Disgraceful display by Dalton bullies
To the editor:
Shame on those Dalton folks who for various reasons, all based on suspicion and/or selfishness, voted to rescind the vote taken at the Town Meeting in May 2014 authorizing the Select Board to find a suitable use for the old high school.
While the democratic process allows for such an expression of their discontent, their conduct at the Dec. 10 special meeting showed a total lack of respect for those who were on the opposite side of their issue. Several spoke to express their opinions and were not interrupted except for some applause from supporters. Even when their comments were off the subject at hand and were criticisms directed at the Select Board in general and some of the board members specifically, no one, not even the moderator, moved to quiet them. But when a young woman stood to voice her opinion, she was interrupted several times by loud outbursts, the adult form of bullying. Much to her credit, she refused to be silenced.
Regardless of the stated reasons for objection to the proposed project, the common denominator is simply a rejection of the potential inhabitants. The objection to the creation of affordable housing and branding of "low income" people as undesirables is a position not prevalent in the overwhelming majority of Dalton residents and I doubt that it will prevail in the end.
Unless one is born with the proverbial "silver Spoon," we have all experienced a shortage of funds especially in our younger years. Starting out and creating a family requires some means and surviving in the later years on a fixed income isn't an easy task either. We must be aware that the lack of good-paying jobs and the built-in benefits that are no longer part of the package will increase the need for affordable housing and the lack thereof will undoubtedly create more homeless individuals.
Being without adequate income for a comfortable existence doesn't make one a criminal or an undesirable, and it isn't necessarily a life sentence. When people who are simply underprivileged are tarred with a wide brush, it is a poor reflection upon those wielding the brush. Any one of us could some day require a hand up.
I hope the good folks who fought this project haven't shot themselves in the foot. Problems that exist in that immediate neighborhood could have been rectified by the developer for his own benefit and consequentially for the neighborhood as well at no cost to the taxpayers, and if the building eventually gets removed, that whole area could become a flood plain. In the meantime let's all hope the structure doesn't become a target for vandals and graffiti artists.