I was already angry when Don Naples, Republican alderman, approached me at the end of a four-hour hearing.
The first half of the hearing at Gaffney School was unbearable.
I had jotted in my notes, “parade of prostitutes.”
Our mayor had misappropriated $350,000 from New Britain’s hard-pressed taxpayers to hire a group of biased consultants. Their job was to sell us a horrible idea: savage our beautiful Bradley Mountain to give away a billion dollars’ worth of trap rock, leaving us with a lagoon of industrial runoff.
In my naivete I was unaware that such consultants existed. With no pretense of objectivity, they insisted for an hour and a half that the whole purpose of the project was a magnanimous deal to save New Britain from certain death of thirst. No mention of the stupendous profits to be made by extracting precious trap rock.
Later in the evening, a speaker from Plainville, a veteran wetlands official, let us know that there are many of these phonies-for-hire out there. So-called experts, they bully small towns like ours, who can’t afford counter-experts.
Not this time. About 30 simple citizens, at 3 minutes each, lifted us up with their passion, eloquence, and self-taught expertise, overwhelming the distorted, interminable presentation that began the hearing.
Are these guys licensed? If they are, their license should be revoked.
Despite the enjoyable interlude, punctuated by vigorous applause, at the end of the hearing I was still burning from having had an hour and a half of my life stolen.
The hearing was breaking up, and I was approaching some of the aroused attendees to sign up for our DTC email list, when Don came up to me. He was apparently stung by my using my 3 minutes to call out the Republican aldermen sitting there, for encouraging such rapine. Pleading innocent, he persisted in my face as I was trying to talk to the other people streaming by. Finally, I snarled at him and drove him away.
I’m sorry, Don. I’m not usually like that…