In an effort to satisfy my full disclosure requirements, I am a sitting member of the Portsmouth Economic Development Committee (PEDC). The following solely my opinion. While I was not on the committee at the time of the wind turbine generator (WTG) genesis, I am and always have been a supporter of renewable energy.
Over the last two weeks, a lot has been written about the PEDC by both supporters and detractors. I feel it is time to shed some light on the issues at hand.
When Mr. Larry Fitzmorris put the turbine agenda item on the Town Council schedule, it became all too clear to me what his motivation was. I would like to point out that several members of the PEDC, gave him the benefit of the doubt. They were wrong.
As an interesting side note. The PCC did have something to say about the turbine project way back in 2007. “The proposal for the Town of Portsmouth to construct its own wind generator at the Middle School has received a good deal of attention and has been well researched by its advocates. PCC Newsletter 10/15/2007. The actual author? Current Town Council President Joe Robicheau.
The PCC likes to point out opponent’s mistakes, perceived or real, as a weapon. And as any child knows, if you hit someone with a stick, you can be hit with the same stick.
The PCC-led Town Council has made, in my opinion, some pretty big blunders, far exceeding the potential loss of the WTG.
Sewers: “Sewers are off the table.” Remember that comment? Judy Staven wishes you didn’t. Let’s look at PCC-led Town Council strategy, shall we? Fix the original storm water problem. Makes sense, doesn’t it? But then let’s look at the rest of the problem. Small lots in Island Park and Portsmouth Park restrict where ISDS systems can be put. But it’s ok. The PPC-led council has a solution. They will fix the storm drains. And then let DEM deal with the rest. “…DEM is going to be doing their job, which is to manage onsite systems themselves, we will not be taking over responsibility for that. The answer is to allow people to take responsibility for their own systems.” Joe Robicheau 10/11/2012 Newport Voter Forum
Well, that answers the question about sewers. Read between the lines. All you people in Island Park and Portsmouth Park, this PCC-led Town Council has decided, you are on your own.
On to alpacas. That’s right, I said alpacas, the small South American camelid, kind of like a lama. This PCC-led council believes that alpaca farms are a valuable asset to the town of Portsmouth. The Heidi Drive issue is far from over. Eventually it will be settled, but the question is, “At what price to the Portsmouth Taxpayer?” Short summary: There was a paper road, the Town Council “gave” it a way for a few dollars, and now the impacted parties are suing us for damages. But it’s a worthy cause, right? I mean, this town has a rich, wonderful history of farming…..alpacas. It’s only about a million in possible damages, not including the 2 other affected property owners. Fight the good fight PCC! Spend our money to save the alpacas!
For more than 10 years now this town has lived under the shadow of a secret PAC. I say secret PAC because Mr. Fitzmorris himself admits, “I don’t recall us ever claiming to represent all the taxpayers of the town.” — Larry Fitzmorris, ProJo 9/28/07
So, you only represent some of us. Well, that begs the question, which ones? Drumroll please. "I am not sure I am free to say who is a PCC member and who is not." — Larry Fitzmorris, Newport Daily News, 11/3/10
Portsmouth was a friendly, cohesive place to live. Under PCC control, it has become horribly fractured. It’s time for the majority to set things right. There should be only one real voice in this town, and it’s not Mr. Fitzmorris’ ventriloquist act, it’s the voice of the voters. Time for us to take our town back.