To the Editor:
Facts for Tiverton voters to consider regarding Tuesday's local races:
*The TCC-majority Town Councilors (Lambert, Coulter, Nelson & Chabot) called for a special Town Council meeting this past Thursday. Coming a few days after a major natural disaster, you would assume the subject would be the town's storm efforts. Instead, it was a closed-door meeting to discuss legal issues, notably the O'Dell case. This is a lawsuit against the people of Tiverton, attempting to overturn voters' budget decisions in 2010. It was filed by several prominent TCC members, including current candidates Justin Katz, Ruth Hollenbach, and Madeline O'Dell. School Committee member Danielle Coulter, wife of Town Councilor Rob Coulter, was originally also one of those suing the town, and TCC actively supported the lawsuit (although Councilors Coulter and Nelson refused to recuse themselves from representing the town against a lawsuit they had supported). So why the rush to hold this special meeting, days before an election? We may never know what was discussed, as the minutes were sealed by the Council. But what it made clear again is that TCC is focused on TCC's agenda, not the town's agenda.
* Tiverton 1st has recommended a slate of candidates that includes Democrats, Republicans & independents. Because of the importance of this election, the Tiverton Democratic Town Committee endorsed without regard to party, and decided on the same candidates. TCC has endorsed an entirely different slate, committed to the TCC's agenda.
* Despite Councilors Coulter and Nelson claiming credit for the budgets of the past two years that preserved services for a modest tax increase, they and TCC actually OPPOSED both of these voter-approved budgets. Their TCC alternative plan this year would have gutted school funding, emptied the town's General Fund below legally-required limits, and jacked up municipal spending 5%. Does this sound like they've been working on Tiverton's agenda, or their own?
* TCC promises to both keep tax-increases below 2% AND to never cut any services. Sound too good to be true? It is. If town revenues drop, or there are major state-funding cuts as happened in 2010, there is no mathematical way keep both promises. TCC has spent the last three years on a crusade to force destructive cuts to school funding, and tried to eliminate all funding for community services, so their course is clear. Beware candidates who say what they think will get them elected, and vote instead for candidates who respect your common sense.
* TCC has made "protecting the FTR" the centerpiece of its campaign, despite the proven fact that no one in town has ever suggested eliminating it. In fact, because the FTR was put into effect by Tiverton voters as a Charter Amendment, only voters could make any change to it. It's a phony issue, and now TCC is backtracking from claims that some want to "eliminate the FTR". And the "tax cap" they claim some want to eliminate is state law and in effect in Tiverton, so this is another false claim. With all the important issues in town, what does it tell you that they focus on made-up issues?
This is a crucial election for the future of Tiverton. To insure pro-community majorities, please consider voting for the full Tiverton 1st slate of candidates for Town Council, School Committee and Budget Committee. If voters vote only for one or two preferred candidate, there's a likelihood of falling short by splitting the votes. By uniting to vote for all recommended candidates, we increase the chances of all being elected, and having a working majority. Get informed and make your voice heard, and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same. Visit www.Tiverton1st.blogspot.com, visit Tiverton 1st on Facebook, or email Tiverton1st@cox.net.