The perennial pest-ition godfathered by legendary miscreant James J. (Joe) Marino is once again making the rounds of Southbridge.
For both of you who are unfamiliar with this now annual diversion, allow me to recap.
Mr. Marino and his band of occasionally “head-butted” followers are once again circulating a petition to restore Southbridge to a town meeting form of government.
Unlike the past effort however, this poses an actual threat.
As we pointed out in a previous post, the shortsighted political maneuvering by a self-serving town manager and his town council sycophants opened the door. It was then compounded by an Attorney General who chose to ignore the specifics of state law for the sake of political convenience.
As a result, should this silly plan actually get on the ballot it now has a real possibility of being enacted.
Never mind that the only real differences would be a five member Board of Selectmen instead of a nine member town council and a town administrator instead of a town manager.
Oh yeah, and a town meeting that can be easily stacked in support of, or opposition to, just about any issue. We have seen this happen repeatedly in our neighboring town of Sturbridge. Add to that the repeated comments on this site by people who insist on remaining anonymous out of fear of retribution. Are these people likely to participate in a “democratic” process where the veil of anonymity currently provided by the ballot box would be stripped away? I don’t think so.
Mr. Marino’s plan would only serve to further entrench the existing power structure. Just look at the record of who have been the highest vote-getters in recent elections. Now imagine that, in order to retain control, they would only need three seats instead of five.
So what was it about this form of government and the time from which it hails that is so appealing to the Marinite clan?
In order to get an outside and objective view from a source of equivalent intellectual caliber we hoped to interview a local celebrity. We were fortunate enough to encounter such a spokesperson taking a break from a visit to the Hair Club for Men.
Homer Simpson, a native of Springfield, was kind enough to help us out. Recognized as a thinker as profound as Mr. Marino and his adherents, Mr. Simpson summarized succinctly why the town meeting form of government worked fifty years ago. He quickly followed up with his opinion of what Southbridgians' response to the idea should be today.