explain financial or legal barriers and collaboratively seek solutions. (7) Acknowledge prior injustice. (8) Demonstrate respect.
Mandi Jo Hanneke
26 Foxglove Lane
Mother
http://www.VoteHanneke.org
I am seeking re-election to continue implementing the Master Plan and addressing the housing crisis in Amherst. I support: guiding new housing growth to areas that minimize the impact on Amherst’s open space; creating dynamic, walkable, and attractive downtown and village centers; and diversifying Amherst’s housing stock. In my first term on the Council, I supported wage protections for workers, oversight for Town technology use that could potentially be misused against marginalized populations, re-evaluating the Town’s approach to community safety, and climate justice projects. I will continue this work to support racial justice if re-elected.
Ellisha M. Walker
35 Autumn Lane
Executive Assistant and Office Manager
https://www.ellishaforamherst.com/
I believe in density in village centers and in responsible development. All building projects must be sustainable. Focus areas include: Mixed use buildings that provide affordable housing geared towards local residents, the opening and retention of diverse local businesses, Creation and maintenance of sidewalks and bike lanes. Our Council must provide consistent, accessible, and transparent communication to residents, through an equity lens that considers anti-racist practices, stipends for participation, language services, and multiple means of engagement - written and verbal. We must value and validate qualitative, lived experience as data to be considered in decision making processes.
Vincent J. O’Connor
175 Summer Street #12
Community Organizer
Amherst Center UMass dorm proposals/approvals must be stopped, and permitting agencies and zoning bylaws responsible changed. Vibrant village centers need local businesses/affordable housing, not roundabouts/UMass dorms. Development to reduce taxes/increase revenues is failing. Better - $1,000,000+ annual Amherst College PILOT/increased annual Commonwealth UMass impact compensation. Create Public Safety Department with - a Police Division, an independent CRESS Division, an Independent Dispatch Service. Fund review of recent school educational structure decisions for disparate impacts. Vote: Veeraphanh Douangmany Cage/Ellisha Walker, Councilors-at-Large; Ben Harrington/Phoebe Merriam/Jennifer Shiao Page, School Committee; No! on the Library Project
Candidate for District 1 Councilor
Vote for 2
What are your thoughts about development in Amherst? How can the Town Council support racial justice work in Amherst?
Michele Miller
374 Old Montague Road
mindfulness educator, writer, and entrepreneur
https://www.votemichelemiller.com/
My slogan is Progress With Purpose because I believe we must be intentional about the ways in which we seek progress in our community. Preserving our history and open spaces, while pursuing thoughtfully planned developments, will help us to achieve our goals of being a vibrant, diverse, and equitable community. Amherst has a responsibility to view every decision through the lens of racial justice. In a community of mostly white residents, it takes education and sustained practice to dismantle old systems. It also takes a commitment to supporting each other in productive and caring ways, as we work toward change.
Cathy A. Schoen
519 Montague Road
Retired, Economist and Health Policy
https://www.cathyschoen.org
Development can enhance our downtown, villages, and neighborhoods and provide affordable housing if we include provisions for sidewalks and setbacks for space to meet, walk or bike, and build on efforts to require affordable units in large developments. Amherst would benefit from adding development “linkage fees” to fund public infrastructure. The Council can build on community responder workforce and reparations fund to provide resources to support alternatives to traditional policing to improve trust, health, and safety, and address past inequities. For racial and social justice, we should provide pathways for marginalized or under-represented residents for an equitable and inclusive community.
Candidate for District 2 Councilor
Vote for 2
What are your thoughts about development in Amherst? How can the Town Council support racial justice work in Amherst?
