Billerica center traffic plan opponents kill project at the polls
Opponents of a plan to redesign the town center scored a resounding victory Monday, as a whopping 40 percent of the town's 26,000-plus registered voters showed up to vote, killing the $14 million project 9,084 votes to 1,467. Under the Town Charter, any referendum to reverse a Town Meeting decision must secure at least 20 percent voter turnout in ... (more)
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#1 Nov 24, 2012
Maybe there something wrong with Billerica's representative body? I can think of several reasons for a disconnect between the will of the people and the political process within Town. For instance; the make-up of Town Meeting being a large portion of Town employees and their relatives, the fact that the Town Manager set up his own hand pick committee, the fact that most of the boards and committees are stacked to ensure pre-determined results or to block any real participation/input from the people . Just to name a few. Now lets get back to the make-up of Town Meeting and the new electronic voting that was used for the first time when this article was passed. This project was one that the Town Manager was the champion for. He hand picked the committee (outside of the normal process) and presented the solutions he wanted to the public . If you are a Town employee, or a relative of one and your vote for or against the project was now known and documented under the new electronic voting system --- why would you vote against the project knowing that the Town Manager could identify you?--- Especially since, it was rumored that he made it clear that he wanted this passed.
There are plenty of reasons why Town Meetings vote did not reflect the will of the people. The system has always been corrupt and filled with conflict of interest issues. But, this time the specter of intimidation and retaliation pushed the process so far off course that it awoke the sleeping giant and the people used the only legal means available to correct it. This vote was a resounding vote of no confidence for Town Meeting, Board of Selectmen, and especially for the Town Manager --- who attempted to forced this project down the throats of the people of Billerica. This Town Manager has demonstrated on numerous occasions his arrogance and his contempt for the people of Billerica. In the case of Town Meeting, the fact that intimidation and threats of retaliation were rumored -- potentially shows the same arrogance and contempt for employees of this Town who were elected to Town Meeting.
Town leadership's bad reputation is well deserved as the corruption and conflict of interest is well documented. Our biggest problem at this time is a contract employee (Town Manager) that I believe has serious emotional issues inconsistent with the ability for good leadership. It is his unilateral actions that have caused much of the divisiveness to reach a level were the people of this town had to take action. I find it offensive and arrogant of those people that wanted the project to imply that the people who voted against the project are somehow misinformed or there was a lack of communications.
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