May 14 2007 Sutton Massachusetts Town Meeting
This meeting was in essence a continuance from the February 2007 meeting, where Sutton residents voted down the purchase of the Shaw Property. The selectmen had come back with a new proposal which both found a new way to finance the Shaw Property and also to finance school improvements.
Once again the meeting was very poorly publicized to the general population, although the school system had put out the word to parents and the resulting larger numbers caused us to have to reloacate to the high school gym. To document the lack of publicity, I took photos around Sutton on the day of the meeting. The main notice board on Route 146 only mentioned the garden show and a poker tournament. A giant banner on the town common only mentioned the garden show.
I went to three locations that had the town warrant posted. At the Post Office, it was like a scene from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The main display case only had an old warrant from February, with no mention of the Shaw property. You had to go to the back of the post office box area to find the current town warrant thumbtacked to a wall. It wasn't obviously a warrant - you had to go up to it to see what it was about. To read the warrant you had to take it down from the wall, then re-thumbtack it up when you were done.
It was worse at the Heritage Plaza store. Here the walls were covered with random certificates and notes. The warrant had THREE thumbtacks in it to hold it there. Securely.
At least at the Sutton Center shop the warrant was the only thing posted so it was at SLIGHTLY visible to people coming in. Still, it looked like a certificate of operation or other non-important document. Couldn't the main cover page of the warrant say in big letters TOWN MEETING MAY 14 2007 - READ THIS WARRANT FOR DETAILS and then have the details of the warrant within? That way people MIGHT know this was something to look at.
I took many notes during the meeting. For now, the gist is that much of the 'business' was put off until June. We talked for over an hour about the Shaw purchase before we voted on this issue. I'll comment that one man was presenting information on the purchase - information that MANY people in line had expressed an interest in seeing. When he neared the end of his talk and said he was about done, some extremely rude people in the back clapped loudly to try to drown him out. It made me extremely ashamed that in a modern democracy, mature adults would behave like that. The main moderator in fact got on the microphone and told those people to behave more appropriately. The speaker then finished his talk.
We voted on this issue with ballots, not a hand count. Then we went through other votes before they gave us the Shaw vote summary at the end. The vote passed. This means it now goes to a town-wide ballot during the elections next week, May 22nd. Come on out to vote!
MP3 File of the 1 hour long discussion
2007 Sutton MA Town Meetings - main page
Sutton Massachusetts Town Meetings - main page