Thursday, May 27

Guilt By Association

As I learn more about the town meeting behind the town meeting the more frustrated I get. It has come to my attention that while the people who were discussing the water issue in regard to whether the town should vote to either take the money out of free cash or raise and appropriate the money from new taxes, there was another choice that would have resolved the issue without spending any of the taxpayers money.
Frankly I am outraged that during the debate over article 3 none of the selectmen or the finance committee informed the voters that if they were to vote down the entire article there was another article that would have raised the monies from the people who actually use the water. This seems deceptive. I wonder how people would have voted if the issue were presented in total honesty. What ever happened to truth in advertising?
Honestly, I don’t know who we can trust when the people that we elect to advise us on these issues obfuscate such important aspects of the issues. Now I can’t say that they didn’t post the information, but when you consider that you have to vote on article 3 before you can discuss article 4, it seems like a slight of hand to me. They moved on to article 5 by saying that article 4 was moot because article 3 passed. Lets look at this technique that was used to deceive the town and tell me if you aren‘t as offended as I am.
The elected officials, for fear of losing votes, don’t want to tell the water users that they have to pay the full cost of the water they use. They write the article that raises and appropriates the funds from the taxpayers. Then they write the article that raises the funds from the water dept. revenues as a backup plan in case the townspeople figure out that they’re getting hosed. I’m sure they were overjoyed at the fact that the argument became whether to use free cash or raise and appropriate from taxation.
The honest way to have presented it would have been to write one article and offer two options. Option one, raise solely from water dept. revenues. Option two, use free cash or raise and appropriate a 35% portion from new taxes. Now, if these were the choices which one do you think the voters would have passed? So next time this happens, and it will come up next year, lets argue the proper issues. Don’t be fooled by the straw man argument.
This is my opinion, and you can disagree if you like, but there isn’t a person who was on that stage that isn’t guilty of deceiving the voters and anyone up there who kept silent is just as guilty by association.

Guilt by association

Wednesday, May 26


It has come to my attention that all of the people who are connected to the town of Egremont water supply are in dire need of public assistance. According to the town’s board of select, the water commissioner and the finance committee, the people who are receiving water from the town water supply are impoverished to such a degree that they cannot afford to pay their water bill. Therefore, we as a community must come together and meet the needs of the underprivileged. Water is a basic necessity of life. We cannot have our fellow townspeople dying in the streets for lack of such a basic bodily requirement. As a community we must pool our resources and help those in need. I know everyone in the town feels the same way. We are a community that comes together for the general welfare of the whole. Our attitude reflects the caring nurturing spirit of an old New England town. That being said, we must still be accountable. In order to make sure that our welfare dollars are being spent properly we must set up a system to regulate where the money goes and keep an account of the recipients of these public funds. I ask the selectmen to hold a special election to elect an Egremont water welfare committee. The chair of the committee would delegate its members to create an application form for applicants to fill out and a means test to set guidelines for those who apply for the welfare water. Like any welfare system we must set up guards against fraud. For even in a community minded town such as ours, there may be wolves amongst the sheep. I would wholeheartedly support this measure and hope that all of the townspeople will get behind this for the good of the community. After all are we not our brothers keeper?

Monday, May 24

Welcome to Eye on Egremont

Welcome to Eye on Egremont. The name of the blog is self explanatory. We need to keep an eye on our own community. We have one of the purest forms of government in the world, the town meeting. We the people have the right to vote on every issue that the town has to make a decision on. The boards and elected officials are placed in an advisory position at the meeting, then they administer what was decided on at the meeting. We the people, or at least those who attend, make the decisions.
The town meeting is where the decisions are actually made by the voters. Unfortunately most people don’t even bother to show up to the town meeting. FYI people, every raise and appropriate article on the warrant means you are giving the elected officials the authority to take your money in the form of taxes and spend it on the things you voted on at the meeting. It’s like co-signing a loan. If you don’t agree with the expenditure then vote against it. If a lot of your friends feel the same way then get them to come out and vote with you.
Someone told me that Egremont is a small town run by a small group of reactionaries who make the decisions for everyone. The only way that this can happen is that far too many people find it too burdensome to actually come to the town meeting. I’ve got a newsflash for you, when you fail to show up for the meeting you have actually voted, for the agenda of that small group of reactionaries. Why? Because that small group of reactionaries are the only ones who actually show up. They make it their business to be at the meetings. So by all means, stay at home and watch TV. Let the reactionaries decide what is going to be done with your money.
My vision for this site is that it would raise the awareness of the citizens of Egremont and motivate them to get involved with running their own town, our town. I hear a lot of people bitching about the way things are run, yet every town meeting is packed to the rafters with empty space. Last town meeting barely pulled enough people to allow a vote on the issues. What I plan to do on this site is post all of the happenings of the town government for all to see and all to discuss. I hope that it will create a buzz around the town and pack the meetings with well informed people who are empowered to vote.