Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Democracy In Action


Just got home a little while ago from town meeting and am struggling to recover from four hot hours crammed into a tiny auditorium seat between a friend and a big burly guy with massive arms, no supper before I left home for it, no food or drink with me, listening to droning town officials reading endless financial details; elderly gadflies niggling over tiny details and demanding "No" votes on essential funding articles; speakers who can't figure out how to use the microphone to be heard; speakers who ramble on incomprehensibly, hopelessly muddling their arguments; speakers who couldn't buy a clue if you fronted them the cash; a moderator who wouldn't rein in speakers to the allotted three minutes, who bollixed up explaining procedural aspects and pending motions -- admittedly, when the question before the meeting is whether to vote to close discussion to vote on an amendment to the motion pending before the meeting, which is worded differently from the article in the warrant, it does get confusing -- in short, town democracy in action in all its messy, boring, frustrating, chaotic glory.

But I did finally get to vote on the issue that brought me there -- the preferred location for a new elementary school -- and my side (don't build it at Bialek Park, the only public open space in town, and next to where I live, build it at Doyon where there's helluva better room!) came out ahead.

In a nonbinding advisory vote after lots of argufying and procedural struggles, essentially meaningless legally but which hopefully will give pause to the school building committee, which is hellbent on Bialek but which needs (among other things) to get a two-thirds approval vote in next October's town meeting to go ahead. The vote was 326 for Doyon to 201 for Bialek, not even close.

The meeting adjourned -- well, I'm sure it adjourned after 11:00, but I and my friend bailed out about 11:00 while the fight over whether to establish a non-civil-service deputy fire chief position still raged. Since less than half the articles on the warrant got dealt with, there'll be another session tomorrow night. There are a couple of articles I'd really like to vote on, but my friend likely is all town-meetinged-out and I don't know if I can take another round.

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