"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Get Involved!

I have been reading lots of concerns and complaints in many comments recently here on the blog. Among them were some comments about land use and zoning as well as property rights. The specifics about each is not what this post is about. What it is about is participation in your government, or lack of it.
Every zoning ordinance, whether new or amended is discussed at great length at Planning Board meetings. Public hearings are held and I can honestly say that in my two years on the Planning Board , hardly anyone came to the hearings and there were very few questions asked. The same is true of the BoS meetings with just the same small crowd that comes week after week. I'm not saying that you don't have the right to complain if you don't agree with decisions or outcomes, but rather that if you participate in the decision process you can perhaps influence the decisions that are made. Can't make a meeting or are unsure of what something means? Send an email to any of the BoS, the TA, Town Planner or any of the Land Use board chairs. I understand the demands of life limit the free time of many, but a quick note when you get a free moment should not be that difficult.
There is so much going on right now in particular,  that getting involved even a little bit can make a big difference in the end result.


One-sided participation said...

Great point. It is worth noting that the camera operator is frequently the only citizen represented at meetings where decisions are made. This gives the organization that assigns camera duties a strong say in what our town does.

Anonymous said...

What organization are you referring to?

Concerned said...

Not every interested party can appear at meetings held at various times of the day due to work and other commitments.

What troubles me is that those who literally devote their time to the Town by attending every meeting, hearing, etc., seemingly have an outsize influence on the outcome of matters.

The purpose of video taping meetings and allowing citizens to view meetings after the fact is specifically to allow for broader citizen participation, be I through comments on the Blog, or through other means.

Finally, I perceive a recent reluctance to post comments that criticize Board members or others that heretofore has not existed on the Blog, particularly if the author signs him or herself as anonymous.

Pol Watcher said...

What troubles me is that those who literally devote their time to the Town by attending every meeting, hearing, etc., seemingly have an outsize influence on the outcome of matters.
You think we are being listened to? NO WAY. We are there to try to provide a practical check and balance, but the professional we heired is certain he knows what's best for us, and is a master manipulator. Being there, or watching videos and responding is time consuming, but some progress is happening.

Anonymous said...

The town administrator is known for his closed door meetings and decision making. Dedicated individuals who follow town government and are willing to speak out and at times sound the alarm should be applauded.

It took years of prodding by certain individuals for the town to finally buy a camera and equip the meeting room with sound.

Unfortunately only the Selectmen meetings and the monthly school meetings are taped. Until all town meetings are taped and broadcast with the town camera our Selectmen and town administrator are being less than transparent to the citizens they represent.

Citizen Jane said...

I have no problem contacting said committees. The problem (if it can be said to be such) is that Bruce Woodruff is the only contact for several of the town bodies, which means whatever is emailed to him has a different impact than if the individual members were to receive the email too. Same situation for the TA being the only contact for some committees/boards -- and after last summer's mess with him, I am not inclined to contact him at all. (Sorry, but that is how I feel: it's a trust issue.)

The BoS is more receptive: the only members who still don't have email are Joel Mudgett and Russ Wakefield.

Can't contact individual members of Village Vision, CIPC, Conservation, Zoning, Heritage ... to their credit, the School Board members all have email.

It's an imperfect world to be sure but the Blogger's main point is well taken: we need to let our views be known however they can be made.