Saturday, March 22, 2008

Northfield Delegates Selected for State Convention

Northfield Democrats caucused at the Common Cafe this Saturday morning, March 22, 2008. We joined our fellow Democrats around the state meeting up to decide who will represent our town at the Vermont Democratic State Convention on May 24, 2008. Delegates to the State Convention will elect delegates to the National Convention August 25-28 of 2008.

Based on voting results at Town Meeting Day, Northfield is entitled to 14 total delegates to the State Convention: 8 for Sen. Obama; 6 for Sen. Clinton.

Members of the Northfield Town Committee met for an hour Saturday morning and elected the following slate of delegates:

Obama Delegates: Denise MacMartin, Carolyn Stevens, Brad Denny, Mary Denny, Aaron Rhodes, Christopher Curtis

Clinton Delegates: Mike Kerin, Sonya Rhodes, John Stevens, Siobhan Smith

Our delegate selection sheets will be filled out and returned to the State Democratic Party and we will be seated at the State Convention for the first time in recent memory. Congratulations to our delegates!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Town Meeting Day!

** Cross-posted at Exit Voices. Worth checking out to post your own town meeting day stories.


Just finished up Northfield Town Meeting. My son’s first town meeting day (he’s just 5 months old)! Felt great giving him a front-row seat to democracy in action.

Most items passed without much debate. The exception? A proposal to establish a $500 fund for picnic tables at recreational areas in town. Small town democracy at its finest!

I was particularly pleased that the town voted in favor of establishing a conservation commission, something a small, dedicated band has worked on for about a year now. They’ve already secured some grant funding for surveys of the Dog River and trail- work on Payne Mountain. Commission status will boost their grant potential for other projects in the future.

It’ll be interesting, too, to see how the other big items fare: There’s a ballot item for a new police station, and of course the school budget. The former went down last time, but there is renewed interest b/c of the building’s dilapidated condition; the latter is almost always a close, 50-50 vote with one side or another eeking out enough to carry the day (followed by a series of re-votes, ugh!).

Rep. Anne Donahue was there… so was Sen. Bill Doyle. Didn’t see any other political glitterati, however.

I was pleased to see most members of our Democratic Town Committee were present for the meeting.

Wonder how much a meaningful, contested primary this year boosted town meeting attendance. It would be interesting to find out. Do people just turn out to vote? Or, do they stick around to discuss the details with their neighbors at the town meeting? What do you think? Anybody else observe greater numbers at the meeting? I’m sure the overall vote tallies will be substantially higher - probably record numbers.

As for a wish list item for the ballot, here’s mine: One thing I would love to see is the elimination of the recall rule. It requires a legislative fix, but currently Northfield voters can overturn a result by getting a small number of petitioners to call for a re-vote (think it’s 5 or 10%, or something). This means that even when we get a majority vote, a tiny minority can call it back and rely on a much smaller turnout the second time around (because special elections frequently have smaller turnout either because folks don’t know, or forget a special vote is happening, or because there aren’t other elections/candidates/ballot items to bring people out to the polls). This happens frequently when we do happen to pass the school budget. It’s a real thwarting of democracy, and a deceptive way to go about doing town business.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Obama in Vermont?

According to the Washington Post, Sen. Barack Obama is taking time out of his Texas/Ohio schedule to campaign in both Rhode Island and Vermont. Here's what the Post had to say:

"In a testament to the importance being placed on every state and delegate in the hard-fought Democratic contest, the candidate will take time away from Texas and Ohio to stump in this state as well as in Vermont, which will also hold a primary on Tuesday."

Anyone else out there have any information on this?