A Costly Year
As the old costly year ends, I have been asked by The Tax Payer's Alliance to comment on the reform of the town meeting process. The meeting is supposed to be a democratic form of government. But, if most people sit home and let a small group run the town meeting, set policy, spend money, then the process becomes undemocratic. Dirty pool tactics may become common, such as the one used to deface Ms. Chace and company for filing a citizen's petition to stop the fire house. Under the phrase "We the People," well "We the People," have to defend Ms. Chace's or anyone's right to file a citizen's petition.
As far as the town meeting process goes, there are too many articles to cover in one sitting. This should be limited to say, 10 articles. The money ones should be placed first on the warrant. The taxpayers privilege to "move the question" should be removed or used only by the moderator. This is unfair to people who have been standing 15 or 20 minutes to speak about an article, then they have to sit down (as debate is then suppressed). Free speech is then suppressed. Actually, Ms. Chace has bought the town much time to think over the $7.9 million firehouse issue. We think the Farmers Row location is too close to the West Groton firehouse (two miles), leaving other parts of the town unprotected. You be the judge come January.
Robert S. Stephens
Tax Payer's Alliance