Beyond the vote
Regardless of the way you vote on Monday, April 6, the important thing is that you DO vote. This is an important time in the history of South Hadley – the outcome could potentially change the history of the town and the way it is governed.
It has been a welcome change to see residents get so involved with their town politics and the future of their community. It truly shows that there is concern and belief that involvement can make a difference. In some cases, however, the involvement has not been friendly or in the idea of “let’s agree to disagree.”
The issues surrounding the town’s election seem to have divided the town further – into groups of pro charter, con charter and pro merger, con merger. The division needs to subside and personal feelings need to be set aside. The debate has gone further than mere campaigning. It has reared its ugly head in the form of name-calling, mudslinging and unprofessional behavior.
Whether the vote for question one, establishing a charter with a mayor/council form of government, passes or not – the town will have to continue to exist as a town, as neighborhoods, as neighbors, as friends – as a whole. What is said and done now, may leave a sour taste in the mouths of many down the road.
Furthering the division of townspeople is the question of whether or not to merge the two districts in town. Although the vote is non-binding, it has certainly stirred its share of the pot of discontent in the town.
Campaigners for both issues have thrown out numerous money figures and other “facts.” But, between all the arguments and the “he said, she said” statements, it seems there is a chance that residents could be now be more confused about the issues. What are the facts, what are the correct numbers? The only thing that is clear in this election is the disharmony that has come to be in the town since these two issues have come to light. There have always been controversial issues in towns and cities, but rarely do they culminate into such hostility.
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