While it is kinda cold, it is time to think about spring. Spring garden planning may be what you are dreaming of but I’m talking about planting the seeds of political change in your town this spring. Along with warm mornings and chilly afternoon breezes, spring on Cape Cod means local elections and town meetings. Now is the time to get ready if you want good things to happen in your town.
There are 15 towns on the Cape so there are 15 different procedures to follow depending on the town in which you reside, but there are common basics true to the 14 towns that have select boards and town meetings (Barnstable has a town counsel and different procedures). Every town has local elections and town meetings in the spring, and now is the time that warrants are developed and nominations papers for running for office become available. This is the time when it makes sense to reflect on what needs to be done in your town and who is needed to do it and take action.
Do you know of a weakness in environmental protection bylaws in your town; do you know a piece of property that needs to be put in conservation, or a water quality or climate initiative that requires town meeting attention? If so, you can request that your select board place an article on the warrant to take it to town meeting. If that doesn’t seem viable did you know that it only takes the signatures of 10 registered voters to place an article on your town meeting warrant? Did you know that a properly submitted petition article is immune from removal from the warrant by your select board? So, if you think something needs to be taken to town meeting you can make sure that it is. Check with your town clerk to determine the applicable filing requirements and deadlines, but if you think something needs to be done, do it.
The same thing applies to filling elective office. If your select board is not paying attention to environmental issues and you think someone else can do a better job, now is the time to find that person and get organized to launch a campaign. This applies to other elected offices in your town. Don’t like the decisions made by your planning board or board of health? Get a candidate on the ballot with a different perspective and more in line with yours. Better yet, look in the mirror; you might just be looking at the right person to bring the change you seek.
Local government is the place where individual actions matter the most. You can make a difference and help promote good environmental policies in your town and now is the time to start acting on that impulse.