Letter: Participation in town politics
To the Editor:
Just talking to Ridgefield residents you get a pretty clear picture of how those who live here care greatly about their town.
All the way down from countless letters to local newspaper editors and heated debate over Board of Education actions down to simple enthusiasm for local town events like the Holiday Stroll, most residents consider Ridgefield to be an important part of their identity. And yet, despite the passion Ridgefielders seem to have for the town and the opinionated responses you’ll get if you ask them about local politics, most folks seem hesitant to involve themselves in town government.
And this reluctance certainly isn’t caused by apathy: Ask just about anyone for their stance on tolls, development on Main Street, or the status of the education budget and you’re sure to get an enthusiastic, perhaps even long-winded response.
However, looking at town participation in local government you might not get that impression. Voter turnout on the most recent budget vote was a remarkably low 1,725 residents, less than 10% of the towns registered voters; a number Marconi called abysmal.
Similarly, Board of Selectmen meetings and other town meetings often go hilariously under-attended, with rows of empty chairs sitting opposite of the elected officials. Now should every Ridgefield resident be expected to take up a position on a town commission? Perhaps not, but undoubtedly there is more that the average resident can do to share their point of view in town affairs.
Ridgefield is a town of passionate people, and if they choose to exercise their options in local government they might be able to change the town for the better.
Pilgrim Hill Road, Jan. 7