Letter to the editor: Goshen article lacked depth

As a resident of Goshen, I was deeply disappointed by the publication of the July 6 article titled “Big fuss in tiny Goshen leads to officials’ exodus.” In my view, the article lacked depth and balance. It was striking to me that the reporter failed to interview any Goshen residents other than former and current town officials. If they had reached out to residents, they would have discovered how much we appreciate the positive changes that have taken place in our town and community since the election of the new selectboard (and I want to emphasize that they were elected with significant margins).

One of the many accomplishments of the current selectboard, and perhaps the most important one, is the significant improvement in the conditions of our town roads. For the first time since I moved to Goshen in 2020, I can drive within the town without the fear of hitting a pothole.

On the contrary, during the previous selectboard’s tenure, the roads were in terrible and dangerous conditions for motorists, bikers and runners. It was due to a road incident that my husband and I attended the selectboard meeting in October 2021. Two weeks prior to the meeting, our car hit a massive pothole on one of the poorly maintained town roads. This resulted in the loss of both right-side tires, damage to the front wheel suspension, and I even hit my head on the car’s roof. The cost of replacing the tires and repairing the car amounted to over $1,100.

Following this incident, we decided to attend the town selectboard meeting for the first time. The experience was quite disheartening: the meeting room had not seen any upgrades in decades, with peeling paint on the dirty cement floors, and a clock on the wall that was ticking but the hands were not moving. Moreover, there was no internet access for attendees in the meeting room, and the town didn’t even have a website. Instead, a generic meeting agenda was pinned to a board outside the town office on a piece of paper.

More than 20 residents, out of a total of 164, showed up at the meeting to express their concerns about the selectboard’s inaction regarding the maintenance of the town roads. Town residents had been voicing their deep concerns about the unacceptable road conditions for a long time, but the town had done nothing to improve them. In response, the officials claimed that the roads were well maintained and it was the driver’s responsibility to avoid potholes. However, what happened next was unimaginable: when one of the residents, Thomasina Magoon, attempted to make a comment, David McKinnon, the selectboard chair at the time, yelled at her to “Shut up!” When everyone looked at him in disbelief, he repeated it again: “I said shut up!” Shocked by this behavior, many attendees, including myself, got up and left the meeting in protest.

Outside the meeting, people expressed their frustration with the board. Everyone felt that it was long overdue to elect new board members to ensure transparency, accountability and civil behavior. Over the next 18 months, three new board members were elected, but the old-timers are unwilling to let go of their decades-long control of the town and seize any opportunity to distract the new board.

Appalled by what I witnessed at the October 2021 meeting, I right away contacted the Addison Independent with a tip for the editor regarding a potential story. It is unfortunate that we didn’t connect at that time. If we had, today’s situation would have been much clearer, as the triggers for the changes would have been identified two years ago. It is also regrettable that last week’s unbalanced publication only served to further divide the tight-knit Goshen community, rather than providing opportunities to unite it.

Galina Chernaya


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