Real Pain. Real Problems. Time for Real Leadership.

Real pain.  Real Anguish.  Real problems. Real solutions.  Real leadership

It’s been said that pain is a great motivator.  In fact, I have come to believe that the things we learn – and the obstacles we overcome – during painful and trying times can spur and facilitate great accomplishments and most certainly inspire substantial progress. 

I’ve spent a fair amount of time in close proximity to similarly sized machines, and have not felt any ill effects. Several residents of this community – our community – have endured great pain and personal suffering through the impacts of the operation of our town-owned wind turbines.  I don’t pretend to understand or identify with the pain they have felt.  I’ve spent a fair amount of time in close proximity to similarly sized machines, and have not felt any ill effects.  However, I realize that those impacts are very personalized, much like individual responses to intense heat, frigid cold, and nails on a chalkboard, so any discussion of the current state of affairs must have as its foundation a recognition that those living in proximity to the turbines have impacts that are real.  Real pain.  Real anguish.  Real problems. 

The Wind Turbine Options Process Group has done a thorough and commendable job at moving this process forward.  The news this week that most residents in the area of the turbines favor an option that would have the town purchase their homes denotes an important milestone and real progress.  The citizens, neighbors, and all involved have worked tirelessly, always through difficult, contentious, and complex issues with mutual respect and dignity.  They all deserve our gratitude, and represent what’s right with our community. 

Public policy can be messy.  As I’ve said before, it’s often like making sausage.Public policy can be messy.  As I’ve said before, it’s often like sausage making; what goes in can be pretty ugly and distasteful, but often has an agreeable result.  Many chapters in this tome have indeed been distasteful.  The real pain and real anguish felt by the residents has been open and available for the public to see.  We sometimes recoil at that which is a painful reflection of the potential of our own lives, and sometimes prefer to revert back to the comfort of our own existence.  As a community that almost always pulls together in difficult times, though, several neighbors – based solely on their roles as fellow Falmouthites – have come together to forge a solution to this vexing and complex problem.  Their work continues, but now cries out for the enthusiasm and energy and enthusiasm of a local leader to champion the cause and finish the work.

As I mentioned several months ago in this space, one such dedicated and thoughtful Falmouthite, businessman, artist, and all-around good citizen Jim Bowen shared some thoughts on this very issue. He said, “I believe that we can make lemonade out of this lemon by being bold in our thinking. I think that the town should buy the properties that are affected and create a "Town Campus". This campus would include the Town Hall, a sorely needed Police station, a new Senior Citizens Center and more. The land is centrally located in Falmouth for the public from all over town to do their business.

We could also place the RMV there and the Retirement Board among others. The present buildings for these agencies could be sold off, especially the Town Hall. I see the town hall on Main Street as potential retail space on the ground floor and apartments or luxury condos above. We could get top dollar for this property from a developer, but we could restrict its uses to those which are beneficial to Main Street. It would also open up parking for the shops.”

Falmouth needs a local leader of similar character, grit and fortitude to emerge.American religious leader and author Thomas S. Monson said, “the future will present insurmountable problems – only when we consider them insurmountable.”  Many times throughout our history, seemingly insurmountable problems – apparently overwhelming and undefeatable issues – have faced us.  It has been during those times that truly great leaders have emerged and excelled. 

President Lincoln, through sometimes sheer will, personal passion, and his everyman ability to relate to his fellow man, led this nation through its darkest days.  Rosa Parks rebuked generations of bigoted thinking and came to represent the immense power of individual courage. President Reagan stared down a dark and largely unknown adversary, and averted a potential nuclear Armageddon. 

Falmouth needs a local leader of similar character, grit and fortitude to emerge.  Who will step up and take on this seemingly insurmountable problem?  Who among us possesses the ability and willingness to seize upon the energy and hard work of the Options Group and fight for the funding and through the bureaucracy to make it happen? 

I don’t know the answer, but am laying down the challenge.   Real pain.  Real Anguish.  Real problems. 

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