To the editor:
I find it necessary to correct misleading information in Mr. Patrick’s letter. Its title “only motive is protecting Westport’s natural gifts” is misleading because it completely ignores the real issue. My letter critiques the continuing collusive and dictatorial imposition of special interest agendas on town citizens without representation. Close association between crucial town boards and multiple special interests was amply proven in my letter. This issue was ignored by Mr. Patrick and masked in familiarly repeated self-praise.
Constant bypass of citizen representation has been amply demonstrated. During the last 15 years we have been subjected to a numerous dictates without ballot votes that dump aggrieved neighbors into the court system, a privilege reserved for the rich. The most flagrant involved imposing water and sewer programs on our north-end neighbors without a ballot vote. Unfortunately, “volunteerism” in Westport, both civic and civil, has become widely accepted as license to abuse and bypass representative governance. Do we need more of this “enlightened” guidance?
Referring to our taxes as minimal is a red herring. When fees, costs of maintaining our water, septic systems, trash disposal and other private expenses are added we find our property costs are comparable to many. Our tax situation is the result of dogged efforts by representative governance and not attributable to special interest actions.
Claiming credit for bringing community septic management to town is also misleading. The hard work of research and meetings with state officials was done by the Board of Health, Mr. Burns and the new Water Resource Committee, a representative town agency.
WRWA’s spending of $209,110 on “in-ground” projects over the last seven years pales when considering the millions used to support the special Interests listed in my letter. Projects of this type often determine town priorities and expenses, independent of town representation. One typical example is WRWA’s partnering on Sam Tripp Brook storm water remediation. As previously experienced, “environmental” incentives determine town priorities without town representation and take credit for “solving” problems while using taxpayer funded resources to accomplish the task. WRWA’s contribution to solving hard issues is very small considering town studies that were funded over the years and about 40 separate significant environmental actions that were accomplished.
The contract in question is a continuation of the “Estuaries study” and my statement that hundreds of thousands were spent on this program is true. The hurried collusive contract that prompted my letter is: For phase 2, submitted under a false name, specifies the contract is between UMD and WRWA, sampling by WRWA, that previously false assumptions would be investigated by WRWA and the Buzzards Bay Coalition (BBC).
This certainly implies WRWA is a paid participant. Was the decision to forget about payment a result of recent exposure? If no payment will be accepted the contract funding needs to be reduced accordingly.
There are questionable aspects to this contract that were neglected and would have been subjected to representative review by the Water Resources Committee. For example, questionable buildout numbers, overestimated agricultural contributions, BBC critique of MEP nitrogen values, discrepancies in Nitrogen values of MEP and Univ. of New Hampshire measurements, the town is excluded from review, and control and financial conduct of the contract and the results of the data that it funded.
WRWA is represented on the Water Resource Committee, why would they actively undermine it?
I acknowledge the significance of the educational and other works of WRWA. My (and many others) revulsion comes from the repeated self anointed ruling class actions directed at bypassing representative government and imposing priorities and dictates that affect all citizens.
I stay away from personal attacks, stick to the facts and stand ready to back up my statements with in-depth documentation.
Let’s stop ignoring the issue and return control of decision making from a private office at 1151 to 816 Main Road and restore representative government.
Claude A. Ledoux