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Foundry supporters’ virtue-signaling at Planning Board meetings is not a good look

Amy Brentano's minions at Planning Board meetings do not seem to notice that what is being discussed in these meetings is not whether the performance venue should exist, but whether The Foundry’s permit should go from some noise controls to no noise controls.

To the editor:

One has to hand it to Amy Brentano, the owner of The Foundry in West Stockbridge: She knows how to play hardball. Citizens of West Stockbridge cannot forget how she first came to town, bought a private road, and promptly closed it as a pressure tactic, violating decades of informal cooperation and neighborliness in the process. Her latest move is to bring a crowd of vociferous followers to board meetings, people who boo, hiss, and catcall speakers with whom they do not agree. The fact that these people are mostly not citizens of West Stockbridge is somehow not acknowledged (fact: about three-quarters of the names on The Foundry’s petition of support presented at the May 20 Planning Board meeting were from non-residents of West Stockbridge).

Brentano’s minions appear to believe that they are standing for some progressive community value: art, or inclusion, or something. They do not seem to notice that what is being discussed in these meetings is not whether the performance venue should exist, but whether The Foundry’s permit should go from some noise controls to no noise controls. As former Berkshire District Attorney David Capeless pointed out on May 20, this is like deciding that, since speed limits are working, they should be abolished.

The noisy out-of-town mob is aided by our own Planning Board Chair Dana Bixby, who blandly asserts that she can be “fair and impartial” while simultaneously giving money to The Foundry’s online legal defense fund. Bixby’s gavel is selective indeed: I speak as one who was gaveled down because my comments at a recent meeting were deemed “not germane.” For the record, I was comparing Bixby’s impartiality to that of flag-flying Supreme Court justice Samuel Alito, but as soon as his name escaped my lips, I was silenced. Be forewarned: Planning Board meetings here are now no-analogy zones.

I am not a right-winger, but I am suddenly gaining insight into conservatives’ complaints about liberals’ “virtue-signaling.” The Foundry mob is violating norms of small-town government and supporting a venue that is taking away the right to peaceful living from one of the few non-white families in town. And these progressive people are congratulating themselves in the process. Believe me, folks: It is not a good look.

David Anderegg
West Stockbridge

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