Voting — Democracy in Action in West Hartford

Yesterday the citizens of West Hartford voted on accepting the proposed budget, and they voted a resounding, “No.”

I have not yet read any reaction to last night’s election, but I wanted to share my immediate thoughts.  They may change as I later reflect (I’m a commit-ophobe), but right now I am pretty pleased with the fact that I live in a place that has referendums decent voter turnout in the middle of June.  I guess when you come down to it, almost 30% isn’t great voter turnout, but considering what turnouts are often like, it’s not too bad. I cannot say I am pleased with the outcome of the vote, as I believe the West Hartford Taxpayers Association has been less than up front — though more importantly — they have vilified teachers and unions, as well as anyone who opposes them.  I am happy, however, that the town of West Hartford had the opportunity to raise a voice. While I may not always be completely caught up on what is happening in my town, (my country, or my world, for that matter) I believe it is important to read up and know what you are voting for or against.  I’d like to think that many people who voted no were wooed by the idea of lower taxes — a skewing of the actual WHTA’s issue with the budget.  I’d like to think that — not because I want us to all be blind voters, but because I do not want to believe that people can think so harshly of teachers, unions, and education.   Of course I don’t want to believe that people vote without a good understanding of an issue, but for some reason it seems worse to believe that citizens think teachers are greedy and self-serving.

The West hartford Blog has provided an invaluable place to discuss the issue, though I wish there had been a public debate forum.

All in all, while I may not agree with the outcome, I am glad that we had the election.  I’m getting satisfaction out of being linked in to local politics — having a firm understanding of what is going on in my town.  West Hartford does have a lot of great services, and I hope that those services don’t get cut. 

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