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Sunlight Is Still the Best Disinfectant

City Council President Frank Cook's walking out of the meeting on the Attleboro Landfill capping was childish and offensive.

Last evening, City Councilors Jonathan Weydt and Richard Conti held a meeting to inform Ward 4 residents about the situation at the Attleboro Landfill. It was an informational meeting that was requested by the people who live in the area and will be affected in many ways—truck traffic on tiny roads, health risks and property devaluation. The purpose was to educate and listen. Two city councilors cared enough about their constituency to do what they were elected to do. Thank you to both of them.

Somehow, several city officials found this to be so offensive that they stormed out. City Council President Frank Cook was one of them. Mr. Cook was "offended" by the a word used by Councilor Weydt. 

Newsflash: This meeting was not about Mr. Cook or for Mr. Cook or by Mr. Cook. This was for the residents of Ward 4. This ridiculous attempt by Mr. Cook to make the headlines focus on the "bad behavior" of Mr. Weydt instead of its stated goal was childish, manipulative and in itself offensive.

Let's talk about the behavior of Mr. Cook regarding this issue. First, let me say to the residents of Ward 3 (which Mr. Cook represents) that if it wasn't for Councilors Conti and Weydt and a group of people working behind the scenes, you would have trucks rolling over Holden Street as you read this.  You have had zero representation from your ward representative.

Mr. Cook's "wordsmithing" of Councilor Walter Thibodeau's petition at the last possible moment was nice, but would have never happened if Mr. Weydt and Mr. Conti had not been pushing this issue. The reason that we held a meeting last night was because Mr. Cook refused to hold public council discussions and denied a request by Mr. Weydt to hold a public meeting to educate the public on this issue. Mr. Cook can try to hide behind "council procedures," but he manages to do step out of those boundaries whenever it suits him.

The night before our Ward 4 meeting, Mr. Cook read some letter to the administration that misled people into thinking that the "EndCap deal" was null and void. It is NOT. Mr. Cook also announced to the public that the Massachusetts DEP could be coming into Attleboro—ordering us into compliance and affording us no input. False! The only person who seems determined to see that Attleboro residents have no input is Mr. Cook. Watch the city council meetings.

Mr. Cook can feign offense all he wants, but the real issue is that he was not in control, and I am certainly thankful for that. He had a responsibility to sit through that meeting and listen to the concerns of his constituents, as there were Ward 3 residents at that meeting. His stunt and remarks to The Sun Chronicle about feeling offended were orchestrated solely to deflect from the good works of Councilors Conti and Weydt. What he pulled was the ONLY offensive happening of the night. He failed as a ward councilor and as a leader of our city. 

This is ot the first time that Mr. Cook has offended a large group of people trying to exercise their right to speak out. Remember the Farmers Market and the 25-minute lecture from Mr. Cook about how awful their behavior was? That offended him as well. It would seem that anyone speaking up offends Mr. Cook.

It is my hope that Mr. Cook's childish and offensive behavior is not what will be remembered of our meeting, probably the first of its kind—and I hope there are more of them. My other hope is that more people will watch the council meetings on Tuesday nights. Be vigilant, as we now know that our city officials are not shy about making decisions that have a huge impact on us—and keeping it quiet.

In closing, I would say this to Mr. Cook, as he found my (our Ward 4) meeting so offensive. I found your behavior just plain awful. I am outraged that you would try to "take away" and deflect from a meeting that was designed to defend the health and well-being of our citizens. You should learn to talk less and listen more. You may be the president of the city council, but you work for the people of this city, not the administration. 

We the people had every right to attend that meeting and if you found it distasteful and are offended that easily, then maybe you should leave public office. I find it offensive that you have been silent on the fact that one million 200 thousand tons of contaminated material is slated to be dumped into Ward 4!

On another note, because of the behavior of our highest of city officials, I would like to put a group of honest, hardworking citizens together who care about transparent and clean government—"Operation Clean Government." Please call me if you are interested.

Remember:  Never underestimate what a small group of dedicated people can do.  

Roxanne Houghton is a former Attleboro city councilor.

