Independent Party 2021 Platform

DELIVER OPEN & EFFECTIVE GOVERNMENT

  • Provide effective money management:

    • Restore competitive bidding on contracts.

    • Provide tax relief options for Seniors.

  • Deliver a responsive and open Town Council:

    • Require two scheduled public participations at council, commission and sub-committee meetings.

    • Explain decisions during Town Council meetings.  

  • Allow unaffiliated voters to serve on Boards and commissions.

GOVERN WITH HIGH ETHICAL STANDARDS

  • Strengthen the Ethics Ordinance.

  • Prohibit conflicts of interest. 

  • Create an impartial Ethics Commission.

  • Require Town and commission attorneys to reside out of town and be hired through competitive bidding.

  • Hold public officials accountable for non-compliance.

PROMOTE SMART DEVELOPMENT

  • Keep businesses out of residential zones.

  • Require attractive buildings for Main St. developments.

  • Pass effective Noise Ordinance.

  • Prohibit developers, contractors, and realtors doing business in Watertown from serving on land use boards.

 
 

How Town Government Works

                     

                        And Why You Should Care

 

About half the people in Watertown/Oakville are registered as Democrats or Republicans.  A smaller percentage are registered with the Independent Party.  By far, the greatest number of registered voters are unaffiliated, that is, they have not registered with any political party.  There are two significant downsides with being unaffiliated.  First, the Republicans and Democrats will only select members of their parties to run for office or serve on Boards and Commissions.  Second, voters who are not registered with a party cannot vote in primaries.

 

Political power begins with the Town Committees.  Every political party has a Town Committee.  It is a small group of people belonging to that party who meet privately, usually monthly, to make decisions impacting their party, or if they have the majority on the Town Council, decisions impacting the Town.  You cannot even attend these meeting unless you are a registered voter of that particular political party.  Voters have no say about who serves on these Town Committees.  Only registered members of the party are eligible to elect members of their Town Committees which they may do once every two years.  New member lists are submitted to the Town Clerk after each two-year election, but it can be difficult to find out about changes within that two-year period.  If you contact your political party of choice and ask about ways you can become involved with the party, it could lead to an appointment to their Town Committee. 

 

The Independent Party is different from the 2 major parties in that our monthly meetings are open to anyone, we never tell our elected officials how to vote, and we welcome new members to our Town Committee.    

 

The Town Committees decide who will be on the ballot as their party’s candidates for Town Council and Board of Education.  If you want to run for office without being nominated by one of the political parties, you will have to comply with the state’s requirements to create your own party.  The state does not make this easy because it is in their best interest to maintain the 2-party system. 

 

Watertown-Oakville voters can only exercise that power every two years at election time when the voters choose members of the Town Council and the Board of Education from the slate of candidates selected by the Town Committee of each political party.  Once you elect the members of the Town Council and Board of Education, you have delegated your power to those elected officials.  They now have the authority to make decisions that affect everyone.   

 

The Town Council appoints people to Boards and Commissions, but the appointees are nominated by their respective political Town Committees.  The Republican and Democratic Town Committees require their nominees to be registered members of their parties.  The Independent Party does not have that requirement.  Independents nominate the best qualified person to serve on Boards and Commissions, regardless of party affiliation. 

 

The Town Council does not screen all their nominees to Boards and Commissions to confirm they meet certain standards and have no conflicts of interest.   The Council accepts the nominations presented by the political Town Committees.  Once in a while, some members might object to someone nominated by the other political party, but that is rare.   Sometimes, people volunteer to serve on a particular Board or Commission because they have personal agendas.  Sometimes those agendas are financial.  Other times, members of the Town Committee have their own agenda, so they pick people who they know will vote the way they want them to.  The Independents do not do this.  They pick smart people who they trust, then let them do their job.   

 

Government is supposed to work for all the people, but frequently, that does not happen.   

For example, many citizens have been upset over decisions made by our Planning & Zoning Commission over the past decade.  Homeowners believed that they were protected by zoning regulations, and businesses had designated areas where they could operate.  That is the way it is supposed to work.  But Watertown’s Planning and Zoning has randomly rezoned some residential areas, so citizens have found themselves living next door to businesses, and seen their home values plummet.  You might think that they could complain to someone and things would change, but it doesn’t work that way.  The Town Council and Town Committees support the people they have nominated to serve.  While under the Town Charter, the Town Council is charged with overseeing Boards and Commissions, to date, they have chosen to ignore this responsibility.

 

When you see something that doesn’t seem right or make sense, these are the kinds of things happening behind the scenes. 

 

We urge you to get involved with your Town.  Attend meetings.  Talk to people.  Don’t vote blindly for or against one party.  Pay attention to the issues and what is happening when you vote.  If you really want a say in selecting the people who will impact your life in Town, get on the Town Committee of your party of choice and fight to make changes for the better.