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Divisions can be poisonous

08/14/2008

To The Editor:                       

I have personally heard enough to be convinced that while this next vote may be, on its face, about the water project, the discussion in town suggests that there is a much greater issue lying just under the surface.

There is division in town, not mere differences of opinion or civil disagreements, but a fault line on either side of which points of view are aligning and solidifying. Divisions, unlike mere disagreements, can be poison to the business of the town.

Events can affect division. This upcoming vote on the water project is one such event which is likely to further the sharp divide in town due, in large part, to the very occurrence of a third vote, after two negative votes, within six months. I don't know who launched the idea of a petition to reconsider vote #2, but in my opinion it was an unwise decision, a reflexive, short-sighted charge by those who apparently felt shorted in the last vote.

When you consider the talk in town, it would have been preferable to vote again, if we must, on the one day each year that attracts the greatest concentration of voters, Town Meeting Day, 2009. Between now and then, passions could cool a bit; further questions about the project could be asked; more information could be effectively disseminated; the cost could be further clarified; information about the cost of operation and maintenance could be developed and considered; and so much more useful, productive good could have been accomplished.

Instead, we are in yet another rush toward a water bond vote. I think I know many of the proposed justifications including the importance of coordinating with the sidewalk project. These justifications do have merit. Still, while an immediate reconsideration of vote #2 may be rewarding for some it could be, concurrently, broadening the divisions in town. In the end, I believe a reprieve until next Town Meeting Day, 2009 would have been a wiser choice.

Be sure to vote.

Sal Spinosa

Waitsfield

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