Though it’s still a week away, now is a good time to pause and note that Town Meeting is upon us, set to reconvene Saturday at noon.
There, beneath the now-familiar big tent on the field next to the Bromfield School, voters will decide the fate of the 19 articles summarized in our lead story (see page 1). While the content of this year’s warrant is known, the ebb and flow of a meeting’s emotional currents defies prediction. A single insight can derail a complex bylaw, months in the making, while friendly persuasion can lead to unexpected results. The collective judgment of attendees matters, their decisions often reaching beyond the current fiscal year to protect centuries-old stone walls or a stately town-owned house; to provide for Harvard’s children and elders; or to counter an approaching climate catastrophe.
It seems shortsighted for town officials not to be more proactive in preparing citizens for this year’s agenda. Posting the warrant on the town website may be fine for some, but expecting attendees to pick up their copies Saturday morning and dive for the first time into the complexities of, say, an erosion control bylaw, seems negligent. The argument that materials mailed to Harvard households end up in the trash may be true, but disturbingly cynical and beneath us as a town.
In the midst of this information vacuum, our advice is to get your hands on next week’s issue of the Press. Over the past three weeks we have already published reports and op-eds on some of this year’s most controversial articles. Next week’s issue will include a preview of the warrant itself to help you unpack the more formal town document you’ll be handed when you checkin Saturday morning. In that issue you’ll also find a guide to the meeting (and meeting place), a glossary of terms, and a few rules of order.
Come Saturday—we hope to see you there.