Empathy for Wendy Bertrand
I want to express empathy for Wendy Bertrand, who struggled against the machine of government to operate her bake shop in Bryant Pond.
A few years ago, I had undertaken a similar project in Andover. I secured a permit from the planning board to rehab the building, and then a retail license from the state health inspector. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was.
I did not experience even a tiny annoyance until a neighbor (who I believe had a friend on the planning board) allegedly claimed that I had built a deck (directly over my existing bulkhead) in violation of the 15-foot setback ordinance. (Our buildings are less than 15 feet apart). I received a letter from the board asking me to meet with them to discuss it. Since I had previously had “discussions” with this neighbor and his attorney regarding an “imaginary” easement over my land, I approached the selectmen and complained of the bogus violation claim. It was quickly dropped.
Bryant Pond might have been enjoying convenient, fresh, preservative-free baked goods today. But instead, they have another vacant building that might (or might not) be “safer” than the bake shop would have been. In this instance, I only know what facts were reported in the newspaper, trying to “read between the lines.” But it made me think.
Governmental abuse of power is wielded because “we, the people” do not know our rights. Because the board volunteers (with perhaps good intentions) are not aware of their limits. And sadly, because a vindictive neighbor complains to a friend. If the abuse of power is not challenged, the next time it will double, then triple. And then, here we are.
Government crushes the entrepreneurial spirit of the little people, who are only trying to eke out a meager existence for themselves, while the unemployment rate skyrockets. Government hangs its big hat on the never-ending list of “public protection” pretenses in defense of its capricious motives and arbitrary actions, many times purely politically driven.
The governmental over-regulation and abuse of power trend is disturbing. Spreading like a cancer from place to place, generation to generation, people have gradually come to resign themselves to the heinous expunging of our individual liberties, supposedly in exchange for “the common good” and “public safety.” This trend must be reversed. We must question boldly; demand accountability; know our rights. We must not allow fear to disintegrate our thoughts, distort our values nor paralyze our actions. We are Americans, and proud of it.