Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Please don't throw the Charrette Study out

Below is the text of the speech I gave to the Planning Board at the Public Hearing on removing the Charrette from the Master Plan.  It was of no avail.  The PB voted 6 to 1 to remove the Charrette.  

I will be brief.  Tonight, as a result of the passage of Article 29 at the last Town Meeting, which requests that you delete and remove the entire contents of the "Plan NH" Charrette from the Rindge Master Plan, you are faced with a decision.  Please consider that you were not commanded to remove it, but simply requested to do so.  You can say, "No."  
Here are a few reasons why you should consider retaining it.
1.) Those who worked on the Charrette, did so with the understanding that there would be a work product as the result of their efforts.  Agree or disagree with the suggestions; it was an honest effort and everyone tried to bring their best "game" to the meetings and workshops.  When the Economic Development meetings began, working folks made time to come to early 8 AM meetings before going to work.  They gave up Saturdays and evenings to participate in the Charrette meetings.  Everyone was welcome to be part of it.  It was advertised to the general public by email, mail, webpage, Facebook Page, the newspapers and "The Rindge Connection."  I consider it suppression of "Free Speech" to bury the work product of our efforts.  It might seem like a small thing, but consider the impact and precedent you are setting.  When a person volunteers for the town it is with the understanding that, within reason, you will respect their gifts and their time and won't waste either needlessly. Deleting the Charrette is like erasing the work of the people who participated.
2.) Of all the projects this Town has taken on, this "chapter" or appendix in the Master Plan must rank among the most controversial.  If we are to "learn from history," the Charrette should stay in the Master Plan if only as a caution for future projects.  By deleting the Charrette, you are removing an important piece of our history from the record...you are, in fact, rewriting history.  If someone would care to add an appendix to explain why the zoning regulations associated with the Charrette failed, I think that would be helpful to future committees and planning boards.
3.) The zoning regulations failed.  That should be enough for the people who opposed the Charrette and its vision.  I did not campaign for or against the zoning regulations.  The only thing I ever cared about was that people were truthful and allowed to express themselves openly, without intimidation.  The voters of Rindge have spoken and said that property rights trump any "visions" or plans that others may have. At least, that is how people feel today.  But, property rights do not trump free speech; which cannot be taken away by a vote.   
It’s great to see so many new faces turning up for meetings, but while we all need critics to help us improve, without positive feedback and support, we will wind up with no one willing to expose themselves to volunteering or running for office in this town.
That is all I have to say.  Thank you.


  1. Apparently not enough people attended the Charrettes to make them valid.. more people voted against what went on there. And besides, Rindge's fate should not be decided by HUD money, with influence from special interest groups and pay to play players like Plan NH. The RPCs have turned into agents for centralization and removal of local control and this must not happen.

    SOT are heroes and you will thank them someday.
    For now, learn more about where this process began, it was not with the 'community'.

  2. I will repeat the answer I offered you on my previous post: "So, the basis of your argument is that enough people did not participate in the Charrette to make it valid? How did you arrive at that conclusion? Seriously. What is the proper number for involvement to make it valid? What if "enough" people (for you) won't volunteer? No more planning? It is a logical fallacy. It sounds like a good argument, but you have no reference point to offer. This is NOT a valid argument for "throwing out" the charrette. I realize when you are the person who didn't participate, it feels like 0% involvement, but it wasn't. "

  3. This whole argument about the RPCs and removing local control is fantasy. I'm pretty sure I heard someone at the meeting last night say something about "plants" in our community who are "blending in," but are secretly agents of the UN Agenda 21 conspiracy. It can be checked in the minutes. I want to caution you that while the sudden participation of SOT in our community can be a positive, this kind of talk and divisiveness is not. This is how McCarthyism spread. This is the basis of the witch hunts and every pogrom and social evil the world has ever known. Most of the time it starts with dictatorial demands to remove books or suppress the discussion of certain topics....and, the ever popular demonizing of certain people for their beliefs, race or class. In Rwanda in 1994, people of the Hutu class (not race or tribe, but a kind of class identity) took machetes to the Tutsis in a bloodbath. The local radio stations had talk radio shows that were urging the Hutus on by calling the Tutsis "cockroaches." I am sure the Hutus were all telling each other that they were "taking their country back" as they hacked their neighbors (including women and children) to death. Sadly, as human beings, we tend to get kind of enthusiastic about that kind of crowd rage and power. So, will I thank the SOT for publicly vilifying me as a "liberal" (and yes, I am a proud Democrat and liberal, but it is like waving a red flag in Rindge to call someone out for it) and an "outsider," when I am not only a Rindge resident of over 15 years, but am a veteran of the USAF and the NH Air National Guard? No. I will NOT thank them for that. Am I glad to see people interested in local governance, yes, I am. But, do not ask me to thank them for spreading lies and misinformation. As far as looking up the history of the RPCs...do you believe everything you read on the Internet? There's a lot of crazy stuff out there and you have to be very careful what you buy into. I could direct you to sites that insist astrology is real and offer compelling proof...do you "buy it" based on the fancy webpage?

  4. And, may I say, at least some of the SOT members or people representing themselves as SOT members have resorted to the kind of intimidation that makes the average concerned citizen very nervous and afraid. I think most of you don't realize how it comes across, but you should think about it unless you only want "your" people participating in local government.

  5. Finally, all this talk about refusing Federal funding.... Here's the problem: that is my money too. You are refusing to accept money from a source we all contributed to via our federal tax dollars. So, in effect, you are denying me access to my own money. I don't think that is right either. Change the tax code so we don't pay any federal taxes and it won't be an issue, but as long as we pay in, we should have a chance to compete for funds for our own community.