Valjean genuinely asked “What can be done to break the cycle of complaints and countering these complaints between citizens of Woodstock and our elected board members who wish to defend the practices of the town?” JV stated regarding the public school system, that the public has every right to access information. While it may be an annoyance and egos are bruised by it, does the BOE have a choice? Isn’t this simply part of their role? JV’s guess is that this is not unique to Woodstock. Attempting to marginalize people and create angry division is not stopping this cycle. In fact, he would argue, it makes it worse. He suggests that perhaps it’s time to take a bolder path. If in fact there is nothing to hide, then why not just open everything up? Perhaps if the BOE disclosed everything on a monthly basis as Kevin suggested by the finance committee at one of their meetings, providing records and public participation afterwards, wouldn’t this help to relieve some of the tensions? “Fully open and transparent government…what a concept!”
Citizen Cain responded by asking “How do you satisfy irrational beliefs and vengeance? No matter what the BOE does, just about anything the BOE puts forth will be twisted and used against them in some irrational way. A few years ago it was cafeteriagate, insurancegate, and absenteegate. Computergate was an example last year and the new lawnmowergate is the current issue. The reality is that roughly 3/4 of property taxes support the school system in Woodstock under state mandate. Besides the avengers (above), there is a group of taxpayers who simply do not want to support the school system. Instead of simply saying this, they latch on to the irrational beliefs of others to try to get their way.”
Then Kevin said that CC has given “a pretty good synopsis here.”
When you look at the cost of providing every scrap of paper that might be considered ‘business related’ it would be huge. The BOE would have to hire staff to keep the information posted to the public, the vast majority of whom couldn’t care less. As it is, school staff are sequestered from their normal duties to try and satisfy the personal needs of Winkin, Blinkin, and Nod.
But, taxpayers have already gone on the record for reduced costs this year by rejecting the first budget in June. You have to remember that members of our Boards of Finance and Education, and the Planning and Zoning Commission are not being paid for the hours of service that they donate to the town and the headaches and abuse they receive in return.
How much has it already cost the taxpayers to service the FOI complaints of Winkin and Nod? The cost of servicing these vindictive complaints is subtracted from the previously conceived budget; so the money is being subtracted from educating our kids.
And what is the six-figure cost of Blinkin’s three years of litigation that also subtracts from Woodstock K-8 students’ educations. For his most recent litigation the Judge stated “pure folly”, (not)”sincere”, “disingenuous”, “baseless”, “shifted their argument”, and (lack of)“common sense” . And don’t forget that Blinkin anonymously threatened the Board of Education in an email using the pseudonym “Webpolice” and a proxy server warning the BOE not to publish news releases at the Cafe (which was an attempt to convey information to the public). Around the same time he broke into Becki’s computer and stole passwords. He then printed out private emails (very boring stuff) and distributed this wad of paper around town which ultimately came to us (a real paper trail). Around this time Winkin had submitted an FOI request soliciting all emails of BOE and school personnel transmitted to and from the Cafe (there goes your freedom to communicate).
It’s true that these problems exist in other towns especially in northeastern CT. Take the situation in Canterbury where the passing of the budget on the third try was punctuated by the sign below.
One petitioning group was angry because the Selectmen had decided to close down the Town Pound to save money by using the NECCOG service while another group was equally angry about the cost of expanding the hours of the library. A third group didn’t like First Selectman Brian Sear’s raingarden either. The first group favored dogs over humans. The Cafe tried to help Canterbury by proposing that they combine the pound and the library thus creating the first “Lidoggery” in the state and perhaps the world. Behind these two groups are people pursuing personal interests and people common to every town who just don’t want to pay taxes for something they don’t use.
On Tuesday Lisbon taxpayers rejected the town budget a third time. I usually check the Norwich Bull between 6AM and 7AM. This morning there was an article about this failure that described some of the behavior of the electorate. For example, the article stated that cars were driving by the polls with passengers shouting obscenities out the windows. The Bull later decided that this was too honest an account; so they replaced the article with a more benign account. But you can see the tenor of the residents in Lisbon if you read the comments placed below the new article.
It’s hard to be ‘open’ with HATEMONGERS!