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Parental Discretion?

Kudos - and caution - to moms taking up the override fight.

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Charles P. Pierce.
April 6, 2008

Dear Lisa Valone:

I noticed your name in the newspaper as an example of what is apparently a new political phenomenon - the "override mom," the mothers of school-age children who organize and advocate for local overrides of Proposition 21/2, the state's property-tax limitation statute, also known as the I Got Mine, Jack, Act of 1980. I admire your pluck. You've stepped up in Wayland and argued that, sooner or later, we all have to pay for things like better city services. You have already felt the wrath of Barbara Anderson, the custodian of this law, which is her enduring monument. She apparently believes your politics represent bad parenting. "It's teaching kids to be selfish and to live off other people," Anderson frumped. A confusing argument, I know, since most kids live off other people until they're not, well, kids anymore. I guess the alternative is to send your kids out to start their own businesses.

Anyway, I live in Newton. Awhile back, we passed an override that had to do with the construction of our new high school. Ever since, the project has grown to the approximate size and cost of St. Peter's Basilica. They've found asbestos in the ground, and it would surprise nobody now if they were also to unearth ancient burial plots from which the spirits of old medicine chiefs would rise and turn us all into salamanders. Newton is unlikely to pass another override in my lifetime, not even one meant to kill a giant metal cockroach from the Planet Morgul. I wish you better luck than we had, and we'll do you the favor of not endorsing your campaign. It's the least we can do.

Charles P. Pierce
Cpierce@globe.com

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