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civic duty

Back in the mists of time Bedford's Town Meeting met on a mid-week evening in the High School auditorium. Coronavirus made that impossible, and concurrent mosquito-borne plagues meant the town couldn't schedule anything outdoors in the evening. So now it's on Saturday morning at the football field. This past Saturday was the second one of the pandemic, and I was there!

town meeting on the football field

along with a couple hundred other folks

Generally I think that 9:00 on a Saturday morning is a much better time for local politics than after dinner, especially since local politics isn't quick! On the town calendar the meeting was scheduled from 9 AM to 9 PM. Of course, the problem on Saturday morning is that there's always other things to do, but while those things I absolutely had to do kept me from leaving home til closer to 10. So I missed the ceremonial opening. But there were plenty of seats, each on it's little square of socially-distanced plywood. What there wasn't was shade, and after a couple minutes I found myself hunching over with my back to the sun, trying to keep my arms in the shadow of my body. And I was super glad to have my hat and gaiter-type mask, which I was able to pull up to cover my ears. Town meeting may be fairly collegial and free of any signs of overt party affiliation, but unfortunately there was no actual big tent. I didn't get an "I Voted" sticker, but I do now have Town Meeting tan lines.

Most of the articles under consideration were about budgeting and zoning—important, but not really interesting to a wider audience. But the question that aroused the most interest was a suggestion that we replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People's Day. You know I'm all for that, and given the back and forth in the town online newspaper in the weeks leading up to the meeting I wanted to be sure to be there to vote for the article. In person, too, there were lots of voices in opposition—some of which were just this close to outright racism—but when the time came to vote the for side won handily, without even a counted vote. I guess everyone who didn't like the idea had to say why, while those of us in favor were satisfied with just voting. So Bedford is now something like the 17th community in Massachusetts to make Indigenous People's Day an official holiday; that seems good!

We also authorized the by-right construction of Accessory Dwelling Units smaller than 1000 sq ft on conforming lots... does anyone want to hear more about that?

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