LETTER: NIMBY: An affliction that hurts us all

I was embarrassed and most saddened to read the comments made by my neighbors concerning the sober living home at the April 3 meeting. I hope that everyone read the wonderful article from Laura McKowen that accompanied the article on the hearing, as it debunked the mean-spirited and ignorant concerns voiced on what a sober community really is and what its true impact is for all of us. If we truly cared about our community and our fellow man, we should be welcoming these homes.

I know that most of the ill feeling revolves around the sad but ever-present Not-In-My-Backyard (NIMBY) sentiments that we ’Headers can too often easily exhibit. We saw the same with myriad suits, hearings, articles and misinformation presented — and the subsequent years of delay — for the Mariner Project on Pleasant Street, nearing completion now. We see this often with green projects.

These are projects that almost all would agree are best for all of us, the environment and our future, yet look at what the Cape Wind project went through — over-a-decade-long delay and millions of dollars wasted on both sides.

There is a hearing taking place in Portland, Maine this week to allow hydro transmission lines to traverse the state so that Massachusetts can meet its green energy goals. Maine has blocked it for years, yet they consider themselves leaders in protecting the environment and perpetuating green ideals.

NIMBY is an affliction that hurts us all. It alienates, it drives division, it sends messages to our children that what the individual wants should trump what is best for the whole. That thinking is misplaced and unsustainable in the world that we live in.

I know alcoholics and addicts, and they reside in every neighborhood and likely almost every street in our town. How can we not support these people? They are part of our communities, many of us know these people and/or know their families and friends.

I used this same argument when I mentioned to friends that lived on Pleasant Street that I would hope that if you or I needed assisted living that we would prefer to stay in town and be near our families and what we know. Isn’t that best for the town and the collective? Why should a few ruin it for all? Is that who we really are?

I often find it ironic that we have so many activists that vehemently purport their desires for inclusivity and acceptance, for open immigration and clean energy, at all costs, yet the first time that they are possibly inconvenienced by the reality of what they exclaim, it becomes a different story.

The NIMBYs amongst us can rationalize almost anything in pursuit of what they want and easily ignore the blatant hypocrisies that they exhibit.

Kevin Maguire

Auburndale Road

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