Citizen’s (Articles) United

One of the things we’ve been doing for the past couple of weeks is pulling together (uniting) into a single document nearly all of the pertinent and available information regarding the 53 citizen’s articles that the town will be putting on the ATM warrant in April of this year. You can download the doc from our website, here. The document includes a description of each article, the town council’s comments, the wording, if any, and a link to a related map if one exists. At some point, we will add our own comments and insights, but we will wait for the town to submit their articles and pull the warrant together in a complete group before that happens. 

As we mentioned a few weeks ago, with 53 articles from citizens, it’s uncertain if voters and town government are in synch. One could assume that this unusually large number of citizen initiatives could be the electorate sending town government a message. But when you look more closely, it appears that many of the proponents of some of the more out-of-the-box citizens’ articles turn out to be current and former town officials or insiders. Some examples:

Former Selectboard member Bob Decosta putting forth an initiative to banish valet parking from the town parking lot. FinCom member Chris Glowacki asking town meeting to request the authority to approve paid parking downtown. Mary Bergman, executive director of the Preservation Trust, proposing a new rule that would make developers wait 12 months before renovating a historically significant building. And Planning Board member, David Iverson asking town meeting to squelch the annoying and invasive spritzing of perfume at passersby downtown. 

When you look at these initiatives, one thing becomes clear. These insiders put their articles forward, in part or in whole because they think that the issues they care about deserve a larger audience than a select board hearing on a rainy Wednesday evening with seven people in attendance. Or a discussion on Facebook with the vast majority of folks clicking hearts and frowny faces. Some of these subjects deserve to be discussed openly and clearly on the town meeting floor. And voted upon. Whether the measure is binding or not. Parking. Gut rehabs. Scent assault. (Not to mention gas-powered leaf blowers and commercial deliveries.) These things warrant a larger discussion.  

We think so, too. How else are we going to come together as a community and solve some of these problems if we don’t have a community-level dialogue? There’s a lot of work to be done before town meeting and we will keep you posted as new ideas bubble to the surface. 

Have a great Sunday. 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *