Mashpee Town Leaders React To 'Angry' Town Meeting

Since being appointed Mashpee town manager 12 years ago, Joyce M. Mason has attended nearly 25 Town Meetings in that capacity, but this year’s meeting on Monday, May 5, was, in her words, “difficult.”

While only 238 of the town’s 10,301 registered voters attended Town Meeting, many came with specific issue-related agendas and were not too afraid to sling personal attacks at town leaders or make political statements.

They included resident Paula D. Peters saying she was going to “bullet vote” for selectman candidate Andrew R. Gottlieb, local realtor Joan Muse commenting that the town human resource department’s evaluation of the town clerk position would be “slanted” because Ms. Mason requested it, and planning board chairman George W. Petersen suggesting that an article “smelled like three-day-old fish.”

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However, a rambling speech by longtime Mashpee environmental activist Beverly A. Kane was perceived to be the most offensive of the evening. Ms. Kane chided the board of selectmen and finance committee for unanimously supporting Article 15, which proposed that the town be allowed to dispose of tax-foreclosed properties without Town Meeting approval. She ended her tirade by citing a famous quote made by Red Sox player David “Big Papi” Ortiz shortly after last year’s terrorist bombings at the Boston Marathon finish line.

“It’s unfortunate. Ms. Kane was totally inappropriate. Using a quote that was used to admonish a terrorist attack had no place on Town Meeting floor. Somebody should have stopped her. You can say what you want to say with civility,” Ms. Mason said.

Selectman Thomas F. O’Hara was even more critical of Ms. Kane during a televised candidate forum taped on Wednesday at the Mashpee TV studio.

“If she was associating me with a terrorist, then I am highly offended,” he said.

Mashpee Finance Committee member and former selectman Theresa M. Cook, who has lived in town for 33 years and attended many Town Meetings, said that she has never seen a meeting sink to such a level of disrespect.

“It’s unfortunate that a reference of a quote made after the Boston Marathon bombings was used as an analogy to town government, especially since everyone on town boards and committees are doing their best for the town. Perhaps the moderator could have brought us all back to the issues at hand, rather than allowing conversations to get personal,” she said, adding that she was surprised and shocked at the level of anger that was exhibited at Town Meeting.

“It was a very angry crowd that was stirred up. But I’ve been at it long enough that I don’t take it personally anymore,” Ms. Mason said.

Comments

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  • tjnolan

    Ms Mason and Mr O'Hara are delusional. If they think they are being compared to a terrorist based on Ms Kane's Big Papi reference then they need a dose of reality. She was obviously using the quote to represent her stance that she feels very strongly that the town residents deserve to be a major part of the Article 15 decision. No sane person could think she meant it that way. There's no wonder why we do not respect or trust politicians.
  • Paula Peters

    This story was published with clearly only one agenda served. Where are the comments from those who were incensed by the arrogance of town leadership to even produce article 15 and to ignore the obvious long term under-compensation of the town clerk? Then you go so far as to devalue the voters by saying "only" 238 showed up. Can you put that in context? How many voters typically attend town meeting? How many attended last year? There are two sides to this story and unfortunately you chose to only pad the egos of town leaders who got their butts handed to them for making poor decisions in the face of a democracy.