Sunday, June 14, 2015

WILL THE PEOPLE EVER BE HEARD AGAIN, IN LISBON?



Tuesday night will be another meeting of the Town Council.  One of the items on the agenda is the School Budget Referendum Timeline.  Part of the timeline is where or not the Town Council has to waste more of the people valuable time by holding another Public Hearing on the new figures for the School Budget.

The Town Council has repeatedly demonstrated that everyone has an opportunity to speak at the Public Hearing but what they don’t tell you is that they are not going to listen to the wish of the people.  Instead, it is going in one ear and out the other of some of the Councilors.  So, this is a complete waste of time.  

Lisbon is no longer a democratic form of government where the voice of the people has any meaning.  This is no longer a government of the people, by the people or for the people.  In fact, the Town Council has interpreted the Town Charter to mean, the Town Council has absolute power over everything in this town.  I fail to understand why the section of the Charter that deals with the Special Town Meeting is even a part of the Charter?  The Town Council and Town Attorney have stated that the people cannot put in a petition calling for a Special Town Meeting on the School budget when it clearly states “ANY BUDGET APPROPRIATIONS”.  I believe the Charter Commission would not have included the section on Special Town Meetings if they were going to deny the people the right to vote on budget issues.  

You can tell the Town Council is turning into politicians because they speak out of both sides of their mouths.  The Town Council made a Charter change to reduce the number of signatures needed to gather on a petition as a solution to not allowing the people to vote on the Municipal budget.  Well, it seems they are going to have to change the Charter again to protect themselves.

The Town Council present and past has always changed the Charter to give themselves more power.  At the same time, they strip more and more of the power of the people.  This was always done by a vote of the people because the people are not involved in local government.  In November, there will be more Charter changes on the ballot that will strip the people of what little power they have remaining.  The only Charter change we need is to go back to the original Charters.  It was working well until Councilor Michael Bowie, Town Manager Stephen Eldridge and Town Attorney Roger Therriault made massive changes to give the Town Council more power.

Until the people decide to take back our local government, the people lose.

Larry Fillmore