FTM decisions will affect our well-being
In recent days, my girls have been battling an illness that’s going around their kindergarten classes. It is manifested by several days of extremely high fevers – 101, 102, 103. Very alarming, but it does pass with Tylenol and a cold compress to keep cooler heads.
With the Financial Town Meeting just days away, I sense a similar malady has descended upon Jamestown. This one is manifested by heated accusations, rising tempers and an unsettling sense of spitefulness.
There are now well over 20 warrants that have been put forth from special interest groups and individuals who feel they are not getting their way. The Financial Town Meeting has been a Jamestown tradition of the body public coming together to ask budgetary questions, address or enact reasonable amendments or changes to the budget, and finally, to approve the budget.
Now it appears that the FTM may be usurped into a tool for various self-appointed entities to achieve their own agendas and preferences over the 5,000 or so registered Jamestown voters. The same voters who, every few years, elect our town council and school committee in a fair, open democratic election process.
What really disturbs me is that – potentially – serious financial, educational and quality of life issues may be decided by a group of people that I don’t know, that I didn’t elect and that have no accountability to the voters of Jamestown. Their only justification to make decisions affecting my family’s well-being is that they filed a piece of paper and will attend a meeting on June 7.
I’m concerned that the many islanders who do not share the views of these warrants will not attend and that the governance of the 5,000 Jamestown voters will be decided by a select few hundred.
Let us hope that cooler heads prevail. Until then, take two aspirin and call me Tuesday morning.
David J. Long
The writer is a former president of the Jamestown Town Council.