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I’ve been hearing people saying Town Meeting is outmoded and boring. The last part is true most of the time. Voters have to decide difficult issues to help make this island run smoothly. It isn’t supposed to be fun. It’s important work. I have had moments of excitement while sitting in the High School auditorium, though they have been few and far between.
This reminds me of being in school. If I had a good teacher each year, it made going to class a memorable experience. Town Meeting is no different. Most of the articles are neutral votes, or ones you lose. Every now and then, a great article goes your way. To me, that puts any losses in the rear- view mirror.
Is Town Meeting outmoded? I think not. Would you prefer a city council with a mayor? We already have a partial form of that with town administrator Libby Gibson and our Selectmen. From what I see and hear, not many people are wowed by what comes out of the Town Building on many Wednesday nights.
We need the oversight that Town Meeting gives us. How would you like to have appointed and elected officials doling out your money? Spending other people’s money is sure to result in a deficit, far too few services than we now have, or both. I want a say in where the budget (and other items) are headed. FinCom does a good job, but we need to have the final vote on their recommendations.
Finally, there’s the question of lowered attendance and special-interest groups that leave once a vote is taken on a particular article. Could somebody tell me how that is any different than citizens voting at the polls? Rarely do we see a majority of voters casting ballots, unless there’s a hotly-contested election at stake. If you think special-interest groups rule Town Meeting, look at national political races. Things have, and always will be, this way.
Town Meeting does work. Voters make the difference. The fewer people that show up, the more my vote is worth. I’d prefer mine be diluted, but if voters fail to attend, I’ll still be there. Attend the meeting and you will be part of the solution.
Last week, a single member of the School Committee got it right and didn’t vote to reward outgoing Superintendant Robert Pellicone with a very golden parachute. He held them hostage by saying he was going to leave the job if he could find a better offer, forcing the committee to find a replacement. Rather than letting him go Scott free, I’d have called his bluff, and have had him sit at a desk doing nothing for a year.
About a month back, I was going to rescind some of my old comments about the roundabout. As time has gone by, the traffic circle has proved less bothersome than I originally thought. Now that winter is done and traffic has picked up in volume, my former regrets have resurfaced. The main problem comes from people that are unsure as they approach the entrances. For some reason, the Milestone Rotary doesn’t have as many of those scared drivers and things move more smoothly.
There are several busy spots on-island where ducks cross the road (no chicken jokes please). I have watched vehicles stop for our feathered jaywalkers on many occasions. In one way it shows how well Nantucketers love animals. Then again, I’ve never seen drivers slow down for a seagull on the tarmac. Rabbits are a judgment call. I like to think hitting Hoppy is a free dinner for crows and hawks. Rabbits are suicidal around roads when they’re mating in springtime.
If anyone on-island believes that green energy generated from windmills located in Nantucket Sound is only going to cost an extra $1.60 a month on your monthly bill, you must also believe there’s a tunnel to Hyannis. The estimates being handed out are as realistic as the ones we were hearing from Wasteful Options at one time.
At last week’s Board of Selectmen’s hearing, some concerned citizens brought up ongoing problems with partiers associated with the Figawi Race. I haven’t ventured downtown after dark on Memorial Day weekend for better than a decade. If I want to deal with drunken jerks, I’ll join a college fraternity. Bumping into them as they weave around the docks and filter up Main Street is to be avoided.
I do believe that the Figawi folks aren’t the only problem partiers that weekend. People are over-celebrating for a three-day weekend on-island and have been for longer than the Figawi’s have been here. Some overzealous partiers already live here. There aren’t many ways to proactively stop bad behavior. There is a way to put a halt to what happens after it takes place.
The police, both state and local forces, need to be out in force. Shut down the noisy parties outside the Main Street area and arrest or take into protective custody any miscreants wandering around in the vicinity of cobblestones. I have a question for the Figawi folks: Has any boat ever been disqualified from the race, because a crew member was taken in by the police?
The Bruins choked big time last week. Having two key players sidelined didn’t help their cause.
The Celtics are in the Eastern Conference finals, and have won their first two contests against Orlando. I’d love to see them get through this round. They’re an older team and this could be the last shot at another championship for several players.
– Goodman’s Gam appears weekly in this space