Tuesday, July 31, 2007

"Dartmouth was here before your silly country, and Dartmouth, my friends, shall endure."

Some of us still believe that a well-educated and gainfully-employed populace is what made this once-great nation great once. We can be intelligent and proud as a culture, creative and innovative as individuals, progressive and commendable as a country. Just because we haven't been any of those things for the last thirty years and we've switched from "voting for the greater good" to "voting for MY GOOD! ME!" doesn't mean we must lose hope. Although there are skeptics.

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."

- Winston Churchill

The port where I find myself is voting on something called a "Proposition 2½ Override." Many years ago, a bunch of people (who are otherwise smart) came up with (and sold to legislators) a 2½ % annual cap on taxation that would, through its reckless implementation, eventually leave many communities in the Commonwealth without the means to pay for animal control officers or music teachers. This requires that the noneconomists and taxhaters must indulge in a vote whenever the cost of doing business as the local economy grows to such an extent that the town doesn't have enough immediate resources to meet its responsibilities to citizens and services. Today, Dartmouth MA voters will decide whether they would rather add $210 to a typical annual property tax bill ("override") or let the next generation of schoolkids learn that old people hate them.
The ridiculous back-n-forth we've had to live with over the past months is unbearable. The clearest and most common argument from the overrride opponents (besides the "them politicians are taking money out of your pocket" malarkey) is also the common SouthCoast rule: "Someone who does a job you do not know how to do obviously makes too much money doing it." (There is also the corollary "If people do a job you do not know how to do, you are obliged to tell them how to do it.") Like teachers. My neighbors hate hate hate teachers. They hate smartypants. Smartypantses fancypants. They hate them commie teacher unions. (see also: Town employees, municipal workers, police, etc.).
I'm sure that whoever comes out the victor on the morrow, there will be the usual sore losers and the inevitable sore winners.

Another reason to hate The Beach

EPILOGUE: If you are a Dartmouth voter, make sure you congratulate the guy holding the sign that says: "Vote no override or will be sorry." Best VOTE YES sign I've seen. Also, make sure to smile at the elections lady/poll worker who asks you, sincerely, if you're there to vote. She's having a tough day. Particularly since the traffic helicopters have been buzzing the polling places.

1 comment:

ThirdMate said...

The override lost by 200 votes. You can still afford your DunkinDonuts coffee, Dartmouthers. Of course, you also voted to have the businesses pick up most of the tab, but that wasn't binding. Sure, it would be easy to say that Dartmouth will now descend into unpoliced servicelessness and lawless chaos. But really: Who would know the difference? The Mall is still there. WawMaht is too. The conscientious will keep working hard. Others will be ill-mannered, illiterate, drive atrociously and no one will point out their infractions. "La plus ├ža change..."