Empathy and compassion would have been appreciated

To the Editor:
The content of one’s character. It’s a phrase that resounds with what has become a universal beacon for the essential quality of decency to which we as a society hope to aspire.

That was clearly on display as Guilderland Supervisor Peter Barber cavalierly dispatched his “slam dunk” comment to the Times Union [July 9, “Costco, town win appeal for store, apartment plan”] following the overturn of Judge Peter Lynch’s decision on the Rapp Road Development Project, by the State Appellate Court.

Of course, he as the litigator on behalf of the town had a right to be pleased. Their argument prevailed. But let us also remember that litigator Peter Barber also happens to be town Supervisor Peter Barber and, in that role, he has been entrusted to be the caretaker of all of the constituents in this town.

I live on Westmere Terrace. It has been undeniably acknowledged by all parties involved in this project that we who live in its immediate vicinity will be negatively impacted. The proposed mitigating strategies cannot and do not ameliorate the totality of that. And the dismissal of the destruction to the quality of life of neighborhoods for the supposed and quite debatable greater good to the town, is to my mind tragically misguided thinking.

But, the State Appellate Court did not find, as Judge Peter Lynch did, that a town has as much of a responsibility to its constituents as it does to what is scripted in the law.

And so litigator Peter Barber won his case. And in his glee he seems to have forgotten that there are a sizeable group of people in this town who will not only have to withstand an enduring future of everything that has been flatly acknowledged as the downsides to this project but the torment of construction, for some of us right here on our street, eight hours a day, six days a week for who knows how long.

And it’s here where Supervisor Barber really needed to show something other than what he did. A little empathy, a little compassion, for what is about to be an ordeal for people for whom he also has a responsibility. We deserved  better Supervisor Barber, so much better.

Iris Broyde


Editor’s note: See related story.

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