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180 begins our election coverage

April 9, 2011

With the weather warmer and sunnier, you know Walpole election season has officially arrived.

As a non-property taxpayer, I intend to leave the Walpole Woodworkers override question blank on my ballot in the June town election. I will not vote to affect the town’s property taxes when I myself will not be paying. However, that does not mean I can not offer my opinion on this issue, of course. In the coming weeks leading up to the election, 180 will be providing our unparalleled 2011 town election coverage, just like last year. Stay tuned for commentary and thoughts on the candidates for town boards and the issues leading up to Town Meeting in May and the election in June. This is also the first election I am eligible to vote in, so you can expect some truly honest and forthright opinions coming from a voter and not just a bystander.

Regardless of how you feel about the Walpole Woodworkers override proposal, the Walpole Board of Selectmen and Town Administrator deserve a lot of credit for genuinely trying to engage citizens in the process of buying the property. This is a dramatic difference from last year’s biotech disaster, in which the Board tried to ram biotech down residents’ throats. This time, Selectmen are allowing citizens to share their concerns about the Woodworkers project before each Selectmen’s meeting, from 7-7:30 PM at each meeting leading up to the June Election Day.

The Board is also holding frequent public forums about the proposal, and previously held one at the Senior Center to hear input from the town’s senior citizens and others. Even though Tuesday night’s public forum is being held at a time when many seniors may be unable to attend, there is no doubt that seniors have been given ample opportunity to share their concerns at other public comment sessions.

At last week’s Woodworkers public forum, prominent Town Meeting Representative James Taylor, who requires no other introduction, was the only resident who attended to share his thoughts and ask questions about the proposal. Take a look at the video on the town’s website (watch the first nine minutes of the April 5, 2011 meeting.)

I should also note that while Mr. Taylor seemed to say near the end of his remarks that the public forums have not been properly publicized, to be fair to Selectmen it should be noted that Mr. Taylor is incorrect or was at least reading the wrong websites to get his information. The town website has had information about the Woodworkers public forums on this page, although it is certainly arguable that the town website itself needs renovation because the link to this page is hidden among other links in a hard-to-read format.

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