November 27, 2012

Espindola questions Fairhaven’s selectmen’s exclusion of Windwise from agendas

By ARIEL WITTENBERG | November 27, 2012 |

FAIRHAVEN – Selectman Bob Espindola accused Chairman Brian Bowcock of “ignoring” opponents of the town’s two wind turbines at the board’s Monday night meeting.

Espindola’s remarks came in response to a thwarted attempt by vocal turbine opponent Karen Isherwood to share her experiences regarding the turbines at the board’s Nov. 13 meeting. At that meeting, Bowcock prevented Isherwood from speaking because she was not on the agenda.

On Monday, Espindola questioned Bowcock’s reasoning, noting that, as chairman, Bowcock is in charge of setting the board’s agenda.

“I understand that people are not allowed to speak if they are not on the agenda, but these people have been waiting six months to be able to speak and they have not ever been put on it,” Espindola said.

Bowcock responded that he did not agree with the characterization that he “ignored” Isherwood, but said that she and members of the turbine-opposition group Windwise “have made a habit of trying to crash our meetings.”

“These interruptions cannot be entertained,” he said.

Bowcock said he does not want to schedule a public forum for turbine opponents to speak until the state has concluded its study of whether the turbines are in violation of noise regulations.

“There are lots of other ways for people to voice their opinions,” Bowcock said. “People have been on the radio and writing letters to the newspapers about the turbines. What more at this point are we going to add to the conversation?”

Isherwood, who said she suffers from sleep deprivation from the turbines, said she tried to get on the agenda “three or four times” since August to no avail.

“In August, they told me to wait for the sound study,” she said. “But that’s taking too long, and regardless of if the turbines are in compliance, I am still being impacted by them.”

She added that she should be allowed to speak whether or not she is a member of Windwise.

“What does it matter what I am a member of?” she asked. “I deserve to be heard, and I am being denied.”

Selectman Charlie Murphy acknowledged that it was within Bowcock’s rights to set the agenda, but said “when I was chairman, I was always in favor of people coming before the board as long as it is done in a respectful manner.”

“I don’t know if we can solve every problem, but I don’t have an issue with hearing people out,” he said.

Following Murphy’s comments, Bowcock said he would “look into” the board’s agenda for its Dec. 4 meeting and “I will let you know if I will put them on it or not.”

URL to article: