“What the hell’s the matter with you people?” (Massachusetts)
Nov 2, 2011
Please see the anguished plea, attached, of Falmouth resident Sue Hobart. (A copy was forwarded to me.)
As you will note, Ms. Hobart has also included a copy of a similar written plea to your board that she sent nearly a year ago, on December 30, 2010.
As you may know, thousands of people from all over Cape Cod, Massachusetts and the world are watching Falmouth to see if there will ever come a time when you take action to alleviate the suffering you have imposed on your own residents.
As all know, the Town of Falmouth is the developer, owner, operator and chief financial beneficiary of Wind I and Wind II. Wind I and the so-called Webb wind turbine have already brought punishing consequences to residents, and yet the Town of Falmouth expects to begin operation of Wind II as soon as it can obtain the necessary parts.
Heather Harper and other dignitaries at the opening of “Wind I”
I wonder if you can appreciate how baffling it is for people, the world over, to fathom the inaction of your town’s Select Board and, specifically, your callous treatment of your own residents.
As town residents and others who are sympathetic to the plight of the victims look on and try to comprehend your failure to acknowledge their suffering — and your failure to acknowledge that you are the cause of their misery, and that it lies within your power to end their misery, and that, as the developer of a faulty project, it is clearly your responsibility to stop torturing them — the same inevitable questions recur to all of us:
» Do you think your residents are lying to you?
Do you think that they are exaggerating? How else can you possibly ignore their anguished testimonies — and continue to induce such profound suffering — unless you simply don’t believe them? What town, what person, what Select Person could possibly be so callous that he or she would actually BELIEVE what they are telling you, yet shrug his or her shoulders and walk away, saying, “It’s just too expensive to stop torturing you. We can’t afford it.”
How is it possible that any humane person — any responsible civic leader — could fail to accept responsibility for such a mistake? Worse yet, how could any responsible civic leader claim that, even if the town had erred in its estimation that the project would be benign, his responsibility to the fiscal affairs of the town should override the fundamental responsibility not only to provide for the safety of one’s own citizens but, first and foremost, refrain from harming them?
So, again, do you think they are lying to you? How else can you explain your treatment of them — unless you simply don’t believe them?
» If you don’t believe the first-person accounts of your citizens, what basis do you have for doubting them?
How do you know they are lying?
Why do you think they are lying to you — especially since the symptoms they report are identical to the symptoms being reported by thousands of victims all over the world and which have been documented by numerous medical and acoustic experts and which have been reported in thousands of instances in the global press?
What basis do you have for believing that the victims in Falmouth are lying to you? Are they part of a vast global conspiracy? Have they asked you for money? Or have they merely asked you to accept responsibility for your error and to provide them with some relief?
» Are the increasingly desperate pleas from your citizens to their government for relief from this profound disruption to their lives unjust and unwarranted?
Isn’t it true the victims of your industrial project have asked no more of you, as a town government, than to provide them with the bare minimum consideration that any citizen would seem to have the right to expect, namely, that you refrain from threatening their health, from depriving them of sleep, from denying them the rightful use and enjoyment of their property, from severely degrading the quality of their lives, and from destroying the equity in their homes?
Is this an unreasonable request?
Do you believe that, in pleading with you that you show them this minimum consideration, the victims are somehow “blackmailing” the Town of Falmouth?
Do you believe they are lying about these profound adverse impacts for the express purpose of claiming something that doesn’t belong to them?
Do you ignore their pleas because you believe these citizens are seeking to claim something from the Town of Falmouth that they do not deserve?
Conversely, has the Town of Falmouth unjustly appropriated something from these citizens — their safety and their quality of life — which does not belong to the Town?
» If, on the other hand, you do believe the first-person accounts of your own citizens who have repeatedly testified to their suffering — and yet you do nothing to alleviate the suffering — doesn’t this imply that you believe the Town of Falmouth has a right to harm its citizens?
Does Falmouth have a right to harm its citizens — or some of its citizens — or a minority of its citizens — for commercial gain?
If so, what gives you that right?
How many citizens does the Town of Falmouth have the right to sacrifice, “for the greater good,” to avoid taking a loss on this ill-conceived project? Is there a limit? A numerical value?
Do the members of the Select Board accept the notion that these citizens whose lives have been severely compromised constitute the inevitable “collateral damage” from such projects — and that such profound adverse consequences to some number of its citizens are inevitable and justifiable?
At the end of the day, does the Select Board simply subscribe to Lenin’s famous principle that “you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette” — and condone the notion that the victims should simply resign themselves to being the “broken eggs” in the town’s wind energy omelette?
» Why does the Town of Falmouth continue to operate the wind turbines — and continue harming its own residents — even as it professes to search for a way to stop harming them?
