Charles C. Mann ’76, author of such books as "1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus" and "1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created," recently wrote about his becoming disenchanted with the town meeting style of government in Amherst. Voters in Amherst agreed, and in a historic vote this week elected to create a 13-member town council, replacing the five-member board of selectmen and town meeting. Mann moved back to Amherst in 1990.
"The structure of town meeting allows people to make virtuous stands," Mann wrote for the Pacific Standard blog, which was excerpted by the Daily Hampshire Gazette leading up to the March 27 vote. “People at town meeting make choices based on gut feelings about right and wrong, regardless of whether those impulses are conflicting. I still love living here but worry that we are becoming ungovernable."