Taking out the Trash

You may recall last March there were some questions on the ballot that asked your opinion on some Town Hall issues. The stated intent was to inform a discussion going forward to try to resolve the Town Office/Brewster Hall stalemate. Needless to say the Selectmen have avoided any such public discussion for eight months because a majority of voters indicated, among other things, that they do not support restoration of Brewster Hall for town offices.

There was nothing about Brewster Hall published in the agenda of the October 17th Selectmen meeting. You had to pay attention, because it all happened pretty fast. The chairman whipped out a new $4 million proposal that the Friends had put together and, with no serious discussion, voted to support the plan and to authorize the Friends to develop it. The justification given for including a multifunction hall was that we could have a flower show there or use it as a polling place. Is anybody excited about spending a million bucks more so we can have a flower show or have trouble parking and shlepping up a flight of stairs to vote? Credit to Dave Senecal who flatly said no.

It was perfect timing because the newspaper and the public were completely preoccupied with the presidential election. Now with the election frenzy over, the Friends have been authorized to privately develop their plan to spend our money, and the Selectmen can continue to publicly ignore 52% of voters who said they do not support the mission of the Friends of Brewster Hall.

I remember an episode of the TV series West Wing where Rob Lowe explained how to put out unpopular news with a minimum of backlash. The idea was to announce it on a Friday afternoon when there was another bigger story dominating the news. Even if someone picked up on it, it would be page two, and history by Monday morning. They called it “Taking out the trash.”.

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