A few months back we gathered at the Ayer Gun Club to listen to a wonderful overview of the “care and feeding” of Flannagan Pond from Dominic Meringolo of ACT. That evening we gathered about forty signatures. Over subsequent weeks that number grew to over 100.
In January I brought the petitions to the Town Clerk’s Office and the signatures were certified and the offiical count was 97. A few well-meaning signers were not registered voters in the Town of Ayer. There are also a few folks who wanted to sign, that I was unable to connect with, but do not fret, we have many more than we needed. We only needed 10.
The Town Clerk has submitted the petition to the Town Administrator / Board of Selectmen. I will strive to get us on the agenda over the next several weeks so we can make our plea for a consistent and systematic program for maintaining this pond and the dam. If possible, I would like to repeat that for the Finance Committee and the Conservation Commission. If we can get a few dozen people at these meetings we can get “Town Hall’s” attention.
Expect to hear tales of woe regarding revenue projection shortfalls and lean budgets. Do not despair, whether real or imagined, this is a battle cry for every municipal budget season. We will also be bombarded with FUD from our detractors. FUD is shorthand, an acroymn for Fear, Uncertainly and Doubt. It is a classic technique used by salespeople to make a wavering sales prospect feel insecure about considering a competitor’s products. It is used by politicians to intimidate their constituents by making them feel stupid regarding their alleged naivete regarding the complexities of governance. It was used by the serpent in the Garden of Eden to tempt Eve (Genesis 3:1 “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?'”). I told you it was a classic technique, it goes that far back, though no systematic theology books use the FUD acronym.
Believe me, we have nothing to Fear. We have no reason to be Uncertain. We have nothing to Doubt. We are simply citizens, exercising our constitutional right to petition those whom we elected. We will exercise our right to speak respectfully in various public forums and we will be heard. We will exercise our right to vote on Town Meeting floor, and I believe we will prevail. Persist, Patiently Persevere and Prevail!
We must embrace these Four P’s because over time the members of each of these committees will change (some sooner than later). So though we may win a battle in this year’s budget and Town Meeting, there will be another battle next year and the year after. And we know that all it takes is two years of inattention and the pond is choked out again. So let’s remain vigilant.