NOTE: This is a reply to my local county executive, who at his recent town hall meeting accused protesters as being paid and from out of town.
Dear Rob Astorino,
I have to chuckle with your insinuations that paid protesters are attending your events.
No one has paid me. I am a citizen of Westchester County who has lived here since 1988. I care deeply about clean water and air and a livable future. It seems to me that you do not share these values.
I do show up, I do protest. I do it proudly, and pro bono! My activism is not just a one time thing as a result of your pal Donnie winning the white house job.
Over the years, I’ve attended numerous county budget hearings when you have cut funding for child care. I work at a child care center and I’ve seen first hand how your budgets have wreaked havoc on hard working families in our county.
In 2014, I was one of many standing outside your fundraiser in Tarrytown with a sign when all the out of state gas industry fat cats came to support your campaign for NY Governor. I am well aware of your infatuation and loyalty to the fossil fuel industry.
In 2015, I was one of many who interrupted you at a diner to call you out on your part in the destruction of Blue Mountain Reservation for Spectra’s fracked gas pipeline project. Alienating county land for the benefit of the gas industry, shame on you!
Earlier this week, I was downstairs filming the angry overflow room while you stayed upstairs with your handpicked constituents in your “town hall” meeting where you talked more than listened. I live streamed the event onto Facebook where more than 1300 people watched.
Soros isn’t paying me. Nor is any green group. I am a constituent who pays close attention to issues. I know you don’t care about air, water or noise pollution at Westchester airport, I know you’re just looking to sell it off to patch your leaky county budget. I can see beyond your smooth sound bytes and slick media training.
Am I angry? Of course. When so many of Westchester County’s public amenities are at risk from a County Legislator who sees them as slices of pie to give away to private corporations, who wouldn’t have righteous anger?
Hikers in Blue Mountain are now at risk for inhaling carcinogenic leaks from Spectra’s pipeline. Playland and the Westchester County airport are at risk of being given away for privatization. Even the Playland pool – where groups like Ronald McDonald House enjoy wholesome recreation – is at risk because you think it’s a good idea to spend 3 million of taxpayer dollars to fill it in with cement and replace it with a food court.
Paid? Many of us can see through that kind of vitriolic rhetoric. Only people who truly love Westchester County, who live here and have a vision for its future would show up without pay, to attempt to catch your ear.
I will persist in my work on behalf of those who care about clean air, water and a livable future. Expect to see more of me and others in the months ahead. We’re not going away.
“When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.”