The Block Island Times

Letters to the Editor, March 23, 2013

Mar 25, 2013

To The Editor:

Re: Second Amendment

To the brave and valiant soul who courageously stood at a recent Town Council meeting, and appealed for sensibility and reasoning where the Second Amendment is concerned, I simply say, “You go, girl.”

That amendment has been “interpreted,” and thereby altered, by various courts over the years. But let’s spend a moment, if you will, considering the original intent of the amendment when signed into the Bill of Rights in 1791. Merely a handful of years prior, freedom loving Americans had purged the British from their shores, and were prepared to meet any and all future comers with the fury of freedom.

It’s great for all of us that they had that fiery spirit, and fierce determination to be free. And who amongst us does not embrace that emotion? In the absence of either a large standing army, or an armory, it was decreed that in order to rapidly form a defensive force, if needed, the easiest method would be to simply send out the call to grab your weapon and hurry to Town Hall. To facilitate this rapidly formed militia, it would be necessary for each home to have a weapon to grab.

All that made a great deal of sense, at that time. In 1791, there was no large standing Army, no sailing Navy, no flying Air Force, and no “You Looking At Me” Marine Corps.

Having served two tours in Vietnam during my seven years in the Air Force, I dearly love the military, and they are the ones who should have the assault weapons.

I fully agree that all homes should have defensive weapons if they so desire. But a pistol and a shotgun would suffice in that capacity. While hunting is considered a sport, a 30-06 would suffice for hunting. What sport is there in being able to shoot deer with 30 rounds in three seconds?

The framers of the 1791 Second Amendment had no assault weapons; their rifles were all flint and ball. How can the radical right gun enthusiasts say that the Second Amendment gives them the right, when there were no assault weapons in 1791?

In recent times, the only use of assault weapons has been to kill other Americans, whose right to life trumps anyone’s right to own such a weapon. Adam Lanza’s mom spent over $100,000 stockpiling weapons. Wouldn’t some of that money have been better spent on Adam’s mental health needs?

I’m just asking.

Willis Brown

Beacon Hill Rd. & Huffman, Texas


To the Editor:

A very sincere thank you to Nat, Mary, Sheila and Teri, my Block Island family and friends, for your friendship, support and generosity at the get together March 9 at the Old Island Pub. Not only was I overwhelmed, but also totally humbled by all that you did. Block Island, and your residents, are truly special in every way and I am honored to be a part of it all.

Joe Jones

Center Road and Narragansett, R.I.


To the Editor:

I’d like to thank the crew at the freight department of Interstate Navigation and, in particular, Tom. On Friday morning a friend of mine on the mainland texted me a picture of some beautiful furniture pieces she had found in a consignment shop. She thought they would be perfect for my guest room and the price was right. I asked her to buy them for me and ship them over on the ferry.

One of the pieces was mostly glass, and I was a little concerned about that, but they all arrived in perfect condition. The trouble came when I tried to get the furniture into my 2001 Ford Taurus. It would not fit.

Thankfully, Tom came to my rescue. He saw me struggling and offered to put the furniture in his truck and drive it up to my house after he locked up. Thank you, Tom, for the help and to freight department for keeping my furniture safe.

Becky Brown

Postmaster, Block Island


To the Editor:

The many letters to the editor in recent issues of the B.I. Times regarding Deepwater Wind make for interesting reading.

After more than three years of being ‘students’ of Deepwater Wind, many of us who oppose Deepwater do so because of our extensive research and analysis of what is actually proposed and what is in the authorizing legislation, and because of our participation in the many public processes associated with this project both on Block Island and on the mainland.

There could be much written in response to letters from Deepwater supporters. I always read their reasons for support with a genuine desire to gain insight and understanding, and sometimes they would be surprised to know that opponents may actually agree with them in some instances.

However, what is disappointing and causes divisiveness in our island community is when misleading information is presented as fact, such as writing that “a majority of annual electricity will come from the windfarm.” That is just not the case! The island’s greatest electricity demand (the majority) occurs during the summer months. Should Deepwater proceed, the high peak demand will be met from mainland electricity which is not necessarily “green.”

Ratepayers can choose a green option that means they are willing to pay more per kilowatt for renewables (in support of green energy) but that does not mean that what comes through to them is in any way green. Electricity just doesn’t flow that way. The only way anyone gets green is if they generate the power themselves.

Secondly, to suggest that BIPCo will burn diesel for “emergency backup only” is wishful thinking.

To my knowledge, there is no document that limits BIPCo to just emergency circumstances. Perhaps BIPCo can clarify the facts for all of us?

Rosemarie Ives

Mohegan Trail

Redmond, Wash.


To the Editor:

There have been several good, thoughtful and informative letters in support of the Deepwater project over the last few weeks. As a strong supporter, I would like to add a few pertinent comments, based on six years of Town Council experience during which energy was a major area of effort for me. Issues related to Deepwater came up frequently, and the Council weighed in positively on almost all those issues. We recognized the great benefit of a cable connecting us to the mainland. We completely understood the environmental risks associated with bringing one million gallons of diesel fuel in by ferry to feed the generators. We know how noisy the generators are. Even with scrubbers there are detrimental effects on air quality as well as health concerns. We are aware of global warming, the resultant rise in sea levels and that we are an island vulnerable to those changes.

