Letter: Revote not merited

To the Editors: 

Since the September vote on the Miller-Driscoll School renovation, some have voiced concern that town officials acted improperly with regards to leaflets and other actions leading up to it, which potentially broke state election rules. The matter is currently under review with the State Election Enforcement Commission, or the SEEC. We must respect the law as it applies to the voting itself, where the 27-vote margin of victory was sufficient for a win under town rules. Similarly, we should allow the process to work with the current appeal of the vote with the SEEC.

There have been suggestions that with 1,100 signatures on a petition, if such a significant portion of the population believes in a revote, the town should strongly consider it. This notion is grounded in misinformation as the only merit the petition has is its ability to call a town meeting. Whether the petition had one signature more than necessary or a thousand is irrelevant with regards to the MDSR vote. Residents should not confuse what each represents.

Since the matter is already under review with the SEEC, what exactly do we hope to accomplish at the Feb. 17 town meeting? The time to express support or disapproval for the project has long since passed, unless a revote is called for by an independent, unprejudiced commission. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to decide the issue with the proper respect to those who voted in favor in September and to the outcome itself in a town meeting, while balancing this dissenting view after the fact.

The MDSR division may be less clear cut than what may seem apparent. Parents of school-aged children have concerns about the renovation process. Those living on a fixed income fear higher taxes. Others preferred the alternative options or the one that was approved for equally different reasons. Short of a clear state election rule violation, who can be sure that having another vote would not contaminate the result? Those most impassioned on the issue today may be those who did not agree with it. The only players in this game are those who voted in September, everyone else is now a spectator, absent a ruling.

While the issue of the voting seems to be the primary point of concern, also criticized is the Board of Selectmen’s capital bonding process. There have been inferences that “The Town” purposely orchestrated the whole project in an underhanded manner. With this and other purported transgressions, isn’t this more dogma than reality?

What seems most plausible is that with such a range of opinions on multiple projects with differing concerns, the MDSR vote is the will of the town. Perhaps a few areas could have been more transparent prior to the September vote. Should this nullify an outcome that obviously is so important to so many of us? Unfortunately, a town meeting will not ensure a fair settlement.

Dixon Downey