A series of citizen forums will focus on what residents in each precinct see as the top issues in their neighborhoods
As part of this year’s town election coverage, The Saugus Advocate will be reaching out to residents in each of the 10 precincts to get their views on what they think are the most crucial issues facing their particular neighborhoods. In order to get feedback, the newspaper and the Saugus Public Library will cosponsor a series of ongoing forums titled Saugus Over Coffee, which will be held in the Community Room of the library. Each precinct, beginning with Precinct 1, will be the focus of an informal discussion over coffee and tea during a select Monday night each month, beginning now through October.
The first forum, focusing on issues in Precinct 1, will be held on Monday, Jan. 30 at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Room of the Saugus Public Library (295 Central St.). Precinct 2 residents will have a chance to express their views at a forum scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 13.
“The major role of any public library is to help educate and inform its citizens so that they can enjoy better lives and effectively govern themselves,” Saugus Public Library Director Alan Thibeault said.
“This was a driving force behind the public library movement in the 19th century which created the modern public library. In its interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights, the American Library Association states ‘libraries should encourage political discourse as part of civic engagement in forums designated for that purpose,’” Thibeault said.
“The Saugus over Coffee program is an excellent chance for citizens of Saugus to engage with one another over very local issues in a civil and forthright way. We are excited to cosponsor and host this program and grateful to Mark Vogler for moderating these discussions.
Vogler, Editor of The Saugus Advocate, said residents who can’t make the forum or who would prefer to express themselves in a letter may do so by emailing him in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org – or they may drop their letter off at the Library.
The five Town Meeting members for each precinct as well as candidates for Town Meeting seats will be invited to give a statement sharing their views on what they see as priority issues for their precinct. The discussion will then be open to residents of the precinct who would like to express themselves. Each forum will also provide residents of a particular precinct an opportunity to get to meet their respective Town Meeting members over coffee or tea.
The Saugus Advocate will use the citizen comments from each forum, along with any emailed letter, for an ongoing series during the year, titled Saugus Over Coffee.
“The ultimate goal of the library forums and the newspaper series is to give citizens in each precinct an opportunity to express themselves on issues that concern them in their neighborhoods before the November town elections,” Vogler said.
“This also gives candidates for Town Meeting an opportunity to hear what’s on the minds of voters in their precinct and allows them an opportunity to respond in their respective campaigns,” he said.
Here is the complete schedule for upcoming Saugus Over Coffee forums:
Precinct 1 – Jan. 30
Precinct 2 – Feb. 13
Precinct 3 – March 13.
Precinct 4 – April 17
Precinct 5 – May 8
Precinct 6 – June 12
Precinct 7 – July 10
Precinct 8 – Aug. 14
Precinct 9 – Sept. 11
Precinct 10 – Oct. 23
Please check with The Saugus Advocate or library for any changes in dates.