More commentary on Billerica town center, Lowell election, and more
Billerica government attacks center of democracy
Governments are made for the people who live under them. The recent vote by the Board of Selectmen on October 26th to deny Billerica voters their constitutional right to vote is a death blow for democracy in the “Yankee Doodle Town” of Billerica. The entire Merrimack Valley should also be up in arms. The desecration of our First Amendment right of free speech and the right to petition our government against grievances was obliviated by our elected leaders. This diabolical action was a direct attack on our guaranteed rights afforded by the US Constitution and the Massachusetts Constitution. The Billerica Board of Selectmen usurped their powers going outside of their duties to determine that the 3,000 Billerica voters who signed a petition to force a town wide election referendum on the fate of the center were confused about what they signed – This is something that would happen in a Fascist or Totalitarian government system. Democracy encourages voting. Why did the selectmen vote 3 to 2 to deny an election on the fate of the Billerica Center? The board could have allowed all voters in town to determine the future of Billerica Center, but they knew that most Billerica residents would vote no, not to use $20,000,000 of tax dollars and 2 years of construction to transform our pastoral center into some kind of generic highway. WE as a town shot this almost identical town center reconstruction plan down in 2012. Billerica voters said no very clearly, 80% of all voters squashed this plan.by referendum in 2012. The 3 members of the B.O.S. want the center changed and they want Billerica residents to like what we don’t like. The corrupt totalitarian board pulled an uprising, a coup de tat, an overthrow of democracy and our constitution. They could have let our 30,000 voters decide, instead the Board of Selectmen said the signers of the petition were confused about what they signed and that because of their “intuition” they will deny an election. The Lowell Sun printed three comprehensive, extensive articles about the Billerica Center controversy before the selectmen said no to an officially accepted petition. I personally held signs in Billerica common for 3 straight weeks almost daily for 6 hours a day, I held clearly visible four foot by eight foot signs in Billerica center that said “Stop The Big Dig” and “Save the Center.” Social media was constantly talking about the town center controversy Billerica Facebook sites and the Town Web site and Town Facebook sites posted information NextDoor neighbor was ablaze with argument and discussion about the petition. Now the last chance to save democracy will rest with one person. The Court system, one judge in Superior Court will decide. The judge will hear a case to see if the Board of Selectmen illegally denied the election. Democracy now comes down to one person. Many young people and families care about our town center and our town, these people got involved and signed the petition. This stolen election could have helped to have gotten more people involved in Billerica local government – 3000 people who signed the petition knew what they were signing. Now only one person will decide – Democracy or hypocrisy, we will soon find out.
— George Simolaris
Low voter turnout in Lowell — why?
The Editorial on 11/15 says “with less than a 10% voter turnout, democracy took a back seat to indifference in last week’s Lowell election.” What makes the editor think Lowell’s eligible voters are indifferent? Consider instead that low turnout was, in part, a comment on the performance of the mayor and the city councilors. This is the second election since councilors ran for election to represent the newly reformed districts. Each district now has a representative….but have councilors gone out of their way to communicate with the voting population in their districts to listen and to actively seek to learn about their concerns, opinions, desires, and ideas to make our city better? Do Lowellians truly feel that what they want is being represented during city council and sub-committee meetings since the last election? What does it mean to be a district elected councilor? Has it changed the way councilors do business? If not, you cannot assume that motions introduced by individual councilors or voting on motions made during council meetings de facto represent what a district wants. And what was the point of changing neighborhoods by collapsing 9 districts into 8? Did citizens ask for this? A good start to listening to people would be allowing voters to directly elect the city’s mayor given the overwhelming support for this change during the 2021 election. Starting now. But that’s only the beginning of what could and must be done to promote a functioning participatory democracy…including higher voter turn-out.
— Patricia Vondal
Proposed bill re: truck traffic in North Chelmsford
Rodney Elliott (rep) presenting a bill before the state House on Monday 11/20 regarding the truck traffic congestion in North Chelmsford on Ledge Rd route to Dunstable Rd to Swain Rd out to Route 3. Trucks are mainly from Newport Industries, asphalt and granite and dirt, the town of Westford has restrictions for these trucks from this company and has forced the trucks to use a partially dirt, single lane residential road to haul heavy loads and the residents are concerned about their safety and the environment of the road and utilities. Rodney Elliott is attempting to help the residents (some of which have owned homes for 5 generations in this neighborhood) by presenting that there be a weight limit on the trucks. The real problem is that the town of Chelmsford has turned a blind eye to the fact that these trucks are coming and going to a Westford facility but using this small country backroad to haul heavy loads and ruining the pavement and the lawns and causing considerable damage.
Primary concern being the children not able to walk to the school bus as they have for more than 100 years due to the fact the trucks take the entire road while traveling leaving them no area to walk or for parents to wait for the school bus in their car. I have given permission to the town to allow the school bus to travel up Ledge Rd to my driveway so the school bus may turn around and pickup or drop off students as Ledge Rd does not have any other outlet. Only to Dunstable Rd where the big rigs are moving at a quick rate of speed.
Please consider following this article and the hearing at the State House.
— Lori Woods
Your editorial cartoon of November 13 is misleading and false. As a member of the Disabled American Veterans, I take strong issue with it. I have received care at the Jamaica Plain VA Hospital and the Edith Nourse Rogers Bedford VA Hospital.
The care, concern, and actions of staff at all times are exemplary. Your cartoonist David Granlund knows NOT of what he draws and should apologize.
— Robert Walton