Saturday, March 31, 2007

Down In Flames

Voters in the Town of New Hartford shot down all eight bond proposals that were on the ballot Thursday.

Town Supervisor Earle Reed said he was disappointed by Thursday's vote and would explore other options.

"When I was elected, I hoped I could better the condition of the town," he said. "But voters have spoken. We have no plan B."

Many residents felt the town board did not provide enough information regarding the specifics of the spending plan. Others said some of the projects were too expensive, such as the purchase of the 1 Oxford Crossing building.

New Hartford resident Kay Janowsky said she voted down all eight propositions because she thought bonding was not an economically sound idea.

"I think there are different ways to do things," she said. "The money for the police building was too much."

There are already rumblings that Mr. Reed and other town officials will begin pushing for a re-vote, but I think the message from this is clear- no more free ride, at least in New Hartford. If you want millions of dollars you have to lay out exactly what the money is going to be used for, why it's needed, and why bonding is the only viable option. The Jedi mind trick alone isn't enough.

Obviously, a great deal of the credit for this belongs to the people behind New Hartford, N. Y. Online. They've spent months laying out their case that the bonds were a bad idea, supporting their argument with reams of documentary evidence culled from public documents and meeting transcripts. They provided proof of everything they claimed, letting people see the documents for themselves so their wouldn't be any doubt about the veracity of what they were saying.

Supporters of the bonding? They waved their hands around, talked a lot about needs and wants, and failed to offer any support what-so-ever for the financial plan they claimed the town desperately needed.

In the end, the side with the better argument won. That's a victory for both citizen journalism, because you can bet your ass the bond supporters spent Friday bitching about "those people on the internet", and for democracy itself.