- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Wind debate whips up Fairhaven election, residents say

The wind turbine controversy is expected to blow up turnout in the Fairhaven election today, town residents said Sunday, while voters elsewhere said they expected sleepier races.

Fairhaven is experiencing its first competitive races in years, with open seats on the Board of Selectmen and Board of Health. Two spots on the Board of Public Works are also contested.

“I will vote, absolutely,” said Linda Kearley, 49, of Fairhaven. “I don’t like (the wind turbines). … More are going up and I think we need to wait and see.”

Along Washington Street Sunday, many signs fluttered in support of two candidates opposed to turbines, Bob Espindola, competing against four other candidates for selectman, and Barbara Acksen, running for the Board of Health. Espindola supporters had bumper stickers, a sign mounted in the back of a pickup truck and one dangling from a tree along the edge of the eastbound Interstate 195 on-ramp.

“Nobody ever came to us and said they’re putting windmills,” said Espindola-supporter William Mitchell, 73, of Fairhaven of the wind project. “It was like it was done underneath the table.”

“They should have a pretty good turnout because of that,” he added.

In Wareham, which holds its election Tuesday, resident Charyl Knapp, 54, said she hoped that concern about the town’s finances would drive people to the polls.

“I’m hoping that there are enough people that are fed up enough,” said Knapp, a member of the Historic Commission and the Wareham Village Association. “There is a lot of concern about the financial status of the town and I would like to see someone get elected that can handle it.”

Residents of Acushnet, Freetown and Lakeville, which will also have elections today, said that the races there have failed to generate a lot of excitement. In Acushnet, no seats are being contested.

“I see the signs everywhere but here,” said Frank Murray, 54, of Lakeville, who travels throughout the region thanks to his job at a cable company.

In Freetown, many houses along the well-trafficked Bullock Road boasted signs for more than one school committee candidate.

“I always let anybody put one up,” said Jeannette Pittsley, 75, who said despite the many signs on her lawn, her loyalties lie with the incumbent. “If you think a big sign is going to get you a vote, it’s not. … But the more people that vote the better.”