Letters to the editor
Posted: February 19, 2013
Citizens no more, but employees
Retreats. Strategic plans. Managers and assistant managers — seems like Winchester is more corporation than city.
It certainly has all the trappings — an executive board, bonds, even shareholders cleverly disguised as residents. It places a “heavy emphasis on economic development,” something you’d expect from Apple or GM.
But this is a case where if it walks like a duck and quacks like one, it may not actually be one. Because the only way a city makes a profit is out of the hides of others.
The only way a city plans and executes a conference center is at the expense of a private enterprise seeking the same thing. A city’s Career and Technical Education Center duplicates similar efforts by local community colleges, to no greater advantage. A city bulldozes, rezones, makes and enforces strategic plans, and hires pricey assistants on your dime — not its own.
And that’s a problem, because if a city thinks it’s a corporation, then it will act like one. Decisions will be made in camera; important meetings will be held at its own convenience; personal friends will be hired. There will be periodic “all-hands” meetings where citizens will be given opportunities to express concerns about traffic patterns and fair use. One or two board members might even express some sympathy. But, in the end, the board, er, council, will go forward with its plans. And you'll have to live with it, because you’re not citizens.
Why Chanters were canceled
I received a call from the student activities director at John Handley High School advising me that the conditions at the school were not favorable, and that it couldn’t guarantee that the areas would be safe for walking or sliding.
I asked his recommendation and he said that he would check to see how fast they could clear and then, when I talked back, he advised me that the city had responsibility to clear streets and the parking area, and that he didn’t know when that would be done. So, for safety purposes, we felt that we needed to cancel.
We will work with the U.S. Navy Sea Chanters to see about a return engagement. I never like to cancel on our veterans, and they would never cancel on us. But safety of all concerned had to be the priority.
We tried to get the word out to all as fast as we could — so our apologies to anyone who traveled and found that the school was closed.
John S. Lewandowski
U.S. Army (Ret.)
Founder/Chairman of the Board
Disabled Veteerans Committee on Housing