Article 33 proposed in this year’s Town Meeting offers several alternative forms of government for us to consider. However, our current town meeting system best represents what our town wants and needs, as it is the most direct form of democracy available.
The main advantage of a meeting-style of government is that everyone has the ideal representative -- themselves. In this system, no one needs to worry if their representative doesn’t have their best interests in mind; anyone can vote yes or no on every article proposed as they see fit. And the door is open to everyone willing to show up.
Moving to a council system closes the door and locks this ability to a select board of people.
There is no question that town meeting offers strong representation to individuals, but it has a lot to offer on a larger scale as well. By giving everyone the same voting power, meetings encourage community engagement.
Instead of interacting with the same five people for decades, articles are passed by reaching out to neighbors, people who we can interact with on a daily basis, and will have an interest in improving the immediate conditions of where we live.
Compromise and negotiation is required for successful legislation -- another reason why resolutions adopted by the meeting will better represent the town.
How can cutting the voting rights of the town be good for the town? While no system is perfect, meetings clearly have the most to offer to both individuals and the community.
The whole point of democracy is to give a voice to many, and there isn't a compelling reason to change it for the few.