Friday, May 30, 2008

Middletown's Charter Hearing #2

It began with the Prez apologizing for the lack of a quorum for the previous hearing. It was, he stated, "unacceptable." This time except for DiPalma & Barrows (late) all councilors were present.

What fun! Antone Viveiros handed out 11 proposals to the Council- perhaps they'll get posted here. Then four members of the same family owning an Indian Ave. estate testified. They are also tied in with the current admin of the Dem. Town Committee. Dave Lavine (chair of the D.T.C.) spoke the longest (more than 15 min.) against two Charter changes- non-partisan elections and four year terms. He also entertained questions!? However, whenever he was asked them he always began, "You clearly didn't hear me." Pass out those hearing aids! So much for entertaining questions. Big Daddy speaks. He also commended all Council members & said they were doing a good job. Hmmm....

Elizabeth Bozyan (Charter commission member & Dem. Town Com. sometime-official) spoke most angrily- indicated by her rising tone (who needs a mic?). She had criticisms about the committee (no research, no outside comments, no final vote) & obviously relished them while smiling at Barbara Von Villas (Charter Chair). She obviously takes the committee results quite personally & wants us all to get this (we do, we do). Oddly enough she voted for placing non-partisan elections on the ballot & now speaks vehemently against it Go figure.

Husband, Frank, also spoke (quietly) along with Glayds Lavine (D.T.C. treasurer). Frank stated that "...party structure helps get good people on the Council." But last election he campaigned for those outside that structure. It does boggle the mind sometimes. Forget basic logic (where is Mr. Spock when you need him). They spoke as individuals and not as members of the Dem. Town Committee- no one ever put this up for a vote there. So much for the Dem. process.

Council Mello (the Commission's council rep & the motion-maker to organize the commission)- defended the group with the fact that research was done & outside comments/suggestions brought forth. It's a pity that the Commission couldn't bring some outside voices to speak FOR placing these changes on the ballot. The best defense is a good offense and all that.

To say that all this is ironic is putting it mildly. In the last election the Lavines/Bozyans campaigned for 3 Dem. candidates & 2 Republicans. Hmmm, sounds non-partisan to me. As Dave Lavine stated- last time we weren't in charge [of the Dem. Town Com.] The mind swirls...

It should be remembered that we're talking only about placing these items on a ballot- adopt changes or not. This was repeatedly pointed out by Councilors Silveira & Sylvia. How stupid are all of you out there? Evidently, smart enough to vote for councilors but not on the Charter.

Kudos to Councilors Sylvia & Silveira. The former stated that a vote on the changes "better served" the public while the latter is "ready to bless it [charter change proposals] and allow the residents to vote." Silveira also stated when pointedly criticized by Elizabeth Boyzan that the voters are "grown-up and not stupid."

It was entertaining & I wish that it could have been filmed & placed on Youtube.

Bill O'Connell, member of the Charter commission & former Rep. Council candidate also spoke against non-partisan elections.

Barbara VonVillas (Chair & former School Committee Chair) spoke twice- once to respond to Bozyan's criticisms & then to admonish the Council (most politely) to get on with this as there are time constraints when it appeared that a Council discussion & vote? would not take place till the end of June. To get on the ballot this stuff needs to be wrapped up in July. Will it?

One would assume that the members of the Council who voted for this Charter commission (all of them) knew exactly what the results portended. Once you've let the genie out of the bottle and all that... It will be interested seeing the results. Do I favor all the changes proposed? Not really. Do I think that it should be on the ballot- YES!

Next meeting is June 17 at 6 pm in the Library.

Check the Daily News later for reporter Matt Sheley's take on all of this.
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