Proposition Misbegotten


To The Editor:

Your letter writers, Bruce Stone [“Roundabout ballot, but what’s the point,” February 16] and Dan Greenbaum [Referendum’s misleading results, February 16], have it right about the essential meaninglessness of a referendum on the roundabout question. The way the question is framed does not allow for an informed or reasoned judgment, or even for a nuanced one. But there is another point to be made — the danger of putting such questions directly to voters.

Our form of government is a representative one. We elect officials who we hope are qualified to make intelligent decisions on the issues that arise during their tenure in office. If we don’t like their decisions, we retire them — through the ballot box.

The roundabout-to-referendum issue demonstrates that our elected officials apparently do not have the courage of their earlier conviction and are now trying to displace responsibility for the continuing imbroglio over this matter onto their constituents.

Bad idea. One need only look at the sorry state of government in California, lamed by referenda both fiscal and social, to understand why resolving consequential, complex questions through referenda isn’t Proposition 8, 9, or any other number. It’s simply Proposition Misbegotten.

I, for one, will abstain from voting in West Tisbury on this ill-advised referendum. I urge others to do the same.

Nicholas W. Puner

West Tisbury