It took courage for Rye small business owner Cai Palmer to write an opinion piece, “Don’t Close Down Purchase Street”, that was published in the May 7 Rye Record. As reported last October, three retailers claim that they were even “threatened by a member of the Council with a boycott if they ‘chose the wrong side’” of the Purchase Plaza decision.
Obviously, last year’s global pandemic created unprecedented challenges. Decisions were made quickly — some good, some perhaps less so. But that was 2020. To go by the latest CDC guidance, this summer we’ll be playing in a whole new ballpark and our decisions should be updated accordingly. But to be clear, my concern is not so much what happens when leaders have to make plans under extraordinary pressure. What I really worry about is when citizens and stakeholders don’t feel heard or, worse, feel afraid to speak out. We need more real conversation and less social media interaction.
I can’t wait until we can all meet at City Hall again and respectfully share our points of view, in person, on the record, and on a level playing field.
- Lori Fontanes