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The world calls it democracy; we call it town meeting

  • Published in Letters
To the editor,
Roger Grey notes numbers of votes cast in the voting booth, as he argues for SB-2 and discontinuation of Town Meeting. A more meaningful number: 12 times our town's voters have turned down SB-2.
The discussion at Town Meeting this year starts with the operating budget and differences between the budget committee's recommendation and the selectmen's recommendation. Fire and emergency management, highways and streets, and the library will all get aired and the gathered meeting will reconcile the proposed expenditure differences. We'll get to a modified "total" cost. How would that modification happen in the voting booth, per lone voter? Or, if a small, elite number of 20-40 people attended the budget hearing/meeting required by SB-2, they could so alter the total line to cause the whole budget, worked on by budget committee and selectmen, to get a "no." No action on the eleven itemized costs that Town Meeting, by contrast, would care about and reconcile.
We have two different dump truck articles/options. Equipment decisions almost always require weighing of presented facts and points of view. Collective wisdom rules. Grey uses tired and fraudulent charges, when he says Town Meeting is the "rule of the many by the few." Collective wisdom is not that.
This year's article 9, "Blackbrook Watershed Protection" is recommended by the selectmen but not by the Budget Committee. We'll hear both sides then decide. What does the lone voter in his voting booth do? Just look at the $13,406 more in taxes and say "no"? Dismiss the work of the Watershed Assistance Grant applied for and received?
Finally, article 15 is mine and others, submitted by petition. Nothing to do with expenditure of our taxes, but asking our Congress and president to reduce Pentagon spending "in order to address domestic priorities." Without the discussion that several of us will offer, the lone voter will not give us a fair shake, but check off "no," because by then he's wearied his head with fourteen other articles and is ready to be done. How fair is that? How democratic is that?
The world calls it democracy — we call it Town Meeting. Sanbornton voters — keep Town Meeting. Vote on May 14, no to question 1. Have no regrets.
Lynn Rudmin Chong