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Letters to the Editor - Lakeville Journal - 5-22-19

History is in trouble

I love reading about all different kinds of history. I get to imagine what it might have been like to be alive way back then and also think about what it is to be alive today. Whether it’s retracing the evolution of life on Earth (discovered to be written and perusable in the fossil records across the planet) or marveling at the many varied civilizations that have popped up in a plethora of places at different times around the world, I just love how history stimulates my imaginings.

But, UH-OH, history is in trouble. Spaceship Earth, (you know, that tiny speck of rock and water that we call home,  which astronomy tells us is not the center of the universe) seems to have a serious problem with history right now. It seems that our species of hominids has become addicted to over-harvesting, in the present time, the carbon that geology and biology tells us took eons and eons of time for Mother Nature to create and sequester in the terra-firma. We seem to be over-cooking ourselves (and lots and lots of other species) by continuing to cook the books (can you say “la-la-la-la” with your hands over your ears with seven-odd billion people), regarding our carbon-based fossil fuel utilization. 

We’ve so stimulated our imaginings of what is possible for us to create using the historical carbon material we dig and pump from the earth, that we can’t stop ourselves. We’re addicted. We’re addicted to the present  carbon usage, at the expense of the future of life, because of the past successes we’ve had using carbon.  We’re addicted to the present, at the expense of the future, because of the past. Kind’a kooky when you really think about it. 

It reminds me of the time when the Church forbade, for a thousand years, writing anything that suggested (or proved) that the Earth wasn’t the center of the universe. Good ol’ Galileo paid a hefty price (a decade or more of house arrest under further penalty of excommunication) for daring to circumvent that established dogma with empiricism. 

From the vantage point of this history buff, the global free-market capitalism belief that salvation will come from “the market” is a similar dogmatic addiction to the present, at the expense of the future, because of the past. Dig, drill and pump is their sacred dogma. The battle being fought over climate change is, as it was back in the early days of the Renaissance, one between fervently entrenched but fraudulent dogma and empirically sound science. 

It is the classic battle between the human hunger for certainty in life — belief systems — and the hunger to explore the vast unknowns in the universe — the scientific method. 

Unfortunately, science tells us that presently, we all, like Galileo, are under house arrest and in serious danger of being excommunicated — from Mother Earth.    

Michael Moschen

Cornwall Bridge

 

This project is too big for Falls Village

A little group of residents and homeowners in Lime Rock Station (Falls Village) are doing our level best to resist the Falls Village Housing Trust’s intent to build a massive 50-bedroom, 28-unit affordable rental complex on a marginal piece of land, 2.5 miles from our village, potentially increasing our neighborhood population times 10. A letter in The Lakeville Journal of May 16 by Martha Miller, Lime Rock resident and member of the board of directors of the Falls Village Housing Trust (FVHT), trivialized that our concerns were only about an increase in traffic. The problems are far larger: location, overcrowding, public safety, financing, cost to the town for services and schooling (tax-free), groundwater, maintenance and more. Ms. Miller opened her letter stating that the FVHT is going to “remedy the affordable housing problem” in Falls Village. Here are percentages of affordable housing by town, gathered from CT Open Data: North Canaan 9.2%; Falls Village 7.19%; Litchfield 4.73%; Kent 3.72%; Norfolk 3.72%; Cornwall 3.28%; Salisbury 1.2 %; Goshen .42%.

Relative to other towns, Falls Village doesn’t have a problem, ranking second highest in affordable housing percentages.

In our May 9 letter to The Lakeville Journal, we stated the fact that people want to live in town, integrated into the community with that “walkability” factor: in other words, walking proximity to school, library, post office and businesses. Kent, Salisbury and North Canaan have done that, smarter. People don’t want to be crowded and marginalized on the outskirts of town. 

Ms. Miller stated that the FVHT had examined and rejected other sites around town. Perhaps you would reject smaller sites if you think Falls Village needs this massive developer/investor boondoggle. It doesn’t. This is not about housing people. This, at the scale you propose, is about big money and big projects because, according to some I’ve spoken with on the FVHT, only big projects get funded.

That is completely insensitive to the low-density nature of this community. We’ve heard the cost will be between $2 and $5 million. Where is the money coming from? Here’s a quote from the Cato Institute about funding for affordable housing: “The benefits of the LIHTC (Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit) are supposed to flow through to tenants in the form of lower rents, but studies suggest that investors, developers, and financial companies gain most of the benefits. The program has complex administration, is prone to abuse, and produces costly low-income housing.”

