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Letter: Column’s cheap shots

Generally, I enjoy Chris Collins’ columns. His punchy style makes for an entertaining read, whether or not I agree with him (about 50-50). However, his predictable swipes at Al Norman bother me.

Al has earned my solid respect for alerting me and many others to the very real threat of unhealthy town development from an oversized big-box proposal. I strongly feel that this has been a real “service to this town,” despite his never having held an elected position. Has Chris Collins? Mr. Collins also provides a service to this town by presenting at least HIS slant on what’s going on, an opinion left unopposed in The Recorder. Balancing Mr. Collins’ point of view, Al’s thoroughly researched documentation has firmly established a strong justification for extreme caution when dealing with big-box development. (PLEASE check out the Huffington Post online to read how big boxes have negatively impacted towns much like ours. Often, the accounts are sad and/or infuriating.)

Regarding the Town Council’s recent actions: far from being “pathetic,” they acted on principle, with dignity, respect, and regret at having to vote down an intelligent, articulate, personable candidate, who, unfortunately, carried the burden of lousy timing, being presented in the political wreckage created by Mayor Martin’s transparent, belated reversal of his prior approval of two qualified candidates, who had obviously failed the mayor’s big-box litmus test. This tug-of-war between Mayor Martin and the Town Council is a bitter fruit of our strong-mayor charter, which leaves the Town Council as the ONLY elected body equipped to counter a mayor’s agenda in a timely way apart from the awkward methods of petitions and referenda. May the Planning Board evolve into an elected body, may Greenfield evolve healthily and may Chris Collins continue to write provocatively, but with a skootch fewer cheap shots.

F. RUSSELL THOMAS

Greenfield

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