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Part 1 of 3
Part 2 of 3
Don’t go away! PART 3 that will follow will blow your socks off!
Referring to the previous post that advised the people of Southwick that the Select Board is attempting to silence your opinions, we are posting the public comment made by a member of Save Southwick in response to the Board at the September 27th meeting…just in case there are suddenly unexplained audio difficulties on the YouTube recording.
PUBLIC COMMENT: At the August 24th Select Board meeting, there was discussion at one hour 45 minutes on the Master Plan committees. The following day, on social media, I gave credit to the wrong person on a certain suggestion about potentially combining members. I apologize for crediting the wrong person with the suggestion, and I edited my post immediately when I became aware of my error.
The point that I made was valid however, and I stand by that.
Other than giving credit to the wrong person, there was no other misinformation, and certainly no malice in what I posted. It was a short and simple recap of the topic, and a polite and professionally worded suggestion that interested residents might want to share their opinion with the Select Board and the Planning Board on that topic.
At this Board’s September 13th meeting, there were emotional references made to my post, and also to the communications that you received from the public. Those references included claims of QUOTE [“false information, accusations, innuendos, and outright slander of people”] END QUOTE. None of that was in MY PUBLIC post, nor in any of my own communications EVER to the chairs of the Select and Planning Board.
One of you also stated of the town’s vocal social media presence that you “don’t think its good or positive for the community”. You don’t think its good that you are hearing from the town’s residents, and they ARE GETTING INVOLVED? You all lament on how you wish more people WOULD get involved. Today, that happens electronically instead of the US Postal Service. It is an excellent and convenient method for residents to attend these meetings, and share their thoughts with each other - and with town officials. How else will the Select Board know what the people - that they are allegedly acting on behalf of - actually think if they don’t tell you?
Being lectured by the Board for raising an opinion does no good service to either the Board or the residents. Likewise, your snide remarks and ensuing jokes as a follow-up to your chastising throughout the remainder of open town meetings is inappropriate, insults the members of this community and those of us who do care enough to participate, and it is wholly unbefitting of your positions. And each of you has done it on different occasions, on different topics, and in response to different residents.
Elected officials are entrusted to listen to and consider the opinions of the townspeople in order to act in the best interests of the residents’ well-being, safety and security. Many of us may have been complacent in the past, but we are alert now. That is why we are active, and actively communicating with you now.
And, as Mr. Fox said in his closing remarks on September 13th, I will get off my soapbox now. Thank you for listening.
Part 3 of 3
The Select Board made a unilateral decision at their meeting on 9/27/21 to arbitrarily remove the following members of town commissions and committees: Maryssa Cook-Obregon, co-chair of the Agricultural Commission and commissioner on Conservation, Dennis Clark, Agricultural Commissioner, and Chris Pratt, Chair of the Conservation Commission and Chair of the Community Preservation Committee. All three of these town officials have been removed from their positions effective immediately and with no notice or discussion. In fact, two of the three found out through other means and were not even informed by the Select Board.
Maryssa, as you know, was a founding member of Save Southwick and helped mobilize the movement against Carvana among the people of our town. When confronted, one of the Select Board members said that she had been removed because her actions this summer were not in keeping with the ”direction the Town wants to go in”. This Select Board member also thought there were ethical concerns due to Maryssa’s role as a town official, even though Maryssa participated in Save Southwick as a private citizen and made that clear at all public events and meetings. Maryssa even addressed these concerns with Attorney Tim Ryan at the height of the No Carvana movement and Attorney Ryan assured her that her first amendment rights as a private citizen take precedence.
Maryssa had also been chosen as the Agricultural Commission representative for the Master Plan Committee last week and that appointment has also been revoked by the Select Board.
Chris was active with the Save North Pond effort and as Conservation Chair, was recently active in questioning the plans for the 42 Depot Street project. He has been summarily removed from all of his town hall positions.
Dennis had been a pivotal member of the Agricultural Commission for many years and has staunchly fought to preserve land and farms in our town even when faced with total opposition and obstruction by our town government. Dennis has also been removed without explanation from his position.
Do you see what is happening here? Do you see the pattern? They are STIFLING DISSENT. Not only do they try to silence active public participation and suppress free speech, now they are removing commission members that don’t fall in line with their agenda.
Does this sound like YOUR SOUTHWICK?? NOW THAT YOU KNOW - Make your voices heard that this IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.
NOW THAT YOU KNOW - PLEASE ATTEND THE NEXT SELECT BOARD MEETING (as always, we will post details about it here when we have them) and LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD. Question their motives. Remind them that they are elected to represent the people! Let them know your view of what “direction the Town wants to go in”.
NOW YOU KNOW!
YOU ARE BEING SILENCED! The Town's Select Board took offense to hearing from you, the town residents, with your opinions on the composition of the Master Plan committee. During the September 13th Select Board meeting, Mr. Fox, quite emotionally, chastised your comments and opinions and called for it to stop. Review the recorded meeting on YouTube to fact-check it. The discussion begins at 18 minutes 20 seconds with Mr. Deedy, and Mr. Fox lambastes public opinion as "nonsense" beginning at 19 minutes 29 seconds.
In a following post, we will publish a public comment that was made by a Save Southwick member at last night's Select Board meeting that addressed the Board's egregious lack of respect for you - the townspeople that they are there to represent.
In a third post, we will advise of you some serious actions being played out by your Select Board to further silence any opposition to their own “master plans”.
Please carefully review these posts. Comments to this, and the following posts are welcome, but PLEASE do so without name-calling and personal attacks. We MUST be a better representative of this town's true character than the Select has ever given us credit for.
NOW YOU KNOW!
Proposed Site - Photo by John Lacey
Let's save our town
Civic-minded citizens of Southwick uniting to preserve the charm & character of our town and to prevent Carvana from destroying the land.
Please support the people of Southwick's effort to stop the corporatization of small town America! The residents of Southwick, Massachusetts are working together to prevent Carvana Northeast from building a 137 acre distribution center in the middle of our small town. Our effort's timing is critical as the decision to issue Carvana a permit to proceed with their plans will be heard at a continuation of the Planning Board hearing on July 20th, 2021 at 6 PM, location TBD. We will continue our presence and efforts from the last meeting on June 29th and be there on July 20th with legal support and present qualified objections. This is our last chance to stop this project! Please join us!
For a list of upcoming events, visit our Get Involved page.
Plan for the proposed Carvana site. T-shaped warehouse building is highlighted in red, as are the outer extents of the parking lots (totaling about 8000 spaces for cars in various states). To scale image of Gillette stadium included for comparison.