Investors reap a 90% tax credit over 10 years. Nice payback. There is much more information to shine some sunlight on, too much for this 500 words. We are FOR affordable housing: smaller, in town, scaled for Falls Village. Maybe we need a good ol’ town meeting and referendum. Representative democracy. It still exists, we think. My neighbors and I would be thankful for the opportunity to debate the concepts that the FVHT and their committees have devised for our well-being as a town.

Colter and Katy Rule

Bob Anderson

Jim and Louise March

Kim and Osama Aduib

Lillian Lovitt

Eric Ruquist

Noelle Lamuniere

Lesley Janzen

Jeff Bauman

Kimberly Brooks

Elliot Schwartz

Carole Kiser

Falls Village

 

Are we on the road to war or peace?

Anyone interested in understanding where our nation is headed internationally under the leadership of President Donald Trump, with the influence and incitement of his National Security Adviser, John Bolton, will do well to read Dexter Filkin’s “On the  Warpath” in the May 6, 2019, issue of the New Yorker.

I had the occasion to meet with John Bolton when he visited the World Health Organization back in the 1990s, intending to straighten us out for promoting international cooperation to control  malaria and other communicable diseases. Bolton’s view was that international collaboration and agencies like the UN, UNICEF and WHO were unneeded and wasteful. All that was needed, said Bolton, was for “the U.S. to take the leadership, and have all the other countries  just fall in line.”

In the first 30 seconds, I could see we were talking with an arrogant, born “neo-dictator,” defined as an unalterable opponent  of social democracy, one who seeks to employ a violent  ideology to promote disunity and create a “Me First”  political state, to rule America, and indeed the rest of the world. As National Security Adviser, he had no respect for diplomacy, and faced with enemies abroad, Bolton would bomb first.

“On the Warpath” confirms our initial impression of Bolton, and probably yours too. To pick a single example: Bolton once made an unannounced entry to the office of José Bustani, then heading the U.S. involvement in the International Chemical Weapons Convention, and demanded that Bustani resign.  Why ? Because, said Bolton, the job was NOT to ban chemical weapons, but to ban the ban!  Sure enough, the White House cut short Bustani’s term. The result?  Last year Bustani was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Trump’s extreme unpredictability combined with Bolton’s extreme predictability makes for a highly combustable mixture, with serious future risk of chemical and nuclear disaster for our country and the world. The choice for us is between war and peace. It couldn’t be clearer.

Tony Piel

Sharon

 

Nader arguments poorly constructed

Reading Ralph Nader’s angry and rambling piece in The Lakeville Journal (May 9, “Trump versus Congress and our Constitution”) felt like having been sold a defective used car. Even its pretentious citations of constitutional provisions meant to impart a false veneer of authority to the piece could not sustain it under the ponderous weight of its mistaken suppositions, disinformation and reckless hyperbole.

Among other things, fundamental logic suggests that: 1. Advocacy rehashing of Democratic Party political talking points is not constitutional scholarship; 2. Anger and conjecture are not fact; 3. Sham House “investigations” in search of a crime and designed solely to harass, hinder or destroy a president are not legitimate constitutional “oversight”; and 4. A person’s reasonable right (even a president’s) to discredit fabricated “evidence” of a nonexistent crime manufactured by political opponents is not obstruction of justice, since one cannot “obstruct” injustice.

Noted constitutional authority and Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz recently observed that, “In the fervor to impeach President Trump, his political enemies have ignored the text of the Constitution.” (“The Case Against Impeaching Trump,” Hop Books, 2018.)

On the one hand, Mr. Nader has an undisputed right to air his own personal political views. On the other hand, he might want to profit from reading Prof. Dershowitz’s book.

John Carey

West Hartford

 

Collaboration made for great success

On behalf of the Tri-State Chamber of Commerce I want to give a shout out to two of our sponsors, who helped make Trade Secrets go, as one visitor said it, “flawlessly.” Due to wet conditions on site, our members at Women’s Support Services could not park cars on site for their fundraising event, one of the largest tourist attractions in our Tri-state region. 

With the help of Lime Rock Park and Sharon Playhouse, volunteers, vendors and visitors were able to park safely and efficiently in dry and level lots, from which they were then shuttled to this great event. We love seeing collaboration and cooperation in our communities!

Jean Saliter

President, TSC

Salisbury