Lynn Griesemer
83 Flat Hills Road
Executive Director, UMass Donahue Institute, Retired
http://Lynnfordistrict2.org
Our downtown and village centers should be vibrant - retail, restaurants, and affordable housing. Parking needs to respect neighborhoods and narrow streets ensuring access for residents and emergencies. Zoning changes need to respect our small town character. Investments – water/sewer, sidewalks, bike lanes, and public transportation. We need to support the creation of the CRESS Program. I proposed an amendment to increase the number of positions from 4 to 8. We need to support African Heritage Reparations Assembly’s guidance regarding Reparations. Town Committees and the Town Council need to include representatives of the BIPOC Community.
Patricia De Angelis
21 Ward Street
Town Councilor District 2
https://patforamherst.org
Development is a way to increase revenue from property taxes, improve services, and support community. I support changes that contain multiple benefits, for example those made to Inclusionary Zoning, Accessory Dwelling Units, permitting duplexes, triplexes, and that promote co-ops, co-housing communities and mixed-income communities like Olympia Oaks and Butternut Farm. Engaging BIPOC residents in leadership roles and diversifying town departments. Implementing the CRESS program. Free/Accessible youth programing and mentoring led by a diverse set of leaders. Facilitating access to transportation, food, and housing by utilizing an approach connecting residents to services. Ongoing Council and Staff trainings focused on anti-racism.
Candidate for District 3 Councilor
Vote for 2
What are your thoughts about development in Amherst? How can the Town Council support racial justice work in Amherst?
Dorothy S. Pam
229 Amity Street
college professor
http://dorothypam.com
We can have both new growth, more density, increased tax rolls and still preserve the sense of Amherst as a New England college town. But we must have a more thoughtful zoning process with good design standards, public and private green space, parking, and set backs. Neighborliness and aesthetics matter. Town Council must include and listen to people of color, not just tell them what they need. We must support their rethinking of delivery of public safety and social work, support the youth initiatives, and work with the BIPOC community to increase safe neighborhoods, strong schools, and increased home ownership.
George E. Ryan
18 Dana Street
Teacher (retired)
https://www.georgeryanforamherst.org
Responsible development in our downtown and village centers will lessen the attraction of converting single family homes to rentals, provide badly needed tax revenues, help meet the enormous demand for housing, and help us realize the goals of the Inclusionary Zoning bylaw. It is also better for the planet. Convince voters to back a debt-exclusion override for a new elementary school, push for universal pre-K, create a civilian review board to improve dialog between residents and APD, support affordable housing initiatives and zoning reforms to increase housing production thus increasing housing opportunity at all income levels.
Jennifer Lynn Taub
259 Lincoln Avenue
Grant Writer/Consultant
http://www.jennifer4district3.org
Support existing and attract new retail and entertainment establishments. Keep Amherst unique. Contextually appropriate buildings yield the same tax revenue as boxy, oversized apartments. Permitting 61 new single-family homes vs 505 rental units (with 267 more coming), mostly for students, between 2015-2020, doesn’t serve or expand our year-round/family population. Council should support and fund the Community Safety and Social Justice Committee’s implementation of CSWG’s full slate of recommendations. Ensuring that Amherst’s BIPOC community is represented on all Town governing bodies is essential to having a seat at the table – as is implementation of a robust language translation service.
Candidate for District 4
Councilor Vote for 2
What are your thoughts about development in Amherst? How can the Town Council support racial justice work in Amherst?
Evan Robert Ross
40 Spaulding Street, Apt. 2
UMass Lecturer
https://evan4amherst.com/
Amherst is in a housing crisis that threatens our values of diversity and opportunity. To address it we need to produce more housing across all income levels. Housing development should be focused on downtown and village centers but be accompanied by smart design guidelines that create vibrant and lively streetscapes. Amherst must work to fully implement the community responder program and other recommendations from the Community Safety Working Group to create a town where BIPOC residents feel safe and supported. We also must achieve racial justice in housing by eliminating exclusionary zoning and creating pathways for BIPOC homeownership.
