Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Adding to the blight problem

Journal Inquirer
December 27, 2005

I am glad to see that Vernon Town Council member Mark Etre is concerned about code enforcement and blight in our town, as was reported in a recent Journal Inquirer article. We need more money for code enforcement, as well as instilling a sense of pride and responsibility for our community among all residents and property owners.

I did, however, find Etre's statement, "We're allowing people to be pigs in the community," to be insulting, condescending, and almost comical, given that he does not practice what he preaches and is, himself, part of the problem of "blight" in our great town.

Since well before Election Day, Etre has had two campaign signs on top of the historic keystone tunnel on Tunnel Road. It is now six weeks after the election, and he still hasn't had the sense, or decency, to take his ugly signs down. As far as I am concerned, post-Election Day campaign signs are nothing but litter, a form of blight.

OK, I know the tunnel is a great place for campaign signs; I have placed some there in the past. I always take them down promptly, usually right after polls close. As the Working Families candidate for 8th District state representative in 2004, I had some 150 campaign signs up throughout Vernon, Coventry, and Columbia. They were all removed within a couple of days after the elections. This is what responsible candidates do.

I hope Etre will clamber up to the top of the tunnel and take his signs down soon. It will be a cold, steep, slippery, and dangerous climb with this snow and ice. This could have been avoided had he removed them in a timely fashion like most candidates. But it seems like Etre doesn't care, nor do other prominent Republicans in town who pass trough the tunnel daily. You'd think maybe one of them would have said something to him.

J. David Batchelder