GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Opinion

May 20, 2013

Editorial:

During the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce’s Friday morning debate, Manchester selectman’s candidate Ann Harrison responded to a question about the level of funding the town provides to the Manchester Essex Regional School District, and noted that the district held a number of budget hearings, but that — other than officials – perhaps three people showed up.

And she offered that response to a gathering of all of 30 people — including officials —who turned out for the live debate at the Manchester American Legion post.

Tomorrow, Manchester residents will go to the polls to make some key decisions regarding their town’s future. And we can only hope that the election itself draws more interest than either the budget hearings, the debate, or even the community’s Annual Town Meeting, which drew 299 voters who approved what now seems to be a poorly researched and misrepresented ban on the distribution of plastic bags by local retailers.

The fact is, today’s election poses some very real and important choices — both in the race for two selectmen’s seats, with Harrison, Eli Boling and Robert Hoff, Jr. bringing different experiences and ideas to the table, and in a pair of referendum questions asking voters to authorize a debt exclusion override to take control of a lingering property and carry out an environmental cleanup on Pine Street, on the fringes of what was once a town burn dump. Getting “yes” answers to those questions is critical, since the town is staring down a Department of Environmental Protection order if does not clean up the remainder of the dump site, but the town can’t take that action without voters’ authorization.

Look, democracy is not a spectator sport. If you live in Manchester, be sure to make every effort to get out to the polls Tuesday, with voting slated from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Memorial Elementary School.

The candidates for office have talked of their desire to step up and make a difference in their town. Tomorrow’s the day each resident has his or her chance to make a difference, too.

Don’t pass up that chance. Get out and vote.

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