Vol. IV No. 7 4/1/2023
The Not-Voting Nap Is Over
By Bruce Blair
We are our own worst enemies when it comes to choosing our destiny in Stockbridge. Want proof? According to our Town Clerk, only 31% of approximately 1600 registered voters actually voted in the last town election. And the system of voting on expenditures and bylaws at the Annual Town Meeting is no longer inclusive. Last year, my neighbor, who has lived here for 90 years, forgot to go. Or her backside had not recovered from the previous town meeting. Many there might have confessed to any and every crime after being tortured in those chairs, hour after warrant article-filled hour.
How many simply cannot go because of work, disabilities, family commitments, illness, travel? We are no longer a bunch of hearty farmers, coming in from the fields to vote. We have gone from resembling people in Normal Rockwell paintings, because some of us are in those paintings, to looking like Norman himself. No offense Norman, but you would be my last pick for cycling the Josh.
What does this lack of participation in the democratic process do for us? The small, determined group looking to build high density housing developments in the precious Green Necklace Zone have quite rightly seized on town indifference to promote their agenda. Think your voice doesn't matter? We have narrowly escaped becoming a cruise ship plopped among the hills more than once.
Heard the skinny about those big houses erupting on the Bowl? Recently realized that the Children's Chimes have not rung in six years? How about the million-dollar crosswalks? Dredging the Bowl? Getting rid of our own Fire Department? Ditching videos of town committee meetings? Can't tell the Committee To Be On A Committee (CTBOAC) from the Commission To Be On A Commission (CTBOAC)? Feeling confusion on Residential Inclusion? What to do????
Sometimes you have to be a citizen. Read the Eagle, the Edge, Updates, the town website (there are agendas!), talk to neighbors, friends. Write to town officials — they need your help!! If you can't run for office or volunteer, you can still vote and encourage others. People in Stockbridge need to become aware and give themselves a say in what our future holds. Long-time residents are on the brink of not recognizing the town. The rest may never know what they have missed. Time to start asking about things, look around. Like it here? Then you better start voting. While here is still here.
Bruce Blair is a resident of Stockbridge and frequent contributor to Stockbridge Updates
Photo: Lionel Delevinge