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1970s message to RTMs still holds true today

January 15, 2013

The below “Citizen’s Checklist” is printed on the inside of the front cover of the Spring 1977 Walpole Town Meeting warrant. It was also printed in the front covers of other Town Meeting warrants in the 1970s. It served as guidelines for Town Meeting Representatives when they attend Town Meeting.

This should be printed on the inside front cover of the 2012 Spring Town Meeting Warrant as well, because many of the points it expresses still hold true today. It should be kept in mind by all of our RTMs when they vote on Town Meeting articles. Take a look:

“Citizen’s Checklist”

1. Is it necessary? Or is it something that is not really needed or perhaps already being provided by a private or public group?

2. Can we afford it? Remember, there is no limit to what we would like, but there is a limit to what we can afford.

3. What will it cost ultimately? Many proposals are like icebergs — only a small fraction of the total cost is apparent on the surface.

4. How will it affect basic liberties? If it imposes unreasonable or illegal restraints on your life or that of others, it should be vigorously opposed.

5. Is it in the balanced best interest of all? If it is designed to benefit a small group or special interests, while taking unfair advantage of others, work for its defeat.

6. Is it a “foot-in-the-door” proposition? Compromising a little now may bring an oppressive burden later, either in more regulations or more taxes or a combination of both.

7. Does it place too much power in the hands of one individual or group? Once decisive power is granted to a non-elected public official, a commission or a municipal authority, the private citizens lose effective control.

8. Does it recognize the importance of the individual and the minority? This is a cornerstone of our republic.


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