How can the Town profess to care about the plight of the victims, and to accept responsibility for the adverse consequences of the project, even as it continues to harm its residents? Why does the Town not stop harming the residents and forego operations until, and unless, it finds a way to operate the wind turbines safely?
—If the Town discovered contamination in some portion of its water supply, would it continue to provide contaminated water to residents while it searched for a solution?
–Would the Town justify continuing to provide the contaminated water on the basis that “it’s just too expensive to provide clean water, rather than contaminated water”?
–Would the town refuse to stop providing the contaminated water on the rationale that “the town just can’t afford to forego the revenues that it receives from the contaminated water”?
–Would the town allow an unsafe bridge to remain open because “it only accommodates ten vehicles” and therefore “will only affect a minority of residents if it collapses” — and it’s “just too expensive” to fix?
–Would the town allow elementary school students to study in a classroom contaminated by asbestos after the problem had been discovered, “because only a fraction of the children in the elementary school are exposed to the asbestos” — and because it’s “just too expensive” to remove this threat to their health?
–Would the Town of Falmouth be sympathetic to the owner of a movie theater or a public auditorium who informed the Town that “it’s just too expensive” to provide an adequate number of exits, or signage, or sprinklers in case of fire?
–Would the Town of Falmouth be sympathetic to a business or homeowner who declared that “it’s just too expensive” to comply with various building codes or provisions for waste disposal or runoff — because any problem “would only affect a minority of people”?
How is it possible — if the leaders in Falmouth don’t believe that citizens are lying to them — that the Town of Falmouth can justify continued operation of a health hazard on the grounds that “it’s just too expensive” to stop hurting people — especially when the Town is not merely creating a hazard that might hurt people, but is actually harming people profoundly, incessantly, relentlessly, on a daily basis?
How is it possible the Town of Falmouth, which would likely show zero tolerance for any of the above threats to citizenry, is willing to condone the evident harm that it’s imposing through the operation of its own commercial wind energy facility?
» Is the Town of Falmouth seeking to accept responsibility for its actions — and seeking to alleviate suffering — or is it merely seeking to justify the imposition of harm and evade legal responsibility for its own actions?
What more definitive and conclusive evidence can the Town of Falmouth ever hope to discover, regarding the potential adverse impacts of these projects, than the first-person reports of the citizenry of Falmouth who are most acutely affected?
What is the point of conducting noise studies, or health studies, unless you doubt the existence of substantial harm; or, more ominously, unless the intent of such studies is to justify the imposition of such harm upon Falmouth’s unfortunate “broken eggs”?
Why is the Town of Falmouth seeking proof of “compliance” with an antiquated and meaningless State noise statute, rather then declaring it unacceptable for the town to be the source of such profound harm, regardless of any “compliance” with an arbitrary statute — unless the intent of the Select Board is to buttress its claim that they have a legal right to impose such harm—because they are “in compliance”?
Why does the Town of Falmouth need a prolonged health study to determine the magnitude of the harm, to compile statistics on the precise number of occurrences of each symptom, their duration, their severity, their cumulative effects, and so forth, when the gross magnitude of the harm is already agonizingly apparent?
Would the Town of Falmouth continue to operate — or refuse to repair — a contaminated water main so that it could spend a year or two studying the precise extent of the health problems that it created — the number of people who were sickened, their symptoms, the duration and severity of their illnesses and the cumulative effects?
If not, why then is the Town of Falmouth so adamant about continuing the operation of its wind turbines — unless it either does not believe the complaints of its citizens (and what person who has witnessed any of these testimonies could fail to believe them), or unless the Town of Falmouth believes it has a right to harm its citizens, and prefers to perfect and protect that “right” by demonstrating compliance with the State noise statutes or making every effort to discredit the health claims?
Is this any way for a town to respond to citizens who come forward to testify that the town is harming them on a daily basis?
» The most fundamental question is this:
Will the Town of Falmouth choose to protect the health and well-being of its citizens and accept responsibility for these ill-advised ventures; or will the Town of Falmouth sacrifice them for the simple fact that they are in the minority, and because there is not sufficient moral character among the members of the Select Board to admit error and choose people over money?
Will the Select Board sell-out some number of its own citizens simply because it’s inconvenient and embarrassing and expensive to acknowledge their claims?
Will the Select Board continue to marginalize the victims for the simple reason that it can — until some court of law or some judge forces it to stop?
All eyes are on the Falmouth Select Board — many more eyes than you could ever imagine. All of them are watching with a sort of horrified fascination, wondering the same thing: When will the members of the Select Board — any members of the Select Board — step forward to “do the right thing”?
Will the members of the Select Board — any members of the Select Board — ever stop the nonsense of avoiding the central question of whether they have the moral character to do the right thing?
For the sake of your long-suffering residents (who have thus far shown the patience of Job), we hope that one day you will do the right thing.