As we all get ready for the new school year, or just return from vacation mode, elections are looming: The presidential election, plus U.S. Senate and congressional races. And, there are contests for seats in the state House and Senate.
How do these events relate to life in Weston?
At the local level here, politics and issues are purple, a color formed by mixing red and blue — as in “red states” and “blue states.” But this is not a local election year, where we go to the polls to elect and re-elect those who serve us best, and keep our taxes down and our environment green and clean.
Local elections here rarely get half the turnout of presidential years. Why? Most of us like to think we are non-partisan about purely Weston matters. Many who are too busy to stay on top of local government activities choose to stay home rather than act in a partisan fashion. And unaffiliated voters, the largest voting bloc in town, often find it hard to distinguish the Democrats from the Republicans on hometown issues.
But Westonites have always done their civic duty and voted in prodigious numbers in presidential election years. We sometimes win the “Democracy Cup” given by the secretary of the state for highest turnout among comparably sized towns. Our most recent victory in such a contest reflected about a 90.3% turnout.
Can we match or exceed that this year? What is at stake? Why should you vote?
Concerning turnout, the recent primaries for U.S. Senate candidates provided interesting hints with respect to the Nov. 6 election. Twice as many Republicans turned out for their contest as a percentage of their enrollment as did Democrats.
Based on global issues especially, in my opinion the answer to the question of what is at stake is “more than we can even imagine.”
And the question of why you should vote has many answers. If you believe in democracy, voting is where our form of government begins and ends. Register to vote if you are a citizen and 18 years of age or older. There is no benefit to not registering. You can be called for jury duty whether you are registered to vote or not!
Finally, you should vote this year because charter revision will be on the ballot. More people showed up here for Charter Revision Commission public hearings than is usual in most communities. Strong feelings on the subjects of mandatory budget referenda and continued election of the town clerk and tax collector were evident.
How will the question or questions about charter revision be phrased? Will they appear at the top of the ballot? The secretary of the state’s website says the deadline for printing of absentee ballots is Sept. 15. Will the charter revision question or questions be ready and approved by town attorney in time?
Few subjects have triggered as much passion over the last dozen years or so in Weston than Leon Lachat’s farm on Godfrey Road West. The town and the Nature Conservancy jointly purchased the property shortly before the turn of the new century, in 1997 and 1999.
During relatively good economic times, on June 17, 2004, Town Meeting approved funding for a Juliana Lachat Conservation Center. The resulting proposal failed to get Planning and Zoning Commission approval.
Recently, we came to a crossroads regarding the farmhouse. To restore or to demolish, that was the question. Town Meeting gave a big “yes” to the rehabilitation/preservation concept late in 2011.
The latest iteration of a Committee for Lachat emphasizes preservation and planting — history, architecture, and landscape. My three favorite subjects!