When There Are No Windmills to Battle, Build Your Own

PLEASE SHARE THIS —-Very Important: Pond St Forest is Being Clear Cut- for “Green” Solar energy, How Ironic — drive down Pond St. 7/25 thru 7/29 this Monday thru Friday to see – this is very bad for Billerica.

Posted by George Simolaris on Sunday, July 24, 2016

The above video was posted on Selectman George Simolaris’ Facebook page. it is important that you watch and listen to his spiel as he goes through a litany of horrors the town of Billerica and abutting neighbors are about to face.

Then consider that this project that he is so concerned about and which has caught him so off guard that he feels the need to charge a windmill is one that he helped to create by voting for it to go forward and has failed to speak out against since its inception in 2012. This is yet another case of Don Quixote battling a monster that he helped to feed, nurture and grow over a nearly four year period – his entire term to date as a Selectman.

In the video, he admits to voting for the project, but claims to not know that it involved this clear cutting in an “unexpected area”. And yet, his fellow Selectman, Dan Burns, points out that the information has been readily available in the form of packets distributed to each selectman and through discussions on the issue and through warrant articles as well as a description of the project that has been up on the town’s website

Selectman Burns also points out that the Department of Environmental Protection has long ago vetted the site and determined the activity to not be harmful to residents in any way. Selectman Burns points to the hearings held by the Billerica Department of Public Health on the project and their approval. He also notes that a variety of town boards have held hearings and sought public comments for or against the project.

Those hearings were held by the Billerica Planning Board (agendas and minutes are available), his own Billerica Board of Selectmen (agendas and minutes are available), The Billerica Zoning Board (agendas and minutes are available), This also went before Town Meeting in February 2016 and was approved without so much a hint of dissent. (video archive is available on BATVinc.com website. For detailed information that has been available to Mr. Simolaris and others all one has to do is visit the town’s website, go to search, type in “solar” and you will find drawings, schematics and all sorts of pertinent information for your reading pleasure.

Further Mr. Burns points out that Mr. Simolaris, the concerned people’s activist that he claims to be was derelict or negligent in:

  1. Discussing the dust issue concerns with the Town Manager (still has not happened).
  2. Bringing up his concerns about his specific concerns and issues with others in town government to either get more information or at least some form of temporary relief.
  3. Asking the pertinent questions and doing the essential reading during the various discussion and hearing phases of this proposal during public meetings or something similar in writing to express the horror he is alleging after the contracts have been signed (with the blessing of the Board of Selectman) and the work has begun. Did he lose his glasses? Did his dogs eat his Selectman information packages? Did he lock himself in his basement without a computer so that he was unable to follow this project at other board hearings prior to Town Meeting?
  4. Either Mr. Simolaris did not bother to read the Pilot study document and multiple information packets since then to become better informed, or he lacks the intellect to comprehend and critically think about the information before him. (apparently he is no more informed than the average prisoner held in the Billerica House of Corrections). These are not the sort of intellectual or personal responsibility traits one would expect from a competent elected official.
  5. Selectman Simolaris suggests that the notice to abutters was improperly done and misleading. In fact, the notice complies fully with the law. See: PDF file copy here: http://www.town.billerica.ma.us/documentcenter/view/5328 You can read the Planning Board remarks about the project and notifications here: http://www.town.billerica.ma.us/documentcenter/view/5329.
  6. For the record, I don’t access George Simolaris’ FB page as he has blocked me from commenting. The lead from this story came from a long serving Town Meeting member supported by others with similar complaints who have reached the end of their wits dealing with Selectman Simolaris’s antics. Not that he would bother to do the work to submit a warrant article or do the necessary work to write a grant proposal, don’t expect him to be able to garner much support from FINCOM, Town Meeting, his own Board of Selectmen, etc. for any such work he may desire to or be asked by a constituent to pursue.

I could go on, but there really is no point. The issue is not George himself. The issue is George not doing his homework, not knowing what he is voting for or against and then trying to compensate by creating phony emergencies through the use of videos and hyperbole instead of going to his leadership peers and discussing his concerns in a timely fashion and in a manner expected of a political leader. There are processes, policies, protocols that include an initial proposal, presentation of pilot program documents and discovery, multiple public hearings before several town boards, including two elected boards – the Board of Selectmen and the Planning Board, an abundance of documentation provided to every member of every board and committee involved in the process and still, George chose to say and do nothing until the project was already underway.

The issue is about personal and professional conduct acted out in a way that is conducive to team building and coalition forming with groups of differing views in order to get the best for the town and to serve the town’s best interests in the most effective, efficient and prosperous way possible without corrupting livability. This means building strong relationships, having adult conversation, learning and working within the system in the most judicious and intelligent way possible. In all of these instances, George has failed. Here are some examples of how he is continually eroding relationships with key members of other boards as well as his own.

Here are a few snippets from a recent conversation on this issue.

Now imagine Mr. Simolaris trying to convince a large enough contingent on Beacon Hill to approve a special grant or funding to benefit Billerica with this demeanor on full display, or after having back stabbed key figures with his after the fact, last minute claims of incompetence, corruption and danger regarding things he initially voted for, but decided he needed to manufacture a good crisis to sway Billerica voters that his activism is more important to them than his actual accomplishments.

George may be a very nice guy, and I have no reason to believe he is not, but he is not a team player, he is not a competent politician and he does nothing to bring folks together – to the contrary, his skill rest on division. Moving to the Democrat Party seems an apt home for him. Sitting on the Board of Selectmen or in a Representative’s chair on Beacon Hill does not.

So, what do you think?

"When There Are No Windmills to Battle, Build Your Own", 4 out of 5 based on 8 ratings.

1 Comment

  1. Rick,

    The most challenging zoning areas are the commercial areas that abut residential zones. Clearly, someone has to live next to where a commercial area begins. So here we are with a commercial area that happens to be a super fund site.

    It is zoned so that there could be a string of landscape garages and mechanical applications, both having challenges with trucks, ect. In this case, the application makes zero noise and offers zero traffic, and I believe is the best, and perhaps only, commercially viable use of this land. I understand the frustration with the loss of trees, but can you imagine if we decided to purchase contaminated land and deem it as “open space”, what (and rightfully so) the uproar would be.

    Perhaps there is something I have not considered as an alternative use, and if so, would love to hear from your readers for future reference.


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