To the Editor:
These are remarks I was prepared to present at the public hearing at City Hall on Tuesday night.
I tried to say it at the meeting, but because I suffer from stage fright, I couldn’t. I’m sure many other people do, thus keeping a lot of folks from speaking what they feel. But here is what I had hoped to say:
My father always said he was the richest man he knew. He had everything: Mama, us kids, his kitchen garden and the ocean.
He was kind to everyone and, in turn, received an abundance of love and respect.
He never wanted for more. I wish he could have been everyone’s father; the world wouldn’t know greed.
Several years ago, there was a man who would come to Billy’s Beach and spend hours each day loading his backpack with sea glass. This went on for weeks.
One day I said to him, “Excuse me, sir, would you please leave some for the kids.” He didn’t respond. The next day I saw his car, and once again he was loading up his backpack. I wrote a note and placed it on his windshield, it simply said, “I wouldn’t come to your neighborhood and pick all the flowers.” I haven’t seen him practice this daily routine since.
The marine industry, the Birdseye building, the Fort neighborhood and Pavilion Beach are like that sea glass to me. The hotel overlay district will continue to pick away at these unique and precious resources by people who will take, unless someone speaks up.
The gentleman with the backpack seemed to understand when I stated it simply.
The people at the public hearings have stated simply, wisely, with educated facts and questions and passion, but felt unheard and disregarded.
Once Pavilion Beach, the Birdseye building and the Marine Industrial Zone are gone, there’ll be no getting it back.
I believe with your votes in favor of the hotel overlay district, you’ve given away our heritage. I do not want to live in “New Gloucester.” I want to live in Gloucester, America’s Oldest Fishing Port, rich in beauty and history.
The way that my neighbors and I have been portrayed — as a bunch of uneducated fish cutters with a mob mentality, who just don’t want change — is not only hurtful, it is wrong. No matter what you may have heard (or in several cases, said) we do not throw fish at people we disagree with, no one threatened to tie up Mr. Davis and beat him, and I certainly do not spit on people, nor would I ever.
I am simply tired of people taking more than what they need from good, hard-working people who love our city for its heritage, beauty and promise and it is my right to speak out.
I sit home and wonder how my heart will endure the pain when the wrecking ball hits the Birdseye.
I wish there were ways to strengthen it.