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MAILBAG | Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor

I find Neal Moore’s article Can We Put Up with Noise to Be Safer and Have Lower Insurance Rates quite disconcerting. This is a misleading headline.

You say that Maumelle “citizens have rebelled a bit” regarding the proposed location of a fire substation to be built near the Kroger store. Sir, they didn’t rebel a bit; they were strongly opposed.

You say that YOU might put up with a “little noise.” Sir, you are either hard-of-hearing or you have never heard an emergency vehicle.

Can you explain the difference in response time if the location of this substation were moved to the corner on the same side of the street as the Christian Church?

So, I’m a “NIMBY”? I live a mile from the proposed site. Does that make me a “NIMBY?” To suggest that a NIMBY is one who believes “that certain developments are needed in society but should be further away” fails to consider the difference between locating the substation on “green space” vs. “non-green space.”

You said that “you’re not sure why the citizen resistance came up only weeks before the vote” – and insults the intelligence of Maumelle citizens for some to say that “we voted for it.” We voted to build a substation. The location was not mentioned. Why the resistance only weeks before the vote? The short answer is found in Mayor Watson’s accepted apology to the citizens regarding their complaint that they were not notified of the certitude of the location until that certitude became apparent closer to last Monday’s meeting.

Are you aware of the fact that only 26 letters were sent out to the residents deemed to be more greatly impacted by the proposed location? Apparently not; you didn’t mention it. Are you aware of the fact that some of the residents to whom that letter was sent did not receive that letter? Apparently not; you didn’t mention it.

Oh, sure. We’re going to have another meeting on April 21 to learn of the alternatives the Mayor has found. For beginners, look diagonally across the street to what is not considered “green space.”

I have another thought on the date April 21. Does the Mayor have enough time to thoroughly explore viable alternatives?

I have some thoughts about placing this substation of the proposed site. Why was the suggestion that the citizens vote on the proposed site originally rejected?

Did our leadership select this location for us and now realize that perhaps we should have been consulted before the fact?

Has the misperception of governmental “we know better than you do” found its way from the federal, state, and county levels all the way down to municipalities? The sleeping giant appeared on March 17 and it will appear again on April 21.

Might we discover that “some promises to deliver” have been made or some personal biases regarding the building of this substation on its proposed location, that if brought to light, might shed some light on why the Mayor and Fire Chief are so adamant about the substation and its proposed location? Just wondering.

Quite honestly, I am not opposed to a new substation. I am opposed to the location, and I oppose the opposition being referred to as “nimbies.” Name-calling is a propaganda technique as old as the hills, and some of us won’t deter our opposition by such false labelling.

Several years ago, Bill Clinton’s campaign slogan was “It’s the economy, stupid.” I will not be so insensitive; however, to think that opposition stems from “NIMBY-FEVER” is to misdiagnose the source of the opposition’s pain. “Nimby-fever” is a symptom, not the disease. The underlying disease is a perceived loss of property value; and what thoughtful homeowner would not take his or her own personal property value into consideration when considering this proposed location?

If the noise-factor was the disease and not just a symptom, why do some “nimbies” accept the possibility of a close diagonal relocation? It certainly doesn’t decrease the noise factor; and the perception of the “safer” factor may increase, while decreased property value may be perceived as minimized.

Phone calls by two residents to their home owner’s insurance companies confirm that a decrease in insurance premiums is another propaganda technique that is not true for them. The location of this substation on the proposed site will not affect their insurance premiums. What are we missing in the deceptive statement?

Perhaps it’s a generation gap, but by what rationale would an Alderman publicly oppose the proposed location and then state that he would vote for it if it appeared that the Resolution would pass? If you oppose a proposal based on principle, what’s wrong with 7-1 vs. 8-0? What happened to principle?

Final thoughts: You are free to write whatever the Monitor will publish, but I do not have to accept it. I am free to oppose a City Resolution without opposing the person or persons who offered it. I personally like the Mayor Watson and City Clerk/Treasurer, Joshua Clausen. I have no animosity toward any Alderman. However, I strongly oppose Resolution 2014-15, and I will be there on April 21 to continue to strongly oppose it.

Thank you, sir, for your time.

Rev. Dr. James A. Brettell

Maumelle

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