All of you that helped deliver a 55 percent voter turnout in the January U.S. Senate special election by casting your vote made a statement.
And it was a powerful one. It was so impressive that Dracut was picked as one of the stops on the Scott Brown thank-you tour.
See, good things happen when you vote.
My question is, will this mark a renewed interest in voting in town? Is it possible that you will turn out in these numbers in a town election?
I know, you’re thinking there are no Scott Browns in a local selectmen’s race.
But you never know, Scott is a former selectman.
And if the field remains as it is, we’ll have a guy that drives a truck in Brian Bond. And, like Brown, George Malliaros is a lawyer and is a good basketball player.
Pete Wilde can sing, kind of like Brown’s daughter, Ayla, but he never made it to American Idol.
Jimmy O’Loughlin has a dominating debate style, much like what Brown displayed in his debate win over Martha Coakley.
So, why not give this race your full attention! I promise you, this one won’t disappoint you.
In all likelihood, the election will be all about the “shenanigans,” as Pete Wilde puts it.
Your job? Figure out if there really are shenanigans in play, or if it’s just normal disagreements and people fighting for what they think is right.
Oh and by the way, a shenanigan is defined as a devious trick. So, maybe not the right word but there certainly has been drama.
The drama started back with a Community Preservation project to turn Canney Farm in Collinsville into a recreation park.
I’m sure the passage of time has blurred the details in your mind, but this project was the beginning of the political war in town.
Brian Bond, who represents the Planning Board on the Community Preservation Committee, was the leader on this project.
When the project got before the Board of Selectmen, it met with resistance, particularly from Jim O’Loughlin who thought the price was too high. His research identified a state law that makes it illegal to pay more than the appraised value.
So because the purchase price was more than the appraised value, it was sent back to CPC. The CPC solved the problem by adding another property. The project was approved but not without some hurt feelings.
So when the Board of Selectmen tried to acquire property for senior housing, guess what became an issue?
If you guessed the “not over appraised value law,” you are right. And if you’re wondering if Brian was one of the folks pushing the issue, right again.
Now, Brian wasn’t alone in this pursuit. He was joined by a small group of friends that included Selectman John Zimini, Housing Authority members Ken Cunha and Ken Martin, along with Finance Committee Chairman Gary Marcella.
They all wanted a current appraisal to reflect the current real estate market. They were sure a current appraisal would kill the project.
It what became one of those “be careful what you ask for moments,” the appraisal came in over what the town agreed to pay, and something else would have to be done to kill the project.
We all know what happened next. The Housing Authority voted to kill the project and created more hurt feelings.
Oh and by the way, it just so happens that while this final appraisal was being done, Brian and friends were out looking at their own senior housing project.
There was also camera-gate and a battle over if the Planning Board should accept money from Walgreens for a “peer review.”
So, stay tuned for a very interesting selectmen’s race. And keep your eye out for shenanigans.
This race also will be worth at least a 55 percent turnout.
Warren Shaw is a former Dracut selectman who hosts a popular Saturday morning radio show on WCAP-Am from 6 to 10.