This week (5/2/2012), the Needham Times poll takes up the Citizens United at Town Meeting issue, and is framing the question as whether or not “national issues” should be voted on at Town Meeting. We say “YES.” But as we note in the comments of the poll:
This is a legitimate question, but needs a bit more context! Most agree that Town Meeting should not be a place to weigh in on every issue of the day.
Article 23 before Town Meeting is different. It is seeking action from the MA Legislature to begin the process of a Constitutional Amendment, which, as with the Suffragette movement, usually begins from the local level.
Town Meeting is the voice of the people, and pushing back against the hijacking of our democracy by corporations is the most elemental work that Town Meeting could do.
Our longest serving Town Meeting Member, James Hugh Powers, said it best, when he spoke out in favor of taking this ‘Citizens United’ vote to Town Meeting:
‘Town Meeting has a duty to stand up for the rights of the people. This is your tradition, live up to it.’
For more thoughts on the role of Town Meeting in this matter, see the various posts tagged “Town Meeting”–note there is more than one page of posts, so scroll to the bottom to click to see them all.
NOTE: The final poll results were 60/40 in favor of taking on “national issues.” (which we disagree is what the Article presents)