Issues page update

March 10, 2017:- Zoning and the budget are the main issues for Town Meeting, but a few items on the warrant address matters of broader concern, e.g. taxing carbon, background checks, campaign-finance, and the impeachment of the President of the United States. And then there’s the proposal to make Amherst a “sanctuary community.” For my position on these petitions, please click here.

Please note, the section on the carbon fee includes a link to the Canadian government’s statistics department, called Statistics Canada, a site that is occasionally unavailable. I suspect it was designed by the same people who designed the Canadian government’s crash-prone immigration website, and possibly the Obama administration’s Healthcare.gov site.

If serendipity strikes when you happen to visit Statistics Canada and the site is accessible, be advised that you may still have to dig for the archived page that shows gasoline sales in the early 2000s. It took me a while. But if you hit Statistics Canada on one of its off days, try this site, Behind the Numbers, a blog from the progressive Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives (which describes itself as “concerned with issues of social, economic, and environmental justice”) and read the article titled “Don’t believe the hype on BC’s carbon tax.”

More downtown parking needed

March 1,2017:- Amherst Cinema regularly hears from frustrated patrons who love the place and would like to return but won’t come back because finding somewhere to park in downtown Amherst is too much of a headache. That was the message Carol Johnson of Amherst Cinema delivered yesterday evening to the joint meeting of the Planning Board and Downtown Parking Working Group. Lack of parking is deterring customers, a common complaint among Amherst businesses. The solution? A parking garage.

Nevertheless, by 9:00 p.m. (when I headed home) it was clear that most of the policy-shapers in the room were against the idea of a new parking garage. Although I understand their reasons, I hope they will keep an open mind. If downtown Amherst is going to thrive–and become an even better place to live, work, and play–it has to become more welcoming to visitors. And that requires providing them with easy-to-find places to park. What do you think?