Letters to the Editor - The Lakeville Journal - 8-19-21
McCarthy is facing fire and brimstone at Capitol
It takes very little for a man of no distinction to rise to prominence of power: Agnew, Blagojevich, DeSantis, McCarthy — Joe and now Kevin. How to contend with Kevin’s attempt to rise to second in succession to the presidency — Speaker of the House — by pounding, ridiculing and snarking, yelling and gaslighting, swallowing his rightful condemnation of a president who watched in glee as hordes dismantled the Capitol, laughingly describes gaveling his opposition?
McCarthy morphed minutely from his days heading the Tea Party, then the Freedom Caucus. He authors few if any significant bills on national issues as have Speaker Ryan and Speaker Pelosi — both shaped legislation to shape the nation. McCarthy’s meagre legacy is procedural resolutions for the House, renaming federal buildings and rolling back environmental regulation that gives water to wildlife conservatories.
McCarthy’s self-pride is reserved for the $7,800,000 House Benghazi hearings costing twice that of the Mueller investigation: no findings of wrongdoing, wasted resources, Gowdy and Jordan grandstanding, excessive campaign theater. Of late, Kevin, taking a vow to the Constitution as minority leader, voted to exclude the 2020 election votes in Arizona and Pennsylvania, opposed a Jan. 6 bipartisan investigatory commission then tried sabotaging a bipartisan Jan. 6 inquiry in the House. He is 45’s megaphone for the Big Lie, and it’s rumored that Trump has informed Kevin that if criminality ensues, it’s McCarthy who will go to prison for Trump.
On his congressional blurb Kevin McCarthy states:
“There is a stairway on the first floor of the Capitol that I walk every day. It’s made of marble, and as you walk those steps, you think of those who’ve walked before you. You think of the challenges that the country’s faced.”
Who does McCarthy walk with these days as he steps about the Capitol marble: Muhlenberg, Chase Smith, Rayburn, Baker, Mansfield, McCain, Adams or the plethora of Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, others of the 550 plus charged in the insurrection — those whom McCarthy calls “patriots”?
How to meet and dismiss this false leadership? Face McCarthy to a bred-in-the-bone politician. Face him with someone raised on both the service and sly of political life, an ardent study, a nibble responder with quotable sense and barbed stingers. Match him to someone who can multi-task, who can handle multiple constituents, someone competent, smart, with integrity. Two such strong, confident, articulate legislators, respected and productive, are on both sides of the House aisle. Two mothers of five — that’s five each — well-experienced with handling childish misdeeds, name calling when there is nothing substantial or truthful to say, temper tantrums unleashed, pouts and withholding objects that ought to be shared. McCarthy is out-numbered, out-performed, out-classed and already ruffled, singed and scorched. An indistinct man bodes poorly confronted with fire and brimstone: Nancy Pelosi and Liz Cheney.
“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” — Michelangelo
Thanks from the library
The Hotchkiss Library of Sharon’s Aug. 7 ceremonial groundbreaking for its renovation/expansion project was a huge success. I want to thank everyone who participated —community leaders, elected representatives, donors (both actual and, we hope, soon-to-be) and fellow Board members. The event was meticulously planned and smoothly executed by Gretchen Hachmeister, Holly Nelson and other members of the Library staff. Particular thanks go to Brian Wilcox and Jonathan Doster who photographed the event. Enjoy the celebration vicariously by viewing Brian’s drone aerial shots and Jonathan’s, which are more down to earth, on the Library website. We’re grateful to them for this record of a truly memorable occasion.
Clarifying wetlands proposed changes
Mr. Kadlec’s recent letter provides an opportunity to clarify misinformation about the proposed wetlands regulation re-write. Some changes are discretionary, while others are mandated by state statute.
Land-use conflicts are reduced to three elements: substance, psychology and procedure. Substance is science/fact-based. Matters run afoul when people feel disenfranchised (procedure) or not listened to (psychology). This sets the stage for polarization and positional arguments.
Mr. Kadlec states he “doesn’t pretend to understand government.” I’ll try to fill in some of the blanks. Nothing is “set in stone.” Once the draft regulations are developed, they are sent to DEEP and COG for review, then vetted through a public hearing process, where the entire community voices opinions. Only after this multi-step process will a vote be taken by the IWWC on whether or not to adopt these regulations. Modifications may be made based on testimony presented at the public hearing(s).
Hysteria, and apologies for my ill-chosen word, refers to hyperbolic statements: Homeowners wouldn’t be able to conduct routine maintenance, paint houses, mow lawns or cut down a tree without a permit. The entire time I have resided in Salisbury, it was within the 75-foot Upland Review Area (URA) — along the Housatonic River and Factory Brook. I was never required to obtain permits for these routine activities. Attorney Capecelatro correctly stated that it is incumbent upon the IWWC to define exempt activities, those that may require a permit, and most importantly, the thresholds that trigger a permit.
