Recently, a well-meaning neighbor and new friend of ours handed us a flyer which shared the importance of VOTING NO ON ARTICLE # 5, at the upcoming Town Meeting. The article was prepared by another neighbor, who I don’t think we’ve met, yet…
In summary, the article proposes a change to the appeals process related to the Town Planning Board.
The information presented in the flyer made it seemingly obvious that a vote of NO was the ONLY way to go for a good resident of our fine town.
In fact, I actually scanned the flyer and was preparing to distribute it (hard and soft copy) myself.
Until…I said to myself: “Self, while it does seem that a vote of NO is the obvious choice, based on the information presented in the flyer, I wonder why this change is being proposed.”
At this point, I turned to our town’s website, located the board of selectmen, and launched an email, to ALL of them (individually) which went something like:
Hi [Board of Selectmen],
We haven’t met yet. My wife and I recently moved to the area.
I understand there is going to be an article presented for a vote at next week’s town meeting, regarding changing the process of appeals such that…
On the surface (which is all I know at this point) this seems like we are…
As such, given the limited information I have, I’d be voting NO.
That said, do you know the reasoning behind why this change is being proposed and why it benefits the town and its residents?
At the moment, the benefits are not clear, while the drawbacks are quite clear.
Thanks, and I hope that you have a nice weekend!
Notice that I didn’t go after them with a scathing note about how they are about to destroy our town 🙂
That is exactly the response that someone “could” have after reading the flyer promoting a vote of NO on this change.
To my surprise, not long after I sent the above messages, I received a call from the chair of the Board of selectmen!
He graciously spent 15 minutes with me explaining the reasoning behind the proposed change and why there really is no (negative) impact on the community. In fact, it simply removes a step in the appeals process that is typically unnecessary (and creates negative impact) in the first place.
After I summarized my understanding of his explanation and he confirmed that I “got it” I realized I had “almost” gotten all wound up, and taken action on, something that doesn’t really matter…
I’m absolutely certain that a heated debate will break out at the upcoming Town Meeting over this misunderstanding (as to the true nature and impact of the proposed change).
I shan’t be attending THAT meeting 🙂
Note: If anyone from our fine town is reading this, and would like to learn of my new found understanding of the situation, feel free to let me know. You know where I live 🙂
This is not unlike what I’ve written on media surfing.
As humans, we are too attracted to eye candy in the form of images and headlines that seem to purport a reality and solicit an emotional response, which is either a half truth or a falsehood, spun-up to support somebody’s agenda (or, more innocently, a mistaken understanding of the situation at hand).
In closing, let’s use our noggin. That is, we must do the necessary critical thinking to come to our own intelligent conclusion about the decisions (voting or otherwise) that we are about to make.
Gotta go for now. We need to get some hay for the horses, as they are kicking at the barn door 🙂
Have a great day!