.

What Would Benjamin Franklin Do (In Tiverton)?

Tiverton resident Bob Gaw writes a letter to the editor in support of the proposed financial town referendum as Question 2 the Nov. 8 special election.

One of the best decision making tools is called the "Ben Franklin decision making tool." You’ve all used it and it is very simple. Take a blank piece of paper, draw a line down the middle and list all the reasons for and against a decision.

On the left side list all the reasons to keep the Financial Town Meeting (FTM) in the gymnasium (sometimes overflowing into the auditorium) on a Saturday morning or two. On the right side, list the reasons to adopt a more contemporary system which gives every voter a chance to have an accurately counted vote, in private, just like all our other elections.

Can you imagine having a presidential election using a count of hands or by "yeas" and "nays"? The people with the most to gain are usually the most vocal and those are the people who usually leave the meeting as soon as they get their way and disregarding other town issues at the meeting. That is the system the supporters of the FTM want to keep, I think you will agree it needs to be changed.

I’ll tell you my list of reasons to keep the current system. My left side is blank. Nope, I could not come up with one good reason to keep the outdated system of spending all morning in a hot, crowded gym with people yelling and screaming, moderators slamming their gavel and shouting "out of order," jockeying for a position at the microphone, intimidating stares from people who think you
oppose them and each side pulling out their Roberts Rule of Order book with time-consuming challenges to almost every attempt to move the meeting forward.

On the right side of the sheet, the financial town referendum (FTR) allows private votes with no intimidation from others. The capability to submit a budget with 50 signatures is a great feature and allows people to submit a budget they would never get to submit with the current system. The FTR will increase voter turnout. It does not require an entire Saturday morning listening to a bunch of blowhards. Votes can be accurately electronically tallied and not rely on inaccurate hand counts, and more people voting will reflect a more accurate reflection of true democracy.

I have to believe many people have attended only one meeting and refused to go to another. Quite frankly, our current FTM is a joke and it is the laughing stock of the area. The private ballot FTR would allow more people to voice their opinions about the budget and not be decided by a little more than 300 people. With the current system, less that 1 percent can decide how our hard earned tax dollars
are spent.

Let’s end with some things we all have in common. We all want a better community, good schools, well-run municipalities, solid property values and fair pay for those who work for us.

Don’t be fooled by the vocal few who have self-serving reasons to keep this system status quo and sneak in their budget and agenda at the meeting without the opportunity to read it with no regard for their neighbors and fellow taxpayers. They are not supporting the current system because it is better for the majority of the community. They want to keep it the same because it has worked for them in the past, and it is better for them.

The supporters of the FTM really have a very weak argument and are grasping for straws trying to convince voters to keep this system; i.e. “Keep the FTM and let majority rule.”

Hello! Majority rule is exactly what the supporters of the FTR want. We support the majority of the taxpayers rule, not the majority of the people who attend a meeting with a self-serving purpose.

Also, look closely at the misinformation regarding two town councilors overruling the vote of the people. What the FTM supporters are referring to is the councilors voting for the tax levy, not the budget voted on by the majority of the people.

On Nov. 8 you will have the opportunity to make a change for the positive and give yourself the opportunity to he heard. The FTR will use a private ballot because it is a fair, just, democratic way to let the voters decide. It is the same way we vote on our school and library bonds, our town councilors, senators, congressmen, governors and president.

Over the past four years the hard working taxpayers of Tiverton have had their taxes increased by 27 percent. Do you want business as usual and continue with this trend? The FTR will allow the town of Tiverton to move forward and add to the appeal of living in this beautiful community.

If you are still not convinced, I challenge you to call 10 local real estate agents and ask them the pluses and minuses of living in Tiverton versus a few of our comparable neighboring communities. We have let a small group do this to us and the FTR will allow you to put an end to this out of control spiral.

This is your chance to take control and it is important to take the few minutes on Nov. 8 and vote yes on Question 2. Make your vote count this time and every time! Every vote counts, not like the FTM in the gym.

Bob Gaw
Tiverton

Janet Sroczynski October 26, 2011 at 06:00 PM
Here's Ben Franklin for you Mike -..... 1) http://www.bensguide.gpo.guide - Ben Franklin's Guide to U.S. Government. K-2;3-5;6-8;9-12; Parents & Teachers. Or try: 2) http://www.catalog.gpo.gov - Catalog of U.S. Government Publications 3) http://www.fdsys.gov - Federal Digital System (FDsys) 4) http://www.catalog.gpo.gov/fdlpdir/public.jsp - What is a Federal Depository Library? 5) http://www.gpo.gov/libraries. 6) http://www.bookstore.gpo.gov/alertservice.html So yes Mike, the article is about Ben Franklin -as I correctly stated above. And on your thoughts on Gina Raimondo - did you call her yet today? I'll bet you did not. I'll bet all you did, was double-click to her website...and spend less than 30-seconds there, browsing. Call her -if as you state in your Patch.com/Profile - you are still interested in purchasing property in either LC-Little Compton or Tiverton. Or write to her. Friends of Gina Raimondo P.O. Box 40794 Providence, RI 02940 email: info@ginaraimondo.com telephone 1.401.222.2397 Or call her during the day at her day-job.... c/o Rhode Island General Treasurer's Office State House, Room # 102 Providence, RI 02903 telephone 1.401.222.2397 Mike - I'm just plain curious, testing the depth of your knowledge and contacts: Who in Venture Capital circles, are you on a 1st-name basis with? Anyone, at all? Who, specifically at 1) http://www.Garage.com -would even know your name? Hint: West Coast based.
Janet Sroczynski October 26, 2011 at 06:14 PM
A little homework for Mike-......if the link above does not route you there properly, then try: 1) http://www.bensguide.gpo.gov - Ben Franklin's Guide to U.S. Government. 2) Try and be helpful Mike, and if the readership here is not familar with Venture Capital circles, then perhaps that is the next piece for you to write on....or have one in your editorial staff do a write-up on it, complete with A) Sample Business Plan and B) White Papers. 3) To get you started Mike - would you step away from your laptop, and instead pick up the telephone....and call: "Shark-Tank" -read through their biographies first; and start with bedtime reading here: 4) http://www.abc.go.com/shows/shark-tank. When you are done reading on their website, click on the link to: 5) http://www.SEC.gov -and read further bed-time, good-night stories. 6) And if you wake up and want a glass of milk and a chocolate-chip cookie, then after you've read at: http://www.SEC.gov - then read: 10-K's; 10'Q's, Proxy Statements and the Annual Report to Shareholders -Meeting/Notes. And most especially, read the Independent Auditor's Report.
Just Another Taxpayer October 26, 2011 at 06:15 PM
Venture Capital and Ben Franklin???
Jimmy October 26, 2011 at 06:31 PM
Oh great, Janet's back.
Jim L October 26, 2011 at 06:35 PM
when folks can vote themselves money, what do you thing happens at thr FRM
Janet Sroczynski October 26, 2011 at 06:35 PM
Yes, it does say "Inventor" next to his/Ben Franklin's name....I thought you knew your history!.......1) http://www.wikipedia.com - will get you started. Who gave Ben Franklin access to capital, with his Invention(s)-back then?......translation: bring yourself up to speed to today's modern times, and it's "Access to Venture Capital" - ie...for today's Inventor's. Less government reliance. Don't forget - it's not just adults in Tiverton that are reading these emails; children are too. And these emails by the way, are being shared with *many other people.* To get you started Mike on your thoughts on above...try giving this individual a telephone call.....prep yourself first, read as many FASB-rules as you can, become very fluent in it. Then call: 1) http:/www.pwc.com - John F. Gontero -Partner c/o PwC-PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP/Businesss Leadership/Business Development Strategy- or write to him at: PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, 2 Whitney Avenue, # 207, New Haven, CT and telephone 1.203.562.3301 - is Ann Murtha still with him?....ask him. Do tell John F. Gontero, that I have said hello.
Janet Sroczynski October 26, 2011 at 06:39 PM
Oh great, Jimmy's back....can we expect the same amount of sarcasm from you this time? Sure sounds like it. Tiverton is the gateway to LC-Little Compton!
Mike October 26, 2011 at 07:47 PM
Thanks, Janet! You're so helpful. I'm just a poor nobody with a day job who knows nobody. But I guess you already know that.
Mike October 26, 2011 at 07:49 PM
Now you're giving me assignments. Nice. You are a piece of work!
Robert E October 26, 2011 at 07:56 PM
Janet how is the lawsuit going I am still waiting to be served?
Joe Sousa. October 26, 2011 at 11:36 PM
Tiverton Dad said, "There is no mechanism to override the veto of the council." Wrong again Dad, We have an election every two years. You might remember we changed the council last election. The people always have the final say . That is when they decide to exercise it.
BD October 26, 2011 at 11:47 PM
So Joe, you think it's acceptable for the council to run the town into the ground like this group is doing because they can be voted out after two years. That's your justification to allowing the council to screw up the town more than they already have and give them veto power over the people's budget? Are you out of your mind?
Joe Sousa. October 26, 2011 at 11:53 PM
It was your group that has allowed our infrastructure to fall apart, as you gave pay raises each and every year. You ran up a $47 million dollar unfunded pension liability. You chased every business who wanted to come here away. What is left for this group to run into the ground. Get a clue fool!
Joe Sousa. October 26, 2011 at 11:55 PM
Over the years Tiverton has amassed a huge unfunded pension and benefit liability. A $47 Million dollars unfunded liability . That means we the tax payers have to pay over three and a half million dollars next years to support the broken system. Tiverton has approximately $37 million in outstanding Bond debt. The Debt service and interest payment for 2011 $3,649,355 Tivertons schools are in need of millions in repairs with the sewer treatment plant and heating system at the High School on their last legs.We will be asked to float a bond to make these repairs soon. Tivertons Roads and drain systems are in need of about $40 Million Dollars of repair and replacement. There are dozens of problems on our rec fields and open space areas that need attention. We hope the land fill will not cost more than PAYT program will cover . This town is in a world of hurt. More debt, no matter how sweet the proposed deal is , is inadvisable
BD October 27, 2011 at 12:18 AM
Joe, debt isn't the problem in Tiverton, that's the easy part. It was done with a majority vote of TAXPAYERS. It's getting the TCC and folks of that ilk to PAY for the debt that becomes problematic. Remember just two years ago when they wanted to gut municipal services and education so we wouldn't have to temporarily go over the cap to pay for the construction bonds? Fiscal insanity. Now that the voters saw what kind of fanatics these folks are, don't count on them ever getting a majority again. That's why they need to set up a rigged FTR that gives them veto authority over the majority. As Ben Franklin said, "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Joe Sousa. October 27, 2011 at 12:34 AM
Joe, debt isn't the problem. Are you living under a rock?
BD October 27, 2011 at 12:38 AM
No it's not the problem for us in Tiverton, Joe. It's pretty simple, even for you. If you can't afford something or don't want to pay for it, don't borrow it. You have full control over how much you borrow and owe. That's the problem with you tax and spenders, you need some fiscal discipline.
Joe Sousa. October 27, 2011 at 12:43 AM
"That's the problem with you tax and spenders, you need some fiscal discipline." This is the first thing you said that made sense.
Joe Sousa. October 27, 2011 at 09:56 AM
BD, said something that made sense finally "That's the problem with you tax and spenders, you need some fiscal discipline."
Joe Sousa. October 27, 2011 at 10:16 AM
Tax and Spender, Tell us how raising taxes on businesses helps them ? Most of the business people I know live their work twenty four seven. We need to reduce the size of Government ,and the number of Gov. Employees. Reducing the size and scope to end the excessive tax increases .Then we can start to attract businesses in places like our industrial park. Building a tax base that can support needed services like Fire, Police, Schools and Public Works. I know it's hard for a public employee like your self to understand. Books don't give you real world experience. Just an account of others experiences.
Joe Sousa. October 27, 2011 at 12:24 PM
Over the years Tiverton has amassed a huge unfunded pension and benefit liability. A $47 Million dollars unfunded liability . That means we the tax payers have to pay over three and a half million dollars next years to support the broken system. Tiverton has approximately $37 million in outstanding Bond debt. The Debt service and interest payment for 2011 $3,649,355 Tivertons schools are in need of millions in repairs with the sewer treatment plant and heating system at the High School on their last legs.We will be asked to float a bond to make these repairs soon. Tivertons Roads and drain systems are in need of about $40 Million Dollars of repair and replacement. There are dozens of problems on our rec fields and open space areas that need attention. We hope the land fill will not cost more than PAYT program will cover . This town is in a world of hurt. More debt, no matter how sweet the proposed deal is , is inadvisable ..
Janet Sroczynski October 27, 2011 at 02:15 PM
To Robert E - your question above, asking: "How is the lawsuit going, I am still waiting to be served." Why don't you call and/or write to: Associate Justice/Judge Melanie Thunberg Newport County Superior Court Florence K. MurrayJudicial Complex 45 Washington Square Newport, RI 02840 telephone 1.401.841.8330 Ask if she's had time to get to you yet. Or is she too busy hearing the TYC-Tiverton Yacht Club lawsuit-"the Morans" -Riverside Drive/Tiverton, RI, or the Tiger Pelletier suit - I read on Tiverton/Patch.com the other day that he's back before this same judge too...Tiger Pelletier/James Pelletier. If you havent' heard from her yet, then count your blessings.
Janet Sroczynski October 27, 2011 at 02:28 PM