Back to the cable: for years and years we have recognized the great benefits a cable would bring to the island’s residents and its economy, but we could not get it done because of the huge cost the island would have to bear. Think about the $3 million to $4 million BIPCo sends off island to purchase diesel fuel. The cost of power through the cable will be half of that. That means that there will be at least $1.5 million that we, as individuals and as a community, don’t spend on electricity that we will now have to spend on other essentials, or can save for retirement or the education of children. There is a multiplier effect in play here: to the extent that those diesel dollars that were previously exported are now spent on island, there will be an economic boost to the island equal to two to three times that $1.5 million.

Most recently, Deepwater came to the council with a plan to bring the cable ashore at the Town Beach, just north of the beach pavillion. We agreed to this, placing strict limits on the duration of construction so that use of the beach would not be disrupted from late May through October. Deepwater agreed to return the beach to its pre-existing condition, and agreed to a substantial payment to the town for the use of the right of way. The cables will be buried all the way to the power company. The use of the beach will not be jeopardized nor will it be limited during summer.

Much has been made of the potential profit that may accrue to Deepwater should the project succeed. Remember, this is a demonstration project. It is risky; no similar project had been completed in the U.S. It could well be a money loser for its investors. If one considers the cost of the project, the level of risk, and the potential revenues spred over 20 years, the rate of return is not excessive. Should this project succeed, it could lead to other off shore wind farms which would in turn bring large numbers of skilled job opportunities to our state.

It is my hope that this project stays on course and that I will soon get to see those five turbines, three miles off shore, turning slowly, silently and gracefully bringing us environmentally clean and reasonably priced electric power.

Peter B. Baute, M.D.

Peckham Farm Road



To the Editor:

The Catholic Ladies Guild of Saint Andrew Church would like to thank all who made our annual Saint Patrick’s Day brunch such a success. All of the wonderful people who cooked, cleaned, set up and served, as well as those who attended, ate and bought raffle tickets; all made this a wonderful day. Thanks especially to our Confirmation students who put in so many hours to make sure the event went smoothly. We look forward to seeing you on March 16, 2014.


The Catholic Ladies Guild of Saint Andrew Church


To the Editor:

An island resident asked if I could write a short letter regarding the misinformation that Deepwater and the town have put forth regarding energy and energy contracting for Block Island. There are many errors or omissions regarding the supposed benefits of this project. But, there are two fundamental errors with the power and economic analysis.

1) Block Island Power Company ratepayers will receive the equivalent of the standard offer afforded all National Grid customers. This is an incorrect understanding of power contracting for utilities in New England. BIPCo will contract for power through the Independent System Operator, ISO-NE, similar to a commodities market exchange for oil, gold, wheat, etc. BIPCo, the Public Utilities Commission and the town need to request pricing for BIPCo’s annual power/energy needs now to understand the energy savings. Deepwater even contacted Politifact to use this mistake to promote the project. It’s akin to me saying that I own a Saint Bernard even though I do not, and then have Politifact report as true, that Chris Warfel says that he owns a Saint Bernard. Repeating a misrepresentation, no matter how many times, does not make it correct.

2) Block Island will receive 90 percent of its energy from Deepwater. The mathematical function expressing wind energy production is very well known, and clearly Block Island will not physically receive the stated 90 percent of its electricity from Deepwater, and contractually will receive zero. Block Island’s peak energy season is when wind energy generation is at its lowest. Winter generation will not be magically stored somewhere and then sent back to Block Island in the summer.

Both these assumptions were integral to determining the so-called benefits of this project.

Why hasn’t the correct analysis been undertaken by our leadership? I suspect it would show that electricity savings are much less. But, is it really all about the money? If so, the town would have acted years ago to reduce its wasteful energy usage, and integrate green building standards and technology into its infrastructure. It was embarrassing to be at the Narragansett Town Council meeting two weeks ago and realize that because Block Island still has not gotten its energy and regulatory house in order, it has become a pawn in a project that is more greed energy than green energy and will remove up to $460 million from the Rhode Island economy and transfer it to the hedge funds that own Deepwater. Using Block Island’s indigenous resources is hundreds of millions of dollars cheaper than Deepwater. Looking at the town’s record, it is obvious something else is going on.

Christopher Warfel

High Street



To the Editor:

The Army Corps of Engineers and the Coastal Resources Management Company have a very important matter before them when they consider the proposed wind farm off Block Island. There is a small but very well organized group opposing the project mostly because of their concern about the interference with the view shed from their Block Island homes. Although we are not as well organized or as vocal as the opponents, most of the Block Island residents and the business community support the Deepwater Project.

One reason that we support the wind farm is the economic gain we will receive from reduced electricity rates. As you know, our kilowatt and fuel surcharges are among the highest in the United States, but what many people don’t realize is that some of our local businesses are threatened with insolvency because of electrical costs. Opponents to the project are mostly summer home owners who are not impacted in the same manner that we restaurant owners and other retailers and trade-related businesses are affected by the electricity rates.

Opponents who say the change in the view shed will depreciate the value of their real estate should consider the turbines as large graceful pieces of sculpture that will improve our economy and our environment while making us a world leader in wind generation.

Environmental concerns about the continued use of fossil fuel for generating electricity is another major concern. We have an opportunity now to utilize and improve renewable generating technology. We owe it to our children to be leaders in supporting this new technology.

Please speak up in favor of the offshore wind project!

Lew Gaffett

Nat Gaffet

Ebbott’s Hollow and The Old Island Pub

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