Since the Toll Brothers PRD passed a few nights ago, I’m more stunned than I anticipated I’d be. Like other community members, I’m angry that the whole thing could even occur, understanding fully well the series of events that led up to it since 2004. As Joe Cusumano said at the meeting, we can understand the process that got us here. We know why it’s happened. But to know is different than to feel the process. And even to feel the process and let it sink in is far from feeling that it’s just, fair, and good.
I, for one, do not feel it’s been right, just, or fair. As I said at the meeting, the rules in our area are rigged for keeping corporate trust and not for community trust. As someone who worked very hard to pass the State College Community and Environmental Bill of Rights in 2011, I feel strongly that the community and our land is of utmost importance. Ferguson Township has the same Community and Environmental Bill of Rights that passed in 2012 by a margin of 52:48. It might be symbolic. But why have a symbol if not to invoke it as a call to do things differently?
Like the great naturalist philosopher Aldo Leopold, a father of American forestry and environmental ethics, I believe in the well-being of “the community” which “includes soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land” in Ferguson Township.
I’m also firmly committed to responsible and responsive governance. I’m committed to doing what I can so that we don’t do this again. I’m committed to working with the folks in the government to do the best that I can and that we can.
It’s a sad day in Ferguson Township and the Centre Region. Democracy lost last night. It lost in 2004. Let’s win by working together.
We have no choice but to persevere.