Shel Horowitz: Destroying democracy in Hadley

Published: 7/22/2021 11:57:59 AM

Shouldn’t the Hadley Select Board represent all its citizens and support its volunteers? Yet most members are attempting to destroy democracy in town government, instead of addressing residents’ real concerns.

They’ve purged people who challenged them, attempted to neuter the elected Board of Health, and stifled dissent by limiting public comment and eliminating the previous option to respond issue by issue.

In at least one case, public comment was delayed without explanation for 90 minutes (causing voters to leave because of other commitments without being heard).

They ram changes through without adequate notice, without consulting or even notifying town employees or boards — passing sweeping changes in COVID policy that directly affected students, elders and employees.

They overrode a Town Meeting vote and unanimous Board of Health recommendation restricting airborne pesticide spraying. They’ve been accused of Open Meeting Law violations at least twice just in the past two months.

The latest casualty is the Conservation Commission, where newly reappointed Chair Paulette Kudzeba was summarily thrown off, other members resigned in protest, and the sole staffer has given notice unless Ms. Kudzeba is reinstated.

Let’s think about consequences. Already, the town is facing an avoidable lawsuit. The town, as reported in the Gazette July 14, might lose its oversight of the state’s Route 9 widening project (and, potentially, other projects). The town can expect more lawsuits if the Select Board replaces current experts on Conservation with untrained, pro-development puppets whose decisions conflict with Hadley’s Wetlands Bylaw. Is that how you want your tax dollars spent?

If you’re in Hadley, tell your Select Board you’re disgusted with these actions: hadleyma.org/select-board (click on each name for an email link). And consider running for office; I can connect you with residents who help pro-democracy candidates run — and win! Contact me (I’m in the phone book).

Shel Horowitz

Hadley




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