Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Cowboy Take Me Away

I would like to say a few words about an individual who has been maligned recently by members of his community. Someone who has taken the time to study, in excruciating detail, Middleboro’s finances, including the casino agreement. A man who stood in the blistering sun during the historic Town Meeting on July 28th and demanded that the debate continue, that voices and opinions be heard - despite the view from the Board of Selectmen that those voices and opinions were meaningless. A man who’s name say’s it all: Steve Studley.

The physically impressive Mr. Studley is a member of FinComm - Middleboro’s Financial committee, and the only group to come out against a casino in Middleboro (well…You know, aside from CasinoFacts, Citizens for Limited Taxation, League of Women Voters, the Mass Council on Compulsive Gambling, the Middleboro-Lakeville Clergy Association, Southeastern Regional Planning & Economical Development District, Mass Council of Churches, Taunton River Watershed Association, Massachusetts Family Institute, and four abutting towns… also otherwise known as the vocal minority.)

FinComm meetings, in the event that you were unaware, are desperately dry, agonizingly tedious, eye-straining, time altering, flat-lining, albeit completely necessary affairs for the proper running of a town. Attending one of them as a spectator has been described as ‘taking one for the team’.

And so, I feel it can be safely said that Mr. Studley does not get up early on Saturday mornings and go to the town hall to sit around a table with the other volunteer bean counters to analyze spreadsheets for a heel-kicking good time. I’m sure he has many better things he could be doing, including causing the ladies of my generation to momentarily misplace their inhibitions.

Apparently at issue with his detractors is the fact that Mr. Studley prolonged the Town Meeting with his insistence on continued debate, and therefore, due to the heat, placed the public’s health and well-being at risk.

Funny… where was the outcry for the public’s health and well-being from the pro-casino lobby when this meeting was being planned? We all know what it’s like in July. It’s hot. So why the rush? That certainly wasn’t Mr. Studley’s doing. That motivation came from the Board of Selectmen, spearheaded by Adam Bond under pressure from Tribal chairman Glenn Marshall. If you want faces for your wanted posters, there’s no need to look further than that roundtable.

And speaking of that meeting, much praise has been passed around in it’s aftermath, but it seems to me as if the main source of this pride arises from the fact that no one actually died as a result of it. Phew! Of course, not many of those who were in danger of dying - those who would have happily gone to their voting places in April of ’08 to cast their vote without the shadow of the grim reaper in their rearview mirror - showed up. Nor did many single parents. Nor parents of young children who couldn’t find childcare - persons with an understandably vested interest in the future of Middleboro.

And so, what if more than 3,000 people had shown up? What if half or more of the 14,000 registered voters had made the trek that day? What if the temperatures had been higher. What if thunder and lighting were tossed into the mix. No one had a crystal ball during the planning stages, to know what that day would bring.

So, why vilify Steve Studley? Perhaps because those pointing fingers at him can’t bear to actually place the blame on the ones who deserve it - the ones in charge - because then they might have to recognize that health and lives were, in fact, risked for the sole purpose of ramming into being a poorly drafted agreement before it could be thoroughly scrutinized by the public and opposition given time to mount.

Folks, Steve Studley is not trying to take away your good time or steal your pot of gold. I’m not even convinced he’s anti-casino. I mean, I’ve never seen him at any of the meetings (though I feel I can speak for many ladies in our group by saying that I’d really, really like to.) He’s just trying to get the town to live within it’s means, which he has a better-than-most understanding of, so voters wouldn’t have to assume their only choice was a singular one.

And so, for keeping an eye on the bankbook, for the courage to oppose an agreement despite intense pressure from all sides, for showing us that you can care about money and still care about your town, for keeping voters out in the sun to dry them out from all the spiked Kool-Aid they’ve been given, and for single handedly fending off the largest assembled squadron of dive bombing flying monkeys on the planet, Gladys retroactively proclaims Steve Studley, her Person of Month, for July.

2 comments:

wayne said...

Absolutely!

Rather than being vilified, Mr. Studley should be applauded.
I am anxiously awaiting this week's Gazette, I hope to see several letters in his defence.
The anger some are exhibiting towards Mr. Studley should be
redirected to the real cause of this.

Anonymous said...

Amen Gladys. I applaud the man.

During the 7/28 meeting, a pair of woman's eye glasses were found (pink rims) - when the moderator said they had been found, a loud "they're Studley's" went up from the orange shirted crowd.

It has been confirmed that these were actually Alan Bond's.

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