PulseLine, November 27, 2012

Good morning.  I’m calling in response to the person who referred to the residents of Cross Street as NIMBYs.  You know, you can place all the blame on the Cross Street residents that you want but why don’t you place the blame on the mayor? If the mayor had followed the law and played by the rules instead of playing by Mayor Knapik’s rules then we probably wouldn’t be in all this mess.  So, it’s the mayor’s fault.  The only problem with the people on Cross Street is that they were intelligent enough to know that something was wrong, things were being done the wrong way, and decided to investigate.  So, the mayor got caught.  So, if you want to blame anyone for standing in the way of the children’s education in the city of Westfield, then I think you should look to the mayor because he didn’t follow the law.  He broke it and still is.  Thank you.  Mayor Knapik responds: The city has followed the process for replication as required by both the federal and state government. We have demonstrated that similar projects occur all over the Commonwealth and that there is precedence for our approach. Correspondence provided to the city by state officials has indicated this. Additionally, as referenced in Undersecretary Griffith’s findings, this project will enhance the recreational options at the new school site for the neighbors, and will provide the city with a unique opportunity to provide nearly 33 acres of additional recreational space just 1,200 feet away. This points to the fact that the real issue is that a few neighbors and two Holyoke residents simply do not want a new 21st century school built in their neighborhood. Despite the best efforts by some members of the group to smear my family name by writing a disparaging letter to the Bishop filled with incredible allegations and lies, and additional letters to a state agency alleging lawbreaking activities, the project continues and has the required permits to proceed. In the coming days, we expect approval from the National Park Service and at that point we will have satisfied the federal requirement for the project to move forward. The fact is the group has been told by its own lawyer that they cannot stop the school and the best they can hope for is a delay. And though I disagree with Judge Paige’s decision and believe we would be successful if we appeal, it supports our claim that we do have the right to build the school there. This process will terminate with either a successful appeal or a two thirds vote of the legislature. Either way, we expect to meet our September, 2014 completion date.

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