A front-page article in the Gazette (12/19/17) reported on Northampton mayor David Narkewicz’ veto of a new ordinance approved by the City Council, regarding the use of surveillance cameras in downtown Northampton. The mayor proposed some revisions that he feels will make the ordinance better. This is a complex matter with implications for safety, privacy and community culture, many lens through which to view the matter. Since then various members of the public have weighed in on what they feel is the best policy for surveillance cameras in Northampton. This kind of back and forth in the policy process, checks and balances, meaningful input from the public before the decisions are final, is the gold standard for democratic policy making in this country, nationally and locally. If on March 27 Amherst voters approve the proposed new charter, with a City Council but no mayor or other executive with veto authority, and no Town Meeting, Amherst government will have lost this ability of different branches of government to balance and check each other in the policy process.