Senseless defeat of two Lenox articles

Friday May 11, 2012

In her May 5 letter Maggie Sadoway states that at the Lenox Town meeting voters "showed good sense in defeating several petition articles." I suggest that it was not good sense to defeat the following two articles.

The intent of Article 12 was to require that all notices which by state law are required to be posted in Town Hall are in addition posted on the town website in order to make this information available and transparent to more citizens of Lenox.

Unfortunately the ensuing debate confused rather than clarified the article when the town attorney insisted that only the notice posted in the Town Hall would be legal when the article clearly states that the website posting would "be in addition to" the town’s. When a town employee an nounced that in her absence no one else would know how to add the notice to the town website that was enough to ensure the defeat of the article.

The intent of Article 13 was to establish a committee to create guidelines where none now exist for the placement and naming of memorials on town property for individuals or any other entity. A key comment during the discussion of this article was effective in its defeat when Selectman David Roche stated "This should be a Selectmen’s item not a citizens petition."

Clearly, as Mr. Roche knows, the purpose and the right of a citizens petition is to initiate a discussion and a vote at a Town Meeting on an issue which, if approved, the Select Board would then be required to consider. His statement suggests that in certain situations Lenox citizens should be denied their right to petition because their Selectmen know what’s best for them.

The purpose of these two defeated articles was, hopefully, to help prevent another divisive and rancorous dispute that ensued following the Select Board’s decision to in stall an oversized and inappropriate monument to a nonresident of Lenox in Kennedy Park. Unfortunately those who ignore the lessons of history and how to create ways to deal with them are destined to re peat them.




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