Thursday, April 01, 2010
Updates and Accountability
Town meeting has taken place in those NH towns that still use it. Some of the SB-2 towns still have not concluded their governing process. Conway will have voting on April 13, from 8 am to 7 pm, at the Community Center. By now, we’re all familiar with the warrant article that an ideologue from Windham (by way of Massachusetts) managed to get placed on the warrants of some NH towns. This article asked voters to approve a resolution that would be sent to State Reps, Senators, the Speaker of the NH House, and the Senate President, urging them to support a constitutional amendment that would allow us to vote on the definition of marriage.
We’ve all read that the ideologues claim some sort of victory, because the resolution did pass in some towns. What they haven’t done is tell the whole story – because the whole story robs them of victory.
According to the good folks at Granite State Progress, there are 221 towns in NH that allow petitioned warrant articles. The folks at Let NH Vote tried to get petitions for articles in all of these towns. They were unable to find even 25 people to sign this petition in 73 towns. This also excluded NH’s 13 cities. So, 86 towns (37%) did not even discuss this.
Of the 148 towns that do allow petitioned warrant articles, 139 towns have dealt with it. There are 9 more towns (including Conway) that will be voting on it in April. So far, 33 towns refused to vote on it, thereby killing the petition. And 47 refused to vote on it, by tabling or amending the language to kill the petition. In other words, 80 communities have rejected the vote to discriminate, and 59 communities passed it. This is a far cry from the victory claimed by Let NH Vote. Of course, LNV claimed to be concerned with “letting the people vote” and not bigotry, and they claimed to be a grassroots group, when in reality, they were a front group for the National Organization for Marriage (which is itself a front group for the Mormon Church) and the Cornerstone Policy Research Group, NH’s own religious right lobbying group.
The petition made it on to the warrant in Jackson. The petitioners asked for a secret ballot, which requires another petition, and at least 5 of the signers of the secret ballot petition must be present. It was the final (39th) article on our warrant, and only 4 of the 7 who signed the petition were present. Apparently sleep won out over bigotry. The secret ballot failed. A number of folks spoke against the article, and very few made the case for it. Certainly not the full 25 who signed the original petition. A few voices supported it. The majority voted against this odious business. As I pointed out at the time – this is not the business of our town. We gather at town meeting to determine how we allot our resources, and how we govern our town. We do not gather together to figure out whose rights to take away.
The ideologues claim that we should get to vote on this. They ignore the fact that we live in a representative democracy. They ignore history. From the very beginning, over half the population of this nation was denied the right to vote. The Constitution was never put to a popular vote, nor was the Bill of Rights. Nor was the decision to end slavery, or prohibitions against interracial marriage. I haven’t heard from anyone who is getting divorced because gay folks can get married. Despite all the language from the haters about “cheapening the institution of marriage” they aren’t getting divorced in droves. Rush Limbaugh is about to embark upon his 4th marriage, on July 4. If he hasn’t cheapened the institution, no one can.
In other news, VT Yankee has finally plugged up their tritium leak, which was coming from the underground pipes that Entergy claimed did not exist. On the heels of that announcement came another – that the plant is leaking Cesium-137, a far more radioactive substance. Initially the plant tried to suggest that the Cesium was from weapons testing in the 50’s and Chernobyl, but the VT Health Department disagreed, seeing as how the radioactive waste turned up 15 feet underground. Entergy plans to clean it up, along with the tritium. Entergy even announced their intent to become a leader in solving the ongoing problem of tritium leaks that plagues so many US nuke plants.
Meanwhile, in an effort to shore up support for the aging, leaky, nuclear power plant, the NRC announced that they’d be having a meeting to discuss VT Yankee. The meeting would not be in Vermont, nor would it be open to the public. It was scheduled to be in Keene, NH, and attendees would be invitation only. Thanks to the immediate intervention of folks like Congressman Paul Hodes and Senator Bernie Sanders, the NRC quickly reconsidered the plan to have a secret meeting. The new meeting date has not been announced, but the meeting will be open to the public.
Regular readers are familiar with the regular rants of Maynard Thomson, mostly aimed at me. During his brief time as a Sun columnist, Mr. Thomson sheathed his poison pen, but since he opted to spend more time with his family, he’s back to belittling my intelligence and my writing skills. Like Congressman Hodes and Senator Sanders, I believe in transparency, and the right to know. Readers should know that Mr. Thomson has sent me a few behind-the-scene epistles over the years. The most recent one came last spring. Thomson (who was an attorney before he began writing romance novels) threatened to sue me, if I didn’t apologize for something I’d written, and then suggested I meet him for coffee or a drink. Since it was his own regrettable lack of reading comprehension that predicated his threats of legal action, I encouraged him to bring it on. I know two other women who have received similar billet-doux. One accused a Jewish female friend of being anti-Semitic, and the other was a thinly veiled blackmail attempt (if you don’t do what I want, I’ll do this). To the best of my knowledge, he’s never sent anything of the sort to any of my male colleagues or letter to the editor writing friends. My reply to Thomson was posted on my blog, on October 14, 2009. Barring future threats, this is my final word on this subject.
“ACCOUNTABILITY, n. The mother of caution” Ambrose Bierce
© sbruce 2010 This was published as an op-ed in the April 2, 2010 edition of the Conway Daily Sun.
Posted by susanthe at 10:05 PM