Wednesday, March 12, 2014

"Free Grafton" Frees Itself

The Free State Project was thrilled about this NPR story that aired on Weekend Edition on March 9. A small sampling:

Free Staters say Grafton should withdraw from the school district, cut the $1 million budget by 30 percent over three years, and carve Grafton out as a "U.N.-free zone."
Tony Stelick, a Free Stater who lived in Poland under the boot of Stalinism, remembers a government that slowly gained more and more power. He says locals who oppose Free Staters are unwittingly voting themselves towards fascism.
"They don't know where they going," Stelick says. "I been there. I know where they going."
Even though Grafton has always had a Libertarian streak, Free Staters are a minority and locals have mostly blocked their agenda. Still, Free Stater Jeremy Olson is confident they could shift the balance if they reach out to locals.
"I think most of the people in town are actually supportive of small government," he says.

It's funny - back at the very beginning of the FSP, one of the things they always talked about that they loved about NH - a reason for moving here - was our custom of town meeting. 

Who can blame them? Town meeting is that day where once a year we gather in our towns and hammer out our budget for the year. We discuss the nuts and bolts; streetlights, plow trucks, and software for the library. Should we start a capital fund to replace the fire truck in about 10 years? The big ticket items are discussed by everyone present. When seen on the warrant folks can get grumbly: "72,000 for that, are they nuts?" But then the fire chief or the road agent comes along to explain the why behind the ask. That's the thing. I've been to many town meetings, in many different towns. I've never been to a town that spent money frivolously. 

 LAST year in Grafton  the Free Staters cut the budget by 10%.  

After last year's success at town meeting, how did they do in the Free town of Grafton this year? 

The town operating budget of $993,500, up more than $53,000 from last year, passed on a vote of 381-111.
The default budget, which would have been adopted if the proposed budget failed, was more than the proposed budget, at just over $1 million.

Voters also rejected a tax cap, which would have prevented the Budget Committee from recommending an increase in property taxes of more than 1 percent over previous year’s spending.


Jim Dugan will sit on the Planning Board after winning 368 votes to 134 for Robert Hull. Jeffrey Weiss will be the supervisor of the checklist as he won over 313 voters compared with Jeremy Olson’s 157.

Robert Hull was one of the first Free State movers to Grafton. He's held that Planning Board seat for a long time.  As for Jeremy Olson? That confidence he was boasting of seems to have been misplaced. 

The good people of Grafton had a colorful deliberative session in February. 


Anonymous said...

UN free zone? How about Idiot free zone? Free Loony Tunes must be happy that Kenney is in. There's isn't any difference between any of them. As for Stalinism and Fascism, there is also no difference at all. The end result and the basic goals of both are identical.

Doesn't he recognize Fascism in the NSA and possibly one might argue with our current DC government?

freemind said...

There are 40 Free Staters in Grafton. So where do the other 100+ votes for Free State Project candidates come from if the Free Staters would really be a bunch of isolated outsiders in Grafton? Obviously a lot of natives must like them enough to vote for them.

susanthe said...

If a LOT of natives liked them, they wouldn't have lost.

Nice try though, anonymouse.