See the article about Mike Alberts running for Selectman in the Norwich Bull.
I’ve expressed my views concerning what’s happening in town many times on here. I’ve had harsh criticism and crude responses from several wackos, but there has been some that were in agreement from those with similar values to mine. I don’t remember all of the articles I’ve written but one comes to mind that I recently submitted in August of this year that reflects some of my opinions (see this August article).
The troubles we face are all about differences in values. I prefer Woodstock to remain a quiet place with less traffic, less bureaucracy, and, generally, less people … more people mean more problems. Big spending liberals like mean Joe Breen want “progress” which means more spending, more taxes, with rising property values being the bottom line.
I see the trend moving fast towards “progress” as I go to work in the morning and drive the posted speed limit. Cars with long distance commuters stack up behind me honking their horns and flipping me “the bird”. Many of them still have Massachusetts or Rhode Island tags on their cars. They pass me in no passing zones that are new because of their arrival (until recent years, there were many places in town where you could pass legally. Now because of the increasing traffic, they’re gone – just another chip off the quality of life in Woodstock).
I see the push to create more bureaucracy, especially in the school system. It’s become a jobs program with more new positions created each year that we don’t need (like more curriculum coordinators, teacher assistants, para professionals, reading, writing and math specialists and the one that really gets my goat, guidance councellors for 5, 6 and 7 year old children). Of course, more staff means more votes to keep the same damn people in the “jobs program”. And these people, of course, will push for more expansion.
Mr. Wetzel, who has done more on this site to point out the flaws in our system, attacks the problem from a different angle than I do, but I agree with him just about all of the time. He may or may not want to respond to your entry, above, so if mine is not enough, I suggest you dig like the rest of us to learn “who’s on first”. Even that may not be enough because of the rapidly changing face of our town.
Thank you for taking the time to answer me and get me started. I will look for past articles and start with August.
I can see what you are saying to a point and I also see a little bit of what K-8 is saying. I actually moved here from out of state myself. I chose Woodstock for the peace, quiet, slower pace…all of things that you cited above. I was also attracted to the WES.
I guess that I fall into a gray area in terms of big government versus small government. I would like to see a balance of governmental power. In my opinion, there are some areas where government should stay out of the way or farm out to private industry if there is a private agency that can perform a needed service more efficiently (both in terms of cost efficiency as well as service provided). But there are basic services also that a town should maintain for its residents and those also need to be managed as efficiently as possible.
I agree that this town needs more job-generating business and that the school and a handful of other companies are not sufficient to provide enough local jobs for an expanding population of residents. However, Some of the positions at school are quite helpful to the children, at least in my opinion. You mentioned a school psychologist for such young children. My children have actually not needed a school psychologist but I do have a neighbor who has a child that is receiving a great benefit from this service. The child’s parents have had quite a turbulent divorce and it had a rather pronounced negative impact on one child in the family, in particular. Although she’s young, she’s making progress by having someone to help her who is neutral. She was at a point of not talking to either of her parents about how she was feeling. By keeping everything bottled up, some problematic behaviors were beginning to emerge.
I posted in a separate article about my experience with teacher aides, particularly as it relates to Sped children. Just to summarize quickly if you missed it: my child has an aide and I had to jump a few hoops to get one. In my experience, the school was not at all liberal about handing an aide out. On the other hand, when a legitimate need was proven to them, they did provide what my child needs.
One of my other children could benefit from a reading and math specialist, actually. I’ll be trying to set that up in the near future so I’d have to wait and let you know if that service has real merit and meets a real need. I just haven’t had any experience with them yet.
I’ll have to defer also on the curriculum coordinator. I’m nowhere near familiar enough with that to comment.
So in general, I have not yet seen a major abuse of positions in the WES. But as I said in an earlier comment, most budgets have room to trim and there could very well be an extra position or two here and there.
I do think that there need to be more employment opportunities in and around Woodstock. But the trick is what could they be when we definitely don’t want Wal-Mart and strip malls dotted around town? That’s why I had suggested looking into developing a low impact tourism industry. Things such as regattas and concerts; other fairs and festivals where the town would benefit financially. Things like this would not permanently alter the look of the town. But then someone responded to me and pointed out that depending on how one interprets prop 46, the town may not be able to accept other income from any source but the grand list.
I’m still searching for “the answer” and beginning to think that one does not actually exist. Maybe you’ll find some common ground in what I’ve said here and perhaps not. But I do thank you for taking the time to dialogue with me.