Selectmen’s Mass Ave letter rebuts, rebukes Question 1

letterheadMonday’s letter from the Board of Selectmen Selectmen to the Mass DOT did not skirt Question 1, the nonbinding referendum that asked about lanes on Mass. Ave.

In the letter, the Selectmen took aim directly at the measure, which passed by a vote of 4,334-4,097 on April 6.

The letter, signed by all five selectmen and Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine, calls the referendum a “false choice” that does “not have any legal effect” and achieved “a very narrow victory.”

Consequently, the signers say they “do not consider this to be a meaningful result.”

“The Arlington Board of Selectmen remains committed to and in support of advancing the project as it is currently designed,” the letter says.

I have posted the letter online (pdf document). My own comments are in red below.

Left to right are Selectmen Joe Curro, Steven Byrne, Dan Dunn, Diane Mahon, and Kevin Greeley, at last night's meeting.

Left to right: Selectmen Joe Curro, Steven Byrne, Dan Dunn, Diane Mahon, and Kevin Greeley.

One glaring defect of this peculiar referendum is that it was possible to vote yes and still want the project to go forward with federal funding and with the popular pedestrian-safety measures still in place. That is what the Selectmen are seeking to secure with this letter.

My take is that the referendum organizers posed an ambiguous ballot question deliberately to win votes. It does not follow that all those “yes” votes share their particular views.

Ironically this strategem left the Selectmen plenty of license to ignore that supposed result.

Honestly, does anyone think the voters want the Town to pass up $6.8 million?


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