LETTER: Naysayers perpetuate misinformation on Madison climate efforts

TO THE EDITOR: I am not as regular an attendant at the Borough Council meetings as I wish I were – even late at night and at the end of a contentious comment section, I come home feeling really good about the group of intelligent, resourceful, and dedicated people who serve Madison in elective offices.

Each council member takes responsibility for being the liaison between the council and one or more of the departments – taxation, police and fire, utilities, infrastructure, etc. In addition, the same small group extends their attention to various independent volunteer groups – open space, recreation, shade trees, parks, preservation, etc.

All the council members pore over the budget and contribute informed opinions to an always civil and open discussion. In short, our current Borough Council exemplifies the absolute best in local government.

A “balanced” council is the one we have. I urge Madisonians to return Rachel Ehrlich to the Council in November and to elect Tom Haralampoudis to the seat vacated by Maureen Byrne.

For example, just at the last meeting, the council recognized the sad loss of some of our long-time neighbors, speaking of them personally and with feeling. They passed resolutions in support of breast cancer awareness, acknowledging the bottomless grief of losing a child, and honoring the centenary of Madison’s Garden Club for which all of the past presidents in attendance were given a red rose.

They heard and responded to a resident’s concern that the fire department was understaffed at this time and having difficulty finding volunteers. Later the mayor presented a plan for adding pickleball courts and a basketball court to the MRC facility, a proposal two years in the making, which involved numerous volunteers.

Republican Anthony Bucco, who is not yet the representative of Madison, was welcomed and given speaking time to present the ant-car theft bill he is cosponsoring in the Senate with Richard Codey. The local police chief and another member of the force were invited to speak also on the subject, relating the bill and the reasons for it to problems in Madison.

We are so lucky, here in Madison, to have this level of nonpartisan resident engagement and care – and so lucky to have an attentive, responsive, transparent Mayor and Council. My heartfelt thanks to all of you.

Oddly, much attention has lately been brought to the Climate Change Committee chaired by Rachel Ehrlich – a committee which to date has done nothing but gather data, investigate sources and solutions, and based on the best information available, suggested modifications in several building projects now underway in town, so that where possible, solar panels and other green, renewable resources are included in the construction.

Amidst the vast range of concerns that our council manages, that they are also looking 30 years ahead so that Madison can continue to be the generous, ecologically aware towns so widely recognized as highly desirable to live in, is a reason to praise this council.

However, in spite of several careful explanations from both Rachel Ehrlich and another serving member of the committee – that there were and would not be any restrictions on residents’ choices energy-wise and that the Climate Change committee is collecting and making available information about utilities and power so that residents can make informed choices – a very hostile and vocal group of naysayers persists in misrepresenting both what the committee is demonstrably doing and their reasons for doing it.

The venom is bad. The misinformation is bad. And so is their making of their objections a partisan party issue. Science may not give us immediate answers, but conspiracy theorists give us no way forward and all.

A “balanced” council is the one we have. I urge Madisonians to return Rachel Ehrlich to the Council in November and to elect Tom Haralampoudis to the seat vacated by Maureen Byrne.