January 18, 2009

From  Robert Sica, Co-chair (RFSica@gmail.com) and

Bob Gray, Membership Chair (bobgray935@gmail.com)

Letter to EIE Members and Friends



Happy New Year, Everyone!


Now that the holiday season is over, all of us have received greetings from our Hamilton and Wenham town fathers with the first real estate tax bill of the year.  Remember SOS telling us that it is “Just a cup of coffee”?  If we took the $1.8 million increase, we could have bought a coffee plantation in Costa Rica and got coffee for life.  Instead, our taxes are now the highest in the North Shore.  In addition to killing us in the short term, our home values are sinking!  Each override changes the tax rate going forward, year after year.


Politics for many of us seems complex and difficult.  At its core however, it is very simple.  It comes down to votes.  Everything that career politicians do is based on the impact it will have on votes.  At meetings, whether they are school committee meetings, FinCom meetings, selectmen’s meetings, politicians look around and count “heads”, i.e. the number of supporters or opponents that they see.  From this they infer which way the votes will go at town meetings and at the voting booth.


For some, the May 2009 vote may seem a long way away.  However, you need to be aware that the battles have begun, with town committee meetings being held every week in both our towns.  Override supporters are out in force.  It is rare that less than a dozen people advocating for yet more overrides show up at committee and budget meetings.  Our leaders are “counting” them and responding accordingly.


We now have over 200 people who have signed up to join EIE.  However, much of the ongoing activity is shared among a dozen or so people.  We are appealing to all of our members to get involved!  Here are ways to do it:


1)  Commit to attending one meeting a week.  (See email sent out with all upcoming meetings.)  Email Bob Gray letting us know which meeting(s) you will attend.  Wear your EIE pin.  We encourage you to speak your views at the meetings but this is not necessary.  Attendance is most important.

2)  In addition to joining EIE standing committees:  Membership, Government, Gordon College issue, please sign up to join in the following activities: (email to Bob Gray or Robert). 

a.  EIE publication(s)


b.  Sign making


c.  Fundraising and yard sale


d.  Interest in attending rallies


e.  Telephone calls to encourage voting


f.  Neighborhood flier distribution


g.  Helping Elders with absentee ballots


h.  Driving voters to the polls


i.  Manning tables at community events and town locations



3)   Consider running for office.  There are FOUR school committee openings, one selectmen, two assessors, the town moderator, and two for the planning board.  This is not as difficult as you might think.  EIE will help you with obtaining signatures to get on the ballot.


Whether or not we face another steep rise in property taxes again next year is in our hands.  PLEASE join now in the battle to save our town.


Thanks for everything you do!