Pamela S. Rooney
42 Cottage Street
Planner
https://pamrooney4district4.org/
Amherst is a real estate investor's dream. Pressure for off-campus student accommodations feeds that demand. Greater density in the downtown and village centers can happen, but give more benefits to Amherst – lively facades, attractive public spaces, sidewalks with planting and seating areas, and some parking. Let’s push for this. Adoption of Community Safety Working Group recommendations, building up implementation year on year, is a good starting point. Support and carry through with CRESS as a program with long-term direct benefits to BIPOC that also carry important educational opportunities for the non-BIPOC community.
Anika M. Lopes
61 Chestnut Street
Creative Entrepreneur
http://www.anika4amherst.com
I think we should build bridges and start conversations with people who are building in our downtown and ask them to consider threats and opportunities we identify. To assure, without telling them how to do their jobs, that our vision of the future is respected and included in their plans. Level up. Level the field. Learn from the past and decide the buck stops here. Implement all realizable opportunities to support our BIPOC youth so they feel loved, valued and respected by their town. Invest in them, open doors that teach and lead the way to generational wealth.
Candidate for District 5 Councilor
Vote for 2
What are your thoughts about development in Amherst? How can the Town Council support racial justice work in Amherst?
Shalini Bahl-Milne
78 Linden Ridge Road
Mindfulness Researcher, Educator, and Consultant
https://www.shalinifordistrict5.org
UMass growth contributes to our economy and culture but also increases a demand for housing. I support thoughtful development of housing near the university and on campus via public private partnerships to limit impact on neighborhoods and open spaces. We need affordable housing and homeownership and reduce racial inequities. I co-sponsored the resolution to end structural racism in Amherst and the 2.5-day antiracism training for Town Councilors. Town Council should prioritize funding for a DEI officer and successful implementation of other racial justice goals including CSWG and AHRA recommendations in coordination with other partners like the library and schools.
Ana Devlin Gauthier
883 Bay Road
Facilitator
https://www.amherstana.com/
We need to ensure our zoning and planning policies reflect the needs and vision of our community, set a high bar for sustainability and affordable housing, enforce rental requirements, pursue grants for improvements wherever possible, and expand support for arts and culture in our downtown and village centers. We must embrace community-centered outreach to create new pathways for engagement on council issues, committees and council itself. We must trust and support the committees which do this work (e.g. CSWG), and their recommendations. Councilors must work to unlearn and dismantle structures of inequity both personally and through policy.
Candidate for School Committee
Councilor Vote for 5
How can the School Committee support civics education in our schools? How can the School Committee support racial justice in the Amherst schools?
Peter M. Demling
20 Atwater Circle
Software Engineer
https://www.demlingforsc.org/
Periodically review and proactively update our civics curriculum. Continue to support safe student walk-outs and rallies in response to current events (Youth Climate Strike, Black Lives Matter, school shootings). Support and fund student advocacy groups and clubs. Encourage eligible students to register to vote. Speak openly and honestly about the realities of institutional racism and white privilege when crafting policies and making decisions so that we ensure equitable opportunities for all students. Continue to provide training for staff, and continue to increase staff diversity through anti-bias hiring practices.

Irvin E. Rhodes
173 Pondview Drive
Consultant
https://irvrhodesforschoolcommittee.org/

The school committee must support the inclusion of Civic education in the curriculum and encourage ways to be done in the classroom and outside the classroom. Appropriate opportunities for face-to-face classroom presentations by civic leaders should be made available to all students as a way of encouraging civic engagement. The school committee as the policy-maker ensures that racial Justice policies are in place. However, no amount of policy support can support the school's pursuit of Racial Justice without the accompanying change in the minds, souls, and hearts of the wider school community, OUR COMMUNITY.
Phoebe Merriam
20 Western Lane
Realtor
https://www.facebook.com/PhoebeforSchoolCommittee
The SC needs to ensure adequate budget and resources needed for the important work our administration, teachers and staff must do to offer opportunities to learn about and participate in public outreach and programs designed to engage students in the work of civic engagement. First, the school committee needs to be representative of the diversity of the town and the schools. Second, there needs to be an emphasis on training of all administration, teachers and staff to support racial equity and justice and the SC needs to hold the administration accountable to this.
