Thursday, June 05, 2008

One step backwards, Three forward...

Spring Town Meeting is done, except for one little article about spending a hundred or two thousand dollars to buy a view of a Big Old House on Main Street. I'll probably vote against it, because I'm a cheapskate.

We rescinded a Town Bylaw! It turns out the Health Department has the authority (granted by the State) to regulate biotechnology stuff, so we don't need a town law that tries (badly) to do the same thing. One or two Town Meeting members (wearing belts and suspenders, if I recall) argued that we should keep the bylaw anyway, but the vote wasn't close to being close.

Jonathan O'Keeffe pointed out that we also passed three new bylaws, so, overall, we've got two more bylaws than when we started. D'oh!

And I voted for all three. Double-d'oh!

Two of the three (the nuisance house and false alarm bylaws) are meant to punish people for doing stupid things that cost the rest of us money. I'm a big believer in being responsible for your actions, and I trust that our Police department will be reasonably fair when deciding whether or not to apply these new laws, so I voted "Aye."

Not without some reservations, though. I'd rather we had a single bylaw that said something like "if you do something stupid that costs the Town money, then you gotta pay" (in proper legalese, of course). The tricky bit would be figuring out who decides what's "stupid" and what's an accident or honest mistake, but I think that's the kind of thing juries are meant to decide.

Image by
"nal from miami"

The third new bylaw is the "Right to Farm" bylaw. I voted for it because it strengthens property rights, basically saying that if you build your house next to a farm (or next to a big piece of land that might one day become a farm), you should expect to smell cow poop, hear tractors, and maybe even be woken up at 5AM every morning when the rooster crows.

Maybe it will make people more tolerant and less whiny. A boy can dream...

1 comment:

Larry Kelley said...

Actually it's more like $400,000 to preserve the view. As I said about the Kimball House fiasco (almost $300,000): It would be a LOT cheaper just to take a digital photo.

But what the heck, it's Community Preservation money, and that is just manna from heaven.