Article 3 – SB2
Why We Should Adopt SB2:
Because everyone should have a voice in the town’s affairs. Unfortunately too many of our citizens are unable to attend Town Meeting. Some work second shift; some have family at home to care for; some are out of town on business, wintering elsewhere or attending school; and some don’t drive at night or at all. For whatever reason, attendance at Town Meeting rarely exceeds a couple of hundred voters out of our population in the area of six thousand. I dare say that even those of us who do attend meetings know friends or family who don’t. It is not our place to judge their reasons. The rest of our citizens deserve to be heard.
For those who like the tradition of Town Meeting or feel that being able to discuss the issues with each other helps them make a good decision, that opportunity still exists at the first or as it is commonly known – the deliberative session. Under ‘SB2’ we get the best of both worlds – a meeting to discuss and then everyone having a vote!
For those that may want to research and find out more about an issue after hearing a point made by a fellow citizen at the meeting, this also allows the time to do so. Under the current system, if someone brings up a point during discussion, one has to make a snap decision about it. As someone who does speak at meetings, I would be presumptuous to expect my neighbors to accept what I have to say as gospel. None of us are perfect, so having a break before the final vote allows research to confirm something said. It also allows time to discuss the issues in other settings with people that couldn’t make the meeting or who perhaps just aren’t comfortable speaking in a large venue.
The bottom line is that SB2 will increase the number of us participating in our affairs. This is a win for democracy and a win for our town.