Pelham Democratic Town Committee: New district plan bad for Pelham

Published: 10/20/2021 4:19:04 PM

We, as members of the Pelham Democratic Town Committee, find the current proposed redistricting plan that places Pelham in a district stretching among four counties from Ludlow to Petersham insupportable.

We are writing to voice our objections to this plan as it appears to have been created without any appreciation of the character, needs and historic relationships of these western towns. Whereas Amherst and Pelham have deep historic and ongoing ties, Pelham is not connected to any significant degree with the other towns in the proposed district.

However, Pelham and Amherst’s interests are intertwined in a variety of governmental, organizational, service, social and environmental dimensions. Among these are:

Pelham and Amherst is a watershed community with two reservoirs serving Amherst/UMass public drinking water. Pelham is integral to academic, economic and housing sphere of UMass, Amherst and Hampshire colleges.

Pelham and Amherst share sewer and water facilities, a regional school district, senior services, food security programs, trash and recycling services, recreational and educational programs for all ages, back up fire protection and mutual aid agreements, shared conservation areas, trails and land protection plans, and shared postal services and zip code.

To put it simply, this proposed redistricting move does not make sense. It creates a district that would be difficult to represent given the distance between communities and their differing unique needs. Supporting the deep political and social relationship with Amherst by remaining in the Third Hampshire District is beneficial for both communities and their representative. Separating Pelham from Amherst and the Third Hampshire District essentially silences our community’s local political voice from weighing in on any of the services that affect our daily life.

We urge the Special Joint Committee on Redistricting to reconsider this plan and create a district that can represent us in a more rational and workable manner.

Jane Porter

Pelham Democratic Town Committee

The letter was co-signed by Judith Eiseman, Gayle Barton, Barbara Cooper, James Duda, Ralph Faulkingham, Diane Gray, Abbie Jenks, Linda Smircich, Linda Spink, Richard Seelig, Charles Weeber, III, M.D, and Nancy Rose Weeber.

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