Citizens come together and make decisions about town issues.
Oftentimes it’s hard to get a quorum on a Saturday morning in Cohasset. It’s always better for Town Meeting when it rains.
Some years “the hive” is swarming. The HUM starts a week or so before TOWN MEETING.
At first there’s a quiet HUM.
Last week a citizen reporter who had just returned from the Landfill called TU (Tinytown Unleashed) to say:
“A week ago Selectman candidate Martha Gjesteby was doing Ok and Karen Quigley’s petition article was failing. But now it’s all changed. Gjesteby and Quigley both win big time.”
But how did this happen we asked?
Our reporter shrugs her shoulders.
In the March 2012 issue of the Smithsonian writer Carl Zimmer (HIVE MIND) wrote a darling article about bee hives. While I was reading along about Hive etiquette I thought to myself – Hummmm…the behavior of bees in very much like what happens at a town meeting. The getting together on issues part
And then on Page 16 of that same article, second column, third paragraph Thomas Sealy of Maine, a beekeeper said:
“New England town hall meetings are the closest human grouping to honeybee swarms. There are some differences, but there are also some fundamental similarities.
“Like scouts, individual citizens are allowed to share different ideas with the entire meeting. Other citizens can judge for themselves the merit of their ideas, and they can speak up themselves. When it’s working properly, good ideas rise up and bad ones sink down.”
Seeley discusses the bees throughout the article, noting their interesting behaviors. I began to underline all the interesting comparisons to town meetings and humans and found myself magic marking entire pages. So you’ll just have to go to the library and read it.
One never knows what will happen at a town meeting. Especially an annual one.
The people who attend town meeting have been thinking about the Cohasset Town Meeting warrant for over a week when you read this on-line or in the May 16th hard copy edition. And they have been reading the newspapers and blogs for much longer than that.
It’s been a tough year for town officials.
Selectmen are getting hell for the very sloppy warrant. A warrant is supposed to “warn” people of the amounts of the unpaid bills, how much money is needed for unpaid bills, etc. This warrant, constructed by a new and untrained town manager, is sorely lacking in information. It’s not illegal, it’s just lacking. Plus, it was late in getting mailed to homes. I got mine 6 days before town meeting. There will be lectures. The lectures have already started. Steve Gaumer, Chairman of Capital Budget, a stickler for details, is displeased. He would probably be an excellent selectman.
Town Manager Mike Milanoski has worked his hiney off – to the extent that even Tinytown Unleashed appreciates his efforts. Alas, while he bright as a whip, he is not a trained town manager. He will make mistakes because he hasn’t apprenticed for this job. Already he is holding back information from the press, maybe the very selectmen he serves. Discouraging words in the form of mean letters disappear from the selectmen’s packet, or the press’s packet. This has to stop. Selectmen should want to keep the press content – as happy as possible – in order that it does not moan and groan. Moaning and groaning effects elections – which several elected officials face a week after annual town meeting.
But this article is not about that. This is about the bees. The Town Meeting bees.
I imagine TU as being a Scout bee. We worry about everything all the time. We’re pretty good about picking on the articles with substance.
At this point the Cohasset ATM warrant is a blank check. Voter bees have no idea of the costs of anything. A motion page will be handed out at town meeting but until the voter bees alight upon the floor no one will really have any handle on what is being requested. This year the swarm will be more than upset.
Voter bees like the fact that Cohasset Water is shutting off the water of people who don’t pay. But they don’t like that fact that a photo of smiling Water Commissioner Leonora Jenkins putting dunning letters in the mail was taken and published in the Mariner. That was a turn-off. Who knows how that will play against the water commissioners’ article, Article 32?
Will Bees vote against an article will asks them to let the inexperienced Acting Town Manager and other assorted inexperienced people negotiate a final concessionare water contract with a bidder who will not submit his bid until after the first session of town meeting?
I sure hope so.
Hotel taxes and meals taxes might pass this year, thanks to an editorial written by Mary Ford, Mariner Newspapers. She explained it well. If it passes selectmen should send her flowers.
I am in favor of the citizens’ petition, Article 21, to turn the water and sewer commissioners into a combined appointed board of water and sewer commissioners. I will tell you why at town meeting.
The power of the town meeting is in the Hive. The Queen Bee, the Water Commissioners, the Selectmen, lose all power here. Town Meeting is CITIZEN power.
“Both swarms and brains make their decisions democratically. Despite her royal title, a honeybee queen does not make decisions for the hive. The hive makes decisions for her…millions make a collective choice.”
I hope to see you at Cohasset Town Meeting.
You may not think your vote is important, you may not even think you have enough knowledge to participate. But you do. We need the intelligence of the swarm to come forth. And that intelligence usually leads to the right decisions. And you are part of the swarm.
© Copyright 2012 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed