It was a sea of pink cards last night as Town Meeting voted 500 to 89 in support of the interveners continuing our fight to overturn the agreement to sell Little Neck.
Since some have asked, you can read the full transcript of Clark Ziegler’s presentation of Article 15 by clicking here.
For those who may have missed the festivities, you can also watch the full presentation and discussion on ICAM by clicking here. Forward the video to about 2:03:30 to get to Article 15.
…at the Performing Arts Center starting at 7:30PM.
Article 15 is the opportunity that citizens have not been given up to this point to make their voices heard on the question of whether the agreement to sell Little Neck is in the best interests of the Town. The motion at Town Meeting is expected to be worded as follows:
Moved that the Town express its disapproval of the December 23, 2011 settlement agreement between the School Committee and the Feoffees of the Grammar School Trust which would allow for the proposed sale of Little Neck and that the Town express its support for a privately-funded appeal by Ipswich citizens seeking to overturn that settlement agreement because it violates the conditions under which William Paine donated the land at Little Neck for the benefit of the Ipswich public schools in his last will and testament dated October 2, 1660.
Voting YES on this article is supportive of the intervener’s attempt to get the issue heard by the Supreme Judicial Court ASAP and disapproves of the agreement to sell Little Neck. Sorry if this is confusing, but because we petitioned for this article to be on the warrant, it must be written such that we are advocating for the YES vote. Think of it this way: in the past, the Town has voted YES to support the fight, and that is what a YES vote will do here as well. One key difference, however, is that the Town is not voting to allocate any money to the fight this time, since it is being privately funded.
In case you lost or never saw the mailer that we sent last week regarding Article 15, you can find it here.
We have reserved Room C of the Town Hall on May 2nd at 7:30PM for a public information session regarding Article 15 of the Annual Town Meeting warrant. Town Meeting itself will take place on May 8th at 7:30PM. This article will be a non-binding referendum on the agreement between the Feoffees and the School Committee that would allow the proposed sale of Little Neck.
Many of those who attended the January 5, 2012 meeting where the School Committee “explained” its vote were surprised and confused to hear Chairman Loeb state (and committee member Laura Dietz concur) that “The vote at Town Meeting was not ‘not to sell’. The vote at Town Meeting was to support the School Committee relative to the sale and the change of governance.”
We encourage you to go back to the actual presentation of Article 26 at the 2011 Spring Town Meeting.
Watching this is 15 minutes well spent. Never is there any indication that by voting in favor of this article the town was supporting the sale of Little Neck. Quite the opposite: Mitch Feldman’s presentation of the article on behalf of the Finance Committee was focused on the “benefits of land ownership” (9:00) and his central point was that short term pain is required to achieve a long term gain for the community. At 5:50 he specifically defines the article as “all three boards asking for another $300,000 so that the School Committee attorneys can continue to oppose the proposed sale and to seek to change the governance of the Feoffees”.
The School Committee was last to speak and they had the opportunity to clarify any statements they felt might be misleading or inaccurate. Chairman Loeb chose only to say “The School Committee supports this motion unanimously” (12:40)
No reasonable person would have left the Annual Town Meeting believing that the School Committee had the town’s blessing to agree to the sale of Little Neck. The proposed sale may not technically violate the language of Article 26, but it is hardly consistent with what the voters of Ipswich were led to believe and it is hardly the course of action that voters had a right to expect from the School Committee.
Here is the actual vote taken at the 2011 Spring Town meeting regarding reform of the Feoffees.