Letter: Somebody stole Westport? Nothing could be further from the truth

Posted 6/19/20

To the editor:

When Westport’s Board of Health tried to take proactive measures to address the atrocities inflicted on farm animals in a backwoods site on Route 177, they did it through a …

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Letter: Somebody stole Westport? Nothing could be further from the truth

Posted

To the editor:

When Westport’s Board of Health tried to take proactive measures to address the atrocities inflicted on farm animals in a backwoods site on Route 177, they did it through a public process, which involved public meetings, exchanges of ideas, and thoughtful deliberation.

One of the measures they landed on was to create a registry of farm animals throughout town so they would have an understanding of where animals were being kept. Basically a local augmentation of the existing state law.

The final version of the proposal called for a one-time filing of a form. A one page form simply stating that you kept animals, and at this particular time, here’s a list of the animals being kept. If over time the makeup of the animals on site changed significantly, please file another form stating the new condition. The hope was that this simple addition would help broaden the net of the town’s understanding of where animals were being kept, particularly those not covered by the state Barn Book annual inspections.

Then the clamor started, and there was call for a special town meeting to address the new regulation. I was curious what exactly the issue was. I tried to inform myself. I was confused. Why would farmers object to a one-time filing of a one-page form that was easier to execute that trying to get a beach pass? Made no sense to me. Clearly I was missing something.

I guess what I was missing was the fact that the team of Mahoney & Mundel were agitating the farmers and spreading misinformation to get them and others riled up. They ended up packing the special town meeting, went through a presentation that articulated such a convoluted version of the truth that I’m not sure anyone really understood why they were supposed to be concerned, passed the vote for their amendment to the RTF bylaw, and then emptied the hall, leaving a small contingent to finish the process of Town Meeting.

Their main accomplishment … weaken the Board of Health and subject our town to the possibility of another animal abuse holocaust. This behavior makes me tired. They’re accusing the current board of selectmen of being in the pocket of special interests. Really? Have you been paying any attention to the history of Westport politics? Right now we have one of the most functional Boards of Selectmen that we’ve had in a long time.

I’m not buying it. No one has taken away our town. We may be at risk of being taken over if this coalition gets their foot in the door. They are divisive and fear mongering, and all their claims are based on misinformation. We’ve seen this before, and we chose to move on from this version of playground politics.

We need grownups populating our boards and committees. We have them sitting on the Board of Selectmen right now, and we have genuine candidates running for Board of Health and Planning Board. We have some hard choices to make, and I guarantee that the Mahoney/Mundel Coalition have no interest in addressing the real problems. They just want small government that does nothing proactive. My wife and I have already voted … Ouellette & Valcourt for Selectman, Amaral BOH, anyone but Soares for Planning Board.

Tim Gillespie

Westport

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