Town Meeting, as I understand it, is a biannual legislative gathering of Brookline's government to decide on submitted warrant articles concerning town-related business. However, it has been the practice of some Brookline residents to present their personal opinions regarding non-Brookline-specific issues to Town Meeting in the form of nonbinding resolutions. This needs to end.
How does Brookline benefit from these resolutions? How do these resolutions conduct the Town's business? How do these resolutions constitute a constructive use of time at Town Meeting?
The evenings of Town Meeting are long. There can be a lot of articles to consider--. The meeting needs to stay focused to complete its work. Non-binding resolutions can obscure this focus. Frankly, these resolutions can be a nuisance to Town Meeting.
In 2004 and 2005, former Town Meeting Member and Brookline resident Ron Goldman infamously introduced his "no spanking" resolution. Town Meeting rejected the article twice before relenting and voting favorable action the third time. Mr. Goldman's persistence paid off for him, but not necessarily for Brookline.
The warrant article received a lot of press attention as well as a fair amount of ridicule from people outside the community. The episode called into question the seriousness of our town government. The passing of the resolution forwarded Mr. Goldman's agenda, but not that of Town Meeting.
As a former Brookline Access Television volunteer, I spent many hours helping the station document Town Meeting. Everyone on the production crew, staff and volunteers alike, groaned whenever we saw these resolutions on the Town Meeting Warrant. The resolutions guaranteed long, boring speeches from the petitioners. Those moments made me wish I had brought a pillow.
So please, kind petitioners, stop clogging Town Meeting with time-consuming, non-binding resolutions. Please don't use Town Meeting to promote your causes. The other people at Town Meeting, your neighbors, would like to go home. They have work in the morning, their kids have school. They need a good night's rest.
Town Meeting does, too.
30 Kilsyth Road
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