Meeting Concludes At 7 PM Tonight
Last night's town meeting at Bourne High School went the distance, with adjournment at 10 PM leaving several articles on the table. We'll take another crack at it tonight, at 7 PM.
The big ticket item was the vote on whether Bourne should secede from the Cape Cod Commission. Bourne had voted against the regional planning authority 24 years ago, but they have since had a change of heart. The CCC secession bill lost by a 103-128 vote.
There is an unspoken and perhaps unfounded sentiment in the B that the Cape Cod Commission sort of views Bourne as only 75% of a Cape town. We expect them to do our howling for us when Randy Hunt starts yipping about a toll bridge, or when the Bourne Scallop Festival ends up in Falmouth. We're still waiting for any sort of plan to improve the business prospects for Main Street in Buzzards Bay (my plans, such as installing a Hooters or maybe transitioning the town into a fishing destination, were written on this site for free, and are better than anything I've heard coming out of the CCC), or for any means of alleviating traffic at our numerous rotaries and bridges.
Of course, the CCC didn't invent traffic or overcharge the Scallop people. There is just a sense that certain individuals in Hyannis Port or on various Shore Roads can snap their fingers and have influence equal to 20000 Bourne residents. Whether or not that is true, there is enough resentment towards the CCC to merit (losing) town meeting warrant articles.
That was the main drama at the Meet last night, as anti-Commission people like Selectmen Donald Ellis and Linda Zuern spoke at the meeting. Zuern called the CCC "perhaps (not) even constitutional." They think that the CCC stifles economic development in town, and that they end up leeching money that otherwise would be spent in Bourne/on Bourne.
Cape Cod Commission Executive Director Paul Niedzwiecki wished to speak on behalf of the CCC, but he got snuffed at the goal line. He had to content himself with shaking his head, wince-laughing, and so forth as the issue was discussed. It was a performance not unlike that turned in by Joe Biden at the VP debates whenever Paul Ryan was speaking, and I expected Niedzwiecki to yell "malarkey" at several points. PN is at the top of the CCC flow chart, so his presence at the meeting spoke of the importance of the issue.
The vote was merely to determine if a secession vote should be on the next ballot. If it passed, we'd have to petition a probably-going-to-be-hostile State for the right to bail.
The rest of the meeting was a bit less contentious, although some fur did fly over the capital projects matter. The various town departments did some big spending. Three new police cruisers, a pickup truck, and various other DPW-style vehicles are being purchased, while lifeguard service in Bourne is severely limited.
One resident of Gray Gables questioned the wisdom of having shiny new police cars responding to drownings at unguarded beaches. Only Sagamore Beach and Monument Beach will merit lifeguard service this summer. Jump in the bay off of Electric Avenue, and only God or chance can save you if something goes wrong.
There was also some static regarding a nearly million dollar add-on to the cost of the new DPW facility. People were lining up to take shots at the various planning snafus, but the $975K was approved by a 246-45 vote.
We have 8 articles on the table tonight. You should try to roll down there and throw some Ayes and Nays around. The Cape Cod Commission, which will make numerous decisions directly related to your way of life and your pocketbook for decades, only drew 231 votes either way. Your vote really does matter in a small town election.
Look at it this way... you get 1/231 of a say as to whether Bourne votes to stay in the Cape Cod Commission. You got 1/129,085,403 of a say as to whether Mitt or Barry would be running the free world for the next 4 years. You wield far more influence around Bourne than you do in America.
Three other things that should urge you to vote tonight:
1) There are only 8 items, so you won't have to waste a second full night sitting in a high school auditorium.
2) The next time you vote, there could be summer people influencing the tallies. Someone from Connecticut who rents a cottage for 6 summer weeks and stays in it herself for 3 more could care less if Bourne's schools suck.
3) The Bruins play tonight, which might possibly equate to a lighter turnout. The moderator may even be reduced to just looking at an empty gym and being like, "So, Jessica... should we or shouldn't we buy the DPW that new front-end loader?"
Vote early and often, and we'll see you tonight- at 7 PM SHARP- for the session at the Bourne High School auditorium.