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What happened to the Niro family last month showed that the political incivility infecting Washington, D.C. has reached the local level.

Someone vandalized the Niro's car – causing an estimated $5,000 in damage – because Donna Niro is the leader of the group that advocated banning retail marijuana stores in Milford.

Not only is the vandalism a crime, but all it did was to confirm to a segment of the population that pot-smokers are low-life criminals. In other words, it hurt the "we want pot shops" folks more than it helped them.

You can disagree without being disagreeable. It's that simple.

There is no need for vandalism – or, for that matter for mass mailings that cast the town's selectmen as acting in a midnight conspiracy.

It's funny that people would even think that. Per state law, all Board of Selectmen's meeting agendas are posted in a public place. All of their meetings are televised on Milford TV, and then the videotapes are posted on YouTube for the entire world to see. So, when exactly were these secret meetings held?

Could it be that it's just easier to throw out a statement and see if it "sticks"? Again, that's a sign that the divisiveness in Washington, D.C. is infecting us locally. That's the favorite tactic of our Twitterer in Chief: Just put a statement out there, whether true or false, and let everyone react.

Milford is hundreds of miles away from the nation's capital. The local political discourse should not descend to Washington, D.C. level. We're better than that, aren't we?

On a different note, judging by their comments, lots of people think the town already owns the Milford Water Company. Not yet. And, it may not happen. Both sides still have to agree to a lengthy legal document spelling out all the terms and conditions. And, the town still has to borrow the money to fund the purchase. The target date is still December 31.

The selectmen may have appointed three water commissioners, but those commissioners cannot be sworn in until the state legislature passes the special enabling legislation creating a Board of Water Commissioners and the governor signs it into law.

And, speaking of the governor, I had the chance to hear Charlie Baker speak at the recent Massachusetts Council on Aging's annual conference this month. Speaking more as a devoted son than a politician, he spoke from the heart about caring for his elderly parents. It's nice to see the human side of a political figure and to hear him for an extended period of time, versus the 10-second "sound bite" you get on television news.

Perhaps if we look behind the sound bites, 140-word Tweets, and Facebook rants and listened to extended dialogues on issues, perhaps then we'd all be more informed when we make our decisions and less prone to vandalism and accusations.


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