Opinion: Not everyone is pleased in aftermath of bond revote

I must respectfully disagree with Ted Scheu’s upbeat assessment of the bond vote (letters, May 19).
It is not the case that we have had 20 years of discussion on the subject — certainly not focused and purposeful discussion. Once the selectboard proclaimed the new plan there was almost no officially sponsored discussion, and certainly no invited input on anything more substantive than cosmetic details. Young people and people new to town were not around for prior discussion in any case and could have made valuable contributions if given a chance, which of course they weren’t.
Never have I seen Middlebury as sharply and bitterly divided as on this bond deal.
Neighbors, friends, colleagues and even family members remain angrily split. In talking with voters and circulating petitions, I found that responses to the plan did not correlatewith any common predictor of voter disposition. They were personal, individual and strong.
The bond undeniably won a solid majority. But an outcome which leaves 45 percent of the voters deeply distressed about a radical reconstruction of their town is far from a consensus, let alone the enthusiastic endorsement that the selectboard/college/Addison Independent editorship coalition would like to claim. Most of the opposition stems from disagreement with both the scheme and the inept process, but some is certainly reaction to the perceived arrogance and contempt for public opinion of the bond promoters.
Rather than dissipating on their own, the hard feelings are likely to intensify when the dirt actually starts flying. Will the wound eventually close without an ugly scar? That depends partly on whether the objections to the project prove justified — which only time will tell — and partly on whether the winners work to promote healing by including the opposition in the planning or continue to exclude and ignore them.
Judy Olinick

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