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Report on Mapping the Road to Town Meeting: From Issue to Warrant: Make it Happen!

The League of Women Voters of Concord-Carlisle sponsored an educational program on Thursday, November 9th on how a Town government issue becomes an Article on the Town's Warrant. Held at the Fowler Library in West Concord, this seminar featured Michael Lawson (Select Board), Kaari Mai Tari (Town Clerk), and Anita Tekle (former Town Clerk), and served as a primer on creating successful warrant articles.

Kaari kicked off the evening discussion with a quick review of the pathway for an Article, and she described the kinds of issues that come before Town Meeting. She emphasized the importance of research and determining whether Town Meeting has jurisdiction over the proposed Article "Talk to people and seek committee support for your ideas and Petition Articles," Kaari said, "and don't reinvent the wheel." Kaari encouraged the listeners to attend the December 2 Town Meeting Preview at the Town House, which is a useful tool for learning about the fiscal tone of the Town. Above all, she warned the audience to be mindful of deadlines and to watch the Town Meeting calendar.

Anita followed up and urged the audience to put your ideas and amendments in writing. "Find out who the players are to your idea," Anita said, "and how they will respond to it." She cautioned the listeners to be aware of unintended consequences and to check with the Town Clerk's office for guidance. Amendments to an Article must be succinct and within the scope of the original Article, so as to give the public fair notice of the topic, according to Anita.

Mike cemented the foundation for tonight's discussion by encouraging those with Petition Articles to have a written draft ready for review. He also fielded questions from the audience, including, "Can you regulate to absurdity? ... How long will the Town Meeting Preview last? ... How do you understand the enforcement part of an Article? ... What is considered a reasonable amendment to an Article and who decides?" Mike's sage advice to those who want to discuss amending an article: "Let the Town Moderator know about the amendment in advance of formally proposing it." This program was videotaped by CCTV and may be viewed on their website: http://www.concordtv.org/. The League expresses gratitude to the Concord Free Public Library and the Town of Concord, the co-sponsors of these seminars.

Our final seminar, "Warrant review: be prepared for the 2018 Concord Town Meeting," will be held Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at the Harvey Wheeler Community Center, 1276 Main Street, Concord, MA, from 7:30-9:00pm. Citizens may learn how a consent calendar is formed, the distinction between an article and a motion, operating versus capital budget expenditures and understanding the impact of exclusionary debt and zoning bylaws on your tax bill and on the character of our town. We hope to see you there!

Video of Forum on Town Meeting with Moderators

Annual Meeting 2017

The Annual Meeting of the Concord-Carlisle League was held on May 24th. Prior to the start of the business, meeting Leaguers enjoyed a delightful presentation by Anita Tekle, who recently retired after 19 years as Concord's Town Clerk. She shared with us stories of how the town government has modernized to address the needs of the 21st century.

The business meeting included an affirmation of the proposed slate of Board of Directors for 2017-2018 final slate. Members voted to maintain all current local positions local positions and not to embark on any new studies. Two new initiatives were adopted. The first is a Civics/Citizenship Education Initiative, which will look at ways to educate the public on how our government works. New Initiatives. The second, the Individual Liberties Initiative, will research how our individual liberties are being threatened and identify ways that League members can individually or collectively take action. New Initiatives.

Diane Proctor, our new President, spoke about the many issues our country faces today and the vital role of the League in addressing them. She reminded us that:

"The League of Women Voters of Concord-Carlisle is not a collection of soloists, although we may often feel alone. We are a chorus of voices--orchestrated by careful observations, a thorough study of issues, deliberative debate, and well-crafted consensus. We will not always agree on national, state, or local issues, but when we are well informed, we stand a chance of developing strong, effective, even harmonious positions. Our strength resides in those fundamental principles. Informing our citizenry, informing ourselves, remaining open to broad considerations, and digging into policies, is a gift we give to our towns, and, thereby to ourselves."

An exciting time to join in the work of the League of Women Voters of Concord-Carlisle.

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