Monday, May 24, 2010

The Issue

What is before Longmeadow voters?

We have 1 issue to decide tomorrow night: whether to accept Commonwealth money earmarked for Longmeadow's High School, or to reject that offer.

Yes or no.

If we vote no, there is not another plan waiting in the wings. We would need to start from square one, and the money the Commonwealth held for us will go back into their general pool for building projects. The LHS would not get repaired; nothing constructive would happen as a result of a no vote.

If we choose YES, however, we benefit in many ways. One way is through the favorable economic climate for such large scale projects. Our interest rate would be at an historic low, and construction bids would likely come in lower than at another time. Evidence from other districts bears this out. Another way is that the timeframe for building would be expedited. Two years--two years without kids in trailers.

The Finance Committee's opinions on this project matter to some degree, since they are the long range planning financial group for Town Meeting. As of this writing, they have not presented Longmeadow with a long range plan, however. Any informal discussion that they may have had regarding other projects is uninformed by a variety of factors: What is the cost for each item? Will we receive grants or other aid from the state or federal government for such projects? There are too many unknowns for the FC to make any valid claim about the future. It is a shame that our FC would waste time discussing that which they have no control over.

Aristotle even classifies deliberation as that
which includes practical matters within people’s power (In The Rhetoric, 1359a); there are too many unknowns for them to deliberate about such possible future items. They are inconsequential to the issue before us.

We know the consequences of inaction-voting no. We know the benefits of acting positively with a YES vote. Those concerns, plus our values and interests, are legitimate to consider. I hope Town Meeting decides to keep its eyes on the prize.

Rebecca M. Townsend

No comments: