Related special interests dominate Westport

To the editor:

On Feb. 13,  the Westport Fishermen’s Association (WFA) obtained Community Preservation Committee (CPC) funds authorizing them to administer a contract between the town and  UMass Dartmouth.

This cooperation between CPC, Westport River Watershed Association (WRWA) and WFA reinstitutes control of our town’s water-related issues to special interests, a control  lost in 2012 when for the first time since the early 1970’s, three selectmen had the backbone to appoint a truly representative committee to deal with all water-related issues.

This Westport Water Resources Management Committee (WWRMC) involved north end voters in decisions that would affect their lives and finances. All precincts are represented including Board of Health (BOH), WRWA, Highway Department  (who would be involved in implementing solutions) and Agricultural Commission (AC). This insures consensus agreement rather than the previous long line of roughshod special interests’ imperious dictates imposed on all town citizens — dictates prioritized to bring money to special interest coffers instead of dealing with the total town welfare. The three selectmen who appointed the WWRMC were Sullivan, Vieira and Spirlet.

This CPC action is another of myriad examples showing close association between crucial town boards and special interests. In this case, the love affair between the CPC and the Estuaries Committee became apparent in 2006. The Estuaries Committee was and is under WRWA domination, membership has involved paid WRWA employees and staff, directors, president and numerous members, while CPC members had family relations with Estuaries Committee leadership including WRWA dominance.

Paid employees of WRWA on the Estuaries Committee support and take part in negotiations on town contracts funded by CPC that are of direct benefit to WRWA and employees. Since 2006, all town water related issues and dictates have originated with local special interests; WRWA, EC, and WFA usually aided by external special interests —  Buzzards Bay Coalition associated with WRWA for 22 years, Buzzards Bay Project, and others  including  legal help as needed.

The danger with this type of action is that removing citizen consensus from decision making opens the door to repeats of one-sided decisions by select elitist groups. For example, present members of the Estuaries Committee, CPC and now WWRMC, as well as a selectman were prime movers of the 2004 water and sewer proposal foisted on north end residents by the then Board of Selectmen, development interests and acquiescent special interests. Another example is the Westport Fishermen’s Association proposal to destroy the Forge Dam. One standout example was the combination of WFA, BBC, WRWA and phantom special interests uniting to destroy one of our farmers during the early part of this century. The real scare is that, as mentioned in a press release,  the Fishermen’s Association (and WRWA?) are planning to implement their own solutions.

Contracts between the town and UMass Dartmouth; funded by CPC, originated by the Estuaries Committee including WRWA as one of the funds’ recipients, have been under control of special interests, local and external. These contracts amounting to hundreds of thousands of over-2 ½ tax cap funds give a false semblance of town control by funds issued from CPC to the Estuaries Committee. In fact there is no town control. Among other shortcomings, the town is excluded from review of the data it funded, a privilege reserved to WRWA, the paid data samplers.

Now, the veil has been lifted, special interests are now fronting for town committees they control instead of the former way around.

As expected , the Fishermen’s Association is a surrogate of the Estuaries Committee and WRWA. The application to CPC was filed by a member of the present EC, CPC and WRWA; it is an exact copy of a recent Estuaries Committee model. The application includes portions of WRWA’s latest newsletter verbatim.

The reason given for this action that there was an urgent need to complete the analysis has no merit. Nor is the $10,000 WFA funding share crucial, CPC has about $1.2 million allowable for spending in fiscal 2014 and more than needed available for fiscal 2013.

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

Claude A. Ledoux

Westport

Authors

5 Comments

  1. jack reynolds said:

    If fascilitating the completion of a nitrogen pollution study for the Westport river is “special interest” then it’s guilty as charged. The WFA alone took the step of putting our name on this effort and the pledging of 10,000 dollars toward the 30,000 needed to complete it. The need to take this action now is in order to submit the CPC budget for this years annual Town meeting in a timely manner to avoid waiting another year. We welcome the support of any group or individual of our actions and that support is the symptom of a covert sinister conspiracy only in Mr. Ledoux’s head.

    • tgillespie said:

      Conspiracy theories are alive and well in Westport. Allow me to introduce myself. I’m one of those pesky south end special interest types that Mr. Ledoux so lovingly denegrates. I had no idea I was such a villain. I thought I was simply volunteering for my Town to help get some good things done that would benefit everyone. Apparently I was fooling myself. How could I have been such a fool?

      The problem with all this drivel is that some people might actually believe it. Countless people donate endless hours to working on these volunteer boards and committees, and for the most part, their intentions are good and they do good work. Occasionally, however, someone sits on a board or committee, and when they don’t get heard the way they think they should, they get mad. They quit in a huff and fire off volleys of hateful misinformation and accusations in an effort to rally others to their cause.

      That’s what’s going on here. Mr. Ledoux has spent many hours researching Westport’s history and lobbying for things he values. What he has never learned to do is work with people who might disagree with him. Learning to do that would be a wonderful gift he could give to our Town. That’s how really important things get done, and once they’re done, they last. Not much good ever comes of his current tactic. He might win a few skirmishes by pulling a few puppet strings from the back row at Water Resources Management Committee meetings, and honing his ventriloquist act, but I can see his lips moving.

      Those of us he can’t abide are not the villains he portrays, and if he’d just step back into the room with a little more patience, he might discover that we’d actually listen and pay attention.

      Tim Gillespie

  2. calamity jane said:

    Calamity Jane says a BIG hello to all my adoring fans! It has been some time since our last Chat and God bless all of you very important readers.
    Calamity Jane just loves Westport and Claude Ledoux because he stands-up for the tax payer and all the citizens. If Ledoux is a puppet string master per Timmy-Boy for the average citizen in Westport then Timmy-Boy must be the puppet string master for his family over at WRWA and his CPC family. WOW Calamity Jane can not believe what she reads sometimes and Timmy-Boy takes the cake. Timmy-Boy must try and remember and tell his family at the Westport Point WRWA that there is a North End in Westport and the North End in Westport carries the Town in so many faucets – Timmy-Boy needs to understand the North End of Westport stopped his families bid for Water and Sewer a few years ago and lets not also forget the Wild and Scenic was defeated by the North End and also lets not forget the WetLand Bylaw his family over at WRWA tried to bestow got defeated by the folks at the North End. Timmy-Boy may want to take stock in the fact that Westport is not for sale for 10K.
    As far as this other fellow Jack R – Calamity Jane wants to know who is he. Is he new in Westport??
    ByeBye for now – Calamity Jane loves you all.

    • tgillespie said:

      Now I remember why I stopped engaging in the Standard Times forum. I apologize for raising my head. Big mistake. Who knew what a devious character I was. I had no idea my “family” was so engaged in manipulating the Town for its own private gain. I should pay more attention.

      I won’t be back.

  3. jack reynolds said:

    As usual Mr. Ledoux either makes it up as he goes or with all his municipal experience doesn’t know the process. The only entity that can administer contracts for the town is the Board of Selectmen. Our part in this is securing the funding for the Town to get the completed report from Smast. The Town does the rest.

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