Column too harsh on Amherst officials

Last modified: Sunday, October 21, 2012

To the editor:

Like Steve Bloom (“End a neighborhood’s siege,” guest column, Gazette, Sept. 26), I also live in downtown Amherst. My family and I are often kept up at night by loud, drunken and insensitive students passing through the neighborhood or whooping it up at nearby parties. I share his frustration with the spread of student rental housing into what were once quiet neighborhoods.

But I cannot accept the tenor of Bloom’s essay, which is marked by unsubstantiated accusations, invective and unfair characterizations of the town planner and the chair of the Select Board (“complacent, tax-dollar paid officials”). I thought our goal should be to encourage more civility in neighborhoods and public spaces. One such public space is the newspaper, and I do not see how the cause of civility is advanced by hurling insults at elected and appointed public officials.

Near the end of his essay, Bloom comes around to the important points he clearly intends to make: That there are four citizen warrant petitions coming up before Fall Town Meeting that are intended to deal with the problem of absentee landlords and their rowdy student tenants, as well as other measures to help preserve Amherst’s livability. Bloom would do better to focus his efforts on these constructive solutions to a problem that has been many years in the making, and should avoid impugning the integrity of or insulting the very public officials who have been elected or appointed to serve the town.

After all, we do need their help.

Alex Kent



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