The cyberspace has been alive with criticism of my efforts to put the non-binding article 30 referendum on the ballot. Let me make a few points:
1) I did not write any letters to the paper in support or against any warrant articles this year, and except for an apology to Roger Murray for contradicting him, I haven’t written a letter in months.
2) The substance of my criticisms of various BMH issues is usually backed up with documentation. NOBODY has come forward to dispute these arguments on merit. All criticism has been Ad Hominem.
3) I don’t claim to have the right answers, only the right questions.
Why in the world would they care? They got everything they asked for and the same old regime is still in power. Guess some folks don’t want a dissenting voice that has found a platform, eh? Makes you wonder what they fear? As I have pointed out before, when I had my blog, many folks would come to me to advocate a position they wouldn’t dare speak of because “we have to live in this town”. Now that is a sad commentary on First Amendment rights of American citizens. People afraid of what some one might say about them if they expressed an opinion, what a shame. Well I for one am glad you don’t want to sit back and sing kumbaya at the campfire in sychroniscity with the ruling faction. If we didn’t have folks that wanted to speak their peace, we’d still have pictures of the Queen in all our public buildings! But then perhaps some in town would like that, having had a big celebration of General Wolfe who was known to call colonial soldiers “filthy scoundrels” and worse. I hope we do put a statue of him, I’d be the first to donate in order to get a big flock of pigeons!
I was delighted to find Article 30 on the ballot, and I wish it had been done sooner. I did not vote on the question about restoring BMH with exclusively private money, since I thought that it was none of my business – if I wanted to support that, I could invest in it, otherwise, “so what”.
Like any plebiscite, Question 30 ran the risk of spotlighting conflicting or uninformed opinion. It was very, very good that a majority of voters opposed restoration of BMH as a town hall, full stop. As for the rest, there was no campaign or effort by a leadership group to IDENTIFY a problem which needed resolution (our employees are working under abysmal conditions and access is very difficult) and then to ask the voters to CHOOSE “one of the above” as a solution.
The GSN spin of the $200K as a victory claims too much. It is understandable and reasonable that an uninformed voter, nevertheless cognizant of how bad an environment exists in BMH, would support a lowball “fix” without full consideration of a complete resolution. If you had unlimited time and funds, it might have been better to break out the components as separate Articles and promote one as a preferred solution.
But something is better than nothing. Nice job!
What you describe is what we set out to do four years ago with TOCAG. The website is still there, exactly as we left it the day after the election. After the 2008 $6.8 million debacle, several of us went before the Selectmen and described pretty much what you are talking about. Research and describe the various options, with champions of each to promote them. Educate the public about them (we published an eight page tabloid format informational report, and conducted a fairly well attended informational forum at the Wright Museum), Then commission the UNH survey center to poll all of the voters in town to get a sense of what they want.
The Selectmen and Friends of Town Hall refused to participate. Instead they formed their Town Hall Options Committee and seeded it with Brewster Hall Boosters. Their first order of business was to alter the mission statement from the BOS to include resolving the disposition of Brewster Hall as part of any recommendation. They never held a single session to solicit public input.
The ballot referendum goes a long way toward validating the results of the tocag survey.
Please don’t take my comment as a criticism.
In a previous post, I alluded to the fact that the selectmen doing their job would ultimately be required to solve the BMH problem. Citizen activism can only go so far.
My grandmother, who started coming to Wolfeboro in 1924, loved to say, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”.