To the editor of THE EAGLE:
Ah, the good ole’ days in Great Barrington. Remember those days of yore? Selectmen yelling at citizens, sarcasm, elected officials with their own agendas, the lovely Housatonic community talking secession? While it may be true that little got accomplished, Monday nights at Town Hall was the most entertaining place to be.
Our current board is boring! Members don’t scream and yell at each other and seem to actually have a bit of respect for the town’s citizens and each other, even when there’s disagreement. Our current board has made and probably will make decisions that I don’t like. Starting the downtown project just as the summer season hits, not making a stand or statement on gun violence, and making a silly decision over e-cigarettes that have absolutely no second hand residual affects on others, are just a few. So, should I vote for smart, reasoned governance or entertainment?
I have met select board candidate Ed Abrahams who seems to be an intelligent, thoughtful citizen. I’ve read what he has to say, and it seems to make sense. I don’t know John Beebe. I understand that he has recently returned to Great Barrington, and at first thought, I’d be more comfortable voting for him next year if he decides to run, once he’s re-integrated.
I can’t help but notice that a vast majority of the letters to the editor in area publications supporting Mr. Beebe frame the conversation in "us" against "them" terms. I feel left out, because I’m positive that I’m not one of "us" and I don’t know who "them" is. I do know that the cost of governance, like everything else, is rising. I do know that we now have a town manager who can get things done, has a knack for listening to all sides of an issue, and can actually communicate effectively with others. I do know that our issues are far too important and complicated to split our town into "us" and "them."
Regardless of disagreements, "we" have to figure it out, calmly, rationally, and remind ourselves that most of us, regardless of our opinions, are well-meaning. I’d rather tune into Fox News or MSNBC to listen to the extremes. That’s entertainment! However, here at home, where I work and live and socialize, I suppose I’ll be more prudent and vote for smart and empathetic government, and that’s clearly Ed Abrahams. It will be more boring, though.