Friday, December 10, 2010

Letter to Linda Walsh, Newton Health Department

12 8 2010  Attn:  Linda Walsh,  cc: Bob Rooney
Dear Linda,
   Bob Rooney sent me the draft of the letter you are planning to submit to the MBTA.
   I am very grateful that you have taken the time to send comments.
   I hope you will be willing to consider my suggestions for your comments.  Please call me if you would like to discuss them. 
    (Note: I have asked Bob to ask the Mayor for a formal acknowledgment of the original letter and a brief summary of the steps City of Newton officials have taken so far.)
   Your letter focuses on steps to fulfill the requirements regarding notification.  At our meeting last Thursday, I thought we agreed that newspaper notices are not acceptable.  In the past, the local newspaper notice was limited and ineffective. It is even more inadequate today when so many people rely on email and online communication.  
    Clearly the requirements for record keeping and communication to the public need review and updating.  The confusion between Ann Phelps and John McNally about when the spraying takes place is evidence that systems need updating.
    And then, even if the state agencies and the city of Newton did meet the requirements of the current regulations, the public would not be receiving adequate or proper notice of either the spraying or the opportunity to influence official policymaking. 
    Therefore I hope you will ask that the review and comment period for the YOP be extended to give the City of Newton adequate time to notify its citizens, especially the abutters, of opportunities to engage in a legitimate public review of the entire YOP.
    More important, there are no precautions that people can take to protect themselves and their families from exposures to herbicides. In fact, such false assurances misinforms the public about the true nature of pesticides.
    Since learning that City of Newton officials do not have records of the multiple herbicide applications on Rights-of-Ways in Newton, and until such records are public, I hope the Health Department will object to the use of herbicides by state agency contractors. 
    While Bob Rooney has asked the City of Newton Law Department to acquire the herbicide application records, please know that the complete ingredients in the chemical products are trade secrets. They not disclosed even to the EPA. So that public officials nor the public ever has the complete picture of what chemicals are being used and therefore there is no way to truly track or evaluate the true cost to health or the environment.
    As we discussed last Thursday, I look forward to working with you to share information with other Newton officials and citizens.
    Please forward me your final letter so that I can share it with others who are interested in the City’s response to the Letter to Mayor Warren.  Signatures (as of 11/20/2010).
    I have been posting information and resources online. Click here.
Best regards,
Ellie Goldberg 617 965-9637