C. DeSimone September 20, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Ms Houghton: I was at last night's meeting and I appreciated your comments there and your concern for the health and safety of Attleboro residents. However, I think you are being unduly harsh toward Mr. Cook. In fact, if last night's meeting was to present "the truth and only the truth" in the form of objective facts, I would have liked to have heard from anyone who has information about the matter. While I appreciate Mr. Conti's and Mr Weydt's efforts to gather and present information, it did appear that they were doing some grandstanding and trying to turn an important health and safety issue into a political issue. I hope that Mayor Dumas, Mr. Cook, and anyone else with information will be available in a public forum like last night's so we can get more facts about the EndCap - ALI deal and the capping. I may be naive but I refuse to believe that any city official (the Mayor, Mr. Cook, Mr. Conti, Mr Weydt, etc...) would intentionally harm or disadvantage the city and residents that they are sworn to serve and I shall give all of them the benefit of the doubt until the facts proof otherwise. Of course, I do not extend the same benefit of the doubt to EndCap or the ALI. Cathleen DeSimone
Roxanne Houghton September 20, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Cathie Glad you attended the meeting! Question...if you dont believe that any of our elected officials would ever do anything to harm the health and well-being of their citizens, then how do you explain the acceptance of this dangerous proposal, without a word of input from us-those residents? You dont have to be a rocket scientist to know that 18 wheelers on Pike Ave is dangerous, or that 1 million tons of contaminated materials is harmful to our health. Where was one ounce of consideration for our input before signing this agreement?
C. DeSimone September 20, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Roxanne- I agree with you about the truck traffic on Pike. My children wait for the bus every morning along Pike Ave and I am concerned about them and the other kids who get the bus on Pike. You raise a fair point about the truck route and I am hoping that Mayor Dumas speaks on that issue as he apparently signed off on the deal. As far as the material to be dumped at ALI, I am concerned about that too and I sent an email to MA DEP this morning asking them to reject the idea of putting more contaminated material in the Attleboro Landfill. It seems to me that ALI wants to reopen the dump as a functioning business and that capping is just a side benefit!
Roxanne Houghton September 20, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Cathie: Thank you for becoming involved and sending a letter of concern to DEP. Your comments have been very thoughtful. We are pretty much all in this together. You are spot on about what is really happening here.
Daniel F. Devine September 20, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Change is good...Time for our council president (not a lifetime position) to join Cheri Felos & Duff White in retirement from the Attleboro City Council.
Hope Attleboro September 20, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Dan, you forgot Kim Allard. Seems the Mayor is slowly losing his herd on the Council. Let's pray Blais retires in 2013.
Sarah September 20, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Here! Here! Roxanne! You have gone out on a dangerous ledge and I applaud you! Cook is a rambling monster who has been sitting in the "BOX" a little too long. His excessive use of his "power" reflects on all of the council. He is the loser kid who was bullied and now feels that it is his right to push his will on the people of Attleboro. He is evil, plain and simple. Its funny you should bring up the Farmers Market in this too. I do recall a tirade where Cook "The Controller" slammed his palms on the desk and belittled and berated those poor people. He uses fear and humiliation as a tool. We can’t forget that he shares his talents with his ever trusty sidekick Peter Blais who also screamed and yelled "Put a Quarter in the Bucket". It thrills me that neither Mr. Weydt nor the Farmers Market people caved. I am amazed that people don’t see how hate filled these supposed "Public Servants" are. Keep looking over your shoulder Roxanne. If it was the 1920 they would have you forcefully committed to a mental institution by now. (That’s what they used to do to strong willed women!)
Jerry Chase September 21, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Since sunshine is the best disinfectant, then Frank Cook risks a bad sunburn!
Wayne Lacroix September 21, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Roxanne, you mentioned bad behavior by Councilor Weydt. What did he do that was considerd "bad behavior" My parents were at the meeting the other night. My mother adores Mr. Weydt. She didn't mention this.
Wayne Lacroix September 21, 2012 at 12:38 PM
I agree though, we need a turnover on that council. Cook, Kirby and Blais need to go. Imagine Jay Dilisio and Shannon without those people around.
Daniel F. Devine September 21, 2012 at 06:42 PM
I agree, especially KIRBY another brown nose!

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