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Voices / Letters from readers

Putney shouldn’t allow AT&T dog and pony show

RE: “” [, Nov. 30]:

The Commons’ recent report about AT&T’s efforts to woo the good people of Putney was especially revealing by the AT&T representative’s caveat that “the town’s permission for the application and its protest, if any is lodged would have little apparent weight in the state’s decision.”

As Newfane learned, regardless of what the public might want, AT&T will trust its union-busting, anti-democratic law firm, Downs Rachlin Martin, to do the legwork to ensure that the Public Service Board grants permission without worrying about pesky local concerns.

What AT&T wants is to extricate a string of endorsements from local town officials in order to be able to trumpet AT&T’s supposed cooperation and good neighborliness with local communities as the company promotes its own corporate image.

But if, as has been shown in countless other towns, AT&T will ultimately ignore any town decision that is not a blanket endorsement of its proposal, why bother to let it perform its dog and pony show in the first place? Why allow it to waste the time of townspeople and town officials simply to make the corporation look good?

If this company is to bulldog its towers into our neighborhoods driven by a profit matrix, it should be over our protests, not with our naïve “approval.”

If, as some have claimed, this is not about cell coverage (which might already be adequate in Putney), but rather about AT&T’s share of the Putney cell phone market, then the federal preemption should not even be part of the conversation, as its purpose is to ensure access to cell coverage, not to guarantee any one company’s profit margins.

There is nothing in AT&T’s efforts to delay a vote in Putney besides desire to look better to the regulators and the public at large. Its corporate officials care not one whit about any concerns of the residents of Putney or of any other town that they target to expand their profits.

Putney should simply say no, and allow the charade to play itself out as it will between the telecommunication corporations and the PSB.

Dan DeWalt
South Newfane

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Originally published in The Commons issue #242 (Wednesday, February 19, 2014). This story appeared on page C2.

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