Jul 28, 2014

Letter to the Editor: Whose Ox is Being Gored?

A letter to the editor from Robert Abrams.

Letter to the Editor: Whose Ox is Being Gored?

To the Editor:  

In his guest column of Oct. 4, 2012, Mark Kablack raises questions which are worthy of our attention. One question is, whose ox is being gored?

I respectfully suggest that he and his faction are disingenuous when he says that the concept of increasing the Board of Selectmen, "...is worth further review together with cautious advancement." That’s what they said at the 2010 Town Meeting when they indefinitely postponed the exact same article in order to "study" it. Their intention then was to kill rather than to study it, which is exactly what they did. They used that procedure to bury it. Given the opportunity on Sept. 24, they would have done that again.  

While Mr. Kablack complains about misstatement of facts by the petitioners, he ignores the blatant misstatement of facts by the opponents. Mr. Offner’s email in the Patch and Mr. Kaplan on Town Meeting floor described in detail a cumbersome process under Massachusetts General Laws chapter 43B and told the electorate that in 1994 we used that process when we enacted our current Charter. We did not. In 1994 we used the special act process which is an alternative set forth in section 8 of Article 2 of the Massachusetts Constitution.

Make no mistake; there was nothing flawed with the process used on Sept. 24. It is the exact same process used by the Town Meeting in 1994 when we created our current Charter which dramatically changed our entire form of government. On Sept. 24, using the same process, we merely amended that 1994 Charter by changing the word "three" to the word "five."  

What occurred at the Town Meeting on the 24th was nothing "cloaked in spite." The failure of the current administration to genuinely study the idea coupled with numerous other abuses of their power awakened a previously compliant electorate. That electorate came out in greater numbers than we have seen at Town Meeting in years. Mr. Offner calls them "destructive close-to-Tea-Party obstructionists." I don’t think the "overwhelming majority" of Sudbury citizens who voted for Article 4 are Tea-Party obstructionists. Rather they are a diverse group of Sudbury citizens who forcefully agree that the time has come to change that which is wrong with the current administration of our Town.  

The telling question raised by Mr. Kablack, however, is, "...when did Sudbury politics, or more importantly, when did the basic operations of town government, get reduced to the lowest form of political blood sport?" I’ve participated in Sudbury Politics and Town Meeting for 40 years. There have always been verbal altercations over hot button issues. My first observation of the conduct Mr. Kablack calls "political blood sport," however, was when the current administration of the Town began to believe that they had the power to vilify anyone who dared to question their actions.  

When it suits his purpose, Mr. Kablack points to Sudbury serving itself well with 350 years of tradition. In 2013 Mr. Kablack that will be 375 years. Perhaps it’s time for the current administration to pass the gavel and reinstitute the tradition of civility in our local government.

Robert D. Abrams

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