Peterborough TM and Peterson Weirdness

by John Clark

A few thoughts on the 2007 Peterborough Town Meeting.

Throughout both the Official Ballot and the Open Session, the conservative voter was soundly defeated.

Seems as though things have swung around so far that the "traditional" parties are now representing the opposite constituents from those of fifty or so years ago.

At "The Last" pure Traditional Town Meeting of the Town of Peterborough, it was almost surreal for me, as a moderate right wing Republican, to feel in an absolute minority trying to speak on behalf of lower income taxpayers.

Although the change in fiscal year for our Town has been deemed to require a lump sum "catch-up" tax payment of  $600.00,( based upon a home valued at $200,000 ) due in November, several of the articles offered in the Meeting Warrant called for money to be either spent or set-aside as reserves for items which could well have been postponed until next year. A comment was made that "that was not a lot of money", and the impact was slight.

The eye of the beholder is very relative; $600.00 can be regarded in different ways, as 200 "dinners at home" for one group, or 200 "lattes" for the other group.

The feeling got really weird when the regular proceedings were suspended for a ceremony to present an Award to Walter Peterson and his family, ( a just reward for a lifetime of very hard work in State Politics ) , Congressman Hodes, Governor Lynch, Executive Councilor Deborah Pignatelli, were all present or represented. It was most significant that not a single Republican appeared at the podium!!  Could a "Jim Jeffords" style announcement be imminent from the Peterson family?

"Climate Change", the  PC term for Global Warming, and the "Pledge" got a full measure of  support from the "totally informed" voters before being approved. Even though the rebuttals to both of these Petitioned Articles were extremely well presented, the overwhelming "democrat" presence showed in the 'paddle' vote when only five paddles rose as nayes. ( the signatures on both petitions were all democrat activists. )

Incidentally, an initial 260 voters ( out of 4900 eligible voters ) attended Town Meeting after a snow storm which caused almost all adjacent Town Meetings to be postponed.

Next year could be even tougher. The newly accepted Town Charter not only splits Town Meeting into three parts, but also changes the date to May. So the first Open Session will be in March, the Official Ballot in April and the Final Open Session in May. Plus of course, the School Deliberative Session in February, the School Ballot in March, AND the Federal Election in November !! 

Is this getting clearer to anyone ?