Thanks for the acknowledgement
Mr. Dobbs: As East Longmeadow's Town Moderator, I would like to thank you for your recent column and your acknowledgment of the vitality of our Town Meeting.
As the Town's legislative branch, where each registered voter has a direct say in the town's finances, zoning and other important matters, Town Meeting is "direct democracy." Not only do residents have the right to attend and vote, they also have the right to compel the Board of Selectmen to include matters on the warrant, and even to compel the calling of a Special Town Meeting.
Town Meeting is a legislature. Yes, it can sometimes be messy and occasionally inefficient, but on the whole, Town Meeting affords a town's residents the most direct input into how their local taxes will be spent, how their town will grow and how their children will be educated.
While I have an obvious bias, I would not agree that Town Meeting "has outlived its usefulness for a town the size of East Longmeadow." As you point out, I believe our recent Annual Town Meeting proved otherwise. The Town approved a $50 million budget, adopted some zoning changes and voted down others, discussed and voted upon two potential Proposition 2 1/2 debt exclusions and recognized a number of people for their actions (Ashley Dowd) and service to the town (W. Lloyd Oakes). It was accomplished with dialogue, discussion and civility.
Come as a guest to our next Town Meeting, and I guarantee you will come away wishing Springfield (or any other city) residents had the rights and powers that each East Longmeadow voter enjoys.
As for the second half of your column, I have all of the Firesign Theater LPs, (plus a few on CD) and as far as I'm concerned, it's a mortal sin to throw away any album, even Safety Dance by Men Without Hats.