Letter: Failing to pay attention
“Town leaders shocked.” Well, I was shocked, too, that the Appointments and Ordinances Committee allowed the infamous Al Norman to re-write the wetlands bylaw that the Conservation Commission had worked on for more than two years. As your article said, Norman is a “big box foe.” Treating him like an extra member of a town committee is stupid. The committee that allowed this must be full of people walking around in the classic uncomfortable position. Would they ask a fox to re-write the rules for hen house security? Al Norman is not just a foe of big box stores, he is a foe of all the low-income and elderly people in Franklin County, who can’t afford to drive a 40-mile round trip to Hinsdale or Hadley just to get sox and underwear they can afford.
The town leaders don’t blame Al Norman for this mess and they probably are right. No one blames the fox for being a fox. We the people are at fault. We voted for town councilors mostly on name recognition and failed to notice that some people were running on a platform of “smart growth.” We stupidly assumed smart growth was a good thing and did not know it was “code” for “no way will you ever get a big box store in this town!”
As the state of Colorado has shown, it is possible for voters to demand and get recall elections and throw out politicians who do not represent the wishes and needs of the citizens. Recall elections probably cost the town a lot of money, but so does keeping new business out, and keeping out the tax dollars they could bring.
As I have told both mayors this town has so far had, this town needs to become as user-friendly as it can. Discouraging businesses from coming here hurts potential tax revenue.
Wake up, Greenfield!