Jennifer Shiao Page
291 Potwine Lane
Communications and marketing
https://www.jenniferpageamherst.com/
A critical part of education is preparing students to participate in a democracy. I will advocate for a curriculum that includes robust civic engagement and learning. Groups like Amherst Sunrise at ARHS are already leading the way when it comes to civic engagement at the local level. I will advocate for policies that incorporate anti-racism practices into the everyday work of the district. We should be applying an racial justice lens to everything we do, but especially to our budgeting decisions, and setting of goals for the superintendent and ensuring that they are met.
Heather A. Lord
700 Riverglade Drive Apt. F
Licensed Social Worker
https://www.facebook.com/Heather-A-Lord-Hala-on-Amherst-School-Committee-106825711774936
Encourage the goal of increasing civic education as a way to understand democracy and become actively engaged in making our schools and town better. Great work around this is happening with some of our teachers, so also sharing what is being done increases awareness and shares strategies. School Committee must make equity a priority and be representative of our students. We also should be trained so that the lens of equity is used when crafting policy and making decisions that impact practice. Every student has a right to a great education that is accessible and representative.
Benjamin Joseph Herrington
37 Southpoint Drive
Assistant Director of Facilities, Amherst Public Schools
http://www.BenjaminHerrington.com
While we don't deal directly with curriculum, we can certainly support and advocate for initiatives to add civics related courses. Public outreach is another avenue we can use to inform the public, minimally, about how our processes work as well as educating folks about how our local government operates. We should continually create and support sound policies surrounding racial justice and awareness. Racial justice is only achieved through a vigilant approach that permeates every aspect of our lives, especially in our school system. Creating an atmosphere conducive to racial consciousness is key to moving towards a racially just society.
Allison Bleyler McDonald
43 Hop Brook Road
Marketing & Communications
https://allison-4-amherst.mailchimpsites.com/
Our schools have rich programs to support civics education for our students. Social studies curriculum at elementary and secondary schools engages students in deep research and advocacy on issues of interest to them. The School Committee can support this further by involving students on its Advisory Committees or Task Forces. The School Committee can better support racial justice in our schools by defining, tracking, and reporting on measurable, multi-year goals for the on-going work happening now in the District to diversify staff, implement anti-racism curriculum, and expand restorative justice practices. We should involve students, staff, and families in defining goals.
Candidate for Jones Library Trustee
Councilor Vote for 6
How can the Library Trustees ensure that the Amherst library system is able to adapt to changing needs for services and facilities? Are there resource and program changes you would like to see at the Jones Library and the branches?
Robert Pam
229 Amity Street
Retired
An expanded Jones building allows an "open plan" that can adjust to changing needs. The North Amherst branch has needed the addition now proceeding for decades. While the need for printed materials continues, we will broaden and improve our electronic services and capabilities, and respond to community demands. Our website, outreach and off-site services must improve. Programs that bring patron groups into the library should expand. Arts and cultural programs can be integrated with other town initiatives. We can use our history and archives to maintain links to college and university alumni.
Farah Ameen
57 Glendale Road
Editor/Writer
Supporting the renovation/expansion project is the most effective way for Trustees to ensure our library system adapts to changing needs/populations. The plan’s focus on enriched services guarantees enhanced children’s programming; a safe, inviting teen space; designated adult education areas; accessibility for those with mobility issues; and many more computers. I’d like to focus on greater community outreach and increasing access to books (especially in the summer), so ALL kids can read year-round. I’ve also proposed hosting conversation circles in multiple languages, so immigrant families can pass down their native language to their children—and share it with the community.
Austin D. Sarat
76 Snell Street Apt A
Professor
I support the renovation and addition to the Jones Library. If approved, I will ensure that planning for the building is efficient and inclusive. As the renovation of the NAL moves forward, I will help bring the best in services and programs back to that gem of our library system. We need to implement the recommendations in the strategic plans for the branches. We should partner with organizations like the Literacy Project to better serve all Amherst residents. We must move forward with anti-racist planning and ensure that our collections, programs and staffing reflect the wonderful diversity of our community.