This article Robert E was about Ben Franklin, try and stick to the topic. And Mike, if at the Tiverton/Patch.com website, you would like additional assignments/homework, track down the figure for me -and answer this question for me: 1) What is the Percentage (%), of students who graduate from Tiverton High School, statistically speaking...who then attend a full 4-year college/university? And let your Patch.com readership know. Try the Tiverton School Superintendent's Office, and see if they have up-to-date figures, they are and/or have been "tracking these figures/statistics/data-market-research" - since the beginning of Tiverton's school system. Provide those figure(s) in an upcoming article, or answer me back here. I'm curious. And start with the early years right up through now. Ben Franklin was a: leading author, activist, politician, political theorist, musician, statesman, diplomat, inventor, etc. I'm curious on the figure above, and where Tiverton is heading. Provide the statistics requested above. Hint: the last time I read the figure, it was quite low - only 30-40% of the Tiverton High School students who graduate, actually attended a full (4) year college. Now, how many of those students who attended college, graduated? The correlation may surprise you, between how many students go on to a full (4) year college and graduate, and why there is so much property for sale in Tiverton. Stats-please.
Mike October 27, 2011 at 02:44 PM
"This article Robert E was about Ben Franklin, try and stick to the topic." Agree 100%. You seem to have all the answers, Janet. I'll simply rely on your unsurpassed research skills and obvious wisdom to guide my decision-making process. Thank you so much.
Robert E October 27, 2011 at 02:51 PM
Janet you haven't been on topic sence you started posting here. Your Ben Franklin's Guide to U.S. Government hand nothing to do with Ben Franklin. it Called Ben"s Guide to U.S. Government the only connection is a cartoon Ben it doesn't referance Franklin at all. So you are the one who need to keep on target before yo ushut down another thread.
Janet Sroczynski October 27, 2011 at 03:05 PM
Somehow, I knew you'd see it my way. And the "hand-out" by the way, and the doc-links provided above, are provided to you courtesy of Stonehill College -where I am now, in their Library. Because Tiverton does not have a modern, technologically-advanced library! And the hand-out on Ben Franklin, is at the Research Desk -where I obtained a copy, just ask for one. 1) http://www.bensguide.gpo.gov. And in the time that it took the two of you: "Robert E" and "Mike" -to send back uncooperative posts and information, was the time it took me to do a little reading and research on Tiverton, and answer my own questions-in part: 2) http://www.RIKidsCount.org - pg.7-read the blue-highlighted tab, at the bottom of the page. Other stats provided too. Thank you both -but I think I'm all set, and don't need your help today. Perhaps there is some other individual on these Patch.com websites, that you could try and assist. I have work to do.
Mike October 27, 2011 at 03:19 PM
But what is your point, exactly? It's impossible to engage in an online conversation with you. I will ignore your posts from now on. I have work to do too, and it doesn't involve sitting in a library. Wish it did. Furthermore, you sitting in the Stonehill library has more to do with proximity than anything else. It's unfortunate that I've come to this conclusion because we probably agree on many issues; however, I just can't get past your misplaced anger. I wish you well.
Janet Sroczynski October 27, 2011 at 03:36 PM
I don't have any misplaced anger, and I don't have a clue as to why you would say that. I'm only borrowing the Stonehill College library, like many other Easton residents...we share resources. As my prior post stated above...I'm all set, don't need your help. The rest of you in Tiverton, you are the ones who have all the answers. Enlighten the rest of us. Looking for Utopia still?...and yet, you can't afford it..the high taxes, and businesses don't want to locate there. You've developed "that reputation." Mike - go back in and re-read posts by other writers/commentors/residents of Tiverton,..over the past several weeks. Are 9 out of 10 homes for sale there? And then read the comparisons by the same posters, they feel as though they are "the next Central Falls" - and read their comments. Bankruptcy, read those comments...from those posters. I offered a few suggestions, in my posts. Like many others who left Tiverton, good luck down there. Unfunded liabilities in the pension system, lawsuits...including the O'Dell's too. So how many lawsuits is Tiverton currently engaged in: Morans, TYC-Tiverton Yacht Club, James (Tiger) Pelletier, O'Dells. That's an unfriendly environment down there, Tiverton. People have offered to try and help; on this website, in person, in writing, on the telephone....and then the groups-take to the blogging websites-insults, etc. I use my real name, many do not. The misplaced anger you speak of, will take place at the FTM-fin'l town mtg.
Tiverton Dad October 27, 2011 at 06:15 PM
Yes, Joe, it's EXACTLY the same as The Constitution's checks and balances. Sarcasm intended. So now we're supposed to wait two years to check a bottom line veto? You should check out a book on US government from the public library, or watch this. It's more your speed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEJL2Uuv-oQ I'm still waiting for a substantive response to my question above.
Jim L October 27, 2011 at 06:22 PM
coming from you thats pretty funny, what with keeping the ftm and all

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something