All opinions deserve respect in river debate

All opinions deserve respect in river debate


To the editor:

The Bell Curve from Toynbee’s Study of History indicates that we are in stage 3, the initial decline in the life cycle of our civilization, an era of cynicism and weak consensus. Special interest group demands override shared social purpose. History shows such groups eventually gravitate to dictatorships. One early symptom is intolerance for opposing opinions.

Special interests avoid objective discussion of issues by elaborating self praise, resorting to insults, personal attacks, demeaning references “drivel”,”and stating their “volunteerism” records as justification for unquestioning obedience.  Sound familiar?

The real issue of my letter is the continuing collusive and dictatorial imposition of special interests agendas on town citizens. Close association between crucial town boards and multiple special interests was amply proven in my letter.  To cite just one example, the real issue was ignored by Mr. Patrick, executive director of WRWA and Tim Gillespie, a member of WRWA and  Estuaries Committee which originates all MEP contract issues, member of CPC which funds the contracts. Also part of the issue is a paid director of WRWA who is also a member of the Estuaries Committee and Buzzards Bay Commission which was involved in the contract negotiations.

My letter was triggered by CPC funding of an Estuaries contract to the WFA, a special interest group affiliated with WRWA and others. There are fully seven questionable aspects to this contract that were neglected and would have been subjected to representative review by the duly authorized Water Resources Committee. These were listed in my letter. The same type of “study” funding request to CPC by a town agency, the Ponds Committee, was dismissed by CPC, largely by impetus of member Slade, whose husband is past president of WRWA and chair of the Estuaries Committee, is now publicly  criticizing CPC member Daxland,  a non-member of the ruling elites.

For the last 20 years we have been subjected to numerous (WRWA,WFA, Estuaries Committee, BBC and others) dictates with no ballot approval. The most flagrant involved imposing water and sewer programs on our north end neighbors, all dictates exclusively dealing with Westport Rivers, ignoring the plight of thousands of our neighbors in the Devol, Sawdy and Watuppa watersheds.

Mr. Gillespie’s statement about my quitting CPC needs clarification. I was a strong advocate of CPC and did Westport Matters shows to promote it. After12 years and over $6 million, it has become a luxury tax —  the roughly $500,000 raised each year cannot be used to fund crucial town needs. My take is that we need to replace the permanent CPC tax with a permanent override of the same value of 2% and spend it according to what is deemed most necessary.

At Town Meeting there were numerous uninterrupted speeches and a Power Point by Mr. Gillespie in favor of keeping CPC. As the only speaker in favor of a ballot vote to allow a voter decision to keep or terminate CPC, I was repeatedly interrupted, in effect preventing me from making my points. CPC membership is three of nine north end residents, using 177 as the line.

We all share the same ideals for Westport —  the ignored issue is our right to popular representative decision making.

I have frequently offered to discuss these and other issues privately and publicly with WRWA leadership and others and was totally ignored.

I don’t lie, stay away from personal attacks, stick to the facts and stand ready to back up my statements with in-depth documentation. I will put my public service record against any other. I respect everyone’s opinion and reserve the right to question what I consider by passing of my right to representative governance.

Let’s return control of decision making from a private office at 1151 to 816 Main Road and restore representative government.

Claude A. Ledoux