October 15, 2008

Who's Got the Solutions?

Justin Katz

There's something peculiar about the tack that the incumbents of Tiverton are taking against Tiverton Citizens for Change (TCC) — implying some shadowy intention to be vague about our agenda. We have no solution, they say, and it doesn't require much political savvy to imagine their fingers twitching in anticipation that we'll offer something up that they can use either to demagogue or to declare our ignorance.

We don't claim to have all the answers. Rather, a few hundred of us (for starters) have had a strong reaction to the results and methods of the current crew of town officials and wish to change the playing field a bit. To that end, we asked candidates questions about various topics that seemed either core or emblematic, we considered the candidates' answers (i.e., their solutions), and we endorse those whose answers we liked. Simple as that.

The negative campaign is particularly odd coming from School Committee Chairwoman Denise deMedeiros, because we liked her answers enough to offer her an endorsement. She complains that TCC is "not telling us solutions" and how we're "going to run the town," but we're not going to be running the town. She is. The other elected candidates will be.

In other words, TCC's solutions are none other than those that she enunciated in her responses to our questionnaire. If Ms. deMedeiros would like to refresh her memory as to what she told us should be done, all questions and answers are available at TCC's Web site.

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I just checked out the website and I can see Denise de Medeiros' point. While I know nothing about this woman, the website offers suggestions that nobody could be against.

For instance: "Limits spending and property tax increases;
Deems itself accountable to the individual citizen;
Acts as a responsible steward of Town resources," are assertions that nobody could possibly be against, and I'm sure that the current office holders consider themselves as doing those things.

That platform reminds me of the Moderate Party's "stop spending money that isn't well spent". I mean, I'm not sure this stuff could be more vague.

As always, it's all about the details. If this group doesn't offer some concrete, specific plans, the whole initiative isn't worthwhile.

This all comes down to courage. If you don't have the guts to put some specific proposals on the table, don't both stepping up to the plate. These are not times for "luke warm".

Posted by: Rasputin at October 15, 2008 11:05 AM

Correction: that should read "if you If you don't have the guts to put some specific proposals on the table, don't bother stepping up to the plate.

Posted by: Rasputin at October 15, 2008 11:12 AM

Well look, we're a young group of opinionated people, and we got things ramped up too late to have created candidates as it were or to beat each other up over specific policy suggestions that would represent the group.

Instead, we found some areas on which we all agree and asked the candidates what they thought. If their answers seemed to align with our agreed-upon principles, we endorsed them. After the election, we'll be going through the process of familiarizing ourselves with the ins and outs of town issues and arguing over the solution.

In the meantime, voters are encouraged to read through the candidates' answers and decide for themselves.

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 15, 2008 12:37 PM


I understand your sentiment. But times like these call for leaders with real ideas to come forward. We can't be sitting around too afraid to make specific proposals out of the fear to alienate certain people or special interest groups.

That's precisely the problem here. Too many people are afraid to say what needs to be said; to do what needs to be done; to offend those who are in need of offending.

The safe route is what's led us into this quagmire.

I'm sorry, but the old, tired, "stop spending money that's not well spent", (ya hear that Mr. Moderate Party?) isn't going to work. We need someone to say "stop giving public employees automatic raises and free, lifetime healthcare." Or "switch public employees into defined contribution retirement plans". ect.

If you people needed a real platform, I could have created one for you in about two or three days. I can give you that.

What I can't give you is the courage to stand up for yourselves.

Posted by: Rasputin at October 15, 2008 1:01 PM


OK, you piqued my interest. I went over and took a look as well. Agree that the candidate answers offer a little more substance. However, I didn't see a statement from Ms.deMedeiros. Am I using the wrong link?

Posted by: WillP at October 15, 2008 5:34 PM

WillP, the reason you don't see Ms. deMedeiros answers is despite TCC's call for transparency in government; they don't provide the responses from the candidates they don't endorse. Sounds like a bit of hypocrisy to me.

Posted by: Jimmy doesn't like taxes at October 15, 2008 9:31 PM

Actually, no, it's not hypocrisy. But if lower taxes have to come with a tinge of hypocrisy, that's fine. It's better than getting higher taxes tainted with an air of entitlement (the current situation).

Posted by: Monique at October 16, 2008 10:27 PM

I know, the nerve of some of these elected officials that think public safety and education are entitlements. They should let the private sector handle it, let the market rule and abolish town government!

Posted by: Adam Smith at October 17, 2008 6:25 AM

"Adam Smith": Let's assume that the opportunity for a quality education is an entitlement and that the government should be the organization to provide it (though both of those premises are not indisputable). Most education dollars now go to teacher salary and benefits. How much is enough for them? Should citizens be at risk to lose their homes so that teachers can make even more than their current $70K to work 182 7-hour days after ten years in the system?

Posted by: TCC Supporter at October 17, 2008 4:00 PM


The omission of those responses was a mere oversight that has been remedied. (A few days ago, actually, but commenting here slipped my mind until just now.

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 19, 2008 5:07 PM
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