Personal attacks against Yates officials hurt efforts for constructive dialogue

Posted 29 September 2017 at 10:26 pm


A recent letter to the editor, authored by a former Town of Yates Councilwoman, displays the very behavior she so adamantly decries, and understandably so. Emotions run high when one is faced with loss, whether it be quality of life or loss of income.

As a leaseholder with Apex Clean Energy, she no doubt stands to lose a small fortune if Lighthouse Wind does not proceed. Surely the dismantling of the MET tower she has hosted for over two years has also resulted in loss of income. I am sorry for her financial loss, just as I will mourn the loss of my quality of life if turbines are erected on neighboring property.

While the leaseholder has the freedom to express her opinion, I feel she crossed the line with her latest attack. I am disappointed that the editor of the Orleans Hub has continued to print the rude remarks made, not only by this woman, but other Apex supporters. These have been direct assaults on the character of our elected officials.

It is one thing to display this behavior in a public hearing, where one might expect emotions to surface, but publishing such blatant and erroneous accusations is slanderous.

Two years ago, Mr. Riggi received 529 votes, far exceeding the incumbent’s 438 votes. He ran on a platform that left no doubt about his position against the divisive and invasive manner in which Apex entered our communities. It was, however, only one plank in his platform; appropriate economic development, waterfront revitalization, and attracting new families, received equal emphasis, resulting in his overwhelming victory.

I, too, have attended most Yates Town Board meetings, and feel the presentations made by supporters of Save Ontario Shores have been civil, professional and informative. Presenters have attempted to assist the Town Board by sharing their extensive research that might aid them in making decisions.

Apex Clean Energy has been denounced repeatedly, as evidenced by surveys, elections and a long list of agencies that oppose, not only their presence in our communities, but their attempts to proceed with an inappropriate project.

The town submitted numerous questions to Apex regarding the MET tower, and Apex chose to not answer them. If Mr. Riggi showed his frustration at the referenced Town Board meeting, it was not toward his fellow townsmen or any individual present; it was directed to Apex, an out-of-state company that arrogantly assumes authority they do not possess.

Apex’s inconsistent and confusing statements were evident in a series of quotes read by Supervisor Simon, before he granted permission to the company to resubmit their application for a special use permit, after they respond to these questions.

I certainly hope that personal attacks will be considered carefully in the future before they are published in the Hub. Allowing this to continue may appeal to some readers, but does it really benefit our ability to work together for the betterment of our town?

Anne Smith