The assertion that I went public with my concerns 24 hours before the workshop is untrue. The dates on my two letters are early July, sent as a private citizen, in my capacity, as Mr. Kadlec states, as “a valued expert in sustainability.” The Land Use Office, attempting to run a fair process, held all public comments until the day of the workshop.
The July 19th official interagency communication from the PZC stated that the IWWC should examine the POCD in regards to wetlands, and suggested it made administrative sense for both commissions to review the same area (300 feet). This was unanimously endorsed by the PZC at the July 19th meeting. Referring to this as a “back-room deal” is offensive to members of PZC and IWWC, no fewer than five of whom are residents of the Twin Lakes community. Our intent was to avoid the all-too-frequent problem where applicants are ping-ponged between the two commissions, often because our jurisdictional areas are not complementary.
July 20th was the first time that anyone, other than the Twin Lakes group, had had a chance to address the IWWC. To dismiss the presentations of the Northwest Conservation District, Attorney Zizka and Mary Silks as “irrelevant” or “nostalgic drivel” is unkind and counter-productive.
All points of view have merit and deserve to be respectfully received. We all need to work together to protect Salisbury’s unique natural resources, respecting the rights of our citizens to enjoy their properties, in accordance with reasonable regulations that are embraced by the community-at-large.
Michael W. Klemens
Context for Salilsbury wetlands regs
This letter is in response to the numerous letters, articles and meetings concerning the proposed changes to the Salisbury Inland Wetlands and Watercourses regulations. There seems to be a persistent complaint from the Salisbury Lakes Homeowners (SLH) group that the Twin Lakes were somehow not represented from the beginning and have been excluded from the process.
To put this in context, the beginning was 2017, when the Lake Wononscopomuc Association (LWA) began to think about how the regulations could be amended to address the impacts of the increased activity we were seeing around our lake. The president of the LWA contacted the then-president of the Twin Lakes Association and asked if they would be interested in working with us on this project but they declined.
The LWA went ahead and at the 12/3/2018 meeting of the Salisbury IWWC the LWA submitted their proposed amendments to the Commission. On 4/1/2019, the Commission voted to have the proposal reviewed by Janet Brooks, the town attorney who commented that there were activities that were not defined and many updates to be made. The LWA worked on definitions and consulted a land use attorney (Mike Zizka) to review the proposal before going back to the IWWC. The final draft was sent back to Janet Brooks after the 2/3/2020 IWWC meeting.
During this entire process the Twin Lakes Association was receiving copies of all the minutes of the LWA meetings. All of the IWWC meetings were open to the public and minutes were available. Although not required to do so, the IWWC elected to hold public workshops in an effort to engage stakeholders prior to conducting the formal hearing process.
The format of the July 20 workshop was stated well in advance. Anyone wishing to speak was to sign up for their 15 minute slot in advance. No one from the SLH signed up but Abby Conroy contacted an SLH member as well as their legal counsel to ask if they wanted to speak. No one got back to her.
I was a presenter at that workshop (the one with the nostalgic drivel and irrelevant data) to explain lake science and data in 15 minutes or less. To keep the data simple much of the presentation was from a video by a local limnologist for a group of high school students in the Envirothon program. To make it less boring and more relevant I related my personal experiences with Lakeville Lake. Each experience illustrated what the data was saying making it more understandable and putting it in a context that these changes were all in my lifetime, not over a thousand years.
Believe me, there is nothing nostalgic about the condition of the lake in the 1970s. This was an example of how human activity, even well intentioned and seemingly harmless, can very nearly destroy a lake. The science is clear and there is much data on the Salisbury lakes, all you have to do is be interested in it.
Gratitude from the Cohns
August 14th was a day to celebrate Shea, and we did — and we did it well. Thanks to so many, more than we can list.We are grateful beyond words. Thank you to everyone who shared the day with us, brought food, helped set up, take down and bring the day together in such a beautiful way. Thank you Lime Rock Park for your generous contributions, Brad and Erin Hedden for giving us electricity (much needed!) and all your help. To the anonymous person who paid for the shuttle service, oh my gosh, thank you!
A very special thank you to our families for their never-ending support and the countless hours given to make this day possible; our friends who are always there for us; and “the kids” — Shea’s friends, who never forget us and keep us going every day. You will forever be family.
An enormous, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you to Sue and Colin — the Falls Village Inn — who gave up their day, their staff and closed the Inn to help us make it the best it could be. We could not have done this without them. They are the definition and core of the Falls Village community.
Shea was smiling on us for sure. It was a beautiful day in every way possible, thanks to all of you.
With gratitude and much love — thank you.
Doug, Denise, Emma and Grace Cohn