|By G. Michael Dobbs|
I received this letter last week and wanted to share it with our readers:
"As usual Mr. Dobbs is at odds with reality. He thinks we residents of East Longmeadow aren't very bright because we refuse to roll over and meekly accept pronouncements that we find disagreeable. Such as the objectionable way the board of selectmen have behaved concerning the question of the trash contract. You'd think that the numerous well reasoned and eloquent letters to The Reminder on the subject would have convinced him by now that we refuse to be herded like cattle. We elect selectmen to follow the wishes of the people they represent, not the other way around. I could be wrong but I've always thought that is the way representative government is supposed to work. Put simply...We do not elect people to 'tell' us what to do.
"As for this issue taking 'center stage' while the community is in the process of laying off teachers and public safety personnel ... what, Mr. Dobbs, makes you think that they are not all 'center stage' in a town that is tired of being taxed into individual poverty? A revenue problem is not at the heart of the issue here in East Longmeadow ... it is a spending problem combined with an accountability problem. Case in point ... the Waste Reduction Program Information pamphlet that appeared in the 27 June-3 July edition on The Reminder. A useful tool in trying to reduce the confusion brought about by the unwanted change in trash and recycling collection schedule. That is until you read that 'Paper Products will be collected during weeks highlighted in Blue on the calendar below and all Commingled Containers are collected during weeks highlighted in Green'only to realize that the calendar is printed in black and white.
"Who's accountable? The same people who are telling us that they know what is best for the rest of us and that what we want is
Has anyone considered a recall petition?"
Mr. Bono didn't really address the central point I was making in last week's column which was how a municipality tackles the issues of growing trash costs.
In East Longmeadow, the solution has been to encourage additional recycling and to require that people pay for the amount of trash they throw away. If you throw away more than your neighbor, you need to pay for this service.
At no point in Mr. Bono's letter and in the corresponding comments made by many people I've heard does he address those issues.
Instead many of the negative comments have been made about the legislative process that was used to reach this decision.
The Board of Selectmen did have meetings about this issue that's been established. The issue of trash, though, is obviously not very "sexy" until it involves money and potential inconvience.
People in towns such as East Longmeadow throughout this nation are facing a similiar situation: how do you maintain your quality of life in light of rising costs?
Either you cut services, raise taxes, establish fees, or get creative. This, my friends is the cold hard truth.
I'm not trying to challenge you Mr. Bono, but how would you pay for the trash, restoring the cut teachers and for a new senior center? What would you sacrifice? Services or additional money paid ot the town? Would you do what people in Hampden have done by shutting down the senior center and the library rather than pay more for those serives?
Tossing the selectmen out through a recall election may not be the solution to dissolve the current trash pick-up contract. The contract probably won't be broken by such an action.
These are my thoughts alone. Comments can be sent to email@example.com or to 280 N. main St. East Longmeadow, MA, 01028.