Letter: Executive ignores GE's sordid Pittsfield history

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Executive ignores GE's sordid Pittsfield history

To the editor:

I read with interest the Feb. 2 letter from Deirdre Latour, vice president and chief communications officer of GE ("GE in Massachusetts is good corporate citizen"). Instantly, two thoughts came to mind: "Climbing the corporate ladder," and "sugarcoating."

My grandfather graduated from GE's first apprentice program in toolmaking in 1907. He told me that after church on summer Sundays he and his family took a trolley to Silver Lake to enjoy a picnic and swim from a beach employees made or fish from a rowboat. GE then filled in a big portion of the lake and it became polluted with more than PCBs. It did not freeze in winter. Of all things, it caught fire and posed a threat to the neighborhood. This made national headlines.

I also recall people catching bait fish in Silver Lake. GE was required to fence off the lake out of fear of contamination.

None of this was brought out by the vice president. Neither was the pollution of the Housatonic River, which was so pristine that anglers from everywhere, including President Herbert Hoover, came to fish in it.

It was once said that the hypothetical neutron bomb struck GE. It eliminated the people (workers) and left the polluted buildings standing. Then GE gave Pittsfield a million dollars for 10 years in lieu of taxes. We were to be thankful.

GE's role in communities, values and the rest sounds so nice. Hogwash!

Ed Stevens, Pittsfield


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