Antecedent site:

For Concord list:

Welcome to our Campaign

Quality of governance can be ineffable. Certainly it varies from the eye of one beholder to another. But it matters – ask anyone who has felt the sting, when it went the wrong way.

Quality governance starts where we live – for us, that is the town of Concord, Massachusetts. Our method, in this campaign? We look at cases that may offer insight.

Please see below for a topic directory across the years. First, a status update.


Concord governance:

Update – 2016

Following on from below, where is the community?

We had some work to do – that is done, and more.

Now we have won several School Committee elections. We see a community that takes to itself the strengths that real democracy can bring. And very much, the community can thank those who worked so thoughtfully, long and hard, in that mission.

With a new School Committee, we look forward to renewal, beginning with the search for a Superintendent.

As if to make this new day unmistakable, Town Meeting this year produced a remarkable set of measures. A page with a bit of that video recounts. Perhaps this good progress reflects increasing engagement with the hearings year-round that culminate in Town Meeting. Such active participation is the crux of democracy – only then do a people truly govern themselves. If so, that would be a further indicator of growing governance maturity spreading among us.

Notably, Town Meeting moved – finally – to consider just how to situate the buses around town, including the possibility to use a bit of the 95 acres at the High School. Management of a bus fleet is a complex matter. The political process so far has brought only blunt instruments, when instead the complexity demands some sophistication. Now that can happen – when, and as, our elected neighbors take the opportunity. Similarly, and related, remediation of the landfill goes back for some new light, to fit into an overall plan.

Of course there is room for more. Did the Governance Committee have impact? Our municipal FTTH proceeds; what do we see for its future?

Status – mid-2014

1 The schools – Word spreads across town

Beginning from February 1, 2012, and a meeting where about 250 Concord residents condemned the school Administration's attempt to outsource the buses, a small group of us formed. From that time – in the face of years-long castigation and ridicule – we stayed the course. Nor did we prevail in the election the next year, 2013.

However. We did speak the facts. With time, word spread across the town, our fair Concord. With time – and sufficient perseverance – truth did out.

  • In two Town Meetings now, School Committee positions have been voted down with reverberation, on the order of 85 to 90 percent against.
  • We have now elected a reform candidate to the School Committee, in the March 2014 poll, and by a two-to-one vote. Such results commonly signal a mandate.

We see here how a governance culture that attempts to suppress uncomfortable facts, though utterly corrosive if not countered, can also be set on a better course – with enough dedication.

This is just to reiterate a few outcomes. Very much more became evident in addition to buses, such as a gross budget overrun in the new high school building plan, and pivotally a loss of confidence in the Administration. Much remains to be done.

2 The Town’s Governance Committee

In a once-in-50-year review, a Governance Committee of eleven able citizens has been at work for about a year, in effect assessing the quality of Concord's governance.

How have they done? Will there be impact from their work? With what outcome? This Concord Campaign site has now over several years laid out topics of concern – how, or has, the Governance Committee progressed on these evident problems?

Please stay tuned! This will – naturally – become a topic here.

3 The Town’s new fiber-to-the-home broadband network

The initial steps to create a muni FTTH for Concord were taken here, about twenty years ago, then stayed that course too, finally to the recent commercial launch. Concord Light Broadband has been and will be a focal case for our Concord Campaign.

When government offers a fundamental communications infrastructure for the polity, that raises lively, core policy issues. In a number of states, telco and cableco interests have bought enough – yes, bought – enough legistators to outlaw just what we have done. Shamefully, bought –  with 'money in politics,' contributions to legislators – the votes of elected representatives. Thinking, apparently, that they should block citizen choices – that they with impunity can subvert the will of the people.

Back here in Concord, where our new network mixes a venture startup into a AAA bond-rated financial culture, “lively" as a description hardly does the policy questions justice. Again, please stay tuned.


Staying the course turns out to be a theme here. The case immediately above took twenty years ...

With enough stick-to-it-tive-ness, finally things get done.


topic directory: The Campaign's cases

2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016

I – Update 2016

II – As of midyear 2014 – status

Please see above, for: Schools, Governance Committee, Concord Broadband

III – The schools – the 2013 installment

In the runup to the March 2013 School Committee election, our editorial (though we did not prevail this first time, as noted in the update above)

IV – Sustainable power

Article 33 – Wind and solar

Article 33 went to Town Meeting in 2012, where it failed on a fairly close vote. Article 33 addresed two questions, sustainable electricity supplies and related town decision-making. This followed up the Town's prior Article 64 from 2010, as below. The complete presentation, its key chart, and the article text are here.

  1. Article 33 aimed to encourage quality decision-making, as the town takes steps to reduce greenhouse impact.
  2. It also aimed to repair the governance damage over two years, the accountability befouled in the defunct Article 64 project, as documented and as below.

We became Team Kermit for the effort, and for the work that will follow, toward both sustainability and for better governance.

Solar in Concord

Concord Town Meeting April 2010 voted to install a solar array in town. Over two years, and perhaps a thousand hours of town staff time later, the Article 64 project was declared officially dead. For events leading up to the 2010 Town Meeting, there is an antecedent web site replete with preparatory material.

Installments 2010

For the story in 2010, the Concord Campaign looked at five installments. To get a quick overview of the starting points, see the pdf Summary. Also, you can come up to speed on some background, essential to the story, at Carbon and cost.

If for you the topic is relatively new, you may want to start with 2010. Or even go back to the prior site. Otherwise if familiar ... you may want to go directly to Article 33, for the 2012 Concord Town Meeting.

Installment 2011

At an innovative session September 14, 2011, Team Kermit started a dialog on Concord's process for choosing a sustainable electricity supply.

V – Citizen Petitions

At the Special Town Meeting November 7 2011, the Board of Selectmen – the BoS – castigated a citizen for bringing a petition the BoS said was unnecessary and should instead have been handled within town committees. Outraged citizens rose to reject this BoS behavior.

Contrary to Concord Journal reporting, saying the vote was close, in fact the petition passed Town Meeting handily, as Town Meeting formalized rejection of the BoS action. Then at a Selectmen's meeting December 5 2011, the matter came to a head.

Here is video of eight citizens, commenting at that BoS meeting Dec 5.


Note – there is also a Discussion Forum for the Campaign

Join the dialog and put your views up here on the web.

Jump to the Forum intro – also in the nav to the left

This Concord Campaign for Quality Governance is convened by David Allen, Heaths Bridge Rd, in the town of its subject, Concord MA