Bullying is that feeling of intimidation where if you don’t toe the line, something bad might happen to you or someone else.
Is accusing someone of doing something with no proof slander or lying? If they put it in print are they a libeler?
Kyle Martel, spokesperson for Wind Works VT and an associate of KSE Partners, did both in a recent letter to the editor. He accuses anti-wind people of leaving an anti-Semitic voicemail in October 2015, threatening the life of a developer. Whoever did that is wrong and should be punished. Assuming you know who did it when in truth you have no idea is also wrong. On Rocky Ridge in Swanton, where an industrial wind factory is proposed, several neighbors had their tires slashed in December 2015. Did anyone see who did it? No. Could we assume that the developer or his supporters were involved, sure. Can we publicly accuse them? Absolutely not!
Mr. Martel states that in November 2015 a severed deer head was left on a developer’s porch. The truth is that it was near the driveway gate. We’ve had dead coyotes at the end of our road. Did we assume they were left by a pro-wind developer? No.
Mr. Martel says this disgusting behavior should not be tolerated, especially in Vermont where we take pride in our sense of close-knit communities. He’s right, yet that’s exactly what we have endured. Anti-wind signs around the state are routinely stolen. “No Wind Turbine” signs have been spray painted with “Go.” Should we assume it was done by the pro-wind group? Makes you wonder if the pro-wind group left its own voicemail and deer head. That’s how your mind starts to work in this life changing debate on industrial wind.
Here’s what I know:
During 2014, David Blittersdorf wrote cruel and bullying messages on a Facebook page for a support group for victims of industrial wind. One post referenced the commercials where the monkey hops out of the trunk and starts beating someone up. Mr. Blittersdorf posted on Feb. 20, 2014, “All my wind turbines on Georgia Mountain have been retrofitted with the new “trunk monkey” option to protect them from the anti-wind folks.”
Swanton’s Rocky Ridge developer, Travis Belisle, screamed profanities at neighbors opposing his project while riding his motorcycle down a busy street in St. Albans. Is it recorded? No. Did it happen and can people attest to it? Yes.
Has Mr. Belisle pulled up behind residents of Rocky Ridge in his monster truck at night shining his bright lights into their car? You betcha. Intimidation or coincidence? We’ll never know, but we know it happened.
The Swanton developers are so fearful of public education and rallying together that they employed intimidation and bullying tactics directed at Swanton’s municipal officers, who delayed working on the town plan and held a special meeting just for them. Was a special meeting held for the people opposed? Nope, and the vote was 731 opposed to 160 for.
We know that an unpermitted MET tower was put up to measure the wind on Rocky Ridge. The neighbor who reported the violation and who simply wants to participate has been subjected to subpoena and a Vermont Supreme Court appeal. Why fight so hard to prevent participation in the process?
Kyle Martel states they are not disclosing their donors because of this so-called intimidation. There’s a difference between disclosing the staff and board of an organization, and its donors. Go to www.windworksvt.com and check under the “Who We Are” tab, you won’t see any names listed. Alex MacLean is the only contact. Why is Wind Works hiding who they are? If they’re a nonprofit, they have to have a board, right? And there have to be some staff to relate to the public and advertisers. By contrast, go to the Vermonters for a Clean Environment site at www.vce.org and you’ve got the board members listed as well as the staff, physical location and how to donate.
VCE holds a publicized annual meeting where you can meet members and donors. By contrast, VPIRG does not hold an annual public meeting. Does that mean they’re not complying with Vermont’s nonprofit law that requires them to do so?
A VPIRG employee stopped by our home on June 9, 2016, at approximately 7 p.m. and spoke with my husband. We immediately wrote up his comments for documentation. He said VPIRG was now against wind turbines and we’re looking for help and money to spread our message. He also said he was at a board meeting that week and VPIRG stated they were no longer for wind and were coming out with a press release on Monday. Was there ever a statement by VPIRG that they’re against wind? Of course not. Is this considered lying, bullying and guilt-shaming to get money? We think so!
As Emerson Lynn pointed out in response to Kyle Martel’s article, secrecy isn’t an acceptable response.
For over a year I’ve been trying to get answers to several questions from VERA. They claim over 30 years’ experience.
You’d think with all the experience that Martha Staskus and John Zimmerman have, they’d be able to answer our questions. But they’ve never answered any of mine. They can’t tell you how much concrete was used at Georgia Mountain Wind project or how many pounds of explosives were used at Georgia, Lowell or Sheffield. They also can’t tell you the carbon value of the forest they cut. There are many more unanswered questions.
I worked for a state/federal program for 26 years. I don’t know about you, but after 26 years, if I still couldn’t answer most questions, I’d likely be out of a job.
Sally Collopy lives in Fairfield.