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The Ayes Have it: Its All, for the Residents of Bethel

The Bethel Action Committee All or Nothing petition passes muster with the crowd.

The All or Nothing Town Hall meeting resulted in 87 ayes and 57 nays in favor of passing a recommendation for the Board of Selectmen to create an ordinance. The ordinance would require that all residents receive an alert of an upcoming referendum.

 The lively debate lasted an hour and a half, with voices from the Board of Education, many parents and members of other town boards giving their interpretation of the ordinance.  

 The first portion of the meeting focused on the changed wording in the Call to Meeting.

The original petition had called to “compel and urge” the selectman to enact an ordinance that promised communication to all residents, however, when the Call to meeting was announced, the language was change to “recommend.”  The language was replaced through an amendment during the meeting.

 Billy Michael said, “The selectmen are now compelled and urged to make the ordinance.”  

 A full photo story with detailed captions will be posted on Bethel Patch later this morning.

Jen Mead April 25, 2012 at 11:45 AM
If passed, would this require ALL communications sent out by publicly funded organizations (like the schools) via email also be mailed to each resident? Or does this just pertain to voting issues?
BOB CRNIC April 25, 2012 at 11:58 AM
I believe it pertains only to issues that require a legislative body of Bethel electors (voters) to decide at a town meeting or town-wide referendum. Common sense. You wouldn't want your tax dollars being used for targeted mailings to special interest groups like high school parents - urging or reminding them to vote yes for a 5 million dollar high school pool. The rest of us who would never use the pool aren't prompted to vote and as a result the "town" votes for a project that only 10% of the voters approved at referendum. Similar scenarios go on all the time in this town.
Stewart Teed April 25, 2012 at 12:03 PM
Anyone can sign up for the school newsletter! Why not make use of nearly FREE communication to residents. Let's go backwards and require the town to spend money on postage when alternatives exist.
BOB CRNIC April 25, 2012 at 12:06 PM
In other words, my tax dollars are being used to support issues that I oppose. That's a no-no. But in this town, No-no's are overlooked because everyone's somehow related to each other in town government through social circles, churches, marriages, family or work. The whole system is compromised with overlapping relationships that foster constant conflicts of interest because noone wants to rock the boat. It's not good government - it's a farce.
Bill Hillman April 25, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Amazing, do we agree that use of the School's contact list is being used for political agenda?
Bob B April 25, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Why don't we just have the First Selectman's office send an e-mail to everyone in town prior to all referendums? Everyone can provide an e-mail address with their voting registration. If no e-mail is provided - then a reminder card can be sent via mail instead. Or perhaps a robo-phone message can be sent by the First Selectman's office - like the ones the town sent during the clean-up of the trees late last year. By the way, this must be a major disappointment to the hundreds of people around town that put signs in their yards prior to referendums. To find out that no one sees them and that they are in no way reminding people to vote must be disheartening.
Bill Hillman April 25, 2012 at 01:00 PM
Jen, have no fear, you would not lose your school newsletter. What the proposed ordinance is simply saying is notices that relate to a VOTE should be equally distributed. Perhaps the school email system should simply stick to school business and not be used to lobby for attendance at a special town meeting (unrelated to the school budget) by a targeted segment of the town.
Bill Hillman April 25, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Bob B, great Idea! I would love to FOI that new email list! Would be very useful. The Emergency list is protected from FOI, but it's use for non-emergency purposes would make it subject to FOI as well. Is that what you are asking for?
Dan Gaita April 25, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Mr. Billy Michael, Thank you for your hard work on this important issue. I appreciate all that you do for our community.
BOB CRNIC April 25, 2012 at 02:22 PM
The town should use the most ubiquitous media available, the phone, to alert voters for budget referendums only. Referendums that do not impact the entire town should not be allowed to be communicated to residents via public distribution channels using public funds. Since my kids are out of the school system, I have nomore interest in the School newsletter, with the exception of campaign seasons when the current administration has used the "School Newsletter" to advocate school friendly positions on election issues and use laudatory language that suggest subtle reasons to support their re-election...It never ends...
Christine Rose (Editor) April 25, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Many questions are answered, especially pertaining to the robo-calls, in the just posted long version of last night's meeting. http://bethel.patch.com/articles/photo-story-the-hearing-for-all-or-none

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