Selectboard member was bullied

Monday, January 08, 2018

In an editorial on the Mitchell gravel pit in Northfield, The Recorder endorsed the sexist position of a bully attempting to subvert the law.

The paper repeats the bully’s assertion that town officials had no business on the property. Have you heard of a building permit? If you build an addition without the proper permits and the town finds out, what happens? They show up, document the violation, then talk to you like an adult about next steps. That’s how it works. Happened to me last year — and I didn’t sue for trespassing.

In the case of the quarry, a court had specifically allowed inspections of the site. The officials in question drove into the business driveway, and, seeing no one there, left without exiting their car. Calling that trespassing is laughable. Issuing a formal no-trespassing order to prevent future site inspections is a direct attempt to interfere with the duty of town officials.

The paper’s coverage, like the bully’s rage, focuses on Selectboard Member Julia Blyth, casting her as, alternately, a malicious woman conniving to bring down a legitimate business and a “neophyte” little girl unaware of what she was doing. Why don’t they see an elected official carrying out her duty with a level head, gathering information for an informed decision? Why not discuss James Hawkins, the enforcement officer who organized the inspection and invited Blyth to attend? Is it because these perspectives don’t fit into one of their sexist storylines?

So, a town official, acting on behalf of the people who elected her, actually shows up to do her job when a business allegedly fails to comply with environmental regulations. The owner tries to bully her into a corner, shouting and threatening, in an attempt to change the conversation. And the newspaper helps him out — way to go.

Noah Charney