FALMOUTH – Former Fire Chief Paul Brodeur, Falmouth Academy math teacher Doug Jones and anti-wind turbine activist David Moriarty are vying for the one contested race in Falmouth’s May 15 election – a three-year term on the board of selectmen.
Melissa Freitag, vice chairman of the board, announced in March that she would not seek re-election. Freitag’s decision came after Tufts University accepted her into a graduate program.
None of the candidates ever served on the board, but all three are town meeting members, and some are veterans of other campaigns for selectman.
“I’ll keep running “» until we can take the town to some semblance of what it used to be,” said Moriarty, who unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the board in Falmouth’s last three elections.
A lifelong resident of Falmouth, Moriarty thinks one of the biggest issues facing selectmen is what to do with two town-owned wind turbines in Falmouth that have been the center of controversy for more than a year.
Opponents of the two 1.65-megawatt turbines at the town wastewater treatment plant on Blacksmith Shop Road have long complained of noise, light flicker and other issues that they say are from “Wind 1” and “Wind 2.”
They say the turbines cause health issues such as nausea, vertigo and others.
“There are families being driven out of town by these turbines “» it’s unconscionable,” said Moriarty, a self-described activist against wind turbines. “The health and the welfare of the citizens of Falmouth are paramount to me.”
Last month, town meeting members first voted in favor of a nonbinding measure to shut both turbines off until November, and then, 45 minutes later, passed a nonbinding measure to allow selectmen to pursue mitigation options.
Brodeur said that he supports selectmen’s recent attempts to reach a consensus on what the town should do about the turbines. The former fire chief added that if the town shut both turbines off, it would remain responsible for paying for energy the turbines would have offset.
“There’s money that has to be paid on both turbines whether they’re working or not,” Brodeur. said.
Brodeur, who ran for selectman last year but lost to Selectman Kevin Murphy by four votes, also said public infrastructure should be a top priority.
“Money has to be found and money has to be put aside (or) … you end up paying more,” Brodeur said.
Falmouth’s financial burdens top Doug Jones’ concerns for the town, he said.
“My underlying principle is that we can’t spend money that the town doesn’t have,” Jones said.
He favors creative solutions to building up town revenue, such as renting out buildings the town owns but hardly uses to private or state entities.
On the turbine issue, Jones was one of the town meeting members who perplexed Town Moderator David Vieira by voting in favor of shutting down the turbines until November and then voted to allow selectmen to continue with their mitigation efforts.
“I do think we need to consider shutting them down to alleviate the health conditions of residents,” Jones said. “But I do think that the selectmen are moving in the right direction.”
Jones also noted his displeasure in the current board, which has yet to place on its agenda recommendations from the Consensus Building Institute, a Cambridge nonprofit charged with gauging Falmouth residents’ opinions of what can be done to mitigate possible harm from the turbines.
Recommendations reached selectmen weeks ago, he said.
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