Strach: Thanks to those who supported the Home Rule Charter

Strach: Thanks to those who supported the Home Rule Charter

In spite of the fact that the Proposed Scituate Home Rule Charter was not approved, I remain thankful for the people who so willingly worked with me on this effort. Greatest thanks, of course, go to Mary Manning Morse, who became my co-worker throughout the project, and to the core group of volunteers who were out there with us getting the almost 1,700 signatures for the initial petition as required by Article XIII of the R.I. Constitution.

Thanks, too, to the hard working elected commissioners who did their homework and participated in all those meetings from July 2018 to June 2109 to get this Charter written. It was a rigorous schedule, but we got our work done and can be proud of the final product – regardless of the final vote.

And I want to again thank former Council President John Mahoney, who insisted that the only legal counsel the town would provide was the town solicitor, Wyatt Brochu. How foolish I was to be skeptical of that choice! Attorney Brochu was a gift to the Commission, very patiently discussing each topic so that the commissioners understood the pluses and minuses of each decision which we made.

But in the end, the real thanks go to the 2,760 voters who actually read their Charter, in spite of the delay and error that kept the printed copy away from them for way too long. I know it wasn’t easy trying to make sense of all that information in such a short period of time. I can only assure you again that this was not my intention when I supported the motion put forth by Alicia Kelly at the Financial Town Meeting in June.

Unfortunately 54 percent of the voters rejected the Charter, but, for me, it was not a wasted effort. The past three years have been a real learning experience, not just about charters but also about the people in Scituate. There are so many fine, generous, and open-minded people in this town; people who are willing to stop and listen and think (even if they don’t agree with you in the end); people who now reach out to me to express their disappointment that we did not succeed, but tell me how glad they are that we at least tried.

Of course, as with all experiences, I’ve also learned some hard lessons. I’ve certainly learned what “disingenuous” and “obfuscation” really mean. Indeed, when I read Dan Yorke’s comment last week about a certain politician in another town “playing fast and loose … with the truth,” I knew right away (and from experience) just what Dan was talking about!

I am sorry that Scituate does not have the privilege of the Home Rule Charter as 36 other cities and towns in Rhode Island do, but I am thankful that I was able to do my part to try to make that happen – for the sake of this town and those 2,760 voters who shared my hopes.

Ruth M. Strach

Initiator of the Scituate Home Rule Charter petition & former chairperson of the Scituate HR Charter Commission