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Letters to the Editor - The Lakeville Journal - 6-25-20

Poor taste in cartoon

The editorial page cartoon in last week’s Millerton News and Lakeville Journal was childish and in poor taste.  I would think the local papers would be smart and caring enough not to label American citizens as “stupid.”  Apparently not.  

With the caption “Herd Stupidity,” perhaps the cartoon should have depicted rioters, looters and the anti-police mob.  And yes, these people are American citizens as well, I’m sure we can all agree that criminal activity is “stupid.”

Bruce Valentine



Abbott gives reader full perspective

Tim Abbott’s poignant article, “Outdoor cats and a heartbreaking bird loss” (Lakeville Journal, June 18), resonates beyond a painful recounting of what happened in his backyard this spring.

Combining scientific knowledge, love for living things, and the human impact on nature, both positive and negative, the reader gets a full perspective.  Tim’s concluding words have meaning for today: “Maybe there can be room enough for us all, for a little while at least, out here in the garden of good and evil.”

If you would like to learn more about the “good” that you can do in your own backyard, go to the Salisbury Association website and click on “Birds in Crisis” to open a virtual exhibit.

Elaine Hecht



It can’t be 1959 forever, and shouldn’t be

A recent letter to the Journal, about Sunday racing at Lime Rock Park, seems to suggest that 1959 is such a seminal date that the town must do everything to keep things as they were in 1959. So, in Lime Rock and Salisbury should it be 1959 forever? Of course not, and indeed, a lot of things have needed to change since 1959.

The Sunday racing request appears to be a reasonably limited one with track owners willing to do trade-offs and compromises.  The request seems about providing some needed growth for a business that has been here for over 60 years.  I can’t think of any kind of business that could grow if it has to live in 1959 forever.

While it has been pointed out that there are basically two participants in this action, I hope the town officials tasked with resolving the issues before them will weigh the economic, tourism and employment benefits Lime Rock Park also brings to neighboring towns outside your borders. I know the saying is: “All politics is local,” but “We’re all in this together,” has recently grown in importance. The region has a lot of recovering to do. Losing Lime Rock Park would dig us a deeper grave.

John Baroody



Safe voting critical in the 2020 elections

With the catastrophic number of COVID-19 deaths (currently over 115,000 in the U.S. and over 4,000 in Connecticut), the Connecticut government should provide for safe voting in both the Aug. 11 primary and the Nov. 3 general election. It is wrong and ridiculous to have different rules affecting public health in the general election that follows the primary by less than three months.

Action is necessary now to permit safe absentee voting in the November election. This is a matter of public safety, both for voters and for poll workers. This is not a partisan issue, and there is no place for partisanship at the expense of public health and safety and our democracy.

The state Constitution permits absentee ballots when “qualified voters ... are unable to appear at the polling place ... because of sickness....” The Constitution does not require that an individual voter be sick or ill. Sickness in the community at large would satisfy the constitutional requirement. The COVID-19 pandemic affects the population at large in the state of Connecticut and is an illness for each voter, irrespective of symptoms and testing.

State law is not consistent with the Constitution for the law and the form of the application for an absentee ballot refer to “his or her illness” as a reason for inability to appear at the polling place. In the Constitution, the reference to “sickness” is general. In the state law, the reference to “illness” is personal to the voter.

Governor Lamont has addressed the problem with respect to the primary election scheduled for Aug. 11. Executive Order No. 7QQ authorizes absentee voting for the Aug. 11 primary because of the sickness of COVID-19, if at the time of application for an absentee ballot there is no federally approved and widely available vaccine. The Executive Order is limited to the primary.

The Legislature is not in session, and a special session on this issue would put the health of the legislators at risk and may create partisan divide. Revision of the Constitution and the state voting laws may be merited for many reasons, but this can wait until the pandemic is over.

The current need is limited — to provide a safe framework for the November general election.

Governor Lamont should issue a new Executive Order to provide for safe voting in the General Election as he has done for the August primary. All state legislators, including the leadership of both parties, in the General Assembly and the Senate should endorse the action of the governor.

The courts, if requested to act, should protect the constitutional right to safe absentee voting during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All eligible voters should exercise their right to vote in the primary in August and the general election in November, in both cases safely and without risk to their personal health.

The need for action is now. The right action to take is clear.

G. A. Mudge



What would he think?

Discussing the Supreme Court’s L.G.B.T. decision with a friend, I wondered what conservative Christian groups, which reacted so negatively to the ruling, would say if asked what Jesus would think of discrimination against gays. He thought their response would likely be: “Who?”

Tom Trowbridge



Let’s be welcoming at falls

I’m writing in reference to your June 11 article, “Avoid danger while enjoying the river and falls,” by Patrick Sullivan.

On first impression, the article’s front page position gives the sense that it’s a news article, not an opinion piece, which normally belongs in the back of the newspaper. And in my opinion, the photo is a little sensational (and it’s unclear to me if those children gave permission to use their image).  

The content of the article is one person’s impression of the river area and a snapshot of some of the people who visit. While I agree about the dangers of the Falls and some issues with trash and parking, I do take offense to the tarnishing of out-of-towners and the subtle policing of “how” people are visiting it.

It was unnecessary to continually point out where visitors’ license plates were from — N.Y., N.J., Conn. All of the article’s safety points were valid without that. I think it just adds to an “us and them” mentality. It also feels curious to identify out-of-state plates when we live right on the Mass./N.Y. border, and we are part of a wider Tri-state community. I, for one, use the Rail Trail in Millerton all the time.

We need to be careful to not be judge and jury of how people use a natural area (i.e. solo fishing = good, family gathering in a safe area and wading in = bad. Being appropriately outfitted = good, wearing sneakers = bad.) Many of these judgments can come from a mono-cultural (or class) value system instead of a diverse one. The article also assumes that locals would never do the things that out-of-towners are doing, which is misleading.

It’s a bit unfair to say that people should go to other places for “fresh air.” Sort of this idea of ownership of the Falls by the locals or by a certain type of user (and closing it off to others). Of course visitors should only park in designated areas, take out their own trash and not jump off the cliffs. There are improvements that could be made with signage (working with local authorities). But I think we both need to be realistic — of course people will want to come see the Falls! — and be more welcoming. Let’s also keep in mind that many town lakes and pools are “residents only” this summer, due to COVID-19. There aren’t that many places to go.

I know that Amesville is a sleepy place for most of the year, so it is always a shock to see cars and groups of people walking along the road and using the trails and river. But I like to step back from my initial surprise and uncertain feelings. After all, this is a public place. Maybe less people visited a decade ago, but everywhere is more visited now, since there a lot more of us humans around. Now is a time to be more tolerant and welcoming of our fellow citizens.

Michele Wurm

Falls Village



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