Lee R. Edwards
5 Wildwood Lane
Retired
To serve a diverse population and be accessible to every member of our community, the Library's physical plant must be renovated and expanded. The Trustees will continue to work with the town and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners to accomplish these goals. More robust teen programming is needed. Further, the Library needs to be better able to address the needs of those whose first language is not English, who are unfamiliar with the full range of Library services, or who are physically unable to access the current building.
Alexandra J. Lefebvre
52 North Prospect Street
Retired
Collaboration and building partnerships with service agencies and organizations enables the library to continually identify and adapt programming and services to meet the needs of underserved and underrepresented community members. The new addition to the Jones will provide flexible spaces that can be adapted to keep pace with community needs. We need to focus on our reach and effectiveness in helping generate socioeconomic mobility and justice in our community with a focus on achieving information and digital access. This includes building equity, diversity, and inclusion into our policies and procedures as well as into our staffing, programming, spaces, and collections.
Tamson M. Ely
26 Middle Street
Librarian (retired)
Libraries need open and flexible spaces to accommodate new technologies, increasing patron needs for ESL, literacy and computer access. Also needed is an enlarged space for children's collections and programs and for teens. Current building as configured is inflexible and cannot adapt the changing needs of our community. More children's programs at all three, assuming space and staff availability. Additional resources including books, eBooks/magazines, non-English materials and online services. All residents need full accessibility to the three buildings. A renovated and expanded Jones will provide access to those unable to fully use the current building.
Candidate for Housing Authority
Councilor Vote for 3
How can the AHA mobile voucher program stretch its resources to keep up with the rising cost of renting in Amherst and surrounding communities? How should the AHA work to expand the total amount of affordable housing available in Amherst?
Nancy Ellen Schroeder
168 High Street
   
David W. Williams
158 Rolling Ridge Road
   
Jessica Mix-Barrington
39 Pine Street
Sewing machine repair
The Commission's job is oversight. One can encourage this priority. It is up to the staff to make plans and for the board to review them. The Commission should encourage the staff to work with other affordable housing entities - Amherst Housing Trust, Amherst Community Land Trust, Valley CDC - to coordinate all programs. Commissioners should unofficially reach out to these entities to foster strong bonds.
Michael A. Burkart
92 Aubinwood Road
Retired
We are in a bind. We can increase the amount of the vouchers but we have a limited pool of money and that will mean we would have fewer people to whom we can give vouchers. The voucher funds are appropriated by either state or federal government. Our housing stock is all state or federal funded properties. We have a big challenge just keeping up with the constant maintenance on buildings and all the heating systems, some of which are many decades old. We need support by state and federal representatives to increase funding.
Candidate for Elector, Oliver Smith Will
Councilor Vote for 1
How will you educate and alert Amherst residents about the benefits available under the Oliver Smith Will?
Carol Jeannette Gray
815 South East Street
graduate student / teacher/ attorney / mom
https://homepageforcaroljgray.wordpress.com/
As current Oliver Smith Elector, I published grant eligibility requirements in the newspaper, with schools and churches, and am working on a Town webpage. Please spread the word! New brides($100); Widows:1st child($300)/Additional children($100); Nursing students/Trade-apprentices($600). Applications here: https://www.thesmithcharities.org/qualified-recipients.html. For more about me, visit: https://homepageforcaroljgray.wordpress.com. I would appreciate your support! Carol
Sarah A. Marshall
64 Eames Avenue
homemaker, retired consultant
I made one family aware of their eligibility for a nursing scholarship while I gathered signatures for my nomination. Clearly, constant outreach is required, and I would communcate regularly with area schools, guidance and career counselors, the Clerk’s office, and community members, hopefully with information in multiple languages.

 

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