Editorial: Not exactly ‘fair’
The concept of “fairness” seems to be coming up a lot among Greenfield town councilors these days.
Fairness was apparently behind much of the thinking when it came to the council’s Appointments and Ordinances Committee vote against recommending Isaac Mass being seated on the Planning Board. We’re sure that “fairness” will get tossed around liberally when the full council takes up the nomination next week.
We’re all about fairness, too, which is why we have a concern that the thinking here seems a little narrow.
Let’s begin with one of the alleged strikes against Mass. It seems that the longtime Greenfield resident — no stranger to the Planning Board, municipal government, politics or law (he is an attorney) — made the mistake of coming out on the wrong side of having a large discount retailer in town. That thinking, in the minds of a number of councilors, disqualified Mass, because they want someone more “neutral.”
We think they’re confusing “neutral” with like-minded here. While there are undoubtedly people who don’t have an opinion as to whether a national discount retailer should come to Greenfield, nominees who would apparently be more appealing would be those who are more in step with the thinking that has been resistant to such a store. Sure, you can couch it in terms of “sustainable growth” and the future, but the fact remains that a larger retailer is incongruous with their vision of Greenfield.
Strike two with Mass is that the committee’s members remain unhappy with Mayor William Martin and events leading up to Mass’ nomination. After the council turned down the reappointment of James Allen, someone viewed as unfair, then the mayor withdrew nomination of Wilson Roberts and George Touloumtzis as Planning Board alternates, candidates whose views are more aligned with those who have fought against the plans along the French King Highway than not. Declared Councilor Marian Kelner, the mayor’s withdrawal “... was inherently unfair.” But where’s the fairness, then, in turning around to deny Mass a seat on the board because of the mayor’s previous actions?
And wouldn’t it be fair and more open-minded to welcome different points of view to the Planning Board, leading to the hashing out of decisions that hopefully result in the best interests for all of Greenfield and are not based upon a particular view when it comes to the type of stores that Greenfield has?
That’s the fair way to go.