Fairhaven Board of Health DeTerra to blame for costing town money
Posted in the Massachusetts Forum
#1 Sep 8, 2013
filed: September 7, 2013 • Massachusetts
Debate between rival turbine groups heats up on Facebook
Credit: By Ariel Wittenberg | September 07, 2013 |
FAIRHAVEN — It’s not unusual for candidates’ lawn signs to suspiciously “disappear” in Fairhaven as Election Day approaches. So it follows that, like in the April election before it, signs have been going missing for the September rematch of the Board of Health face-off between incumbent Peter DeTerra and challenger John Wethington.
But this time the antagonism has taken to the Internet, too, with barbs traded on social networks not between the candidates but their supporters. The rivalry has gotten so heated that it includes a boycott of a local rock band, threats of lawsuits and potential breaches of confidentiality.
One dispute started over Labor Day weekend, when the turbine-opposition group WindWise, which supports Wethington, posted a link on its Facebook page to a letter to the editor in support of Wethington published in The Standard-Times.
James Gagne commented on the post using an expletive, saying “… WindWise … clean energy is good.”
His post, which was sent to The Standard-Times by a group member, was deleted by the WindWise group administrator, who then posted on Facebook explaining that Gagne has written “a vile post” that “has since been deleted.”
Gagne could not be reached for comment. His Facebook profile does not list the pro-turbine “Friends of Fairhaven Wind” as one of his “likes,” but in its post the WindWise administrator (the group has three or four administrators) characterized him as a member of Friends of Fairhaven Wind and also mentioned Gagne is a member of the band Shipyard Wreck.
“We make this statement in hopes that you will support those who support us and show compassion to those who are effected (sic) and not support those who seemingly could care less about those who are being impacted and support their position with vile and disgusting comments,” the administrator wrote.
Three members of the group then commented on WindWise’s post supporting a “boycott” of Shipyard Wreck.
That entire post and its comments were deleted after The Standard-Times inquired about it via Facebook message. The WindWise administrator who responded to the Facebook message declined to give his or her name and denied organizing a boycott.
“We have not put out any statements that people should boycott his band. If anyone in our group chooses to not patronize an establishment where (Gagne) is playing that is their prerogative as well,” the administrator wrote.
The administrator also criticized Gagne saying he “came on this site using language we feel is inappropriate.”
WindWise member John Methia confirmed that he is one of the “three to four” administrators of the Facebook page, but said he was not the one who responded to The Standard-Times.
He would not name his fellow administrators but defended the decision to delete posts.
“Our site is not a forum, it is a place for those affected and impacted by the turbines to come and get information,” he said.“We ban plenty of people … we don’t want this to be a bully pulpit or an open forum.”
In a separate Facebook incident occurring over the weekend, Methia reported to The Standard-Times that the Friends of Fairhaven Wind Facebook page, administered by Dan Freitas, had breached the confidentiality of the town’s wind turbine complaint form in a Facebook message sent to a WindWise member.
In the message, Freitas called turbine opponents “idiots,” making his point by giving the date and time that a specific complaint was filed and saying he had done research to find that the turbines were not running at the time of the complaint because there was no wind.
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DeTerra to blame for costing town money
#2 Sep 8, 2013
Endorsement: Fairhaven Board of Health
DeTerra to blame for costing town money
September 06, 2013 1:15 PM
I am writing to clarify the outright mistruths that are printed in newspaper advertisements of Peter Deterra, who claims that John Wethington cost the town money in the lawsuit over the validity of the election. Let me be perfectly clear ... THE ONLY PERSON WHO SHOULD RIGHTFULLY CLAIM RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE LAWSUIT COSTS, OVER THE APRIL ELECTION, IS PETER DETERRA. Immediately upon learning of the irregularities in the first election, John Wethington suggested to Peter Deterra that there be a new election for the Board of Health, simultaneous with the Senate election, to save the town money. Peter Deterra refused to compromise, even though he knew that the original election results were suspect.
It was immediately clear after the first Board of Health election that the integrity of the results were in question, as the town clerk was observed after hours illegally recounting votes, after swearing in John Wethington, as the winner of the BOH election. This was a clear VIOLATION of LAW, and put the integrity of the entire vote in question. When the clerk later noted that Peter Deterra appeared to have more votes after her unlawful recount, the town had a dilemma. Who was the lawful winner? Later we had an official recount, and more problems with the election were realized. The voter check-ins did not match the voter check-outs, and the ballot box tallies, did not match either number. How could anyone claim victory by one vote? But Peter did, and he again refused to compromise, and again refused to agree to a new election.
It was only due to Peter's steadfast refusal to agree voluntarily to a new election, that John Wethington filed a lawsuit to protect the constitutional rights of those residents who voted for him in the election, to assure that their votes counted. You all know the results of that lawsuit, the Superior Court Judge called the election "a disgrace." Peter Deterra could have avoided the lawsuit by voluntarily agreeing to the new election. But Peter refused to compromise. Now we are having a special election for the Board of Health on September 9, 2013, because Peter Deterra refused to be reasonable. So Peter Deterra is the true person to blame for the costs of the lawsuit. He could have compromised from the beginning, and there would never have been a lawsuit!
John Wethington stood up for the rights of the voters in Fairhaven, by bringing the multitude of election irregularities to court, for a judge to review. Every voter in Fairhaven should be proud that John Wethington cared enough about their votes to have the Fairhaven election process, and the results of the Board of Health election reviewed by a Judge. We are talking about voters rights - the foundation of our democracy. If the town clerk had done her job, that she is elected to perform correctly, the case never would have gone to court. And knowing the problems with the April election, if Peter Deterra had compromised, and agreed to a new election voluntarily, there never would have been a lawsuit. So if anyone cost the town money, the blame belongs with Peter Deterra and the town clerk. I am setting the record straight, because I am the attorney that represented John Wethington.
Residents of Fairhaven, please vote on September 9, 2013. The last election clearly shows that every vote counts. It is your right and your responsibility.
Ann Ponichtera DeNardis
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