I think I just figured out why last night's Town Meeting session felt so... wrong, even though I was happy about the way all the votes turned out (and none were close enough to require either standing or tally votes).
It seemed to me that instead of simply voting NO for the articles they didn't like, certain Town Meeting members instead proposed (or thought about proposing) various procedural motions that would have the same effect.
It started with Vince O'Connor and the proposal to use $100,000 in CPAC money to help fix Town Hall. He had a little discussion at the podium with Mr. Moderator before he spoke, apparently about whether or not he would be offering some kind of amendment. I guess reason prevailed, and, instead, he just argued (unsuccessfully) against the article.
It continued with Mary Wentworth proposing an amendment to the R&D overlay district article that, essentially, made the R&D overlay district do nothing at all. What the heck is that all about? If you don't like the article, then JUST VOTE NO. Making me vote twice (four times, if you count the votes to "call the question") just makes me cranky.
Finally, on that SAME article, Ben Grosscup made a motion to refer the article back to the Planning Board. Umm, yeah-- the planning board unaminously recommended the article after a bunch of work and public discussion. "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. -- Benjamin Franklin"
So, if I'm counting correctly, we had to vote three times (six if you count the "call the question" votes) to say Yes to this article.
I suppose I should gird my loins for a whole lot more of this; the Zoning Board of Appeals is gonna get into a turf war with the Planning Board, and is proposing amendments of their own. Zoning articles are complicated enough; add in proposed amendments and the associated "I call the motion to the previous question to amend motion B of Article 63..." complexity of Town Meeting procedure and it's just a big hairy mess that makes me really cranky. If you don't like it-- can't you keep it simple and Just Vote No?