Town Meeting 2006

Today was town meeting. This is democracy in its most elemental form. We chose who will represent us, who will work in our government and how we’ll spend our money. After considerable question and discussion we approved the purchase of a new larger grader to better maintain our roads. A heavier grader will better be able to dig into the dirt and the old grader was getting, well, old. We heard reports from our legislators who represent us in the capital – Montpelier. We heard from several town committees. Pies were on hand to raise money for the 8th grade.

When we left the meeting our youngest son, Ben, asked why we go. I explained: We are in a small town of about 950 people. 86 showed up to town meeting and set the budget. These few people determined how the money will be taxed and spent. That represents about 10% of the eligible voters. Holly and I both went and voted. That means our votes counted for ten people each or our family got 20 votes effectively. The school budget passed by 2 votes at 46 to 44. This means that 0.2% of the town voters cast the deciding votes on a $2,000,000 line item. That is a lot of spending power for so few people. Only 5.34% of our town voted to approve an enormous amount of money. This is democracy. Most people are apathetic. I said to Ben, “show up and be counted because the people who were there made a difference.”

“Our government is the best government in the world but it is not the best government it could be.”

29째F/8째F, Dusting of snow, Sunny

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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10 Responses to Town Meeting 2006

  1. PV says:

    Walter when you have those little quotes at the botom of your posts why dont you always give who it was who was the person who said the quote? Like this won? Who said that? Sometimes you give the speaker who was quoted. I like that.

  2. If the quotes are by someone else I put their name after the quote and some times a date or other info. If the quote is one I don’t know the author of then I put either ‘?’ or Anonymous or Anon. Otherwise all the quotes are just ones I have made up. Back when I used to publish Flash Magazine for about ten years I sprinkled them through out the magazine and called them sparks. Fun little thoughts.

  3. Mark V. says:

    So then why do you not put your name at the end of the quote? You made it up. You should get credit.

  4. Leslie says:

    Good lesson for Ben. I hope he “got” it. He will one day, if not now.

  5. Patti says:

    So true!! I have lived in small towns for years and the few do the work and the many complain but don’t show up for the meetings!!

  6. Anna says:

    You should give your self credit Walter when you are the source of the quote. Fairs fair.

  7. Katie says:

    What a great lesson – I remember my dad taking me to township meetings as a kid (my grandfather was a commissioner) and those lessons are still with me today and probably the inspiration for my never ending letter writing to elected officials.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I have read you
    On another subject, what is your OPINION of the bird flu?
    A. It is real
    B. It is real and spread by terrorism or manmade
    c. It is not real
    D. We will see it in the USA
    E. all of the above, some of the above or none of the above.

    Just curious about your opinion if you have time to answer
    thanks, a faithful reader

  9. Dear Anonymous,

    Yes, H5N1 (Bird Flu a.k.a. Avian Flu a.k.a. Avian influenza) is very real. Right now it is a issue for birds, felines and a few other species primarily. Bird Flu has been around for a long time and is not normally a problem. In factory farms where all the birds have the same genetics, a mon-culture, bird flu is a big problem because if one bird gets it then virtually all get it. The crowded conditions of factory farms increase the likely hood of mutation and disease spread. Bird Flu could mutate to a form that could infect people through person-to-person transmission. The is the big problem from our point of view.

    No, I don’t think that Bird Flu is spread by terrorism or manmade although it certainly could be used as a weapon. However, there are other much more highly contagious diseases like Foot and Mouth Disease that would make more effective weapons. Bird Flu and other diseases are being used as an excuse by the government to needlessly destroy small family farms, homesteads, backyard flocks and implement regulations like NAIS. Depopulation, killing all the animals in a area, is not a good or scientific approach to Bird Flu or almost any other disease. It is a good way to control the population by taking away their means of independence and food production. A scientific approach would be to quarantine, discover which animals have natural resistance and then breed those animals to become new stock. But that approach does not put money into the pockets of big corporations who are doing genetic engineering.

    Yes, we will probably see Bird Flu eventually come to the USA. Maybe it will come via migrating birds. My guess is that it will first be brought in on imported birds, be they pets, commercial birds or fighting cocks.

    If Bird Flu mutates to an easily transmissible, human infectable form while keeping its high lethality (50% in humans) then you can expect a pandemic. I predict an Avian Influenza based pandemic would kill between 200 million and 2 billion people world wide.

    I would not expect the governments to be of much assistance during such a disaster. If you do not live in a rural area you would be well advised to have friends or family in the country where you can go to. You should gradually stockup on staples (which you can use now to rotate) to get you and your family through about two years. The best solution in the event of a pandemic is quarantine if no good vaccine is available. It’s a good time to lose a few pounds. :)

    There is a good booklet on how to survive the flu, even normal versions, at the FluWiki:

    Print out a copy and read it.

  10. Anonymous says:

    thank you for your lenghty answer on the bird flu! I will read your link you posted!
    kind regards
    a faithful reader

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