Greylock easements need to go

Thank you, Chestnut Hill Local, for writing about the circumstances of the Greylock mansion. With “easement” documents – a curiously inverted term in this particular case because nothing here is “eased” – of 132 pages, the article could hardly be expected to cover the technicalities, so I expect some readers may benefit from more explanation.

The requirements are overzealous in their reach, mean-spirited in application, and Draconian in method. Fully 83 pages comprise the requirements to which any owner is conscribed. Far beyond merely maintaining the physical walls unchanged and in nearly museum-quality condition (“remove deteriorated mortar with hand tools to a minimum depth 2.5 times the joint width … apply fresh mortar to joints in layers not thicker than 1/4 inch”), the requirements fixate mostly on the neighbors’ selfish interest of limiting traffic on Chestnut Hill Avenue, as if there were no zoning laws to attend to that duty.

If Henry Laughlin, the steel magnate who built Greylock, still owned it, would he have only “3 parties per year that use the exterior grounds”? And consider the direct quote you read about the requirements being “written in blood.” I would hope that even a first-year law class would warn student barristers against spilling their bodily fluids over into their inkwells. This preemptive vindictiveness is nearly watermarked into the parchment, for instance, by holding the property owner financially responsible for legal fees of the historical society to enforce the easements. Brilliant!

Space precludes my enumerating the precise changes needed to the easement documents – changes the CHHS prides itself on never making – but the gist is this: the documents must be rewritten to genuinely address only the minimum behaviors that support the spirit in which they were extorted from financially distressed parties: historical preservation and environmental conservation, nothing more.

Or they must be struck down by someone who will impartially place those benefits ahead of the selfish interests of the few influential neighbors who chose to live on a street that was a major route into the city before they bought their properties and will remain so long after Greylock outlives them.

Jack Bellis


Clean energy jobs good for people

Labor Day weekend unofficially marks the end of summer, which means it’s time to pack away our summer clothes. But as the seasons begin to change, there’s one thing that will never go out of style – clean energy jobs.

With 2.5 million of them nationwide, America is moving forward with clean energy, growing the market that powers our homes and schools without polluting our air. It’s also providing opportunities for so many members of our community. Unfortunately, there are a number of elected officials who aren’t looking to help. They should support the Clean Power Plan.

Finalized last August, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan sets the first national standards on carbon pollution from power plants and encourages investments in clean energy. By cutting the carbon pollution that harms public health and fuels climate change, the clean air standards will produce up to $54 billion in annual health and climate benefits by 2030, and prevent 3,600 deaths a year.

So as we prepare to celebrate the dedication of hard-working Americans this Labor Day, let’s support standards that will give us both a healthy environment and a healthy economy. Goodbye summer, hello clean energy.

Dara Emery

Mt. Airy

Letter identified Clinton corruption

I wish to express my thanks and appreciation to David Banov for his letter “For real change, vote GOP” (Local, Aug.25) Mr. Banov’s letter provided many details of the financial and moral corruption of the Clintons, and of Hillary Clinton’s disastrous policies in the State Department. The true extent of this corruption has yet to be made public.

In addition, there is the very worrying factor of Hillary Clinton’s health. Cold, selfish, self-centered, and egotistical to the point of monstrosity, Hillary Clinton considers herself entitled to the presidency, although she can hardly walk up a flight of stairs.

Have we become so besotted that we no longer have a concept of the good of the nation? I urge readers to check out Paul Craig’s Roberts’ latest summation of the difference in the two candidates—“Trump vs. Hillary: A Summation (Aug. 25) — on his website

Mr. Robert writes that “A vote for Hillary is a vote for nuclear war. If you look at the forthcoming election realistically, you have no alternative but to conclude that the entirety of the media and American Establishment prefers the risk of nuclear war to the risk of losing control of the government to the voters.”

That’s it in a nutshell: representative government. A vote for Trump, distasteful though it may be to some, is at least a vote for this concept. Whereas the Clintons: it’s politics-as-looting, all the way. Please, neighbors and friends: don’t vote for the looters.

Caryl Johnston


Why stop with Reagan?

I was intrigued by David Banov’s recent Local letter (For real change, vote GOP, August 25). Why did he reach back to Ronald Reagan for even a minimal good word about past Republican presidents, with no mention at all of the wondrous accomplishments of Bush I and II or Richard Nixon?

Just asking.

Richard S. Lee


Banov letter a ‘straw man’

David Banov’s Aug. 25 letter is a very good example of the straw man school of seeking to make a case without doing so. His praise and support of Donald Trump were written with invisible ink.

Voting on Nov. 8 for Donald Trump is a wasted vote for a candidate who offers nothing constructive and has no concept of the functions of a government and the office of the presidency. Mr. Trump is a profound embarrassment not just for the Republican Party, but for America. The racial hatred he spews has no place in our democracy, nor in our community.

The Chestnut Hill Local’s policy statement indicates that letters must not exceed 300 words. I calculate that the 138 full lines exceeds the word limit by 252 words. Why the special treatment for his letter?

Mary Ann Holloway

Mt. Airy

Editor’s Note: Ideally we would like to keep letters below 300 words. Mr. Banov’s letter might have been better used as an individual Op/Ed. I thought it important to give Mr. Banov the space because a preponderance of opinion in the Local is progressive. It’s not a surprise given local voter registration rates favor Democrats by a vast margin. Also, we had only two letters submitted, so we had the space on the letters page for a few hundred extra words.